Regarding “Positive effort,” July 1, Page 23:

With the reversal of Roe vs. Wade, many commentators, including retired federal judge Thomas Coffin, object to the state imposing Catholic doctrine through “appropriate penal sanctions” (Catholic Catechism 2273) in its defense of unborn children. This objection seems ill-founded. Coffin wrote that he would have felt obligated to recuse himself if an abortion-related case came before him, but is there any more reason for a Catholic federal judge to recuse himself in a case involving abortion than in cases involving murder, manslaughter or assisted suicide?

The natural law jurist in every person does not need Catholic doctrine to supplement his vivid realization that decapitating and mangling a child — born or unborn — deserves the severest penal sanctions a state can inflict.

If basic, garden-variety human decency happens to be enshrined in Catholic doctrine, should that prejudice anyone against it? The church has merely stated the perfectly obvious. Before we are Catholics, we are human beings with a God-enlightened common humanity that enables us to easily adjudicate many issues of right and wrong that come before us daily. We all have enough light to know that good should be done and evil avoided, do we not? How then is this a religious issue, when it is so obvious that abortion is a terrible evil? With the truly obtuse — including many citizens of the United States and several notorious politicians — the church invokes her authority and raises her voice in warning, but this is very far from being a doctrinal issue or a Catholic issue. It is a human issue.

Lee Gilbert