Some “Christians” are using the following tactic to justify their support of Obama: reduce opposition to Obama to the issue of abortion, then try to lowball Obama’s position on abortion, lowball the impact of his position on abortion, and lowball the impact of Republican administrations on abortion.
Of course, abortion is hardly the only reason a conservative would have to oppose Obama. Speaking for myself, I think that Obama is
wrong on taxation
wrong on counterterrorism
wrong on nuclear disarmament
wrong on judicial philosophy
wrong on immigration
wrong on sodomite marriage
wrong on eugenics
wrong on free speech
wrong on gun-control
wrong on school choice
wrong on sex ed
wrong on public housing
wrong on healthcare
wrong on environmentalism
wrong on voter fraud
wrong on hate crimes
wrong on racial profiling
wrong on sentencing
wrong on capital punishment
wrong on foreign aid
wrong on Social Security
wrong on quotas
However, “Christian” supporters of Obama have decided to single out abortion, so I’ll focus on abortion. They accuse opponents of Obama of “smearing” Obama and telling “lies” about his position.
So, for purposes of this post, I’ll disregard all hostile sources and confine myself to sources sympathetic to his candidacy.
If you want information on the agenda of the Democrat Party, an obvious place to go would be its national platform.
If you want information on Obama’s position, as well as comparative data on the impact of a Democrat or Republican regime on national abortion policy, and obvious place to go would be major pro-abortion organizations, which keep a record of these things.
Also keep in mind that these are the organizations whose endorsement Obama has courted and received. Their agenda is his agenda.
2008 Democrat National Platform
The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.
NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC endorses Sen. Barack Obama for President!
Sen. Obama is fully pro-choice. In his own words:
"A woman's ability to decide how many children to have and when, without interference from the government, is one of the most fundamental rights we possess. It is not just an issue of choice, but equality and opportunity for all women.
"I have consistently advocated for reproductive choice and will make preserving women's rights under Roe v. Wade a priority as President. I oppose any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's ruling in this case.
"I believe we must work together to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. I support legislation to expand access to contraception, health information, and preventative services to help reduce unintended pregnancies. That is why I co-sponsored the Prevention First Act of 2007, which will increase funding for family planning and comprehensive sex education that teaches both abstinence and safe sex methods. It will also end insurance discrimination against contraception, improve awareness about emergency contraception, and provide compassionate assistance to rape victims.
"Finally, I support the enactment and enforcement of laws that help prevent violence, intimidation, and harassment directed at reproductive health providers and their patients."
[Statement submitted on NARAL Pro-Choice America's request, May 14, 2007]
More on Sen. Obama's pro-choice record
Voting Record: Sen. Obama received the following scores on NARAL Pro-Choice America's Congressional Record on Choice.
2007: 100 percent
2006: 100 percent
2005: 100 percent
Public Statements about Choice:
A selection of Sen. Obama's public statements on this issue is below.
• "Thirty-five years after the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, it's never been more important to protect a woman's right to choose... Throughout my career, I've been a consistent and strong supporter of reproductive justice, and have consistently had a 100% pro-choice rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America... I believe in and have supported common-sense solutions like increasing access to affordable birth control to help prevent unintended pregnancies... As President, I will improve access to affordable health care and work to ensure that our teens are getting the information and services they need to stay safe and healthy."
[From a statement by Sen. Obama on the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, January 22, 2008. Full statement is available here:
• "You know, I think that most Americans recognize that this is a profoundly difficult issue for the women and families who make these decisions. They don't make them casually. And I trust women to make these decisions in conjunction with their doctors and their families and their clergy."
[Transcript from Democratic Presidential Debate in South Carolina, MSNBC, April 26, 2007.]
• "I strongly disagree with today's Supreme Court ruling, which dramatically departs from previous precedents safeguarding the health of pregnant women. As Justice Ginsburg emphasized in her dissenting opinion, this ruling signals an alarming willingness on the part of the conservative majority to disregard its prior rulings respecting a woman's medical concerns and the very personal decisions between a doctor and patient. I am extremely concerned that this ruling will embolden state legislatures to enact further measures to restrict a woman's right to choose, and that the conservative Supreme Court justices will look for other opportunities to erode Roe v. Wade, which is established federal law and a matter of equal rights for women."
[Statement from Sen. Obama on Supreme Court Decision upholding Federal Abortion Ban, April 18, 2007, http://hotlineblog.nationaljournal.com/archives/2007/04/obama_decision.html (accessed May 4, 2007).]
• "I explained my belief that few women made the decision to terminate a pregnancy casually; that any pregnant woman felt the full force of the moral issues involved and wrestled with her conscience when making that decision; that I feared a ban on abortion would force women to seek unsafe abortions, as they had once done in this country."
[Barack Obama, excerpt from The Audacity of Hope published in Time Magazine, October 15, 2006, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1546298,00.html (accessed April 28, 2008).]
President Bush, with the enthusiastic support of his anti-choice base, has waged a tireless war on women's reproductive rights and personal privacy.
• Bush has nominated far-right conservatives to the Supreme Court and lower federal courts who are determined to roll back reproductive rights.
• He doubled the funding for unproven "abstinence-only" programs that deny young people accurate information on how to protect themselves.
• President Bush's FDA appointees overruled medical experts to deny women over-the-counter access to the "morning-after" pill.
• Bush cut off family-planning aid for clinics abroad. He continues to limit access to reproductive-health care at home.
On his first business day in office in 2001, President George W. Bush reinstated the restrictive "global gag rule." Under this Reagan-era prohibition, no U.S. family planning assistance funding can be given to organizations that provide abortion services, offer counseling and referral for abortion care, or advocate legal abortion access in their own countries — even if they do so with their own funds.
In 2007, the U.S. Congress demonstrated that it was on our side: the Senate voted to fully repeal the global gag rule, and the House voted to allow donations of contraceptives. However, both of these provisions were dropped when President Bush threatened to veto them.
McCain-Palin is the most anti-choice presidential campaign ever. They support:
• A ban on abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest;
• The overturn of Roe v. Wade; and
• Anti-choice judges.
• McCain on the Issues - Sen. McCain is wrong about a woman's right to choose... and birth control, sex education, and more. Read about McCain's statements and votes on these important issues.
• In Their Own Words - Think that the McCain-Palin ticket is moderate when it comes to a woman's right to choose? Think again. Find out what McCain and Palin have said about choice.
• Why the Anti-Choice Movement Supports the McCain-Palin Ticket - We can agree on one thing with the anti-choice movement: McCain and Palin are on their side. See what they've said about the ticket.
• See the Real McCain and Palin - Watch our videos about McCain and Palin's extreme anti-choice views.
• In the News - Check out what the media is saying about the McCain-Palin ticket. Read the latest stories and our press releases.
• More about McCain - Many voters are unaware of Sen. McCain's 25-year record of anti-choice votes. Find out more about McCain's record.
A new administration and new Congress could act quickly to reverse some of the damage done by the Bush administration and the right wing to women's reproductive heath policies and programs. Just for starters:
Reverse the Global Gag Rule -- The new president, without the consent of Congress, can and should revoke this heinous policy, which prohibits U.S. funding for any international health program that (using its own funds) provides or even discusses abortion services or lobbies their own governments on abortion policy. On Bill Clinton's first day as president, he took action to overturn this rule, but it was reinstated by George W. Bush. Studies of developing countries show that reproductive health programs have been decimated as a result of the loss of U.S. funds.
End Hyde Restriction -- For women who depend on government subsidized health care, the federal budget has prohibited funding for abortion. The new president's budget to Congress should include Medicaid abortion funding for poor women, and restrictions that create great hardship for low-income women -- including the Hyde Amendment -- must be repealed.
Stop Abstinence Funding; Support Comprehensive Sex Education -- The next administration must halt the $183 million taxpayer giveaway to dangerous, ineffective abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, and replace them with medically-accurate, age-appropriate sex education. Long-term studies have shown abstinence-only programs are ineffective in delaying sexual initiation and may play a role in the widespread incidence of sexually-transmitted infections among adolescents.
Freedom of Choice Act
Measure Would Sweep Away Hundreds of Anti-Abortion Laws, Policies
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's regressive ruling on April 18 in the two abortion ban cases, women's rights advocates in Congress have introduced the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) S. 1173/H.R. 1964. This legislation, if enacted, would override the Court's decision in the two cases, Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood and Gonzales v. Carhart, in which the court upheld vaguely-written bans that could prohibit the most commonly used and safest abortion procedures after 12 weeks of pregnancy.
In upholding these bans, five conservative Supreme Court justices have effectively overruled a core element of Roe v. Wade that had been reinforced in many Court decisions: the requirement that legislative restrictions on abortion must contain an exception to protect the woman's health. The gravity of the Court's decision as it relates to the health of all women of child-bearing age is immense. It is a giant leap toward overturning Roe and, at the same time, signals approval to the state legislatures with anti-abortion majorities to move forward with abortion ban bills that would go into effect when, and if, Roe falls completely.
With the two recent Bush-appointed justices—John Roberts and Samuel A. Alito, Jr.—and their anti-abortion-rights colleagues Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy, it seems only a matter of time that Roe will be overturned by the high court. States will then be allowed to re-criminalize abortion; doctors and their patients would face the threat of criminal investigation, prosecution, and even imprisonment. Doctors will not risk the consequences, and women's reproductive health clinics will close. We all know what will take their place.
The Freedom of Choice Act, if adopted into law, will restore the reproductive rights recognized in 1973 in Roe v. Wade and in Doe v. Bolton, before Congress, state legislatures and courts eroded these rights. Since Roe, hundreds of anti-reproductive-rights measures have been enacted by state legislatures and more are being considered with each legislative session. The sum total of these erosions, combined with extremists' clinic violence, have narrowed women's access to reproductive health services. Indeed, in many parts of the country and for many low-income women, the right to an abortion is meaningless for lack of providers and financial assistance.
Not wasting a moment, the Supreme Court on April 23 directed the lower courts to review earlier decisions that had overturned state abortion bans in Virginia and Missouri because they lacked exceptions to protect the health of the woman. Because the Supreme Court's April 18 decision discounts the necessity of a health exception, legal experts predict that the new reviews will result in the circuit courts upholding those state bans.
The Freedom of Choice Act would put a stop to this assault. We must work toward a future when there will be a feminist president in the White House and a supportive majority in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives!
The Supreme Court of the United States plays an important role in protecting and preserving our civil rights, most especially when the rights of a minority are threatened. Over our country's history, the Supreme Court's decisions have often served to protect civil rights and liberties by interpreting existing laws and mandating their enforcement or by nullifying laws it deems unconstitutional. Just two examples of the powerful role of the court are the Brown v. Board of Education (1954) decision in which the court deemed school segregation unconstitutional and Roe v. Wade (1973), which recognized a woman's right to abortion. Just as the court has expanded rights, it also has, at times, imposed restrictions on them. The court's impact changes with its composition, which is why NOW pays such close attention to nominations to the bench.
In the joined cases of Gonzales v. Carhart and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a dissenting opinion that eloquently and thoroughly states the errors of the majority decision. Below are excerpts from her opinion. Download her 25-page dissenting opinion here (PDF).
Today's decision is alarming.... It tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). It blurs the line, firmly drawn in Casey, between previability and postviability abortions. And, for the first time since Roe, the Court blesses a prohibition with no exception safeguarding a woman's health.
I dissent from the Court's disposition. Retreating from prior rulings that abortion restrictions cannot be imposed absent an exception safeguarding a woman's health, the Court upholds an Act that surely would not survive under the close scrutiny that previously attended state-decreed limitations on a woman's reproductive choices.
Thus, legal challenges to undue restrictions on abortion procedures do not seek to vindicate some generalized notion of privacy; rather, they center on a woman's autonomy to determine her life's course, and thus to enjoy equal citizenship stature.
Instead, the Court deprives women of the right to make an autonomous choice, even at the expense of their safety. This way of thinking reflects ancient notions about women's place in the family and under the Constitution—ideas that have long since been discredited.
The Court's hostility to the right Roe and Casey secured is not concealed. Though today's opinion does not go so far as to discard Roe or Casey, the Court, differently composed than it was when we last considered a restrictive abortion regulation, is hardly faithful to our earlier invocations of "the rule of law" and the "principles of stare decisis."
In sum, the notion that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act furthers any legitimate governmental interest is, quite simply, irrational. The Court's defense of the statute provides no saving explanation. In candor, the Act, and the Court's defense of it, cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this Court — with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women's lives.
The Hyde Amendment
Everywoman, regardless ofher financial circumstances, should have the freedom to decide whether to continue a pregnancy and the ability to carryout those decisions. Yet, low-income women often are subject to discriminatory policies that restrict access to abortion services. For example, the Medicaid program, which provides federal and state funds for medical care for low-income individuals, covers necessary health care related topregnancy.98 However, a provision of federal law known as the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal Medicaid funds from paying for most abortions, even for women with serious health problems.99 In its current form, the Hyde Amendment bans federal funding for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or in some cases of life endangerment.100 To rectify this inequity, states may choose to fund abortions for low-income women with their own state revenues, and some states have done so.
Currently, 16states fund most or all abortions for Medicaid-eligible women, while the remaining 34 states severely restrict funding for abortion.
The three primary goals of this policy are:
(1) to remove the financial barriers low-income
women face in obtaining abortion services;
(2) to ensure the availability of abortion services; and
(3) to highlight that abortion is a vital component of comprehensive reproductive
Federal Abortion Ban
On April 18, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the first-ever federal law banning an abortion procedure and gave politicians the green light to interfere in the private health care decisions of women and families. The federal abortion ban case may have been decided on April 18, 2007, but its history reaches back for years.
The federal abortion ban criminalizes abortions in the second trimester of pregnancy that doctors say are often the safest and best to protect women's health. The ban affects more than just the women who need second-trimester abortions and the doctors who care for them. The Supreme Court's decision retreats from more than 30 years of precedent that says women's health must be the paramount concern in laws that restrict abortion access. The decision has serious implications for the future of reproductive rights.
Passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush in 2003, the federal abortion ban is a wake-up call: We must stand up to politicians who want to restrict a woman's ability to make her own health care decisions in consultation with her doctor.
State Abortion Restrictions
Attempts to ban abortion at the state level are part of an ongoing anti-choice legal strategy to deny women their right to determine whether and when to have children. As state politicians across the country try to restrict access to abortion, women are paying the price. These laws hurt women's health and endanger their safety.
Already state legislatures have passed or proposed many dangerous requirements:
• So-called "counseling sessions" for women seeking abortion, which often mandate a woman be told biased or false information about the procedure.
• Unnecessary waiting periods — sometimes a whole day — from the time a woman first seeks an abortion to when she may undergo the procedure, even though delays may cause financial and other hardships on women.
• Onerous and unnecessary regulations on abortion providers — for example, requiring that hallways in a health center measure a certain width — with the goal of shutting down abortion providers when they are unable to comply.
State and federal lawmakers have crafted a complex set of laws designed to deny women medically necessary information, referrals, and services.
Contrary to anti-choice claims, no federal law forces any specific provider to offer abortion services against its will. There is a delicate balance between the rights of both patients and of providers, and NARAL Pro-Choice America does not advocate forcing anyone to provide abortion services against his or her will. Refusal clauses and counseling bans upset this balance, endanger women's health, and undermine patients' rights to get the care and information they need. Although carefully crafted refusal clauses may be acceptable in some circumstances to protect individual medical providers, broad refusal clauses unnecessarily deny women medically necessary information.
Refusal clauses permit a broad range of individuals and/or institutions — including hospitals, hospital employees, health care providers, pharmacists, employers, and insurers — to refuse to provide, pay for, counsel, or even refer for medical treatment that they personally oppose. Counseling bans, also known as "gag rules," prohibit health-care providers including individuals, under certain circumstances, from counseling or referring women for abortion care, preventing doctors from treating their patients responsibly and severely limiting women's ability to make informed decisions.
Women and their health care providers – not politicians – should be free to make private medical decisions.
Every day in America, women are forced to play the lottery when they walk into their neighborhood pharmacies and ask for emergency contraception (EC) or other methods of birth control. Some pharmacies will not stock contraceptives. Some even have policies that allow employees to refuse to dispense EC - and to turn women away.
In response to Planned Parenthood massive grassroots advocacy campaign, "Fill My Pills Now," a number of major drugstore chains have reversed their original policies and put women's health first. CVS, Eckerd, Medicine Shoppe, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and, most recently, Wal-Mart are committed to Planned Parenthood-approved policies that guarantee women are able to get their birth control in-store, without discrimination, without delay, and without judgment.
Emergency contraception is also known as emergency birth control, backup birth control, the morning after pill, and by the brand name Plan B. The most commonly used kind of emergency contraception is Plan B.
Mandatory parental-involvement (consent and notice) laws do not solve the problem of troubled family communication; they only exacerbate a potentially dangerous situation.
In some circumstances, teens facing a crisis pregnancy feel compelled to travel to another state where there is a less stringent parental involvement law or no such law at all, to avoid involving their parents and maintain their privacy. In the most dire circumstances, some pregnant young women who fear telling their parents may feel so desperate that they resort to illegal or self-induced abortions that may result in death. Yet, despite the severe consequences, 36 states currently enforce laws that require a minor to obtain the consent of, or notify, an adult— typically a parent—prior to an abortion.1 And seven other states have minors’ access laws that are either enjoined or not enforced.2
Congress has considered two pieces of legislation to impose draconian criminal parental-involvement laws on every state in the country. The first, deceptively called the “Child Custody Protection Act,” would make criminals out of caring and loving adults—including grandparents, adult siblings, and religious counselors—who accompany a teen out-of-state for abortion care if the home state parental involvement law has not been met.3 The second, called the “Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act,” would additionally impose an impossibly complex patchwork of parental-involvement laws on women and doctors across the country, in addition to the CCPA provisions, making it virtually impossible for young women to access abortion services in another state.4 Both measures would threaten young women’s health and deny them the support and guidance they need from responsible and caring adults.
• The American Medical Association takes the position that: “Physicians
should not feel or be compelled to require minors to involve their parents
before deciding whether to undergo an abortion. . . . [M]inors should
ultimately be allowed to decide whether parental involvement is
• The American Academy of Pediatrics also opposes parental-involvement
laws: “Legislation mandating parental involvement does not achieve the
intended benefit of promoting family communication but it does increase
the risk of harm to the adolescent by delaying access to appropriate
medical care. . . . [M]inors should not be compelled or required to involve
their parents in their decisions to obtain abortions, although they should
be encouraged to discuss their pregnancies with their parents and other
Parental-consent and notice laws endanger young women’s health by forcing some women—even those from healthy, loving families—to turn to illegal or self-induced abortion, to delay the procedure and increase the medical risk, or to bear a child against their will.
The "Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act" would impose an impossibly complex patchwork of parental-involvement laws on women and doctors across the country with the goal to curb young women’s access to private, confidential health services. It would prohibit anyone other than a parent, including a grandparent, aunt, adult sibling, or religious counselor, from accompanying a young woman across state lines for an abortion if the home state’s parental-involvement law has not been met.
The bill proposes a variety of new mandates on women, families, and doctors. Among other things:
(1) The bill forces doctors to learn and enforce 49 other states’ laws, under the threat of fines and prison sentences.
(2) In many cases, CIANA forces young women to comply with two states’ parental-involvement mandates.
(3) In some cases CIANA requires a doctor to notify a young woman’s parents in another state before abortion services can be provided.
(4) In some cases, even if a parent travels with his or her daughter to obtain abortion care, the doctor must still give “notice” to the parent and wait 24 hours before providing the care.
1965 — Griswold v. Connecticut_The Supreme Court nullified a Connecticut statute prohibiting the use of birth control by married persons, arguing that the right to marital privacy protects the access of married couples to contraceptives.
1972 — Eisenstadt v. Baird_The Court struck down a law prohibiting the distribution of birth control to unmarried adults.
1973 — Roe v. Wade_By a vote of 7-2, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a Texas law prohibiting abortions not necessary to save the woman's life, extending the fundamental right to privacy to a woman's decision to choose abortion.
1976 — Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth_The Court ruled against a Missouri statute that would force a married woman to obtain her husband's approval before getting an abortion and ruled against a written parental consent requirement for minors.
THE BACKLASH & THE RESPONSE:
1977 — Maher v. Roe_The Supreme Court upheld a Connecticut ban on public funding for abortions, with the exception of abortions that were "medically necessary."
1980 — Harris v. McRae_The Supreme Court upheld the Hyde amendment, which prohibits the federal Medicaid funding of abortions not necessary to preserve the woman's life.
1989 — Webster v. Reproductive Health Services_The court upheld a Missouri law prohibiting the use of public employees and public facilities for the purpose of performing abortions that were not medically necessary.
1992 — Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey_The Supreme Court, while refusing to overturn Roe, nevertheless upheld a laundry list of abortion restrictions (parental consent, anti-abortion counseling, and a waiting period) only invalidating spousal notification.
1994 — Congress enacts the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.
1994 — NOW v. Scheidler_The Supreme Court affirmed NOW's right to use federal anti-racketeering laws against anti-abortion terrorists who organize others to use fear, force and violence to shut down women's health clinics where abortions are performed. The Court is now reviewing the nationwide injunction we won in 1999, which was upheld by the 4th Circuit.
2000 — The FDA approves mifepristone (RU-486), following a 16-year struggle by reproductive rights activists to have the safe and effective abortion drug approved. Opponents made repeated efforts to prevent approval and distribution of mifepristone and are continuing efforts through a petition to the FDA to have the drug withdrawn.
2001 — The Bush administration reinstates the global "gag" rule that was first adopted in 1984 by the Reagan administration and later lifted when President Clinton came into office. The "gag" rule is an anti-free speech and anti-democratic policy which has caused 430 organizations in 50 countries to stop performing abortions or speaking about abortion laws in order to qualify for U.S. funding. Over 80,000 women around the world die each year from unsafe and illegal abortions and hundreds of thousands suffer complications from unsafe abortions.
2002 — The Bush administration tries to install a right wing, religious ideologue, who has led efforts to get the FDA to reverse approval of mifepristone, as head of the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee.
2003 — Congress passes and Bush signs the so-called "Partial Birth" Abortion Ban—the first federal ban on an abortion procedure since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. Bush signs the bill, which does not include an exception to preserve a woman's health, while surrounded by a group of smiling men.
2004 — The House of Representatives passes the Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2003, which would for the first time establish in federal law a fetus as a legal "person," with individual rights