Fifty years ago, in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, a group of radicals founded “Catholics for a Free Choice” in Washington, D.C. It was a fringe group at the time, but the sodomite-lesbian community was already powerful in the nation’s capital, and the two groups shared the fundamental principles of narcissism, rebellion, destruction of the family, and the annihilation of the Catholic Church, all of them propelled by the Sexual Revolution.
The “pro-choice” movement had grown steadily among Catholics by September 1984, when New York Gov. Mario Cuomo showed up at Notre Dame to give it his imprimatur. There, Cuomo concocted a facile slogan for a movement that was already moving at the speed of light through the culture. Millions of Catholics — and not only politicians — had come to embrace an uneasy “personally opposed, but” approach to abortion, but Cuomo gave it the magisterial approval of a seasoned and successful pol.
In February of that same year, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary held hearings on the first judicial nomination of President Reagan to be formally opposed by America’s sexualized, pro-abortion Left. Senate opponents of the nomination included several Democrats who at various times chaired the Senate Committee on the Judiciary — Ted Kennedy, Pat Leahy, and Joe Biden — all Catholics, all pro-abortion, all the time.
The nominee, Daniel Manion, was a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and had the strong support of University President Fr. Ted Hesburgh, CSC. The campaign against Manion was directed by Ralph Neas. At the time, Neas headed People for the American Way, but over the years he led other key pro-abortion organizations as well. Neas was in fact the most effective pro-abortion leader of his generation, so it was no surprise that he was the chief adviser to Joe Biden, who led the opposition to Manion’s confirmation on the Senate floor.
Neas, also a Catholic, was a graduate of Notre Dame, a classmate and friend of this writer in the Class of 1968. His efforts to block Manion’s nomination failed, but the following year, he led the successful campaign to defeat Reagan’s nomination of Judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court.
What had changed?
In the mid-term election of November 1986, Democrats had regained a majority in the Senate.
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