CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

In an earlier post, I noted that Obama had taken what I (and many in the pro-life movement) believe to be an extreme position by signing an executive order that reversed President Bush's earlier order prohibiting federal money to be given to organizations that perform or counsel abortions. I opined that such a move was not good.

In the comments to that post, one reader named "A Hermit" argued:

[S]ince the majority of Americans in polls regularly express their support for women's right to control what happens inside their own bodies it is you who are in opposition to what Americans think their tax dollars should support.

I responded:

Now, with respect to the polling -- yes, more Americans claim to be somewhat pro-choice (by margins mostly within the margin of error), but those that believe that they should always be legal are in the distinct minority. Moreover, I know of no poll where a majority of Americans approve of the government funding abortions. Do you have one?

To my reading, there was no response to that question.

But now Gallup has fortunately answered my question. According to an article entitled Poll: Majority Of Americans Oppose Obama On Abortion in the Bulletin, the American public convincingly rejects the reversal of the Mexico City Policy which had prohibited such funding in the Bush administration.

[W]hen it comes to one of his first acts as the 44th president — publicly funding overseas abortion providers — the American public unmistakably rejects the policies of Barack Obama.

According to a new poll released yesterday by Gallup, just 35 percent of those polled agreed with Mr. Obama’s decision to reverse the Mexico City and permit the use of U.S. tax dollars to fund family planning organizations that provide abortions.

Assuming that the majority of the Americans are pro-choice (which is not necessarily true), the early polls show that the American people are solidly opposed to the reversal of the Mexico City Policy (inaptly named the "Global Gag Rule" by opponents). For a politician who ran on the platform of bi-partisanship, President Obama certainly seems inclined to care little for public opinion that opposes his stated (and extreme) views favoring abortion.

9 comments:

[S]ince the majority of Americans in polls regularly express their support for women's right to control what happens inside their own bodies it is you who are in opposition to what Americans think their tax dollars should support.

This is quite a leap in logic.

For example, many people support the right of protesters to burn the American flag but that does not mean they think the government should be buying the flags to be burned.

There's lots of myths going around about FOCA. Check Snopes to get the facts.

From snopes:

FOCA contains no provisions for direct federal (or other governmental) funding of abortions, and the 1976 Hyde Amendment currently prohibits the use of any federal Medicaid funds to cover the costs of abortions.

Thanks for the Snopes article, OSO. However, the main thrust of the post isn't about FOCA, but about the Mexico City Policy which, when revoked by President Obama, absolutely allows federal funds to be used for abortions.

If you are referencing the link in my post where it is mentioned that President Obama favors FOCA, then it is good news if it isn't everything that pro-lifers fear. However, nothing in the Snopes link makes it clear that these things won't happen. In fact, following the link to the House version of the prior FOCA bill, the bill effectively overrides any restrictions on abortions that have been put in place by the 50 states with the language that reads:

A government may not--

(1) deny or interfere with a woman's right to choose--

(A) to bear a child;

(B) to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability; or

(C) to terminate a pregnancy after viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman....


Given that "the health of the woman" has been interpreted so broadly that virtually any harm to the woman (including mental or financial stress) justifies abortion -- even partial birth abortion, the Snopes article (which seems to treat the arguments being made by proponents as dispositive of the issues) does not do much to ease my concerns.

Finally, we don't know what form FOCA will take under President Obama which the Democrat run Congress recognizing that they only need to convince one or two Republicans to switch sides to be able to come up with a filibuster proof vote.

The Gallup poll question misrepresents the situation by asking about money going to clinics which actually provide abortions when in fact it's any clinic which even mentions abortions that loses its funding.

But let's get back to my earlier question:

If a woman's long term health, life or fertility is at risk from a pregnancy should abortion be an option? Or should that woman have to accept disability, infertility (and what about all those children she'll never have?!) or death?

This is especially pertinent in this discussion, because in many, if not most, of the countries affected by Bush's gag rule those are the only circumstances in which abortion is permitted.

However, nothing in the Snopes link makes it clear that these things won't happen.

The onus is upon opponents of FOCA to point out what it says, not what "might" happen.

Obviously legalised abortion is problematic for all Christians who hold to the Bible (myself as one of them). Yet there is not always a direct link between loosened legislation and an increase in abortions.

The main reason why I am not too concerned about FOCA and Obama is that, firstly, abortions dropped during Clinton's two terms which sets the precedent of a pro-choice president overseeing a drop in abortion rates (a process which may happen again) and, secondly, because neither Bush nor the republican congress between 2001-2006 made any significant changes to abortion practices in the US, which sets the precedent that even when pro-life politicians are in power, they have had little effect in reducing abortions or changing societal attitudes towards it.

The reality is that Barack Obama holds to a pro-choice position that is favoured by a substantial amount of Americans. Only time will tell whether his time in office has a positive or negative effect on the amount of abortions performed.

A Hermit,

I still haven't seen a reputable source that backs up your first sentence. The language says that they have to promote abortion -- a mere mention seems to not fall within the purview.

Second, most pro-lifers I know (including myself) agree that abortion is okay to protect the life and the actual long-term physical health of the mother. Why do you assume that they don't?

OSO,

You are right in that the onus is on the parties to point out what it says. That is why I pointed out exactly what the bill says. I find it really interesting that you think that removing restrictions on abortion would not cause an increase in abortion. On what basis do you make that claim?

The reason abortions dropped during the Clinton administration is because of aggressive laws being passed in the states that helped to limit abortions. FOCA, as written, would overturn these laws. Moreover, the reason that Bush and the Republicans were limited in what they could do with laws about abortion is the line of cases in the Supreme Court following Griswold v. Connecticut that made abortion a Constitutional right. One cannot overturn a Constitutional right though legilsation.

Your last sentence ignores the entire point of this post which very simply argues strongly agaist your argument.

"I still haven't seen a reputable source that backs up your first sentence. The language says that they have to promote abortion -- a mere mention seems to not fall within the purview."

Yes you have; I gave you a number of links. You're just making excuses so you can ignore the real world effects of the gag rule. You still haven't offered a single source, reputable or otherwise, to contradict what I've posted here.

"Second, most pro-lifers I know (including myself) agree that abortion is okay to protect the life and the actual long-term physical health of the mother. Why do you assume that they don't?"

If that's the case why are you in favour of a gag rule? Many of the countries affected by the gag rule only allow abortion in cases where the mother's life or long term health is threatened. If you agree that abortion is a legitimate option in those cases then why are you in favour of withdrawing that option? Why withdraw funding for all health services from any agency which advises a woman that the State clinic down the road can provide her with an abortion if her pregnancy might kill her? Especially since the loss of all the other services those agencies provide leads to more unplanned pregnancies, more abortions, and more unsafe abortions. If saving lives is your concern then lifting the gag rule has to be seen as a good thing.

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