Last night I happened to catch a small portion of the Rachel Maddow Show. My brother was watching it on the television and I was listening to music on the computer, but in between songs I noticed that Maddow was talking to Gov. Rendell of Pennsylvania and since he's the governor of the state next to mine I decided to listen. What I heard was horrifying, and should be even more so to any orthodox Catholic who lives in that state. Maddow asked him about the "extremist" views of Tea Party candidates on abortion, expressing outrage that they would oppose abortion even in cases of rape, and Rendell stated that he has never met a single rational person who opposed abortion in these cases. I have to wonder whether he's ever met Cardinals Bevilacqua and Rigali, both archbishops of the largest city in his state and both steadfast opponents of abortion in cases of rape. Perhaps he's just saying that these two courageous champions of human dignity are irrational, I certainly wouldn't put it past him.
The argument that Gov. Rendell offers contains a false dichotomy, and does so intentionally as a kind of trap to neutralize the pro-life movement. When he states that he knows and respects many "pro-life" people who support the rape exception what he is trying to do is weaken the resolve of his opposition in order to destroy it. There is no difference between a fetus conceived of love and one conceived of rape, and therefore we should not allow the destruction of the child conceived of rape any more than we should allow it for any other unborn child. If we compromise on one group of children and say that the circumstances of their conception invalidate their right to life then we should just give up and support abortion completely, and therein lies the outcome desired by Rendell and Maddow among many others. Extremist liberals like these two will be satisfied with nothing less than an unlimited right to abortion, at any point in pregnancy and with any conceivable justification or no justification at all, and therefore when they talk about the respect they have for "compromising" abortion opponents there is no reason to believe it. Just as liberals pretended to care about Rep. Stupak's opinion right up until the point that they destroyed his amendment and launched a campaign of vilification against him, should Rendell and company ever succeed in destroying opposition to abortion then the pragmatists among us will find their friendship to be non-existent. We have a choice between faithfulness to life or compromise against it, the ultimate reaction from the left being the same, and I know which one I'll choose.