WASHINGTON (BP)–President Obama attempted to allay the concerns of pro-life advocates during his address to Congress by assuring Americans that federal funding for abortion will not be included in “his” health care reform plan. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius sought to reinforce this sentiment in an interview, saying, “Well that’s exactly what the president said and that’s what he intends that the bill he signs will do…. I think the legislative language will reflect what the president has just said.”
What’s going on here? Either President Obama has experienced an epiphany regarding the sanctity of human life at every stage of development, or once again his administration is attempting to pull the wool over the American people’s eyes with a rhetorical bait and switch. A review of the facts may provide insight as to which is the case.
Let’s take a look at Barack Obama’s record to date with regard to abortion policy.
As a state senator, Barack Obama voted against a bill that would require physicians to provide emergency medical care to infants who survive attempted abortion. His explanation? He feared such a law would serve as a tacit acknowledgement of the “legal standing” of the fetus, thereby threatening the legality of Roe v. Wade. Heaven forbid we acknowledge the humanity of an unwanted child, even one that has managed to make it out of the womb alive against all odds.
During his campaign, he referred to an unplanned pregnancy as a “mistake” and an unwanted child as a punishment. He vowed that his first act as President would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act — legislation that would establish abortion at any stage of pregnancy as a federally protected right. Additionally, candidate Obama advocated the overturning of the Hyde Amendment, which has severely restricted Medicaid-funding for abortion since the mid-1970s.
In January, less than a week after his inauguration, President Obama overturned a rule prohibiting federal funding of international groups that promote, provide counseling about, and/or provide abortions for women in foreign countries. Couching his decision in terms of women’s health and “family planning,” the President referred to the debate over the morality of abortion as “stale and fruitless.”
In May, President Obama released his first budget plan, which included a recommendation to eliminate the current ban on federal funding for abortions in the District of Columbia.
A top health care advisor to Mr. Obama, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, is a frank advocate of health care rationing according to a “communitarian perspective” that values the good of the many over the rights of the few. Under this formulation, individuals between the ages of 15 and 40 are most useful to society and, therefore, most deserving of medical resources. Since they are unable to contribute to the common good, the very young and the very old have less value and are thus placed at the bottom of the health care totem pole.
President Obama’s “science czar,” John Holdren, co-wrote a book that gives new meaning to the idea of “going green.” Among other things, as a means to save the planet Mr. Holdren co-authored a book that advocated government-enforced mass sterilization and forced abortion as a means of stemming over-population. If one is to take President Obama’s campaign suggestion that voters judge him and his policies according to the people he surrounds himself with, these czars are truly a cause for concern.
Contrary to what President Obama and his liberal allies may think, the abortion debate is not merely a “political wedge issue,” and it is certainly not “stale and fruitless.” For those who believe that life begins at the moment of conception — for those who view “choice” as a euphemism for “killing-for-convenience” — abortion is the defining civil rights issue of our time. Pro-life taxpayers will not tolerate being made unwilling accomplices in the federally funded destruction of unborn children.
Pro-life advocates are skeptical of Mr. Obama’s promise for good reason. Unless the president is willing to mandate an explicit prohibition of abortion funding in any health care bill that crosses his desk, the American people can be fairly certain that any form of Obamacare will use their tax dollars to fund elective abortions nationwide.
Ken Connor is a trial lawyer and chairman of the Center for a Just Society based in Washington D.C., online at www.centerforajustsociety.org.