Paul Kirk, Jr., chairman of the John Kennedy Library Foundation Board of Directors, shown alongside the late Sen. Edward Kennedy in 2008, has been named to a five-month term to fill Kennedy’s senate seat. CAPTIONBy Lisa Poole, APPaul Kirk has never held elective office before and, in five months, the man named Thursday to stand in for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy will be replaced by the winner of a special election. So why might anti-abortion rights group be displeased with his appointment? After all, Kirk is practically Boston Catholic royalty. According to Michael Paulson at The Boston Globe, he’s … grand-nephew of Cardinal William H. O’Connell, one of the most powerful figures in local church history, who served as archbishop of Boston from 1907 until his death in 1944. (Kirk’s grandfather was an older brother of the Cardinal). However, anti-abortion groups want to lock any prospect of tax-supported insurance that covers abortion out of health care reform legislation — legislation that Kirk will now be voting on, presumably as Kennedy would have voted. And Kirk’s lengthy public service resume includes Democratic National Committee Chairman during the ill-fated 1988 Michael Dukakis presidential campaign. An essay by Jo Freeman for off our backs, gives a glimpse of Kirk’s DNC role from the feminist perspective of those who pushed for strong language supporting abortion rights language and the Equal Rights Amendment. She writes: Feminists were alarmed last December when Democratic National Committee Chair Paul G. Kirk, Jr. stated that he wanted a platform that was short and soft pedaled such controversial issues as abortion and the ERA. Twenty women leaders met with Kirk to point out that leaving those issues out would be more controversial at the convention than putting them in. … But even after numerous meetings, … the initial draft of the platform written by Ted Sorenson at the behest of Kirk … made casual reference to “equal rights of all men and women” and “freedom of choice regarding childbirth.” The language was eventually expanded “behind the scenes,” Freeman writes, and the final platform contained urged adoption of the ERA and demanded that “the fundamental right of reproductive choice should be guaranteed regardless of ability to pay.” So, Kirk will likely be, as expected, a Kennedy on this matter — a Catholic politician social progressives will like and traditionalists despise — until he’s replaced in January. DO YOU THINK … the Catholic Church has been effective in persuading politicians and public officials to line up with Church teachings on life? Tags:Catholic Church Edward Kennedy Michael Paulson Paul G. Kirk, Jr Abortion rights Previous Does a nation need God to be ‘happy?’ Maybe not the French Next Atheist reviewer takes on scholar’s look at Jesus, Bible