U.S. clerics are keeping up the heat on President Bill Clinton for his spring veto of a Congressional ban on partial-birth abortion.

During a July 11 Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, Cardinal John O’Connor called on the Congress to override the Clinton veto. He also described partial-birth abortion as “infanticide.”

The Mass was celebrated as part of the U.S. Catholic bishop’s National Day of Prayer and Fasting for Life. Catholics in the U.S. were encouraged to attend Mass, pray the Rosary, offer fasting and sacrifices or attend Holy Hours to combat the abortion problem.

The newspaper, Catholic New York, reported Cardinal O’Connor’s deep personal outrage at Clinton’s veto. “We are almost politely calling it –partial birth abortion,” the cardinal said. “If you listen to the description of those who have been involved …what you learn is that a little baby is literally dangled from its mother’s womb, the feet, the legs, the entire torso, including the shoulders, outside the mother’s womb, to the degree that unless the doctor performing the surgery held onto the baby’s head inside the womb, it would slip out.”

Under a partial birth abortion, the baby’s head remains inside the mother’s womb. A catheter is then inserted into the baby’s skull and the brain tissue is removed. The baby is them completely removed from the womb.

O’Connor also said the horror of partial-birth abortion “is virtually beyond imagination.” He said that unless Congress overrides the presidential veto, the practice would likely to on unchecked.

He held out prayer, fasting and works of sacrifice as one solution to the problem. “This is not a political matter,” O’Connor said. “This is a matter of life and death. I plead with you. Pick up a postcard… Send a note to a member of Congress. Let this prayer here today extend into practical action that may make the difference between our country’s choosing life or death.”

A number of North American pro-life supporters are returning to prayer as a means to defend unborn children from abortion. Many with faith believe the solution has gone beyond human control.

Cardinal O’Connor is not the only high ranking cleric to denounce President Clinton for the partial-birth abortion ban veto. A number of other prominent churchmen in the U.S. have spoken out vehemently against the move. As well, the Vatican has launched the least two strongly worded attacks of the president since the spring. At the risk of weakening relations between the U.S. presidency and the Holy See, Vatican officials have criticized Clinton’s veto and suggested the Clinton Democrats have sunk to new levels of depravity in their attitude toward abortion.

The issue promises to heat up the Democratic National Convention scheduled for Chicago early in the fall. Many commentators suggest the Clinton veto reveals his support for the most extreme elements of the U.S. pro-abortion movement. Despite repeated attempts to appear moderate on abortion, Clinton’s veto of the ban on partial-birth abortions shows his pandering to radical groups.

A number of U.S. pro-life organizations, including the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League, plan to make a point of Clinton’s pro-abortion stance during the Democratic convention.

Norton appointment questioned

Campaign Life Coalition is disappointed with the selection of former MPP Keith Norton as head of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Norton’s nomination for the position was announced by citizenship minister Marylin Muchinski June 26 and he was approved in the role July 17 by the Standing Committee on Government Agencies.

Norton, an openly declared homosexual, held four different cabinet posts in the government of former Premier William Davis. He served most recently as head of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, which in May ordered the federal government to change the definition of “spouse” in collective agreements, and health plans, to include homosexual couples.

While CLC recognizes Norton’s abilities as a politician and administrator, the organization wondered about the appropriateness of Norton’s appointment to a human rights body.

“Pro-family objections to his appointment concern serious conflict of interest and Mr. Norton’s strong commitment to an agenda which Ontarians overwhelmingly oppose,” says a Campaign Life Coalition media release.

CLC suggested that the Norton appointment shoes the Ontario Progressive Conservatives to be following the Liberal/ NDP lead on important social issues.

“Ontarians thought they elected a ‘conservative’ government last year,” CLC said. “Other than on fiscal matters, it is becoming harder to discover a big difference.”

CLC said the province should have appointed a human rights chief who better reflects the interests of the general community. The organization also suggested that government consider abolishing the human rights commission, which it says “has mostly been a government-financed tool for special interest groups to bully individuals and organizations to implement their social engineering agendas.”

Friends and colleagues in Norton’s hometown of Kingston, Ontario were pleased with his appointment to the human rights commission. They said Norton has made human rights a priority over his 21-year political career.

Although he is considered conservative on fiscal matters, Norton has long been regarded as a progressive on social issues.