Kmiec pro-life strategy criticized as ‘implausible’

Discussion continues over Pepperdine University law professor and pro-life Catholic Doug Kmiec’s arguments on behalf of the pro-abortion rights President-elect Barack Obama. Ross Douthat, a political commentator writing on, critiqued Kmiec while defending the pro-life political strategy focused upon appointing Supreme Court nominees to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Douthat expressed his astonishment at Kmiec’s position, which he said seems to be “that the contemporary Democratic Party, and particularly the candidacy of Barack Obama, offered nearly as much to pro-lifers as the Republican Party does.”

Critiques of Obama’s abortion stand, which Kmiec labeled as “outright lies and falsehoods,” were, according to Douthat, “more or less the truth.” Obama’s record can only be described as “very, very pro-choice,” his positions involving a rollback of “nearly all the modest—but also modestly effective—restrictions that pro-lifers have placed upon the practice and/or appointing judges who would do the same,” Douthat wrote.

While granting that anti-abortion voters might have reasons for voting for Obama despite his abortion position, Douthat argued “Kmiec's suggestion that Obama took the Democrats in anything like a pro-life direction on the issue doesn't pass the laugh test.”

 Douthat added that he believes Kmiec’s suggestion that pro-lifers pursue a Human Life Amendment is “far more implausible” than working towards securing favorable Supreme Court justice nominees.

“The trouble with seeking common ground on abortion is that the legal regime enacted by Roe and reaffirmed in Casey permits only the most minimal regulation of the practice, which means that any plausible ‘compromise’ that leaves Roe in place will offer almost nothing to pro-lifers,” Douthat continued on

Even “modest restrictions” that prevail in Europe, which Douthat claimed coincide with lower abortion rates, are “out of the question under the current legal dispensation.”

“This, in turn, explains why the national debate inevitably revolves around the composition of the Supreme Court and the either/or question of whether a president will appoint justices likely to chip away the Roe-Casey regime or justices likely to uphold it.”

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