Barack Obama answered two questions about abortion last night at the Civil Forum at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church: “At what point does a baby get human rights in your view?” and “Have you ever voted to limit or reduce abortions?”
Let me begin with his answer to the second question: “Have you ever voted to limit or reduce abortions?”
I AM IN FAVOR, FOR EXAMPLE, OF LIMITS ON LATE TERM ABORTIONS IF THERE IS AN EXCEPTION FOR THE MOTHER’S HEALTH. NOW FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THOSE WHO, YOU KNOW, ARE PRO LIFE, I THINK THEY WOULD CONSIDER THAT INADEQUATE. AND I RESPECT THEIR VIEWS. I MEAN ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I’VE ALWAYS SAID IS THAT ON THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE, IF YOU BELIEVE THAT LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION, THEN — AND YOU ARE CONSISTENT IN THAT BELIEF, THEN I CAN’T ARGUE WITH YOU ON THAT BECAUSE THAT IS A CORE ISSUE OF FAITH FOR YOU. WHAT I CAN DO IS SAY ARE THERE WAYS THAT WE CAN WORK TOGETHER TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF UNWANTED PREGNANCIES SO THAT WE ACTUALLY ARE REDUCING THE SENSE THAT WOMEN ARE SEEKING OUT ABORTIONS, AND AS AN EXAMPLE OF THAT, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I’VE TALKED ABOUT IS HOW DO WE PROVIDE THE RESOURCES THAT ALLOW WOMEN TO MAKE THE CHOICE TO KEEP A CHILD. YOU KNOW, HAVE WE GIVEN THEM THE HEALTH CARE THAT THEY NEED. HAVE WE GIVEN THEM THE SUPPORT SERVICES THAT THEY NEED. HAVE WE GIVEN THEM THE OPTIONS OF ADOPTION THAT ARE NECESSARY. THAT I THINK CAN MAKE A GENUINE DIFFERENCE.
Barack Obama has good reason for understanding that anyone who cares about life would find his position on abortion inadequate.
First of all, Barack Obama displays a shocking degree of deviousness, disingenuousness, and deceitfulness in his answer. To begin with, he actually opposed legislation that would have mandated that babies who had been born alive following induced labor for an abortion be provided with medical treatment. This not only sinks below the depravity of late term abortion, it sinks below even partial birth abortion to the realm of actual infanticide. Even the ultra-abortion rights group NARAL wasn’t willing to endorse such a radical extremist (and frankly vile) position.
Barack Obama has been rated as supporting abortion “100%” by NARAL (perhaps they should have increased his rating to 150% given his Illinois Senate career). In 2006, he voted against parental notification for minor girls having abortions. And in 2007 he voted in support of partial birth abortion. When he says he is in favor of any limits on abortion whatsoever, his own record says he is lying.
Secondly, Obama is deceitful in the broad sense as well as in the specific sense. Obama says that he is in favor “of limits on late term abortions if there is an exception for the mother’s health.” What he lacks the honesty and integrity to reveal is that his “criteria” for “the mother’s health” is so broad that virtually ANY exception would qualify (a headache, for example). And therefore in actual practice he is FOR late term abortions.
But Obama then says that whether one is pro-life or pro-abortion, both sides can work together to “reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies so that we actually are reducing the sense that women are seeking out abortions.” This amounts to the argument that abortion is a fundamental right, but we should work to make it as rare as possible.
But why should we do so, given the logic that it is a fundamental right? Name another fundamental right that should be made as rare as possible. Should free speech be “safe, legal, and rare?” Should we do everything possible to reach across the party divides so that the right to peaceably assemble occur as rarely as possible? How about freedom of religion? Maybe that should be actively discouraged? Or the right of a free press? Maybe there should be as little free reporting as we can possibly have?
Do you see the fundamental irrationality here? If abortion really is a good thing, then we should be pursuing more of it. And the abortion rights organizations believe exactly that, continually working to increase the right to and access of abortion in as many circumstances as they can have. But at the same time this war for total abortion freedom is going on, disengenuous politicians are out there taking an ostensibly common sense position of making rare what abortion proponents are actually trying to make more common.
Abortions should only be reduced if it is wrong.
Given the history of how deceitful Barack Obama has been in his own personal legislative career, and how disingenuous he is about presenting his views, let us turn to the other question: “At what point does a baby get human rights in your view?”
WELL, I THINK THAT WHETHER YOU ARE LOOKING AT IT FROM A THEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE OR A SCIENTIFIC PERSPECTIVE, ANSWERING THAT QUESTION WITH SPECIFICITY, YOU KNOW, IS ABOVE MY PAY GRADE. BUT LET ME JUST SPEAK MORE GENERALLY ABOUT THE ISSUE OF ABORTION BECAUSE THIS IS SOMETHING OBVIOUSLY THE COUNTRY WRESTLES WITH. ONE THING THAT I’M ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED OF IS THERE IS A MORAL AND ETHICAL CONTENT TO THIS ISSUE. SO I THINK THAT ANYBODY WHO TRIES TO DENY THE MORAL DIFFICULTIES AND GRAVITY OF THE ABORTION ISSUE I THINK IS NOT PAYING ATTENTION. SO THAT WOULD BE POINT NUMBER ONE. BUT POINT NUMBER TWO, I AM PRO-CHOICE. I BELIEVE IN ROE V. WADE AND COME TO THAT CONCLUSION NOT BECAUSE I’M PRO ABORTION, BUT BECAUSE ULTIMATELY I DON’T THINK WOMEN MAKE THESE DECISIONS CASUALLY. THEY WRESTLE WITH THESE THINGS IN PROFOUND WAYS. IN CONSULTATION WITH THEIR PASTORS OR SPOUSES OR THEIR DOCTORS AND THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS. AND SO FOR ME, THE GOAL RIGHT NOW SHOULD BE — AND THIS IS WHERE I THINK WE CAN FIND COMMON GROUND AND BY THE WAY I HAVE NOW INSERTED THIS INTO THE DEMOCRAT PARTY PLATFORM IS HOW DO WE REDUCE THE NUMBER OF ABORTIONS BECAUSE THE FACT IS THAT ALTHOUGH WE’VE HAD A PRESIDENT WHO IS OPPOSED TO ABORTIONS OVER THE LAST EIGHT YEARS, ABORTIONS HAVE
NOT GONE DOWN.
Obama’s answer essentially is, “We don’t know for sure when life begins, so we should opt for death.”
Let me give an example: Suppose you are in the shower, with shampoo in your eyes, when your five year old says, “Momma, can I kill this?” What do you say? Do you seriously reason, “Well, I don’t know what the ontological status of the thing my little Johnny is talking about is, so I should allow him to make his own decision.” Johnny might be talking about his two-year old brother!
By Obama’s own reasoning, he just may be supporting and even advocating the murder of innocent human beings. The bottom line is, if there is any doubt at all about the status of the unborn, why not opt for the side of life?
The view that the government should be or even can be morally neutral in such a circumstance is simply false. African-Americans ought to be particularly sensitive about this line of reasoning. Allow me to cite an answer by Abraham Lincoln in refuting the view expressed by Stephen Douglas. It is historically fitting that Democrat Stephen Douglas ran for president as the U.S. Senator from Illinois. Douglas said that, although he was personally against the institution of slavery, “popular sovereignty” ought to determine whether slavery was legal or not. In their Sixth Debate at Quincy on October 13, 1858, Lincoln’s famous response to Douglas was:
“So I say again, that in regard to the arguments that are made, when Judge Douglas says he “don’t care whether slavery is voted up or voted down,” whether he means that as an individual expression of sentiment, or only as a sort of statement of his views on national policy, it is alike true to say that he can thus argue logically if he don’t see anything wrong in it; but he cannot say so logically if he admits that slavery is wrong. He cannot say that he would as soon see a wrong voted up as voted down. When Judge Douglas says that whoever or whatever community wants slaves, they have a right to have them, he is perfectly logical, if there is nothing wrong in the institution; but if you admit that it is wrong, he cannot logically say that anybody has a right to do wrong.”
The fact of the matter is that if government permitted blacks to be owned as slaves, it was not taking a neutral position. It was implicitly accepting the view that blacks were less than fully human, and therefore could be owned as property. And if the presuppositions justifying slavery were wrong, then as Lincoln said, one simply could not have “the right to do wrong” – even by popular vote. In the same way, by permitting unborn babies to be aborted, the government is not taking a neutral position. Rather, it is likewise implicitly accepting the view that the unborn are not fully human, and therefore can be regarded essentially as property rather than as persons (property that may be destroyed at will).
There is something else that should be realized: that the right of a woman to choose abortion logically and morally entails the position that fathers do not and should not matter. Abortion trivializes the role of the father.
If the “thing” that is created by intercourse is not in fact a human being and a human person, then why should he be held accountable for what develops 9 months later? It is out of his control by the implicit reasoning of abortion: the woman alone decides. Only if he fathered a child with all the recognition and human dignity of a human being should he be held accountable for fathering a child! If the “right to choose” is up to a woman and a woman alone, then what does the man have to do with it?
Fathers are put in a despicable position by abortion logic: if a woman decides to abort her baby, then the father – by abortion morality – must stand idly by while his own child is put to death, and even approve of the killing. If, on the other hand, the woman decides to keep her baby, then a father is held to the duty of supporting that child until that child reaches legal adulthood whether he wants to have a child or not. Where is his “right to choose”? Where is his “reproductive freedom”? The father is completely left out of the decision as an insignificant component. Is there any wonder that fathers have essentially abandoned their role of fatherhood?
My final point is this: When Obama – responding to the question of what has been America’s greatest moral failure – answered:
I THINK AMERICA’S GREATEST MORAL FAILURE IN MY LIFETIME HAS BEEN THAT WE STILL DON’T ABIDE BY THAT BASIC PRECEPT IN MATTHEW THAT WHATEVER YOU DO FOR THE LEAST OF MY BROTHERS, YOU DO FOR ME. AND NOTION OF — THAT BASIC PRINCIPLE APPLIES TO POVERTY. IT APPLIES TO RACISM AND SEXISM. IT APPLIES TO, YOU KNOW, NOT HAVING — NOT THINKING ABOUT PROVIDING LADDERS OF OPPORTUNITY FOR PEOPLE TO GET INTO THE MIDDLE CLASS. I MEAN, THERE IS A PERVASIVE SENSE I THINK THAT THIS COUNTRY IS WEALTHY AND POWERFUL AS WE STILL DON’T SPEND ENOUGH TIME THINKING ABOUT THE LEAST OF THESE –
I could not help but shout, “UNBORN BABIES! UNBORN BABIES” after Obama said, “the least of my brothers.” And as he unpacked this sacred principle taught by Jesus as applying to racism and sexism and providing ladders I kept shouting, “ABORTION! ABORTION!”
The fact is that it is the denial of human dignity to our precious babies in the womb is our greatest moral failure. It is a moral failure that has resulted in the abortions of 40 million human beings since the passage of Roe v. Wade.
John McCain, when asked the same question – “At what point does a baby get human rights in your view?” – had the simple answer: “At the moment of conception.”