Many Catholics and Evangelicals have been making the case of late that supporting Barack Obama for President represents another way of being pro-life. The argument goes something like this. (1) The constitutional battles are over, pro-lifers have lost, and Roe vs. Wade is settled law. (2) There are other evils that Christians are bound to oppose besides abortion that Republicans tend to ignoreâ€”like the war in Iraq, torture, etc. (3) Liberalized social-welfare policies will lessen the need for abortions among poor women. Since Obama is a liberal on such matters, the abortion rate will therefore go down under an Obama administration. On this reasoning, Roman Catholics like Doug Kmiec and “evangelicals” like Donald Miller are supporting Obama’s candidacy.
I have already referred readers to Robert George’s compelling essay arguing that Obama is the most pro-abortion candidate for president in history. But I would also like to bring to your attention George Weigel‘s piece in a recent Newsweek column that decisively overturns each of the three points above.
‘Barack Obama has an unalloyed record of support for abortion on demand. Moreover, he seems to understand Roe vs. Wade and subsequent Supreme Court decisions as having defined abortion as a fundamental liberty right essential for women’s equality, meaning that government must guarantee access to abortion in law and by financial assistanceâ€”a moral judgment and a policy prescription the pro-life Catholic Obama boosters say they reject.
‘According to his own Web site, Obama supports the federal Freedom of Choice Act [FOCA], which would eliminate all state and federal regulation of abortion (such as informed consent and parental notification in the case of minors seeking an abortion); these regulations have demonstrably reduced the absolute number of abortions in the jurisdictions in which they are in effect. FOCA would also eliminate, by federal statute, state laws providing “conscience clause” protection for pro-life doctors who decline to provide abortions. Obama (along with the Democratic Party platform) supports federal funding for abortion, opposes the Hyde amendment (which restricts the use of taxpayer monies for abortion) and has pledged to repeal the “Mexico City policy” (initiated by Ronald Reagan and reinstated by George W. Bush, which bans federal foreign-aid funding for organizations that perform and promote abortion as a means of family planning). According to the pro-choice Web site RHRealityCheck.org, Obama also opposes continued federal funding for crisis pregnancy centers.
‘As Roe vs. Wade does indeed deny the protection of the laws to the unborn, no one can, with any moral or logical consistence, claim to support both Roe vs. Wade and the common good. It’s one or the other.’
My point in highlighting this essay is this. In light of Obama’s public record on abortion and his conspicuous support of Roe vs. Wade, it is becoming increasingly difficult to take seriously the argument that one can be pro-life and pro-Obama. It’s just intellectually and factually dishonest.