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Obama’s Abortion Extremism – And His Evangelical Pro-Life Apologists

October 17, 2008

One drastically under-discussed issue in this election is the subject of abortion. It was touched on briefly at the Saddleback Forums, and just briefly at the last debate. In this, John McCain lost yet another opportunity to show Obama for what he is: an pro-abortion extremist. The infant born-alive kerfuffle was the most extreme yet ineffective example to use. Buried in the past, with a confusing history it screams “smear” to a electorate numb with swift-boat fatigue. It’s guaranteed to fall on deaf ears. It’s a dead issue. That doesn’t change the fact that Obama holds the most extreme pro-abortion views of any candidate in my lifetime. This fact is safely embargoed from scrutiny in the MSM, and by the ineptness of McCain’s campaign style.

Pro-choice media bias is, unfortunately, to be expected. What appalls and depresses me is that serious Evangelicals -and others who believe support for life is an issue of fundamental importance- have given their support for Obama, believing that Obama’s policies will lead to a decrease in abortions.

In this I believe they are greatly deceived, both by Obama’s rhetoric and their own desire for other parts of his platform. The Pro-Life Pro-Obama stance of the Matthew 25 network is an example of egregious obfuscation and omissions.

OBAMA AND THE HYDE AMENDMENT

Robert P. George, a serious scholar, gives a concise summary of Obama’s multiple anti-life positions in Obama’s Abortion Extremism. I beg of you, read the whole thing, especially if you are pro-life in any way.

George’s first point, taking the wider view, is a metaphor. Suppose you were “personally opposed” to slavery but not for it’s eradication. Wouldn’t you properly be called “pro-slavery?” Therefore, those who hold life to be a fundamental issue but are not against abortion can be properly called “pro-abortion”. A meaningful category called “pro-choice” could indeed exist, but Joe Biden would be a better candidate for that description, but not Barack Obama. Why? Exhibit number one (emphasis mine):

For starters, (Obama) supports legislation that would repeal the Hyde Amendment, which protects pro-life citizens from having to pay for abortions that are not necessary to save the life of the mother and are not the result of rape or incest. The abortion industry laments that this longstanding federal law, according to the pro-abortion group NARAL, ‘‘forces about half the women who would otherwise have abortions to carry unintended pregnancies to term and bear children against their wishes instead.” In other words, a whole lot of people who are alive today would have been exterminated in utero were it not for the Hyde Amendment. Obama has promised to reverse the situation so that abortions that the industry complains are not happening (because the federal government is not subsidizing them) would happen. That is why people who profit from abortion love Obama even more than they do his running mate.

Biden, in contrast has “sometimes opposed using taxpayer dollars to fund abortion, thereby leaving Americans free to choose not to implicate themselves in it.” This is what I think a reasonable person would view as a “purple” view of abortion. Obama can say he respects that abortion is a difficult issue, but that won’t stop him from insisting that every taxpayer be made to pay for it. Which is fine; it should just be noted that this will result in an expansion of the practice of abortion.

Look on the Matthew 25 Network site and you’ll see no indication of  these kinds of issues. Why no mention or explanation of any kind for the Obama campaign’s answers to this Reproductive Health Reality Check questionnaire:

Why do you consider Sen. Obama to be the strongest candidate on reproductive health and rights?

Throughout his career, Senator Obama has consistently championed a woman’s right to choose, earning him 100% ratings from pro-choice groups during his tenure in the Illinois State Senate and the United States Senate. In 2005, he was the honorary chair of Planned Parenthood of Chicago Area’s Roe v. Wade celebration. And he has not shied away from tough battles. In the Illinois State Senate, Obama worked hand-in-hand with advocacy groups to protect women’s reproductive health.

And just last year, Obama was the only U.S. Senator who supported a fund-raising initiative to defeat a proposed abortion ban in South Dakota. And Senator Obama was the only presidential candidate to weigh in on the controversy surrounding the opening of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Aurora.

Does Sen. Obama support the Hyde amendment? Under what circumstances does he believe that Medicaid should cover abortions (all pregnancies, life- or health-threatening pregnancies, pregnancies that are a result of rape or incest, extreme fetal malformation)?

Obama does not support the Hyde amendment. He believes that the federal government should not use its dollars to intrude on a poor woman’s decision whether to carry to term or to terminate her pregnancy and selectively withhold benefits because she seeks to exercise her right of reproductive choice in a manner the government disfavors.

What? The government should not use its’ dollars by not paying for abortions?

This is typical of the Obama campaign though: in one venue say you’re pro-life. In another, boast you have a 100% rating from pro-choice groups. What’s remotely purple or post-partisan about that?

What’s truly galling- and I think this is typical of the Barack Obama I am getting to know- is that he has the audacity to make the claim that he will reduce abortions by the enactment of his other policies. From the Matthew25 Network-affiliated site:

“An Obama administration will do more than a McCain administration for the cause of life, by drastically reducing abortions through giving women and families the support and the tools they need to choose life.”

From which proceeds a number of proposals plumping up the carrot end of motivation; government sponsored nursing, child-care, health-care, “support” of adoption agencies, halving poverty in 10 years etc. All worthwhile proposals deserving of discussion.

The problem, for starters, is the math. If fully half the women who want to have abortions can now have them because the government will pay for it, how many do you think will choose to have them in an Obama administration? If the value of every life is not positively affirmed- and the President has a lot cultural influence beyond the political aspect – what will motivate a woman to carry a baby to full term? If the Government taxpayer will now fund abortions, how many will take that option? Having a baby is a major commitment of time and resources- not to mention a serious life-style change. What I know about human nature tells me a great many more women will have the abortion rather than go through with it because it’s the cheapest, easiest solution to “the problem”.

How many abortions are we talking about? Matthew25 says “half of all pregnancies in the US are unintended, and half of all unintended pregnancies end in abortion”. Funding abortions will greatly increase the amount of abortions, just for this reason alone. That’s why potty-mouthed liberal blogger Amanda Marquotte of Pandagon could say just back in February that “support for federally funded abortions is a view outside the mainstream.” Not if you’re Barack Obama! And Barack Obama with a liberal majority in both houses of congress… the mainstream just got super-sized.

OBAMA AND THE FREEDOM OF CHOICE ACT

The other major abortion issue, which Matthew 25 curiously omits any mention of, is Obama’s support of the Freedom of Choice Act (from the George article):

(Obama) has promised that ”the first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act” (known as FOCA). This proposed legislation would create a federally guaranteed ”fundamental right” to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, including, as Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia has noted in a statement condemning the proposed Act, ”a right to abort a fully developed child in the final weeks for undefined ‘health’ reasons.” In essence, FOCA would abolish virtually every existing state and federal limitation on abortion, including parental consent and notification laws for minors, state and federal funding restrictions on abortion, and conscience protections for pro-life citizens working in the health-care industry-protections against being forced to participate in the practice of abortion or else lose their jobs. The pro-abortion National Organization for Women has proclaimed with approval that FOCA would ”sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies.

Again, support it if you will, but don’t insult my intelligence by saying that abortions will go down when this kind of policy is in place.

What I’m seeing is nothing like a post-partisan approach. No local restrictions will be allowed- no matter what kind of legislative process took place to create them. It’s all going to be thrown out under the guise of “fairness” and “compassion” and supporting the poor. The truth is, a lot of poor people will now have their babies destroyed, courtesy of the US Government. And I will be paying for it.

This is not an act of moderation. This is the mainstream being taken over by extremism. That’s what an Obama Presidency will mean for abortion.

OBAMA AND THE INFANT BORN ALIVE PROTECTION ACT

As Robert George keeps saying, it gets worse. This issues is actually more of an academic interest, because it will no longer affect the number of abortions, but it does speak to Obama’s view of abortion, as well as his ability to take a remotely moderate approach. It’s a complicated issue, one that I think has been overplayed to ill effects by Conservatives – especially when confronted with the two examples above. That doesn’t change the fact that Obama has opposed legislation that sought to outlaw a type of infanticide.

Again, the deceptive Mathew25 site uses this discredited argument:

Senator Obama has stated repeatedly that he supported the federal version of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which passed Congress and addressed this same issue.

Senator Obama opposed a state version of this legislation in Illinois because there was an existing state law that had been on the books for 20 years that already required such medical care, it was drafted in a way that would have rendered it unconstitutional, and it was even opposed by the Illinois State Medical Society.

I was willing to buy that explanation when I first saw it, but new facts have come to light since then. Language identical to the federal version of the BAIPA was added to the bill- unanimously by Obama’s own comittee- and then Obama still voted against it. For someone claiming to be moderate, this seems like awfully stubborn, idealogical voting. Yes, his vote either way wouldn’t have had much impact in the real world. But why not give a symbolic gesture to the pro-life movement?

Obama has given a number of answers on this issue, all quite untruthful. His latest defense at the last debate was that there was a law on the books that would have prevented the practice of letting survivors of botched abortions die. But if that was the case, why have the born alive legislation in the first place?

Obama supporter Ann Althouse has a very good nuanced discussion of this particular issue (including Obama’s video calling everyone liars). It’s not as black-and-white as one might think- nothing usually is- but at the end of the day you have to make a decision and the fact that Obama was in the minority on this one does not speak well to his sense of moderation.

Lastly, I would recommend A Resopnse to Doug Kmiec by Richard John Neuhaus,as especially Pro-Life Catholics for Obama by George Weigel. From the Weigel piece:

According to the Annenberg Political Fact Check, Obama opposed the 2001 and 2002 Illinois “born alive” bills on the grounds that they were attempts to undermine Roe vs. Wade but said he would have supported an Illinois bill similar to the federal “born alive” legislation signed by President Bush in 2002. Yet, according to Annenberg, “Obama voted in committee against the 2003 state bill that was nearly identical to the federal bill he says he would have supported.” However one sorts out the conflicting claims in this often-bitter debate, in which charges of infanticide and lying have been hurled, there can be no doubt that Barack Obama did not make his own the cause of legal protection for infants who survive an abortion.

The “social safety net” component of the pro-life, pro-Obama argument may seem, at first blush, to make sense. Yet it, too, runs up against stubborn facts: for example, Sweden, with a much thicker social safety net than the United States, has precisely the same rate (25 percent) of abortions per pregnancy as America. As for the claim, often repeated by pro-life, pro-Obama Catholics, that more financially generous welfare policies would drive down abortion rates because financial pressure is a predominant cause of abortion, another stubborn fact intrudes: according to a survey conducted by the research arm of Planned Parenthood, the Guttmacher Institute, a mere 23 percent of abortions in the United States are performed primarily because of alleged financial need. There is also what some would consider the insuperable problem of squaring a concern for fostering alternatives to abortion with Senator Obama’s opposition to federal funding of crisis pregnancy centers that provide precisely those alternatives. Moreover, the Freedom of Choice Act Obama has pledged to sign forbids publicly supported programs helping pregnant women from “discriminating” against abortion. Thus a federal Pregnant Women Support Act—a key plank in the platform of pro-life congressional Democrats—would, in Orwellian fashion, be legally bound by FOCA to include support for abortion.

Essentially, supporting Obama on the issue of abortion, if you are remotely pro-life, makes no logical or spiritual sense. It’s rationalization at it’s worst and should be recognized as such. I understand the desire for the other parts of Obama’s social-justice platform. I even understand the desire for redistributive economic polices. Too many liberal Christians are willing to enable that platform on the altar of Molech.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Toayminator permalink
    October 17, 2008 12:41 pm

    40+ Million dead and counting…

    “If God does not judge the United States of America, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah”. — Billy Graham

    “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.” — Thomas Jefferson

  2. David permalink
    October 17, 2008 3:38 pm

    I highly recommend SILHOUETTE CITY, a new documentary about the growth of the Religious Right Wing.

    http://www.silhouettecity.com

  3. Andrew P permalink
    October 17, 2008 3:58 pm

    I take it you can’t see any merit to the argument by Douglas Kmiec, e.g., as he wrote in the L.A. Times here

  4. Tom permalink
    October 17, 2008 4:00 pm

    One of the things that has baffled me throughout this war is the fact that the Right Wing Christians cry Pro Life when the message I’ve been getting is Pro Birth. With all the death to innocent people caused by a war that was started and run by an administration who’s “experience” resulted in arguably 100K+ lost lives, millions directly effected, and the fact that Christianity in Iraq has been, for the most part, completely annihilated, where were the Christian Pro Lifers then?

    Essentially, doing nothing to stop the senseless killing and supporting this administration and their actions, makes no logical or spiritual sense. Wouldn’t a person who is truly pro life be impassioned to draw attention to and dispute the way this war was handled? Or is my meaning of Pro Life to literal? Help me out here???

  5. David permalink
    October 17, 2008 6:02 pm

    Tom,

    No help needed. You are right on the money. Check out the above link for Silhouette city.

  6. Timmy C permalink
    October 17, 2008 6:22 pm

    Some additional fact checking:

    a. Barack does support a ban on all late term abortions post viability (with a strictly worded non-vague health and life of the mom exception)

    b. Barack does support this to ban all Partial Birth abortions with the above strictly worded health and life exception

    c. Barack does support parental consent laws for minors seeking abortions, with a clause that allows abused girls have another resource other than the abuser to gain consent….which many many existing state laws already have.

    d. On FOCA: Have you ever seen a legal view that FOCA would overturn state law on parental concent, etc…OTHER than from prolife sources? I haven’t. The prochoice side say all it does is protect Roe, nothing more.

    I’d love to see a view of FOCA from someone without an axe to grind (as do both prochoice and prolife groups).

    e. Lastly, Barack’s position that the Born Alive act was superfluous to an existing law I think has never been challenged by anyone, and that the ultimate goal of those pushing the law was to weaken Roe was also not in question by anyone.

    Barack’s moderation on this issue isn’t in his willingness to recriminalize Roe it is in abortion reduction…. and he voted against it on principle, and based that no infants are at any risk due to the earlier law. Thus claims that he is for in infanticide is just slander.

    And here opposing view to yours that Barack’s position isn’t a true common ground:

    “Abortion reduction is the clear common ground that could unite the pro-choice and pro-life polarities and bring us together to find some real solutions and finally see some results. John McCain and Barack Obama last evening opened up the possibility of finding some new common ground in reducing abortions, reflecting the 2008 Democratic and Republican platforms.

    There is also now some movement in the Congress with pro-life and pro-choice members looking for common ground solutions for reducing the number of abortions that are proven to work. New and compelling studies make the clear connection between abortion and poverty, with fully three-fourths of the women who have abortions saying that they just couldn’t afford to have the child. It will be a great day when both poverty reduction and abortion reduction become non-partisan issues and bipartisan causes.”

    Read the rest here http://www.sojo.net/blog/godspolitics/?p=3009

    If Roe were overturned, there simply would be an amendment sent up by prochoice forces to take it’s place, and then the war would continue, endlessly. In the last 20 years the nations division on the issue has remained virtually unchanged same amount opposed to it, same amount wishing it to be a legal.

    A common ground like Barack proposes on abortion reduction vs endless war sounds smart and pro-life in the original sense of that word to me.

    And here is a view I think rightly showing that the idea that EVEN IF in some alternative universe we don’t live in, that the endless stalemated legal war was won by the Prolife groups… it would do little to help reduce abortions…..here is a bit:

    For comparison, let’s try a second science fiction story. Let’s imagine a future where the government gets whole-heartedly behind the idea of ending abortion by illegalizing it. What happens when the ban goes into effect?

    Well, there is going to be some problems. Women don’t seek abortions casually, as a way to pass an idle afternoon. Most are in situations where an abortion seems much more necessary to them than a drink seems to an alcoholic. Banning alcohol didn’t stop people from drinking, and banning abortion won’t stop people with unwanted pregnancies from seeking abortions. If a ban on abortions is going achieve a significant reduction in the number of abortions, the police are going to have to find ways to prevent all the different methods women might use to get abortions.

    Women might seek to travel to another state, or another country where abortion is legal….

    A black market in abortion drugs like RU-486 would, of course, appear immediately. Such drugs would quickly become as readily available as marijuana is today. Probably new aborticants of dubious safety would be cooked up in underground labs, just as designer drugs are today. In fact, this is already happening. To effectively crack down on this trend, the police would have to substantially step up the current war on drugs.

    Information on different techniques for performing abortions would quickly appear on the Internet. Step-by-step descriptions of do-it-yourself procedures that can be performed in the home are already available. The police could try to censor that information, but it would get around anyway….

    How many abortions would actually be prevented by a ban on abortion would depend on how severely you choose to enforce that ban. The more severely you enforce it, the more outrageously you need to intrude on citizen’s basic rights to privacy, free speech, and freedom of movement. Huge sums of taxpayer money would have to be spent on enforcement. Many women would die in attempted abortions….

    Fighting abortion is a worthy goal, and we need to accept that it is going to cost us some money, but it shouldn’t have to cost us our freedom. There are other ways to fight abortion. Ways that, yes, cost money, but don’t cost us our freedom. Ways that, in fact, yield many other benefits to our society.

    There is, in fact, always at least one other answer to a yes/no question. And that is “wrong question.” One of the key ideas behind [this position] is that the question of legality is the wrong question to be focusing on. We need to broaden the question.

    We need to ask, “what is the best way to address the problem of abortion?” In our agenda, we described a few of the many possible ways our society could reduce the abortion rate. Which are the ones most likely to have the greatest positive effect, and the fewest negative side effects?

    Illegalizing abortion lies pretty far down from the top of the list. If it is not stringently enforced, it would be ineffective. If it is stringently enforced, it would be oppressive. We can do better.

    There are countless better things that can be done. Things that liberate women instead of restricting them. Things that make better lives for our children. Things that encourage our citizens to be upstanding and responsible.

    ….we should fight abortion, but we should fight smart. Illegalization is not smart.
    http://www.proboth.com/case.html

  7. October 17, 2008 11:08 pm

    Thanks everyone for your comments. For such a loaded topic, I think we did OK in terms of civility.

    I’m still looking for answers to these questons:

    •How might repealing the Hyde amendment reduce abortions? By how many?

    •As noted above “the National Organization for Women has proclaimed with approval that FOCA would ‘’sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies.” How will this reduce abortions?

    Andrew, you need to read the George article as well as the George Weigel article at the end- good responses to Kmiec. Good for you to drop by. Maybe you could try commenting in haiku or something if you’re going to keep it that short.

    I probably wouldn’t advocate making all abortions illegal even though I do think they are all immoral on some level. It’s not like 40 million 2 year olds have been capped in the head, but it is a loss of human life.

    I would like to see the matter return to the states for the people to decide. Personally I would like to see all third trimester abortions outlawed. It’s barbaric and that’s more than enough time to decide. This business of arguing what’s constitutional about it seems like going down the wrong path. People should legislate what they want to be done with it and that’s all. I don’t think the constitution says as much as people think it does. It’s a matter for the people to decide.

    The pro-life amoung ye have stuck a terrible, terrible bargain. For a bit of language saying abortions should be decreased, you will allow the abortion comprimises that have been worked out over the past 30 years to be swept away. If the numbers change, will you change your mind? Or will it always be a matter of giving more money to poor people?

    Let’s not even get into the fact the the welfare regime of the last generation has been terrible for the poor, terrible for minorities and the black family in particular. You deceive yourselves if you think you’ve just made progress.

    From the text of the bill: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c108:S.2020:

    SEC. 4. INTERFERENCE WITH REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH PROHIBITED.

    (a) STATEMENT OF POLICY- It is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.

    (b) PROHIBITION OF INTERFERENCE- A government may not–

    (1) deny or interfere with a woman’s right to choose–

    (A) to bear a child;

    (B) to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability; or

    (C) to terminate a pregnancy after viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; or

    (2) discriminate against the exercise of the rights set forth in paragraph (1) in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.

    (c) CIVIL ACTION- An individual aggrieved by a violation of this section may obtain appropriate relief (including relief against a government) in a civil action.

    No interference allowed. That seems pretty wide-open to me. Wake up guys it’s going to be a dramatic increase in abortions- funded in part by the taxpayer.

  8. Timmy C permalink
    October 18, 2008 12:33 pm

    I’ll happily look over your questions, Dave.

    Firstly Dave, your personal advocacy (if I got it right) that abortion ought to be legal up until the last trimester, after which it is restricted by law, is ACTUALLY EXACTLY BARACK’S POSITION…

    ( i.e. keep abortion legal before the developing fetus is viable, support it by banning abortion afterward, and push strong efforts to reduce abortion across the entire pregnancy together.)

    McCain’s position differs a good deal from yours: he favors recriminalizing it from conception onwards with the exception of rape, incest or the life of the mom. No health exception, not even a strictly worded one.

    And although he doesn’t think it would happen anytime soon, he supports dong this at a Federal Constitutional level – not actually giving the states a chance to voice an opinion either way:

    STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask one question about abortion. Then I want to turn to Iraq. You’re for a constitutional amendment banning abortion, with some exceptions for life and rape and incest.

    MCCAIN: Rape, incest and the life of the mother. Yes.

    And Pallin’s ideal would be to recriminalize abortion even for rape or inscest victims.

    Anyway. More in a bit…

  9. October 20, 2008 11:25 pm

    Tim-
    BS.

    Show me how paying for abortions via mediacare by repealing the Hyde amendment helps reduce abortions. Show me numbers.

    Show me how passing the Freedom of Choice Act will help reduce abortions by lifting all restrictions imposed at the local level.

    I don’t care what Obama says. I care what he he does. He says he will do the above things. How can he do the above things and pass the above law?

    No one is going to pass a constitutional amendment banning abortion. The reason they want to do that obviously is because of Roe v Wade. I hate to be cynical, but McCain sound like he’s tossing out some read meat on the subject. Not interested. Wasn’t a focal point of the convention, either.

    I’d like to see a quote from Obama. From what I’ve seen, he’s done everything humanly possible to make sure all abortions are safe. Roe v Wade is like gospel to him. It shall not be moved.

    Don’t be fooled.

  10. Timmy C permalink
    October 21, 2008 5:43 pm

    I get your criticisms of Obama on related issues of FOCA and of Hyde…but for the sake of dialog only, did I understand your personal position right on the core issue of abortion and recriminalization?

    That your ideal would be to keep it legal up until 3rd trimester, and then restrict it afterwords… but then do all you can to encourage folks to not abort at any time?

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