I’m praying for our new president. I hope all Americans are. That’s what we’re supposed to do, whether we voted for him or not. He’s our president now, and a fearsome responsibility has fallen on his shoulders – maybe an impossible responsibility.
He promised a lot of things during his very long campaign, and a lot of people with different hopes and perspectives took him at his word. To ultra-liberals, he seemed to be their man, the one they’d long been hoping for. Certainly, his voting record during his short time in the Senate certified him as the most liberal in that body. Some conservatives felt they could hear intimations of ideas and attitudes they could accept. And moderates were convinced he’d be a centrist and uniter, pulling opposites together in workable, practical political compromises.
His words were comforting and hopeful. He was smooth and confident, and his combination of intellect and savvy and compassion for those in need was appealing. He’s a family man, and his very capable wife and lively daughters were a real asset, underscoring his sensitivity and basic humanity.
He professed that he didn’t like abortion, but promised all women’s groups that he would never forsake his defense of their “right to choose.” In what seemed an unwise statement, he said he loved his two little girls and would teach them right from wrong, but “if one of them makes a mistake … I don’t want them punished with a baby.”
Though this sent shock waves through pro-life ranks – the idea that a child is “punishment” – the media quickly drowned the statement and the protests in an ongoing shower of praise and favorable reporting.
Even a compatriot of mine, Doug Kmiec, a law professor at Pepperdine University, a long-time Catholic and Republican legal scholar, stunned many of us by coming out early for Barack Obama. When many of us contacted him to ask how he could support a man who had even voted in favor of partial birth abortion, he responded in a March statement: “I take him at his word that he wants to move the nation beyond its religious and racial divides and that he wants to return the United States to that company of nations committed to human rights.”
We assumed that by “human rights,” Doug included the rights of unborn humans developing in their mother’s wombs. He said, “As a Republican and as a Catholic, I believe life begins at conception, and it is important for every life to be given sustenance and encouragement.” And later in the campaign, he e-mailed me from Rome, where he told me he was part of a small group shaping Obama’s thoughts and positions on moral issues like abortion. He felt that, if elected, Barack Obama would discourage abortion and work with support groups to counsel young girls to practice birth control and even give birth to unintended children and either raise them or give them up for adoption. Kmiec felt it would be better to elect a candidate who would greatly reduce the number of abortions than to campaign for a man who took such a strong pro-life stance that he couldn’t be elected.
So, as we know, the nation elected Barack Obama, father of those two little girls, president of the United States. And on Jan. 23, just three days in office, the new president – in as quiet a manner as possible – ordered lifting the ban on U.S. funding for foreign “family planning” aid groups that offer abortion services. This means that American tax dollars, whether we agree or not, can now be used to provide abortions around the world.
So much for reducing abortions. So much for the professor’s confidence that he could influence the new president’s policies.
Democrats and Republicans had fought over this issue for more than 20 years. President Reagan first introduced the ban in 1984, taking America out of the international abortion business; Bill Clinton overturned it in 1993; and George W. Bush re-instated it in 2001. And now President Obama, not waiting four days after his election, fired a new salvo in the culture and moral war of our times.
The reaction of Catholic leadership, from the Vatican down, was immediate. A top official, considered close to Pope Benedict XVI, minced no words: He said the repeal is “a mark of the arrogance of those who, having power, think they can decide between life and death.” The official is Archbishop Rino Fisichella, head of the Pontifical Academy for Life. The statement from the Vatican itself called the president’s decision “very disappointing.”
And now, we’re remembering candidate Obama’s vow: “The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act.”
As the American Center for Law and Justice points out, this patriotic-sounding bill would repeal any and all limits on abortion, including even the hard-won ban on partial birth abortion – the heinous, barbaric procedure that kills a child while it’s being born, supposedly on behalf of the mother’s health and well-being.
Flying in the face of professor Kmiec’s expectations, both these acts by our new president put him squarely in the company of the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, N.O.W., the National Abortion Federation and all other pro-abortion organizations.
The “Freedom of Choice Act” will codify Roe v. Wade, even without the support of new Supreme Court judges Obama will surely pick. Parental notification or even involvement laws in 44 states, and virtually all other restrictions at the state level, will be eliminated. And estimates indicate that as many as 125,000 more babies will be aborted every year under this so-called “Freedom of Choice.”
The America Center for Law and Justice is fighting to prohibit the “Freedom of Choice Act” from being enacted, welcoming support from all pro-life Americans. And I’d like the opportunity to quietly ask the president and Mrs. Obama, “At what point in their development, right up to the minute of their actual births, would you have approved the abortion of Malia and Sasha? Are there any circumstances, any at all, that you feel might have justified their extinction? When you tuck them in at night, there in the White House, will you think of other children just like them, who deserve to live?”
As I said at the beginning, we all need to pray for our new President Obama.