The stakes for life
Everyone knows the presidential election will hinge on the economy. But I think abortion will also be on many voters’ minds. That’s because the candidates are presenting voters with sharply contrasting agendas on the defining civil rights issue of our time.
Mitt Romney has promised to repeal Obamacare, including its onerous contraceptive and abortion drug mandate, which violates the conscience rights of many religious employers by forcing them to pay for their employees’ birth control.
Democrats used to call for policies that made abortion “safe,” “legal” and “rare.” Under Obama, “rare” has been replaced with “available regardless of ability to pay”—in other words “on demand.”
If re-elected, President Obama will preside over first the full implementation, then the expansion, of Obamacare. Employers who object to being forced to pay for birth control may soon find themselves paying for their employees’ surgical abortions too.
Obama can achieve this administratively because Obamacare grants the Department of Health and Human Services unprecedented powers to determine the law’s meaning. The law includes more than 2,500 references to the HHS secretary (pro-abortion rights Kathleen Sebelius), many of which give her discretion over what action to take. For example, on 139 occasions the law discusses decisions that the “secretary determines.”
Inauguration Day, January 20, 2013, will not only mark the start of a new presidential administration. It also comes just two days before the 40th anniversary of the most important date for abortion in America, the day the Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade, the court’s 1973 decision legalizing most abortions nationally.
The court is comprised of four liberals, four conservatives and one moderate justice. Just one vacancy could determine whether Roe is overturned (thus sending abortion law back to the states) or remains the law of the land, perhaps for decades to come.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg turns 80 next March, and with three other justices in their 70s (one liberal, one conservative, one moderate), it is likely that there will be at least one vacancy during the next presidential term.
Obama has vowed to nominate pro-Roe justices like the two he’s already appointed, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Romney has said he’d be “delighted” to sign a federal abortion ban and has promised to appoint justices in the mold of Chief Justice John Roberts and Samuel Alito. All the judges on Romney’s short list are seen as likely votes to overturn Roe.
Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion business, got a lot of attention during the presidential debates. It receives $350 million annually from taxpayers in the form of government grants and contracts, even though its annual profits exceed $20 million.
Planned Parenthood centers across the country have been exposed for committing numerous offenses—including refusing to comply with statutory rape reporting laws and parental consent laws, performing illegal late-term abortions, consenting to abortions based solely on the baby’s sex and overcharging clients on birth control.
Romney has pledged to defund Planned Parenthood “immediately” upon entering office. But Obama is fully committed to continuing Planned Parenthood funding. He’s also vigorously fought states that chose not to fund it. At least nine states have passed laws banning abortion groups like Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicaid dollars. The Obama administration has taken a hard line in discouraging such laws, blocking many from taking effect.
Mitt Romney has pledged to reinstate the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits organizations that receive U.S. taxpayer funding from promoting or performing abortions abroad.
On only his third day in office, Obama rescinded the Mexico City Policy, and he went on to make abortion a key component of his administration’s diplomatic agenda.
Obama began a massive funding push to promote abortion as a “basic right” across the globe. The Global Health Initiative commits the U.S. to spending $63 billion to promote that cause, and Obama appointed abortion activist Lois Quam as GHI’s executive director.
The administration has lobbied foreign governments to reject pro-life laws and to embrace abortion as a constitutional right. In 2010, the administration worked with Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups and spent $23 million (perhaps illegally) to promote ratification of a national constitution in Kenya that radically liberalized the country’s abortion laws.
Obama has spent billions promoting abortion abroad, and that would doubtless continue in a second term.
Election Day offers voters clear choices on a variety of important issues. The election will determine whether we as a country continue to head down the road toward European socialism or instead embrace free markets; whether we have a smaller or larger federal government; and whether we embrace a confident foreign policy or continue to surrender to the jihadists.
But at least as important is the decision about whether we will continue to slaughter millions of innocents or welcome them into the world and protect them under the law.