Special Report

Meet the Obama Pro-Lifers

They are spearheading the effort to tell pro-life voters that Obama will reduce abortion.

By 9.12.08

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Have you met the "Welfare-Only Pro-Lifers"? They are spearheading Barack Obama's effort to tell pro-life voters that Obama will reduce abortion. What WOPLs are not telling people is that John McCain would fund abortion-reduction, too, while Obama's other policies will vastly increase abortion.

WOPLs believe that being a pro-life candidate means nothing more than giving government funding to low income women during and after pregnancy. WOPLs take their lead from Obama himself. Alongside his clumsy abortion comments, Obama often suggests that government funding would help women choose not to abort.

WOPLs include people like law professor Doug Kmiec, whose book Can a Catholic Support Him [Obama]? will be released September 15. Kmiec and Obama both point to the Democratic Party platform's new call for government-funded health care related to pregnancy (even though the platform no longer wants abortion to be "rare"). Not coincidentally, the WOPL group "Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good" released a study during the Democratic convention claiming that government funding can reduce abortions.

In a recent New York Times interview Kmiec issued his audacious claim: if Obama will "reduce the incidence of abortion," "how could a Catholic not support Barack Obama?" (Emphasis added.)

Kmiec's problem, and that of other WOPLs, is that they don't know how to balance an equation. They ignore two essential facts: that most of Obama's actions will increase abortion, and that their speculation about abortion-reduction would also occur under McCain.

Obama will strike down every limit on abortion in all 50 states, including parental involvement in abortion. This revolution will come through the Freedom of Choice Act, which Obama solemnly told the abortion industry he would sign immediately upon becoming President.

Obama will then change federal law to fund abortions directly. A 2007 study by Dr. Michael New shows that these laws collectively prevent tens of thousands of abortions every year.

Obama will also legalize partial-birth abortion, appoint only pro-abortion judges, and continue to rationalize his pro-infanticide voting record.

McCain would do none of these things, and has chosen a staunchly pro-life running-mate. Most importantly, McCain does not oppose government funding around pregnancy. A closer look shows that Obama, not McCain, opposes several types of government aid for women and their babies.

The Pregnant Women Support Act is a bipartisan federal bill that the "Catholics in Alliance" study praises. Yet Obama voted against a provision, which is in one version of the PWSA, to fund health insurance for unborn children.

Moreover, Obama almost certainly opposes funding for the thousands of pro-life pregnancy centers that are the real leaders in directly assisting women every day. Obama has pledged his unswerving loyalty to the nation's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.

PP considers pro-life centers to be public enemy number one, and actively works to outlaw them. Obama's abortion handlers would mutiny if he ever hinted at funding pro-life pregnancy centers.

Meanwhile, the McCain/Palin platform declares that "government must find new ways to empower and strengthen" pro-life pregnancy centers, which "provide critical services to pregnant mothers in need." They also point out McCain's extensive voting record in favor of adoption assistance.

And McCain has given a prominent role in his campaign to pro-life Senator Sam Brownback, a longtime supporter of funding abortion alternatives.

Funding for women that don't abort would not fall prey to McCain's well-known budget hawkishness, which instead seeks to eliminate wasteful earmarks. Perhaps McCain might veto a bill that, in addition to funding alternatives to abortion, also funds abortion and Planned Parenthood (which seems to be Obama's "abortion reduction" approach). Such a veto, however, is not an argument why pro-lifers should vote for Obama instead of McCain. Quite the contrary. If Obama wants that kind of bill, he is not serious about "rising above" the abortion wars to reduce abortion.

In sum, there is no tangible reason to fear that McCain would veto abortion-alternative funding. McCain could make it even more clear by publicly stating his support for specific types of funding, in addition to those he mentions in his platform.

The WOPL argument is therefore irrelevant to this presidential campaign. Yet WOPLs will persist. They will continue to gush about Obama's emotional attractiveness. They will also revert to the old liberal Catholic attack against "single issue voting," by which the only issue they don't consider important is abortion.

But history is against them. In the past two presidential elections, more rather than fewer devout Christians decided to vote pro-life. That's why liberals adopted their new "WOPL" persona in the first place, and that's why it will fail in 2008.

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About the Author

Matt Bowman is a constitutional law attorney in Washington, D.C.