Category archives: Abortion

Obama at Notre Dame

by Family Research Council

May 18, 2009

Sunday’s speech and the reaction of the Notre Dame community, and Catholics and others worldwide, will be the subject of much comment in the coming days. Some quick thoughts and first impressions:

Without doubt, Obama was eloquent, charming, and seemingly at ease. He had the advantage (a faculty and administration behind him, and the media framing it as the man of reason versus the rabble in the street, with, obligingly, Randall Terry performing that role as if on cue), and he seemed once again to know it. The students, who prepare for this day with years of labor and the love (and labor and cash) of their families behind them, were respectful and, as students tend to be around our rock-star President, wowed by his skill with words, his symbolic meaning in transcending our historic racial divide, and his graceful humor.

As for his speech, it was un-Barackesque in one sense - he came down from Olympus, where pay grades are seldom referred to at all, and made it plain that on the issue of human life, he does in fact disagree with those who stand for its sanctity. But he was Barackesque in striving to minimize those differences, in implying that there is “demonization” of opponents afoot (not from him, of course, just unnamed others), and suggesting that, to borrow an irritating catchphrase from a recent era in U.S. Catholic politics, he is all about “dialogue” with those who disagree with him.

There is the rub. Obama is a man of many mellifluous words, but he is also a man of many unambiguous actions, and every action he has taken to date has been a forthright dismantling of the culture of life and the wall of separation that has existed between taxpayers and abortion. A complete list would include all of his key personnel in White House domestic policy, HHS, State and the Justice Department. His policy enactments include rescinding the Mexico City policy that kept the international abortion industry out of the federal Treasury, rescinding the Bush conscience regulations designed to protect medical and health research personnel from having to participate in or facilitate abortion, eliminating all but a smidgeon of abstinence funding for the pregnancy centers that deal directly with women in need, lifting the ban on the use of District of Columbia funds to pay for abortion in his proposed budget, providing federal funding for experiments that rely on killing embryonic humans in fertility clients, and sending Planned Parenthood an additional $10 million federal love note, matching what they spent to elect him last year.

The President’s efforts to spur “dialogue” involve a low-level White House meeting where groups — including, for the record, FRC — are asked to come in and help craft a plan to “reduce the need for abortion.” To be credible, that plan would have to begin with reversing every decision Obama has made on abortion to date. But note the phraseology, which suggests a fundamental disagreement. Who speaks of a “need for child abuse”? Or a need for white collar crime? Or a need for bribery of public officials? If there is a need for something, just how wrong is it? Planned Parenthood and its allies secured this language in the Democratic Platform last year because they did not want any suggestion from their party that the act of abortion is a moral wrong. But if it is not a moral wrong, then it is hardly something that needs to be reduced, particularly if, as Planned Parenthood insists, it is physically safe and negligible in its mental health implications.

President Obama and his administration have extraordinary message discipline when it comes to these matters. That discipline will be on display again soon in the health care debate when the Democrats on the Hill insist that they are deferring that question to some other body (likely an HHS commission that will likewise pronounce itself for “dialogue”) for resolution. Is there any chance that an Obama-endorsed, government-financed health plan will exclude abortion and taxpayer participation in it? As a state legislator, Obama stood out as a man so concerned about protecting abortion in all circumstances that he led opposed laws to provide care for infants who survive the procedure.

Yesterday Notre Dame gave a high honor to such a man. He spoke eloquently. But the Jesuit fathers who taught me in high school and even a few of the Holy Cross priests who taught me at Notre Dame impressed on me to pay attention to what men do, not just what they say. They cited the Good Book on knowing people by their fruits. With Obama, that begins with what is being done to the fruit of the womb.

Obama’s Grim Fairy Tale

by Robert Morrison

May 7, 2009

President Obama is offering up a new version of the old fable of the stone soup. You’ll recall the Brothers Grimm fairy tale where the strangers come to town, offering nothing but a stone in the bottom of their kettle. They persuade the townspeople to add some potatoes, carrots, and soup bones, just for “garnish.” Soon they had a feast-for free.

In 1976, candidate Jimmy Carter came to Iowa. He said he “didn’t like abortion.” And he pledged to reduce “the need for abortion.” This at least was something.

To most people, the Republican candidate wasn’t even offering a stone. President Ford never mentioned abortion, or the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion-on-demand. He let the First Lady, Betty Ford, speak out, offering her strongly pro-abortion views.

The Republican Party actually condemned Roe v. Wade in its 1976 platform. But President Ford ignored that fact, and a biased press played up Mrs. Ford’s vocal support. In her memoirs, Betty Ford praised her hubby for “letting me do all the talking about abortion. That was wise of him,” she said. It was wise only if Ford didn’t need Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Liberal journalist Elizabeth Drew praised Carter for wrapping “a liberal policy stance in conservative rhetoric.” Carter went on to win the election. He named hundreds of judges to the federal judiciary, but not one pro-lifer.

He did, however, name the pro-life Joe Califano as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, the predecessor to HHS. Carter also supported and signed the Hyde Amendment, which banned federal funding of abortion, something Ford had allowed to go forward.

Obama is using Carter’s successful rhetoric without even a scintilla of Carter’s significant concessions to pro-life sentiment. Under Obama, we are being forced to pay to promote abortions around the world. We may be forced to pay for abortion-on-demand in his health care takeover. Pro-life doctors and nurses could be forced to take part in killing unborn children-or, more likely, killing their careers rather than compromise their conscience. Obama’s rhetoric is appealing, rather like that nice hot stone soup. But his common ground is as lacking in substance as that empty kettle. The morning after, we’ll awake to find it was only “some enchanted evening.”

U.S.A.F. Airman Convicted under Unborn Victims of Violence Act

by Chris Gacek

May 4, 2009

It appears that the Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-212) (UVVA) has produced its first conviction. This took place over the weekend pursuant to a court martial at the Elmendorf Air Force Base near Anchorage, Alaska.

United States Airman 1st Class Scott Boie of Milton, Wisconsin, was sentenced on Saturday, May 2nd to nine years, six months in prison after he was found guilty of attempting to kill his unborn child. Boie was tried by a military court made up of ten member of the United States Air Force. The ten panel members convicted Boie late Friday night.

After Boie’s wife, Caylinn, told him that she was pregnant, Boie requested that she get an abortion. After she declined to do so, Boie used his computer to gather information about abortion inducing drugs. Boie discovered that the anti-ulcer drug, misoprostol (Cytotec), could be used. Misoprostol is the second drug in the RU-486 (mifepristone) abortion regimen and is widely used in some countries like Brazil as a cheap abortifacient. (For more information on mifepristone and misoprostol - download and read this FRC pamphlet (PDF): LINK.)

With the help of a fellow serviceman Boie obtained misoprostol and crushed some of the tablets which he placed in his wife’s food. A miscarriage followed one week later. His wife thought the miscarriage occurred naturally, but learned from a friend that her husband had attempted to kill their child. My news accounts do not reveal how Caylinn Boie’s friend learned this. Mrs. Boie confronted her husband about the miscarriage while covertly taping their conversation. Scott Boie confessed to her that he had attempted to kill the baby, and the recording of this confession was played in court.

Boie was also dishonorably discharged, demoted to E-1, and assessed a “total forfeiture of all pay and allowances.”

Congratulations should go to all those who worked to enact the UVVA and to President George W. Bush for signing it.

Tennessee Lawmakers Clash with Planned Parenthood Officials over Undercover Footage

by Krystle Gabele

May 1, 2009

Lila Rose of Live Action Films again exposes Planned Parenthood’s reckless counseling practices. This time, Rose posed as a 14-year-old girl, who was impregnated by a 31-year-old man. Rose, in her dialogue with the Planned Parenthood counselor, mentions:

My boyfriend said he could pay for everything—But he shouldn’t come here to pay ‘cause you’ll see him, right?” the counselor replies, “It doesn’t matter. As long as your parents are not here and can’t identify him, he can just pay and that’s it. He could be like your older brother or whatever.”

Tennessee law mandates that a minor must have parental consent before undergoing an abortion. Since the video has been released, two Tennessee state legislators, Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and Sen. Jack Johnson, have introduced legislation that would defund Planned Parenthood.

Why would citizens tolerate paying the bills of an organization that protects statutory rapists and victimizes young girls? This is the sad result of the careless abortion-first mentality that has persisted at Planned Parenthood for decades.”

On Abortion, Obama Chose His Words Carefully

by Cathy Ruse

May 1, 2009

In his answer to the question on the Freedom of Choice Act, President Obama first said abortion was a “moral issue” and then went on to say:

[T]his is an issue that… individual women have to wrestle with… And I think they are in a better position to make these decisions ultimately than members of Congress or a president of the United States… So that has been my consistent position. The other thing that I said consistently during the campaign is I would like to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies that result in women feeling compelled to get an abortion, or at least considering getting an abortion…

These were careful words. Notice that Obama avoided any phrasing that would suggest that he believes abortions per se ought to be reduced. He doesn’t ever assert that we ought to reduce the number of abortions because that would cast abortion in a negative light; wanting fewer abortions suggests abortion is a negative thing that ought to be reduced. Rather he is always careful to say that he wants to reduce the need for abortion, which leaves abortion as a “good” and casts the pregnancy (or rather the child) as the bad that should be reduced.

The Democrat platform under Obama was changed from making abortion “rare” to reducing the need for abortion — a move deeper into pro-abortion orthodoxy. It’s like the child is the dreaded disease and abortion is the wonderful vaccine — why would we want fewer of those wonderful vaccines? It’s the dreaded disease we want to reduce!

Obama is careful in his choice of words and so should pro-lifers be: do not ever give Obama credit for wanting to reduce abortions.

Obama FDA Caves on Plan B

by Chris Gacek

April 22, 2009

The Associated Press is reporting today that the Obama Administration has decided to roll over for a federal district court decision issued last month commanding the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to sell the morning-after-pill, Plan B, to 17-year-olds without a prescription.

Typically the Department of Justice (DoJ) would vigorously defend an agency decision - in this case FDA’s restricting Plan B over-the-counter sales (OTC) to women 18 and over.  Here, however, the Obama FDA and DoJ have decided to accept an aggressive court ruling without appeal.  In essence, the Administration let a judge make a scientific decision as to when it was safe to sell Plan B over-the-counter.


In order for a drug to be sold OTC patients must be able to safely medicate themselves without medical supervision.  FRC has always felt that the studies tracking the label comprehension for Plan B showed a poor awareness that Plan B was not a substitute for standard contraceptives.  That would seem to be important for a contraceptive.

The Bush Administration officials were not convinced that the label comprehension data for teens demonstrated that they could use Plan B safely.  The Bush officials thought more data needed to be submitted.  Not exactly a crazy point of view. 

Furthermore, the FDA-approved label for Plan B gives no clear indication that repeated use of Plan B in a short period of time is not safe.  This feeds into the possibility that some women might repeatedly use Plan B rather than safer alternatives.

We noted last month that some minor girls will be able to obtain this drug without any guidance from a doctor or without any parental supervision. We lack scientific studies on the long-term effects of Plan B with respect to high dosage and repeated use in both women and adolescents.  Also, research from Scotland in the 1990s indicated that the increased use of the morning-after-pill did not decrease abortion rates. 

FRC has also pointed out that interaction with medical professionals is a major screening and defense mechanism for victims of sexual abuse.  The availability of Plan B over-the-counter also bypasses the routine medical care of sexually active girls and women, which is important to allow screening for other health conditions, including sexually transmitted diseases.  This is especially important for teenagers.

Health Care: Civility Cannot Mask Bad Ideas

by Tony Perkins

March 6, 2009

President Obama’s “Health Care Summit” continued at the White House today.  From Ted Kennedy to the National Federation of Independent Business, a diverse group was assembled to provide input in the large public forum and in smaller “breakout” sessions.

It is beyond dispute all Americans want consistent access to high-quality and cost-effective medical insurance and care.  No one who has ever seen a loved one suffer or who has personally experienced a serious disease or injury wants anything less.  How we arrive at this goal is where the division lies.  President Obama has asserted that health care is a “right.”  Is healthcare itself a “right” or is access to health care a right?  These are important distinctions.  If it is a fundamental right it must be provided for and that would fall to the government.  A government-run monopoly would result in sharp increases in health care costs, rationing of healthcare and a decline in quality.

The President is calling for comprehensive health care reform by year’s end and certainly is and will be getting myriad ideas for how to do this.  Of course, none of these ideas are new nor must they be ferreted-out from obscure places.  The options for health care reform boil-down to a relatively few essential proposals.  Reforming America’s system of providing medical care is not a matter of finding some mysterious new formula, but of choosing between some basic options - options the President and his advisors know well.  No “summit” can ameliorate the stark and rather sharp differences between the options themselves and which the President must, ultimately, propose. 

Given his demonstrable commitment to a Herculean federal state, there is little doubt about what direction he will take.  But the President’s personal courtesy, his inclusion of occasional ideas from conservatives and even his willingness to engage in tactical compromise will not resolve four intractable concerns:

  • The Culture of Life: President Obama has said he wants to reverse the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding of abortion for lower-income women under the Medicaid program.  He is calling for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research and already has reversed the Reagan-Bush policy that disallows federal funding for international organizations that promote or provide abortion.  President Obama’s “abortion reduction agenda” is premised on the wider-spread distribution of contraceptives to teenage Americans.  At the Health Care Summit, Planned Parenthood had a prominent role - yet not a single pro-life organization was invited.  When it comes to protecting the unborn, it seems clear that whatever medical reform plan is offered, it will not prioritize their well-being and could well, instead, destroy it.
  • The Goal of Government-Run Health Care is Back:  In the early 1990s, the Clinton health care plan envisioned a massive federal takeover of one-seventh of the American economy.  Today, the Left is much more artful in its efforts.  Gone is talk of a new federal health care behemoth governing individual healthcare choices.  Instead, federally directed health care is taking a much more incremental approach, one in which the components of a national health care system are more ‘bite-sized” but which, taken together, still would constitute a Washington-run system of health insurance, research, information collection and decision-making.  Myriad state-run models around the world teach us one thing: Nationalized health care is bad policy and produces inferior medical care.  Period.
  • The Nature of Constitutional Governance: The Constitution of the United States prescribes for the federal government a relative handful of duties.  Health care for its citizens is not one of them.  Recognizing that we cannot undo a wide swath of public health care programs in a day, and also that many of them perform vital services on which the nation now depends, should not conservatives at least be arguing that as we consider the future, private sector-driven solutions at the state and local level are not only the most effective with respect to quality, affordable medical treatment but also the most consistent with the Constitution itself?  No argument is ever won unless it’s made.  We fail our Founders - and our children - if we simply jettison the need for deferring to our nation’s charter text in this or in any other discussion of major national issues.
  • Being Civil Will Not Bring Greater Agreement on Foundational Principles.  President Obama is personally winsome and is an ingratiating public host.  He listens well, empathizes and often reflects carefully what even his opponents express.  Yet being cordial, while welcome in itself, fails to ameliorate the reality of entrenched and unflinching philosophical disagreement.  As liberal Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has noted, “I believe that (President Obama) overestimates his ability to get people to put aside fundamental differences.”  On health care as on much else, simply being nice is not enough: While all Americans should be personally respectful, we are in the midst of grim political combat over the direction of our country.

The private sector, including the pharmaceutical industry, large industrial and technology companies, hospitals, health care providers and small businesses, needs to engage constructively, to the extent possible, in helping to craft the President’s plan.  Yet they should also be willing to stand and say “no” when that plan strays from the principles of personal responsibility, market discipline and provider-patient decision-making.  And the pro-life community must, at all costs, remain a fixed and immovable force for the voiceless little ones whose very lives depend on us.

Playing Hardball with Mainstream America

by Tony Perkins

March 5, 2009

What do you call an American citizen who objects to one of President Obama’s most radical nominees? “Verbal terrorists,” according to “Hardball’s” Chris Matthews. The MSNBC host, who last night addressed the controversy surrounding Kathleen Sebelius, took a gratuitous swipe at the pro-life community for opposing the Governor’s radical positions. “Is she going to get through the anti-abortion people?” Matthews asked. “Yes. I think she’s going to do that. I mean, verbal terrorism? Yeah, she’ll get through that.”

Give me a break! Educating Americans on Sebelius’s record isn’t “terrorism,” it’s activism, no, it’s realism! As a candidate for one of the most influential posts in Obama’s Cabinet, Sebelius’s public positions matter—particularly if they’re as far outside the mainstream as hers have proven to be. Before Sebelius is confirmed, Americans deserve to know where she stands. They should know that the Kansas governor supports late-term abortions, filthy, roach-infested abortion clinics, government as the final authority on children’s health, the killing of innocent abortion survivors, and socialized medicine. Despite what Chris Matthews believes, standing up for the defenseless and the vulnerable is what public officials are supposed to do. This is just an attempt to shift the focus off the extremism of Sebelius’ record.

Revoking the Conscience Protection Clause—not a good idea

by Krystle Gabele

March 5, 2009

Maybe, it is time for some around Washington to realize that discriminating against medical providers who decline to perform or refer for abortions is not a good idea. After all, they are standing for their beliefs.  The Obama Administration is trying to remove this rule from the books, to which Rep. John Boehner posted this response.

If the Conscience Protection regulations are revoked, this means that many doctors and nurses could be forced to go against their beliefs to provide or refer abortions. It would mean that you would either have to leave your principles at the door or face disciplinary actions, such as unemployment. This type of behavior is limiting the liberties of those who choose life over death.

FRC is also defending the Conscience Protection regulations. In a recent press release, FRC’s President Tony Perkins said,

For President Obama to do this would be a huge blow to religious freedom and First Amendment rights. No one should be forced to have an abortion, and no one should be forced to be an abortionist in violation of their religious or ethical convictions. However, President Obama intends to stop regulations to enforce conscience protection statutes. In doing so, he will open the door to discrimination against the choice of healthcare workers who do not want to be complicit in abortion or other controversial practices. These regulations would have ensured that healthcare workers are not forced to participate in the performance or promotion of abortion against their will.

“Despite current law that has protected conscience rights for over 30 years, the lack of regulations resulted in confusion and a lack of awareness within the health care community, leaving health care personnel vulnerable to discrimination and forcing them to drop their specialties at a crucial time of health care scarcity. Protecting the right of all health care providers to make professional judgments based on moral convictions and ethical standards is foundational to federal law and is necessary to ensure that access to healthcare is not diminished, which will occur if healthcare workers are forced out of their jobs because of their ethical stances. President Obama’s intention to change the language of these protections would result in the government becoming the conscience and not the individual. It is a person’s right to exercise their moral judgment, not the government’s to decide it for them.

“It is unfortunate that President Obama is planning to bow down to pro-abortion forces and stop enforcement of laws enacted to protect the choice of healthcare providers not to participate in abortion or other controversial practices. Family Research Council urges President Obama to change course and defend the conscience laws for healthcare workers by keeping these much-needed regulations in place.”

Keep the Conscience Protection regulations.   Doctors and nurses, who believe in the sanctity of human life, should be able to decline participating in a practice that violates their conscience.  President Obama, in your campaign promises, you said that your administration would represent change.  However, the change we need does not represent threatening human life.

Conscience is Dunkirk for the Pro-Life Cause

by Family Research Council

March 1, 2009

This morning’s Washington Post brings news of what should be the Obama Administration’s high-water attack on the sanctity of human life, and what should be for the pro-life cause our Dunkirk. Routed at the polls, pummeled on forced funding of the international population magnates, threatened with compulsory tax funding of the domestic abortion industry, we now face an Obama repeal of the Bush Administration’s conscience protections for health care workers who decline to participate in abortions.

It’s time to send out a call for the dinghies, the tugboats, the fishing trawlers — anything that floats or may float — and make it clear that in its lurch toward the Culture of Death the Obama Administration will be unable to dragoon people of conscience into their ranks or drum them out of their professions. The purest joy of an evildoer is to draw others — especially people of highest character — into their work and thereby drain their moral capital and sully their reputations. All this is happening because the evidence suggests that the ranks of medical personnel committed to abortion as their stock-and-trade is small and, shall we say, not drawn from the elites of the profession. In communities from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Midland, Texas, the local abortionist is a drive-by doc, who visits for the day to conduct his ministrations of destruction upon the population. The dearth of death-dealers makes the crushing of conscience a social value for the Left.

Moreover, it is a sign of their own bad conscience. If so many good people will not perform abortions or hesitate to thrust a cycle of pills at a 15-year-old girl who really needs a wise adult offering her a better way than feeling compelled to submit to sexual exploitation by a boyfriend or adult man, then maybe, just maybe, there is something amiss with those health personnel who seem to hesitate at nothing. For the pro-life community right now, a Mrs. Miniver moment is the right thing. We’ve long upheld the rose as our symbol. Let’s go down to the sea in ships.