Barack Obama's "Faith Tour" needs some prayers. His month-long effort to court religious voters kicked off last week with mixed reactions. One of its first events in Virginia drew only 15 attendees, and Obama's Senior Religious Advisor was a no-show at a discussion with Evangelicals.
Obama's "family values" persona is wearing thin. His initial strategy was for his surrogates to proclaim him an "abortion reducer." But lately, Obama's "faith and values" have not amounted to more than blaming McCain for the state of the economy.
This rhetorical shift is not surprising. Posing Obama as an abortion-reducer was always a tough sell given his uncompromising pro-abortion record. But maybe Obama's team has also been reading recent research that quantifies just how much Obama will increase rather than decrease abortion.
By one stroke of the pen, Obama will increase abortions in the United States by 125,000 per year, at minimum. Calculating this increase starts with the Freedom of Choice Act, which Obama says is his top presidential priority. FOCA is a bill in the U.S. Congress that will do for abortion in the 21st century what the ERA would have done for radical feminism in the 1970s.
Reporters usually describe FOCA as "codifying Roe v. Wade," but this is a vast understatement. The Supreme Court allows states to create some obstacles to abortion, like parental consent for minors, but FOCA establishes abortion as a "fundamental right" which the government cannot "deny or interfere with." Notably, the current version of FOCA omits an exception that would have allowed states to continue to regulate abortion as they do now.
In fact, when it comes to FOCA, abortion advocates and opponents finally have something to agree on: FOCA will establish an absolute right to abortion, eliminating every legal limit on the practice.
LAST WEEK the U.S. Catholic Bishops added their legal analysis to that of pro-life groups Americans United for Life and the Family Research Council, concluding that FOCA will sweep away all state abortion restrictions. The bill's sponsors variously concur, including NOW, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and Senator Barbara Boxer.
FOCA's elimination of pro-life laws shows how much Obama will increase abortion. Dr. Michael New has published several studies on abortion reduction and was cited in a Washington Post article last week. His research shows that abortions are reduced in statistically significant ways by state pro-life laws requiring parental involvement in abortion, requiring informed consent, and prohibiting state Medicaid funding of abortion.
The Post confirms this view by reporting that the abortion rate dropped steadily not only under President Clinton and but also under both Presidents Bush. Obama had denied this fact, but it shows that abortion reduction coincides with the passage of pro-life laws rather than with presidential economic policy.
Specifically, Dr. New's data shows that pro-life laws reduce abortion in the United States by at least 125,000 every year. The number is reached by counting the projected number of women of childbearing age in 2009 in each of the majority of states that have the laws that FOCA will strike down, and then applying Dr. New's reduction rates.
Thus when Obama promised the abortion giant Planned Parenthood that "the first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act," he was effectively promising to increase abortions by 125,000 per year in the United States. And since Planned Parenthood performs 25% of all abortions in the country, that promise meant a fat $15 million bonus for PP.
Obama's increase in abortions will be even larger, though in ways not yet quantifiable. States will be blocked from passing new pro-life laws, and Obama will fund abortions federally as well as internationally. FOCA will also strike down all bans on partial birth abortion, and will force states to violate the conscience rights of pro-life doctors.
OBAMA'S CLAIM to otherwise reduce abortions by funding pregnancy is highly suspect. The yeoman's work of giving women financial assistance to choose life is done by the thousands of pro-life pregnancy centers throughout the country. Yet Obama has not and, politically, could not support those centers. Planned Parenthood is working to outlaw rather than fund them, so as to halt any competition.
In contrast, the McCain/Palin platform calls for government assistance to pro-life centers. And there is no reason to believe McCain would veto any pregnancy funding that Obama would instead approve. Comparing these two candidates, nothing at all supports Obama's abortion-reduction hypothesis.
"Obama pro-lifers" are thus an oxymoron. They must utterly ignore the fact about Obama's six-figure abortion increase, while chanting impossibly vague notions about how "improving the economy" will reduce abortion.
All this does not bode well for book-signings on the "Faith Tour." It is may well be a farewell tour for Obama's "abortion reduction" message, and for his would-be Evangelical voters.
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