John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Abortion and Obama

Posted on August 24, 2008



There was an interesting story in Sunday’s Washington Post, written by David Maraniss, entitled “How Hawaii Shaped Him”, a story about Barack Obama’s formative years growing up in Paradise.  Maraniss is an excellent writer, and his narrative is compelling.


            Obama was born to a young woman barely 18, who got pregnant out-of-wedlock to a man that she later briefly married.  If Obama had been conceived a decade later, he might have been aborted, especially in those days following Roe V. Wade, when love without guilt led to countless abortions without guilt, and fetuses without a future. 


            I wonder if Obama, who is a fierce proponent of abortion rights, has ever thought about his luck about being born when he did.  Obama, who voted against a bill that would extend legal rights to children who were born alive after an abortion, and who voted against a partial birth ban, has been particularly radical when it comes to his abortion views.  For a man who has demonstrated an unusual interest in his own life’s lessons (writing two autobiographies by the age of 45), he has seems to have missed the most important lesson.  You can’t have a life unless you are born, and you can’t be born if they kill you before you get the chance.


            The abortion debate won’t be front and center in this political campaign.  And that is fine with me.  Other issues have taken center stage, issues like war and peace, jobs and the economy, character and leadership, experience and change. 


            But that doesn’t mean that the issue will go away.  The pro-choice positions of guys like Tom Ridge and Joe Lieberman made it very hard for John McCain to name either one of them as his running mate.  Tim Kaine’s pro-life position hurt him with the Democratic base. 


            Joe Biden’s pro-choice views may not hurt him with the Democratic Party faithful, but it will hurt him with the Catholic faithful.   Nothing drives the Catholic clergy crazier more than a so-called Catholic spouting pro-abortion views.


            The American people are not as absolutist as politicians on this issue.  They see nuance where NARAL and the Pro-Life movement see black and white.  About 16 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all cases, where are about 18 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be illegal in all cases. 


            The rest of the country is somewhere in the middle, with just about everybody uncomfortable with abortions after the third month.  Most “pro-life” politicians take the position that all abortions should be illegal except for those cases where there is rape or incest (a fairly small percentage of all pregnancies, I would think).


            Current public law, a compromise hammered out by the famous House leader, Henry Hyde, said that the government shouldn’t be in the business of funding abortions.  It is always interesting to see the radical left argue that taxpayer money should go to pay for abortions.  They like to say that it is a matter of fairness to poor people, that they get an equal chance to kill their babies.  (No sure how the poor babies feel about that). 


            Before he changed his position (he was running for President, so he had no choice, I guess) Jesse Jackson said this about abortion in arguing for the Hyde Amendment: “What happens to the mind of a person, and the moral fabric of a nation, that accepts the aborting of the life of a baby without a pang of conscience? What kind of a person and what kind of a society will we have twenty years hence if life can be taken so casually? It is that question, the question of our attitude, our value system, and our mind-set with regard to the nature and worth of life itself that is the central question confronting mankind. Failure to answer that question affirmatively may leave us with a hell right here on earth."


            When I was in college, I was ardently pro-choice, but the older I got and the more  I thought about it, the more pro-life I got.  Killing babies is bad public policy, and nobody has a right to kill a baby.  Sorry, I just don’t agree with the whole pro-choice thing.


            I used to get into arguments with some pro-choice friends and they would say that I was being inconsistent on life issues, because I was pro-life and pro-death penalty.  I now agree with them.  I have changed my position on the death penalty.  The state shouldn’t be in the business of putting people to death and it shouldn’t allow the killing of babies.


            Roe V. Wade, one of the worst-reasoned Supreme Court decisions in our nation’s history, still is pretty popular, despite its wrong-headed reasoning.  68% support the law as is.   So repealing it doesn’t seem reasonable until more Americans see the case differently.


            Obama has alienated many female voters with his treatment of Hillary Clinton.  His abortion views seem in line with many of those supporters but it doesn’t seem like he is getting much credit from that voting bloc.  But he is losing support with Catholic voters who do care about this issue by being so aggressively pro-abortion.  Appointing a pro-choice Catholic like Joe Biden will not likely help him with that voting bloc, despite his best efforts. 


            Barack Obama will probably be the most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history if he is elected.  The irony should be apparent to all who are paying attention.


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