Pastor's Page
By Fr. George Welzbacher
July 20, 2008

   First some good news. A groundswell is building in Congress to allow off-shore drilling for oil and to permit tapping our huge oil reserves in Alaska.
   New York Times political commentator Carl Hulse reported in his paper's issue of July 11th: "Leaders of a coalition of moderate and conservative Democrats known as The Blue Dogs have stepped up their push for drilling both in the Arctic refuge and offshore, saying the oil royalties produced could pay for research into new energy technologies. 'I propose that we drill in ANWR,' said Representative Mike Ross, Democrat of Arkansas, referring to the refuge. 'We've already got a pipeline going to Alaska, the ANWR, that can handle two million barrels a day. We're only putting one million in it. Let's fill it up.' But Ms. Peolsi, who considers energy legislation a personal priority, does not appear ready to shift her view, based on discussions in a private meeting with members of the leadership on Thursday. According to accounts from those present, Ms. Pelosi said that if Democrats relented on drilling, 'then we might as well pack it up and go home'....A significant divide remains between the parties' leaders.... Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the Republican Leader, said he would lead a delegation of Republicans next week to the Arctic refuge in Alaska, as well as to a renewable energy facility outside Denver. 'We're not going to leave here for the August recess until we get a vote on having more American-made energy', Mr. Boehner said." So read Carl Hulse's report in The Times.
   The ban on drilling in Alaska and offshore expires on September 30th. The problem is that the ban will probably be reimposed, which would be unfortunate. A recent report from the Sanford C. Bernstein Company stated that "California could actually start producing new oil within a year if the moratorium [the ban on offshore drilling] were lifted",   since oil fields there have already been explored, and drilling platforms built before the ban [imposed by Congress in 1982 and subsequently annually renewed] are still standing. The oil deposits off California's shores offer the further advantage of lying under shallow waters.   For the moment, however, the environmental lobby seems to be holding the winning hand in terms of Congressional support.
   Stay tuned.
   So much for an important pocketbook issue. On the Pro-Life Culture War front a significant fact that deserves far more attention than it has received was spotlighted in an essay that appeared in The Wall Street Journal, issue of July 15th. The anti-black racism that is a basic tap root of Planned Parenthood Inc. was lucidly discussed by one of the Journal's regular columnists, William McGurn.
   May I share his remarks with you here.

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The NAACP and Black Abortions
                      By William McGurn
                      From: The Wall Street Journal
                      Tuesday, July 15, 2008

   At the Good Counsel [Catholic] shelter for homeless pregnant women in New York, yesterday was business as usual: pregnant moms getting ready to deliver, other mothers feeding their children, still others going off to school or training for new jobs.
   There is a striking fact about these women: most are African-American. "These moms are attracted to Good Counsel because they know they will be in an environment where their baby is considered as beautiful and as worthy of life as any other," says Executive Director Chris Bell.
   Yesterday was not business as usual at the 99th annual conference for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. For one thing, the first African-American to head the presidential ticket of a major party was on hand. Yet there was another interesting appearance that went mostly unmentioned.  This was a protest by African-American pro-lifers-many NAACP members-who can't understand why America's most venerated civil rights organization turns a blind eye to what they say is the abortion industry's practice of targeting poor minority neighborhoods.
   These folks include the Rev. Clenard Childress, a New Jersey pastor who runs a Web site called .... [together with] Day Gardner of the National Black Pro-Life Union, and Levon Yuille of the National Black Pro-Life Caucus. And these folks include Dr. Alveda King, a niece of the Rev. Martin Luther King, who says she knows what abortion does to a woman-because she had two of them before her change of heart.
   "I remember when I was pregnant and considering a third abortion," she says, "I went to Daddy King [her grandfather and Martin Luther King's father]. He told me, "that's a baby, not a blob of tissue." Unfortunately, 14 million African-Americans are not here today because of realized abortion. It's as if a plague swept through America's cities and towns and took one of every four of us."
   What Dr. King is alluding to is that abortion disproportionately affects African-Americans. A fact sheet from the Guttmacher Institute puts it this way: "Black women are 4.3 times as likely, as Non-Hispanic white women to have an abortion."  The Centers for Disease Control furtlier reports what this means: "While about one out of every five white pregnancies ends in abortion. it's nearly one out of every two for African-Americans."
    The debate can get uncomfortable. Pro-lifers point to Planned Parenthood's origins in the eugenics movement. Indeed, these unpleasant associations recently resurfaced after Pro-Life students hired actors to call up Planned Parenthood clinics posing as donors. In one call, the actor expressed his dislike of affirmative action, and said that he just felt that "the less black kids out there, the better." The woman responded, "understandable, understandable" and went on to say she was "excited" about the donation. Other calls yielded similar embarrassing results.
   On the other side, of course, are the maternity homes and Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Planned Parenthood and their allies accuse these centers of posing as medical clinics. offering religion instead of science. And of "traumatizing" preunant women by showing them things like sonograms. It's an odd complaint from a group that runs a Web site called Teenwire-which offers adolescents tips on everything from anal sex to a crude, animated condom game. Given that the overwhelming majority of women who have abortions are over age 20, showing one a sonogam or telling her "Jesus loves you" seems pretty tame stuff.
   Planned Parenthood has every legal right to pursue its business. But if-as our pro-choice friends like to say-we really want a world where abortion is more rare, could not the NAACP help?
   Just imagine if this institution used its voice and resources to ensure that, beside all those Planned Parenthood clinics located in our minority neighborhoods, African-American women could find another kind of place. A place not unlike Good Counsel-where a scared young pregnant woman could carry her baby to term, complete her education, train for a new job, and be treated with the love and respect that a mother needs and deserves.
   In other words, could not the NAACP work for a society where pregnant African-Americans had two doors open to them? Planned Parenthood's not going anywhere, so the first would lead to America's largest abortion provider, a business that has already eliminated millions from America's population. But the other would lead to people whose business is of a vastly different order: welcoming these children into the world, and getting their moms the help they need to live lives of purpose and dignity.
   Then again, that would give women a real choice.