Analysis

Salon: Obama’s presidency wasn’t pro-abortion enough

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President Barack Obama has made clear he would rather shut down the federal government than defund Planned Parenthood. He hails abortion as a “constitutional right” and put pro-abortion radicals Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court to protect it. He opposes banning abortion even in the third trimester. He condemns legislation requiring basic medical care for infants born after failed abortions. He blasts personhood as “absurd.”

He forced Americans to subsidize abortion via Obamacare—including nuns. He supports the right to abort a child based on the child’s sex, promoting abortion overseas, funding of medical research that kills human embryos, and forcing healthcare providers to participate in abortion. He expanded contraception funding.

His administration is unwilling to investigate Planned Parenthood despite video evidence of PP officials breaking multiple federal laws, and won’t even commit to enforcing legal protection for wanted babies harmed in crimes against their pregnant mothers. And he infamously voted multiple times to let Illinois hospitals starve newborns to death.

And yet, pro-abortion activists Erin Matson and Pamela Merritt write at Salon that Obama needs to “repair” his “compromised legacy on abortion rights.” Yes, really…

[B]y not advocating for the advancement of abortion rights [in his 2015 Women’s History Month speech], the president did a disservice to the millions of women for whom agency over their bodies is central not just to their economic freedom, but to their basic dignity as human beings. Perhaps his silence is due, in part, to his inexplicable failure to stand up for abortion rights for rape victims in war zones – a move fully within his executive power, and one that will stain his legacy toward women and girls if he doesn’t rectify it soon.

The absence of conversation and celebration of the full spectrum of reproductive rights is especially frustrating considering that politicians have shown that they will stop at nothing to infringe on basic dignity and human rights by passing laws restricting abortion access, chipping away at women’s opportunities for full participation in society.

After a couple paragraphs regurgitating the usual anti-Texas hysteria, the authors get back to their main point, that Obama needs to make up for—make sure you’re not drinking anything while you read this next line—“eight years of inaction on reproductive rights.”

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Re-read the first three paragraphs. Does that look like eight years of inaction to you? Incredibly, these ladies think it’s not enough because Obama has too often “let women down by conceding” to Congress:

He has been willing to uphold the Hyde Amendment and his egregious inaction on the Helms Amendment, which bars federal funding for abortion assistance overseas and which needs not exclude cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment, means he has work to do now.

In other words, Obama hasn’t been unwilling to act enough like a dictator for these ladies’ tastes when Congress won’t give him what he wants. It’s bad enough that he and his pro-abortion followers don’t respect the Constitution; Matson and Merritt seem unaware we have a Constitution.

Speaking of which, their other complaint is that Obama’s latest Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, “has no public legal or personal record on reproductive rights”:

Let us be clear: Yes, the Republican leadership has declared its intention to obstruct a vote on Garland’s nomination, insisting that the Supreme Court should remain one short until a new president is elected, in the hopes that one of their antiabortion candidates can nominate their own champion against progress. But that was no reason for the president to fail women once more by trying to compromise with what has become an uncompromising force.

Silence on abortion rights is not a net positive in a candidate; women deserve to know how a potential Supreme Court justice might vote on issues paramount to their health and well-being. They deserve leaders who are proud – not hesitant – to be their defenders.

In theory and up to a point, I agree—the modern tradition of “stealth nominees” who have to tiptoe around their positions with code like “precedent” and “legislate from the bench” is a farce that throws the objective of evaluating judges’ constitutional fidelity to the wayside. For better or for worse, of course we deserve to know exactly what their legal philosophy is and how they apply it to past rulings like Roe v. Wade.

In practice, though, the authors’ posturing is preposterous. However much they’d salivate over nominees singing Roe’s praises at their confirmation hearings, of course they know that stealth nominees have almost uniformly benefitted them—just as Garland likely would, considering his praise of Harry Blackmun, ties to William Brennan, mostly pro-abortion law clerks, and vote for the Obama contraception mandate.

So don’t let anyone tell you Barack Obama was a moderate or reasonable President. In the final analysis, he has slavishly protected nearly everything pro-aborts already have and given them virtually everything they demanded, within his ability to do so, only occasionally conceding to the most unavoidable confines of political circumstance. But those rare instances of him not being omnipotent are enough to give Erin Matson and Pamela Merritt the vapors.

There’s just no pleasing some people.

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