Saturday, July 09, 2005

More on the Bettencourt Amendment

For readers interested in learning more about the Bettencourt Amendment to SB30, I would urge you to visit this link: to read an article which was published on May 26, 2005.

According to this article, "Rep. David Bettencourt, R-Salem, introduced an amendment requiring teens under 18 to have a parent's permission before they could get the pill from a pharmacist." In other words, the Bettencourt Amendment would have left SB30 pretty much intact. It simply would have introduced a provision requiring underage females to first obtain a parent's permission before being able to obtain an abortifacient drug. It would have done nothing to prevent an underage female from obtaining such abortifacient drugs as long as they had parental permission.

Therefore, it is dishonest for anyone (and particularly troubling when it is a priest) to suggest that State Representative Maurice Pilotte "voted against SB30" and that the other votes he cast regarding the Bill "were an effort to defeat it." The Bettencourt Amendment was not designed to "defeat" SB30, but merely to add the above-mentioned provision. Again, this proposed amendment failed by a vote of 225-141. And SB30, as the above- mentioned article makes clear, passed by a "comfortable margin" (195-169).

Dr. Germain Grisez, one of the finest moral theologians around, has said that: "There are two reasons why Catholics should believe that contraception is always wrong. First, the Church teaches it. Indeed, because the Church has proposed this teaching constantly and most firmly, her infallibility in day-to-day teaching on matters of faith and morals appears to guarantee it (see CMP, 35. D-E). Second, in his work on the theology of the body, John Paul II has provided careful analyses of the relevant scriptural data and drawn the conclusion that the moral norm excluding contraception 'belongs not only to the natural moral law, but also to the moral order revealed by God: also from this point of view, it could not be different, but solely what is handed down by Tradition and the Magisterium.'"

It must be remembered that the so-called "morning-after pill" - which SB30 dealt with - is an abortifacient drug besides being considered a "contraceptive." Now the Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2270, teaches us that: "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life" (citing CDF, Donum vitae 1,1.).

The Bettencourt Amendment would not have altered SB30 in any significant way. The question remains: should a Catholic politician compromise with the culture of death? Or should he or she vote against any piece of legislation and any amendment which leaves intact language which provides for direct abortion or abortifacient drugs?

Do we really respect human life? Or are we willing to compromise with the culture of death?

Paul Anthony Melanson

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