One of President Obama's frequent refrains is that Americans need to come together on the abortion issue. Unfortunately, he's done nothing to make that happen.
At his controversial Notre Dame commencement address, Obama talked up drafting "a sensible conscience clause" and ensuring "that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women."
It's an approach close to the one pushed by pro-choice politicians for decades -- keep abortion safe, legal, and rare. Let's look for common ground, they say, and agree to disagree on the rest.
If that's Obama's standard, why has he opposed even the most common sense pro-life legislation? From partial-birth abortion bans to parental consent laws, Obama and his pro-choice allies have done their best to block and impede anything and everything pro-life, including the most low-level restrictions.
One of the most glaring examples is a bill in Congress that would require abortionists to give women a chance to see an ultrasound image of their unborn child prior to an abortion. The measure doesn't compel women to view the image -- it simply provides the option.
House liberals, those alleged champions of free choice, have obstructed an up or down vote on the bill. If abortion supporters truly seek common ground with pro-lifers, what better place to start than by giving women more information to make a better educated decision about the fate of their unborn child?
An ultrasound bill would aid Obama's goal of making abortion less common, since research indicates that women are more likely to choose life when they see an image of their child in the womb. But it's precisely because the bill would reduce abortions that liberals oppose it. Their goal isn't to cut down on the number of procedures, and never has been. Rather, it's to ensure that abortion-on-demand is uninhibited.
That attitude is in contrast to the prevailing viewpoint of the American people. A widely publicized Gallup poll in May found that, for the first time since Gallup started the poll in 1995, a majority of Americans identify as "pro-life."
Even more damning, a Harris survey from late 2008 found that 88 percent of respondents favored providing women with information on the procedure and alternatives prior to an abortion. Requiring abortionists to make available an ultrasound image would tally with that goal.
For all his speechifying about the importance of science, Obama is an anti-science advocate when it comes to ultrasounds. As a Fox News article suggests, one of the reasons more Americans view themselves as pro-life might be thanks to ultrasound technology, which presents a window into the womb unimaginable when the U.S. Supreme Court concocted a constitutional right to abortion in Roe v. Wade.
In other words, popular opinion is changing thanks to scientific advancement. Specialists today know more than ever about how unborn life develops. Given the opposition of social leftists to any ultrasound bill, it appears they're wishing these new technologies had never been developed.
If the president wants to extend an olive branch to the other side, what better way than to back legislation that would help women make a better-informed choice? Looking at Obama's record in the Illinois Senate and, later, United States Senate gives a solid answer. Aside from a few rhetorical bones thrown to pro-lifers, Obama has never made an effort to find concrete common ground on the issue. Just the opposite, in fact.
Even on pro-life bills that a significant majority of Americans support -- such as a ban on partial-birth abortion and protections for infants born alive after botched abortions--Obama has sided with the most extreme pro-abortion lawmakers.
If that's common ground, I'd hate to see the other thing.
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