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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Monday, September 22, 2008


I've now heard it repeated too many times to respond merely in the comments threads. What, you ask? People keep claiming that Presidents have no real ability to push an abortion agenda one way or another. It's utter garbage to say that. Let us count the ways:

1. Supreme Court nominees. Let's be honest. We need a comprehensive approach to abortion, and it must include justices who will not read something more into the Constitution than is really there. The next President - especially if a two-termer - gets to appoint probably 2 justices, replacing at least one of the most anti-life of them all.

2. Pushing legislation. Presidents get a huge platform from which to push their agenda. Congress can control this to a degree, but Presidents send legislative proposals to Congress all the time. Obama is clear that he supports the "Freedom of Choice Act." Don't believe me? Why not read what Barack had to say about it on the 35th anniversary of Roe:

"Thirty-five years after the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, it's never
been more important to protect a woman's right to choose. Last year, the Supreme
Court decided by a vote of 5-4 to uphold the Federal Abortion Ban, and in doing
so undermined an important principle of Roe v. Wade: that we must always protect
women's health. With one more vacancy on the Supreme Court, we could be looking
at a majority hostile to a women's fundamental right to choose for the first
time since Roe v. Wade. The next president may be asked to nominate that Supreme Court justice. That is what is at stake in this election."Throughout my career,
I've been a consistent and strong supporter of reproductive justice, and have
consistently had a 100% pro-choice rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL
Pro-Choice America.

"When South Dakota passed a law banning all abortions in a direct
effort to have Roe overruled, I was the only candidate for President to raise
money to help the citizens of South Dakota repeal that law. When anti-choice
protesters blocked the opening of an Illinois Planned Parenthood clinic in a
community where affordable health care is in short supply, I was the only
candidate for President who spoke out against it. And I will continue to defend
this right by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president.

"Moreover, I believe in and have supported common-sense solutions like
increasing access to affordable birth control to help prevent unintended
pregnancies. In the Illinois state Senate, when Congress failed to require
insurance plans to cover FDA-approved contraceptives, I made sure those
contraceptives were covered for women in Illinois. In the U.S. Senate, I've
worked with Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) on a bill that would make birth
control more affordable for low-income and college women, and introduced the
Senate version of Representative Hilda Solis' bill to reduce unintended
pregnancies in communities of color. As President, I will improve access to
affordable health care and work to ensure that our teens are getting the
information and services they need to stay safe and healthy.

"But we also know that Roe v. Wade is about more than a woman's
right to choose; it's about equality. It's about whether our daughters are going
to have the same opportunities as our sons. And so to truly honor that decision,
we need to update the social contract so that women can free themselves, and
their children, from violent relationships; so that a mom can stay home with a
sick child without getting a pink slip; so that she can go to work knowing that
there's affordable, quality childcare for her children; and so that the American
dream is within reach for every family in this country. This anniversary reminds
us that it's not enough to protect the gains of the past – we have to build a
future that's filled with hope and possibility for all Americans."

You should be chilled to the bone.

3. Finally, Presidents have a broad range of executive authority, and a veto power. It's important to realize that, from the moment a President walks into the oval office he has a chance to do things with nobody's approval but his own. Don't believe me? Ask the, comparatively moderate, Clintons (from National Right to Life):

Jan. 22: President Clinton issues five executive orders reversing Title 10 regulations banning abortion referral by federal employees, repealing the Mexico City Policy restricting federal funding of international organizations that work to reverse countries' abortion laws, negating the ban on funding for fetal tissue transplants, ordering military hospitals to perform abortions, and asking the FDA to "review"
the import ban on RU 486.

Apr. 14: The Los Angeles Times reports that the Clintons plan to include coverage for elective abortion in their massive health care plan that they intend to propose to Congress later in the year.

Nov. 22: The Clinton Administration announces that the International Planned Parenthood Federation will receive $75 million over the next five years.

Dec. 28: The Clinton Administration faxes a letter to every state's Medicaid director ordering the states to change their laws and provide payments for abortions when an abortionist reports that a pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.


Sept. 26: Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-Me.) announces that the Clinton Health Care Plan will not be introduced in the U.S. Senate in the current session. The Clinton proposal would force all Americans into a national health system that would ration lifesaving care and pay for abortion on demand.

Apr. 10: President Clinton issues his first veto of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

Sept. 11: Planned Parenthood announces the FDA authorized a nationwide abortion study of methotrexate and misoprostol, another abortifacient combination.

Sept. 18: The FDA declares RU 486 Approvable," although it asks the Population Council to provide more information on "labeling and manufacturing practices" before the drug can be marketed.


Oct. 10: President Clinton again vetoes the ban on partial-birth abortions.

This isn't some cute philosophical debate. Millions of unborn babies cry out to us for protection. Who are you going to vote to send them, and why?