Cardinal O'Connor's strong words against partial-birth
abortions over the weekend matched the equally firm denouncements from Catholic
and pro-life leaders across the nation after President Clinton vetoed
legislation April 10 that would have banned the procedure.
The other American cardinals responded individually and as a
group (story. Page 3) with forceful criticism of the president's action.
Father Frank A. Pavone, national director of Priests for
Life, a Staten Island-based pro-life network of more than 40,000 priests and
deacons, said the procedure "is one of many proofs of how extreme the so-called
pro-choice movement is."
"Anyone who intends to speak or vote in favor of this
president should be informed of what partial-birth abortion is" he said, "and
about what Mr. Clinton has done to see that it remains part of American life."
Other leaders and groups also condemned the veto.
Supreme Knight Virgil C. Dechant, head of the 15
million-member Knights of Columbus, said it appears the president is "simply too
beholden to his most extreme pro-abortion supporters to take even this very
limited action on behalf of unborn children. We are all the losers."
Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right
to Life Committee, charged the president would allow "thousands of living,
late-term babies to be mostly delivered and then painfully killed" to pay a
political debt to pro-abortion activists.
"Although 71 percent of voters nationwide support a ban on
partial-birth abortion...today the president has shown himself to be
uncompromising in his advocacy of abortion," said Rep. Charles T. Canady,
R-Fla., who introduced the bill in the House.