Wednesday, November 6, 2002

In South Dakota, where the Senate race is, as I write, still neck-and-neck, the bishop of Rapid City last weekend wrote a letter taking Catholic Tom Daschle to task for his extreme pro-choice position.

The Roman Catholic Bishop who shepherds Rapid City, S.D., says that state's senior senator has declared Tuesday's election to be a referendum on abortion. The Most Rev. Blase Cupich spoke out on the issue in a letter read to parishioners this weekend.

Cupich is upset over an Oct. 31, fundraising email message written by Daschle on behalf of one of the nation's largest pro-abortion lobbies, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL). As previously reported Daschle's "urgent" appeal entitled "Last Chance to Keep Pro-Choice Leadership in the Senate," urged recipients to support NARAL financially five times in the eight paragraph message.Cupich told Rapid City Catholics that a careful reading of Daschle's message could lead to only one conclusion.

"It is clear that the senator has not only aligned himself with the strident position of NARAL, but he has also made abortion THE issue of this year's campaign," Cupich wrote. "The senator regrettably has crossed the line and I cannot let it go unanswered."

The bishop noted that he and his follow clergy have encouraged their congregants and all voters to cast their ballots "taking into consideration all the issues that promote the dignity of the human person."

Those issues, Cupich said, include the education and upbringing of children, equal work opportunities, healthcare and elder care, civil rights, and, "most importantly," protecting human life in the womb.

"However, since Senator Daschle has now decided to frame this year's election uniquely as a referendum on abortion, he should know that there are citizens of good will in both parties who reject this extreme position and who cannot let it go unchallenged," the bishop continued.

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