The following op-ed appears in the March 29, 2009 issue of the National Catholic Register.
Move Over, Bill Clinton: A New Abortion President
BY Derrick Jones
March 29-April 4, 2009 Issue | Posted 3/20/09 at 10:23 AM
For unborn children, and the pro-life movement charged with protecting them, nothing could have been worse than the presidency of Bill Clinton. For eight years, he pushed his pro-abortion views on the country.
Beginning two days after his inauguration, on the 20th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Clinton rescinded the Mexico City Policy, thereby allowing tax dollars to go to organizations that perform and promote abortion overseas. He vigorously supported the so-called Freedom of Choice Act and pushed for mandatory abortion coverage in the Clinton Health Care Plan. And, let’s not forget, he’s the president who vetoed – not once, but twice – the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.
Bill Clinton was secure in his position as “The Abortion President.” Until now.
In just over a month as president, Barack Obama has already usurped the coveted title from the former president. And, if his radical abortion agenda is successful, Obama will be remembered as the most pro-abortion president since Roe v. Wade.
Unlike Clinton, however, Obama started running for the title before the election. As a member of the Illinois State Senate, he opposed a bill (an astonishing four times) to provide care and protection to babies who survive abortions. When National Right to Life called him on it last summer, he called us liars.
Then, there’s that infamous speech before the Planned Parenthood Action Fund in 2007, when he pledged his support for the Freedom of Choice Act, which, like a bad penny, had come back yet again.
Since taking up office in the West Wing, Barack Obama has stepped up his efforts to ensure he will be remembered as “The Abortion President.” Following Clinton’s lead, Obama once again rescinded the Mexico City Policy (which had been in place for eight years thanks to President George W. Bush’s swift action in his first days in office). Taxpayer funds are now once again flowing into the coffers of international abortion-performing organizations.
Next, Obama set his sights on a regulation announced by the Department of Health and Human Services during the final weeks of the Bush presidency that enforces federal laws protecting the conscience rights of doctors and health-care providers. This regulation was designed to raise awareness in the medical community and general public, as well as increase compliance with federal laws protecting doctors and health-care providers from discrimination in federally funded health-care programs.
Health-care providers are increasingly being pressured to violate their moral convictions with regards to abortion. The conscience-protection regulations are based on underlying federal conscience-protection laws that Congress has enacted, including the 1973 Church Amendments, the 1996 Public Health Service Act amendment, and the Hyde-Weldon Conscience Protection Amendment, which was first added to a funding bill in 2004.
So great is his contempt for pro-lifers, and so great is his desire to advance his pro-abortion agenda, that Obama intends to rescind this regulation. And, although rescinding this federal regulation does not repeal the underlying federal laws, pro-abortion advocacy groups have targeted the Hyde-Weldon law for repeal.
In addition to wielding his pen to rescind pro-life regulations, Obama, tragically, but not surprisingly, has appointed a veritable “Who’s Who” of the Abortion Industry to positions within his administration.
While the list could go on and on, some highlights of Obama’s appointees include: Dawn Johnsen, a former legal director for NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) Pro-Choice America, who was named as assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel; Ellen Moran, who was taken from her position as executive director of the pro-abortion political committee Emily’s List and appointed to the message-shaping post of White House communications director; Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff, who compiled a 100% pro-abortion voting record during his tenure in the House of Representatives; and Melody Black, who previously served on the boards of both Emily’s List and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, was appointed domestic policy advisor, a high-ranking West Wing post with the ear of the president.
Most recently, Obama tapped Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a pro-abortion extremist, to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Sebelius, of course, was his second choice after Tom Daschle, the pro-abortion former senator from South Dakota, withdrew his name from nomination. What makes Sebelius’ nomination all the more tragic are her ties to the rather infamous Kansas abortionist George Tiller.
All too often, pro-abortionists use words like “intolerant” and “closed-minded” to describe pro-lifers and our respect for the dignity and sanctity of human life. But, in reality, it is pro-lifers who seek to engage the public in a thoughtful, compassionate and respectful discussion about the humanity of unborn children and the effects of abortion on their mothers.
It is so profoundly ironic that a president who campaigned on a message of tolerance for all Americans of all political stripes and social views has decided that, rather than using his position to engage in a thoughtful debate that advances policies to help mothers facing crisis pregnancies and save unborn children, he has demonstrated, through his words and actions, that he will wield his power like a sledgehammer to advance the pro-abortion cause.
Derrick Jones is the communications director
for the National Right to Life Committee,
the nation’s largest pro-life organization.