President Obama has so far largely avoided taking a public stand on his views regarding abortion, using the distraction created by the economic situation facing the U.S. as well as moderate rhetoric to avoid a direct confrontation from pro-life Americans. However, he has already passed many pro-abortion bills and reversed several of former President Bush’s pro-life regulations during his short time in office, and plans to continue. The focus on his stance on the abortion issue has been coming back into the public eye in the past few weeks due to two events, however: Notre Dame has engaged President Obama to give the commencement speech at their graduation this spring, and Supreme Court Judge David Souter is retiring, giving the President a chance to appoint a Supreme Court Justice (a lifetime appointment).
Many pro-life supporters are upset that Notre Dame (as arguably the most prominent Catholic University in the United States) has invited the President to speak, since most Catholics (including the Vatican) are passionately pro-life; this has refocused the attention of much of the nation on the issue of abortion, and the President’s actions. There are pro-life protests being organized at the University of Notre Dame that address not only abortion as an issue and Obama’s pushing pro-choice legislation, but also their disappointment with Notre Dame for hosting an aggressively pro-choice speaker at commencement. Advisors to the President suggest that he address the issue directly in part of the speech he will make at commencement, due to the recent outcry. However, even if President Obama does approach the issue, it is likely that all we will see is more of his “Moderate rhetoric, hard-left policies,” as Kansas senator Sam Brownback puts it, rather than an accurate portrayal of the views that have governed his actions as president thus far.
Obama’s goals to date seem to have been to keep the focus on the economy and other interests as he has pushed for pro-choice legislation quickly but quietly, while verbally painting himself as taking a moderate stand on the issue. His actions continue to indicate his true far-left views on abortion issues, as the New York Times points out (emphasis mine):
Mr. Obama frames his position on abortion as a nuanced one — he calls it a “a moral and ethical issue” best left to women and doctors — and he envisions himself forging consensus around causes like reducing unintended pregnancies and promoting adoption. As president, Mr. Obama, who during the campaign answered a question about when human life begins by saying it was “above my pay grade,” has tried to straddle the abortion divide. He has done so partly by reaching out to religious conservatives, partly by avoiding the most contentious legislative battles and partly by reversing the policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush, a faithful ally of abortion opponents, in piecemeal fashion — all while the nation has been consumed by the economic crisis.
He has named abortion rights advocates to top jobs; Dawn Johnsen, a former legal director of Naral Pro-Choice America, is his pick to run the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. He has repealed the so-called Mexico City rule, which prohibited tax dollars from going to organizations that provide abortions overseas; lifted Mr. Bush’s limits on embryonic stem cell research; stripped financing for abstinence-only sex education; and is seeking to undo a last-minute Bush regulation giving broad protections to health providers who refuse to take part in abortions.
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said she told allies that their movement was emerging from “eight years in the wilderness.”
Clearly, Ms. Richards has no illusions about where Obama’s loyalty truly lies.
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