Obama and Abortion

It's just a matter of time until abortion becomes a fait accompli. With the most progressive president to ever sit in the Oval Office, and his liberal cronies in Congress, the stars are officially aligned. What better place to start than abortion?

To most Americans, I suspect the abortion issue seems rather moot. It used to be against the law; now it isn’t. What's left to talk about? A lot, apparently. According to President Obama, abortion is the most pressing matter on his agenda. "The first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing I’d do,” he told Planned Parenthood on July 9, 2008. The purpose of FOCA? To eliminate every restriction on abortion nationwide.

It bears repeating. The Freedom of Choice Act would eliminate every restriction on abortion nationwide. On a philosophical level, FOCA elevates abortion to a fundamental right (as opposed to a necessary evil), granting it the same status as the right to vote or the right to free speech. On a practical level, FOCA would nullify (among others) the following laws: the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, the Hyde Amendment (restricting taxpayer funding of abortions), parental consent and notification laws, waiting periods, and requirements that licensed physicians perform abortions. So if my daughter finds herself in a precarious position as a teenager, I don't ever need to know about it; President Obama thinks she's old enough to go through such a trauma without me.

When it comes to the abortion problem, the answer from the pro-choice camp is clear: sex education. If we teach young people about contraception, they will know how to act responsibly and thus avoid unplanned pregnancies. (Remember: All people are equally good and with the right opportunities, will make good choices.)

As a former classroom teacher of children who were old enough (technically speaking) to have sex, I can assure you this is patently false. The reasons teenagers engage in casual sex have nothing to do with being uninformed about contraception; they're the most informed group of teenagers to ever exist. Moreover, if education was all women (and girls) needed to avoid unplanned pregnancies, why do women between the ages of 20-24 – who, presumably, know more than teenagers -- have the highest abortion rate (32.6%) in the country? And why do women between the ages of 25-29 and 30-34 comprise an additional 23.4% and 14.5%, respectively, of all abortions? Indeed, teenagers represent the lowest abortion rate – 16.4% -- in the country. Oprah is famous for repeating the phrase, “When people know better, they do better.” Apparently not.

That said, any woman (or girl) who gets pregnant without meaning to deserves compassion. Regardless of how it happened – a lack of education (not likely) or an alcohol-induced liaison (more probable), it’s a terrible state in which to find oneself. And while the ensuing abortions are something on which Americans are divided morally, we're not divided on the issue of legality. Yes, 46% of Americans consider themselves “prolife” and 47% consider themselves “pro-choice"; but when asked whether abortion should be legal or illegal, a mere 18% of Americans think abortion should be illegal. The rest – 81% (1% are undecided) -- believe abortion should remain legal. Sounds pretty simple, then. Most Americans believe abortion should be legal, and it is legal.

Not so fast. Of this 81%, 57% of Americans believe abortion should be legal only under certain circumstances. In other words, most Americans are sympathetic to the woman (or girl) who faces this daunting circumstance; but they are not in favor of granting abortions carte blanche. Indeed, the restrictions that have been put into place -- restrictions that FOCA would eliminate -- exist for a reason: Americans are a tolerant people, but only to a certain point. Somewhere along the line our collective conscience rears its ugly head to tell us enough is enough.

Unfortunately, we don't live in a democracy at all -- since the 24% of Americans who believe abortion should be legal under any circumstance want the Freedom of Choice Act signed -- and they have a President who'd be happy to do so. By my calculations, this means we've voted into office a man who either doesn’t care what the majority of Americans want and believe -- or hasn't done his homework. Either way, we’re doomed.

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