No Limits: Obama’s Record On Abortion

“Pass out at three, wake up at ten, go out to eat, then do it again. Man I love college.” Like American rapper Asher Roth, I too loved college. I don’t think our experiences were entirely comparable, though. Mine seems to have been more scholastically oriented, and I rarely felt obliged to “dance my ass off.” I did, however, have a friend who would occasionally dance her clothes off.

Her name was Tania*, and during her college years she performed sporadically as an exotic dancer. It was clear that Tania had no desire to make a career out of stripping. In fact, the longer she did it, the less appeal it seemed to have. Some things, like scotch and classic cars, tend to become more desirable with the passage of time. But for Tania, working the pole wasn’t one of them.

College stripping isn’t the only activity whose attractiveness wanes with age–abortion has a similar dynamic. As a fetus gets older, fewer people will support ending her or his life. This is probably due in part to appearances. After all, it’s harder to justify killing someone whose heart beat and propensity for thumb sucking can be observed via ultrasound. Some may also suspect that the mechanics of a late term abortion must be agonizing for the abortee: dilation and evacuation abortion involves pulling the fetus apart, one limb at a time. This suspicion appears to be well founded, for there is evidence that at twenty weeks of development, an unborn baby can indeed feel pain.

Given such queasiness, abortion apologists will often stress that most “terminations” take place in the first trimester. A few will even express reservations about late term abortions, knowing that the dismemberment of what is obviously an infant is more than many people can stomach. On the other hand, some advocates have stomachs (and consciences) that are apparently numb.

One of them is Ann Furedi, of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. According to her, the fact that a fetus in the later stages of gestation “looks like a baby” is irrelevant. Whereas many of her co-belligerents deploy fuzzy euphemisms, Furedi sees no need to pull punches. As she bluntly puts it, “abortion stops a beating heart.” While abortion advocates aren’t typically this honest about their agenda (at least in public), Furedi isn’t the only one who takes a no-limits approach to ending inconvenient lives. There is someone in America who has made it a pillar of his career.

In 2003, Congress passed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, outlawing most intact dilation extraction abortions. Invented by Dr. Martin Haskell, the procedure involves dilating a mother’s cervix, grabbing her baby by the feet, and then pulling her or him most of the way out. With the child’s head still inside mom, the doctor then begins a “partial evacuation of the intracrannial contents of the fetus.” In other words, he removes pieces of a child’s brain while the infant is still alive. To most people, the image of a dead baby with a partly hollowed-out skull is somewhat disconcerting. As a result, banning partial birth abortions found support with individuals across the political spectrum.

President Barack Obama, however, was not one of them. As a presidential candidate, Obama criticized the Supreme Court for upholding the ban’s constitutionality, making note on one occasion that Justice Kennedy did not “know how to be a doctor,” and was thus unqualified to render judgement on the issue. That Obama himself had never been employed in the private sector, received a degree in economics, served in the military, or had any other experience that might qualify him for leadership of the free world was evidently not a concern.

After assuming office, Obama continued to advance the abortion agenda. He revoked the Mexico City Policy (an executive order that prohibited foreign aid dollars from being used to promote abortion) and limited legal protection for health care workers who refuse to take part in killing the unborn.

For Obama, even life outside the womb seems to be suspect. As an Illinois state senator, he voted several times against legislation to protect children that had survived abortion attempts. Known as the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, it required that babies delivered during botched abortions be given medical treatment. The bill came in the wake of testimony from nurse Jill Stanek that abortion survivors were being left to die in hospital utility rooms. Obama later claimed that his opposition in 2001 and 2002 was due to the law providing insufficient protection to doctors who perform abortions, and that he would have voted in favor of it had it been worded like it’s federal counter part. In fact, Obama also opposed in committee a 2003 version that was identical to the federal law.

Pro-lifers maintain that all children deserve protection, and thus deplore abortion at every stage of pregnancy. But if the president cannot recognize the injustice of letting a fully delivered infant die a lonely death, then a new low would seem to have been reached. When addressing a Planned Parenthood gathering, Obama stated that he would pick judges who had “empathy” for a “teenage mom.” It would be nice if the president had empathy for her baby as well.

*Not her real name