Friday, 10 April 2009

Obama and abortion

by Helen Alvaré

During his time in the Illinois legislature, Barack Obama acted personally to ensure that that legislature would not pass a law banning the killing of disabled newborn children, born alive following botched abortions. In connection with his tenure as a U.S. Senator, he distributed fundraising circulars to raise money on the grounds of his support for continuing the practice of partial-birth abortions (a technique involving partially delivering live infants outside the bodies of their mothers, save for their heads, which are then stabbed and suctioned, before being fully delivered, now dead). As a candidate for president, he promised that one of his first legislative acts would be the passage of a law (the Freedom of Choice Act) to remove all existing regulations from the practice of abortion in the United States. On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and as against the tens of thousands of pro-life marchers gathered in the January cold of Washington, D.C., he issued a public statement supporting the decision that overturned every state's decision to shield the unborn from being killed. He later issued several executive orders releasing hundreds of millions of federal dollars for abortion groups operating overseas, and for researchers killing human embryos. In the context of the latter order, he both excoriated defenders of embryonic life as ideological and political versus "scientific," and claimed the mantle of morality, and scientific purity for himself. He also claimed support for his decision based upon a national "consensus" and his "faith," but failed to give evidence of the former claim, or to confront the facial irrationality of the latter claim. Despite excoriating his opponents as anti-scientific, he himself refused to acknowledge the scientific data confirming the humanity of the embryo, or the emerging scientific consensus that adult stem cells offer a superior therapeutic and moral alternative to embryonic stem cells. President Obama furthermore is readying the federal government to strip conscience protections from doctors and hospitals morally opposed to performing abortions. And he has literally filled the White House and powerful federal agencies with lawyers from the nation's foremost extremist abortion-advocacy groups, the groups that have bitterly opposed every effort of the Catholic Church, both here and overseas, to protect the lives of the unborn and their mothers from abortion.

Helen Alvaré is a senior fellow in law for the Culture of Life Foundation, and an associate professor of law at the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia. In 2008, Benedict XVI named Professor Alvaré a consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Laity.