Earlier this month, President Obama nominated Melanne Verveer to the newly-created position of Ambassador-at-Large for Women's Issues. Pro-life groups have worried that the position was created to "Promote abortion and overturn pro-life laws in nations across the world," and Catholic News Agency has reported that the position may have been created as a sop to the president's pro-abortion backers.
Verveer certainly has the pro-abortion bona-fides, and in line with other controversial appointments of this administration, Verveer is a well-connected Catholic.
In both her professional career and political commitments, Verveer has been an ardent supporter of abortion. As Executive Vice-President of People for the American Way, Verveer helped orchestrate the rejection of Judge Robert Bork's nomination to the Supreme Court. She also testified(pdf) against the nomination of the late William Rehnquist as Chief Justice, in part, because of his perceived hostility to Roe.
Verveer has worked for Common Cause, various pro-choice politicians, and most notably as Chief of Staff to then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Verveer's political contributions have been to a 'who's who' of pro-abortion politicians, including original FOCA co-sponsor Louise Slaughter. Verveer is a three-time donor to EMILY's List, an organization exclusively dedicated to the election of pro-abortion, female Democrats.
And yet, Verveer has several ties to Catholic and "Catholic" organizations. Prior to her work at People for the American Way, Verveer was Coordinator for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs for the then-named U.S. Catholic Conference (now USCCB).
In 2002, Verveer was appointed to the board of the National Catholic Reporter. In 2004, then-Kerry for President spokesman Mike McCurry told the reporter that Verveer helped the candidate craft his Catholic image. She was part of a group of Catholic advisors including Dean and chaplain of pro-abort Catholic pols, the late Jesuit Father Robert Drinan and the eventual Catholics in Alliance chair Elizabeth Frawley Bagley.
The failure of the Kerry campaign led to the creation of several Catholic Democrat groups which have effectively served to provide cover to pro-abort Catholic pols. In 2006, the Reporter ran an article on the phenomenon titled "Democrats seek to woo Catholics back to the fold." In discussing the creation of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, the Reporter identifies Verveer and Bagley as original board members of the group. Bagley, a DNC and Obama mega-fundraiser, is still chair of the group and Verveer now sits on their Advisory Council. Bagley also sits on the board of Verveer's current organization, Vital Voices.
So why does it matter? To me, it's just another sad sign of the times for the Church. Several years ago I did an analysis on the pro-life voting records of members of Congress correlated with religious affiliation. I no longer have it and we have a different congress today, but the main finding probably still holds - If there were NO Catholic members of Congress, the body would be significantly MORE pro-life.
If, God willing, the abortion regime someday ends and historians looking back in horror on the period make their report, two things will be true: 1. The Catholic Church was the strongest voice in the defense of life. 2. The abortion regime would have been impossible without the active encouragement of many individual Catholics.