It’s a stretch of semantic gymnastics to argue that ‘pro-choice’ people are not really pro-abortion, a rhetorical matter that at bottom, doesn’t change the position that women should have access to abortion on demand for any reason, accompanied often by the belief that that access should be facilitated by government and paid for by tax dollars….but I digress.

The spin behind the carefully constructed wording has come to light in the Archdiocese of Chicago, in connection with the Office of Peace and Justice and an award just given to the controversial Fr. Michael Pfleger. In an article criticizing the award before the ceremony on April 7th, the central point LifeSiteNews was making concerned honoring a priest so widely and infamously known for sometimes incendiary remarks and inappropriate alliances with abortion supporters, even in church. But something else came out of that reporting, that turned into another story of its own.

When (LSN) spoke with Sr. Anita Baird, the founding director of the Office for Racial Justice, she confirmed that Cardinal George had approved the award, and said Fr. Pfleger “has dedicated his life to working for racial justice.”

When LSN asked about Pfleger’s endorsement of Mr. Obama, Baird interjected, stating that “the president is not pro-abortion, the president is pro-choice.”  “I think they are two very different things,” she said.

Asked to elaborate, Baird continued: “To be pro-abortion is that you believe in abortion and you support it. And I don’t think you’ll find that the president has ever said that.” Baird pointed to President Obama’s controversial abortion-themed speech at the University of Notre Dame last May, saying that “his challenge was that we find ways to ensure that women – that would be their last choice, and that they would choose life.”

“I just think we need to be clear with our language,” said Baird.

Apparently, so did the cardinal, or whoever asked Sr. Baird to clarify further. As of this writing, her clarification is on the homepage of the Archiocese of Chicago’s website.

As it appears:

April 7, 2010

In order to clarify my quote that appeared on, I am affirming my belief in the teachings of the Catholic Church and understand that there can be no distinction between pro-abortion and pro-choice, because the choice at issue is the choice to kill a child.

I also apologize to those who were scandalized by my statement.

Sr. Anita Baird, Director
Office for Racial Justice

Clarification is a good thing.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....