Election ’08: Barack Obama and "Abortion Reduction"

Barack Obama asks prolifers to vote for him on November 4, saying he will advance a policy of “abortion reduction.” While he supports Roe vs. Wade and a woman’s “right to choose,” Sen. Obama says he would create conditions that make abortion less likely. Already agreeing with Obama on how to fight poverty and respond to America’s international challenges, many who believe in the sanctity of human life think they can work with him on abortion. They say it is time to put aside partisanship on this issue.

But is it logical to vote for the most pro-choice national politician in hopes of reducing abortion? Here are some of the reasons I am skeptical—very skeptical.

In Illinois Obama repeatedly voted against the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. The act sought to mandate that hospitals provide medical care to infants that survive botched abortions. If Obama had his way, those infants would be left to die.

Obama is one of the few members of Congress who opposed the federal ban on partial-birth abortion, a grisly procedure in which the human fetus is partially extracted, feet first, from the mother’s womb, its head—still in the womb so it technically has not been “born” yet—crushed by the abortionist and then sucked out. Even supporters of legal abortion such as Daniel Patrick Moynihan have called this procedure “infanticide.”

Supporters say that Obama’s policies on poverty, family planning, and contraception availability would reduce the number of abortions. They usually neglect to mention that the numbers already have been steadily declining since the 1990s, thanks to a combination of many factors, under Republican and Democratic administrations, including public awareness and more restrictive laws. But pro-choicers haven’t given up hope.

The Freedom of Choice Act is a federal bill Obama cosponsors that the National Organization for Women says would “sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies.” Last year Obama told Planned Parenthood, “The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing that I’d do.” If he gets FOCA through a Congress controlled by the Democratic Party, the de facto party of abortion, it’s difficult to see how the numbers of abortions will continue to decline. Just the opposite, in fact.

The Democratic platform that Obama is running on supports the right to abortion, but also taxpayer funding of abortion. Obama not only supports abortion, he wants to make you pay for it. It’s hard to see how abortions will be reduced under this policy.

While many legal scholars, liberal and conservative, now agree that Roe vs. Wade is bad law, poorly decided, a President Obama would have the opportunity to cement this decision in American jurisprudence for decades. Does anyone really believe Obama, who already supports Roe, would do anything other than nominate justices who would uphold it? And if Obama is elected, the Democrats in Congress who screamed over the nominations of Samuel Alito and John Roberts will gladly give Obama what he wants.

Yes, Obama seems like a breath of fresh air to those who are tired of the Republicans and who are rightly concerned when one party seems to have the “God vote” locked up. The sanctity of human life should not be a partisan issue, they say, and they are right. (In fact, Democrats for Life estimates that 40 percent of the party’s rank and file are pro-life.)

But if we want to ensure that abortion is not a partisan issue, then Democratic Party leaders—including Barack Obama—need to come to us, not us to them. Yes, we stand ready to work with them on reducing the incidence of abortion, which Hillary Clinton recently acknowledged is a “tragic” choice. But we must not give up our principles in the bargain. We cannot countenance the continued government sanction of the destruction of innocent human life.

We can debate the merits of many issues. The sanctity of human life, however, is not one of them.

About Stan Guthrie

Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. His latest book is God's Story in 66 Verses. He also is author of All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy. He is co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Besides authoring, writing, and editing books, Stan is a literary agent, bringing together good authors, good books, and good publishers. Stan writes the monthly Priorities colum for BreakPoint.org. He has appeared on National Public Radio's €œTell Me More,€ WGN's Milt Rosenberg program, and many Christian shows, including The Eric Metaxas Show and Moody Radio'€™s €œNew Day Florida.€ A licensed minister and an inspirational speaker, he served as moderator for the Christian Book Expo panel discussion, Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
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