Columnist Michael Gerson Urges Barack Obama to Pick Pro-Life Running Mate
by Steven Ertelt
August 4, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Michael Gerson, a longtime and well-respected columnist for the Washington Post, has written an editorial encouraging pro-abortion presidential candidate Barack Obama to consider Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter as his running mate. However, Ritter, whom Gerson calls pro-life, has been under fire over abortion.
Gerson says Obama’s selection of a pro-life running mate would help him appeal to Catholic voters.
"In the Democratic Party, there is no reason to take such a risky position except conscience," Gerson writes.
When running for governor, Ritter said that he had no plans to change Colorado’s abortion laws — which upset pro-life advocates who want more laws in place to reduce abortions until Roe v. Wade is overturned.
On the infamous Supreme Court decision, Ritter has said he would sign a bill into law to ban abortions in most cases if the high court overturned the case.
Yet, just one month after Colorado voters chose him to be their governor in November 2006, Ritter said he would restore state taxpayer funding to the nation’s largest abortion business.
The state legislature cut the pro-abortion group’s funding in 2001 after lawmakers pointed out that it was using the money to subsidize abortions.
Ritter said Planned Parenthood would have to keep the money, intended for sex education programs, separate from its abortion activities. However, pro-life advocates argue the taxpayer grants merely free up funds for abortions the agency would otherwise use on family planning efforts.
Ritter drew heat from Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, who called the idea "seriously flawed public policy."
"It’s hard to have a future ‘for our children and our children’s children’ without children, and in practice, Planned Parenthood specializes in the business of preventing them," he said. "Even more troubling is Planned Parenthood’s long involvement in abortion ‘rights’ and the lethal services associated with them."
Chaput said it is hard for Ritter to maintain the pro-life label and fund the nation’s biggest abortion business.
"What his words do actually mean will become clear in the demands he places on Planned Parenthood for proof that state funds truly are segregated from abortion services and don’t materially support the killing of unborn children," Chaput wrote.
Late Monday afternoon, Ritter seemed to take the entire discussion off the table by saying he wouldn’t run with the abortion advocate.
"Having been governor for 18 months has been a great experience, but it’s only been 18 months," Ritter said. "I think Barack Obama will make a good choice for his vice presidential candidate, and it’s not going to be me."
Gerson takes to task another potential Obama running mate that some political pundits have wrongly labeled pro-life, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine.
Kaine claims he supports some limits on abortion, "But Kaine’s performance on life issues is like watching a contortionist on a tight rope," Gerson writes.
He complains about Kaine claiming to personally oppose abortion yet saying he must enforce existing law and that he would veto legislation prohibiting abortion if Roe v. Wade were overturned.
According to Gerson, this means that Kaine’s "moral views on the value of unborn life are so private he would overturn the will of the Legislature to ensure they do not prevail."
"This is not ‘pro-life’ in any meaningful sense," he surmises. "If Obama wants to choose an advocate of Catholic social justice as his vice president, perhaps he should consider a consistent one."
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