This past presidential election seems to have left many trying to appease their conscious. The largest group seems to be prolifers who voted for Obama. These people tended to declare themselves prolife and yet in the same sentence managed to say that politics, especially this election would not really affect that issue. Their reasoning was, we had a Republican president for eight years and still have abortion.
Issues of policy are not easily overturned. But take time based on their legislative and case history. Abortion will require steps to change and overturn. It is easier to expand than restrict. Before voting, people need to inform themselves about the candidate, and the positions of the parties, especially when they claim to believe in, or an issue is important to them. One should not vote because of the suave appeal of the candidate, history has repeatedly shown where that leads.
To those who believed Bush did not have any effect on the abortion issue, and that Obama was not the most prochoice politician we have seen to date, pay attention to the coming years. Some of Bush’s policies on abortion were blasted across the news during his presidency. Bush passed and ordered numerous measures to curtail abortion.
In fact, he started within days of getting into office. One of the first things he did as president was to stop international funding for abortions. Bush did so through an executive order, in which he stated, “It is my conviction that taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortions or advocate or actively promote abortion, either here or abroad.” Obama however, has twice voted against bills prohibiting tax funding to be used to fund abortions.
Within the same year, he issued another executive order restricting federal funding on embryonic stem cell research. (One should note he did not forbid such research. For those supporting such measure it is still open to public funding…). Bush issued two vetoes in the previous years to reject legislation that would ease restrictions on the funding. Obama has said he will reverse such a decision. What is to prevent creating fetuses merely for their stem cells? Abortion could thereby be encouraged and justified because it provides the needed fetuses.
Bush supported the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. If a baby is born alive it is given the legal rights of a human under federal law. This is regardless of what stage they were born in or if the birth occurred during an abortion. The bill was to provide medical treatment for babies who survived premature inducement for the purpose of abortion, and for babies (not those to be aborted) who were born prematurely. Only 15 members of the house opposed, and it unanimously passed in the senate. NARAL Pro-Choice American did not even oppose the bill. During this same time, Obama was a state senator, and a similar bill came forward on the state level. Obama refused to support such legislation, his reasoning was he did not want to admit that such babies were people. Because if these babies, which were fully born and outside of the womb, where considered people, they would be protected by the Constitution under the 14th amendment.
The bill came before the Judiciary Committee, on which Obama was a member. The first time he voted present and the second no. The bill was then sent to the senate’s Health and Human Services Committee, which Obama chaired and he never called the bill up for a vote. Obama explained in 2001, “It would essentially bar abortions because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this was a child then this would be an anti-abortion statute.” However, this bill just like the federal one did nothing to overturn or even oppose Roe. Obama (along with numerous others) had been assured of, but still continued to use it as an excuse to oppose the bill and later to justify his opposition.
What Bush is best known for is the partial birth abortion ban. This was, and still is, a very controversial and contested issue in the media. It was immediately contested in various state courts, the main one in Nebraska. But in April 2007, the Supreme Court upheld the ban. The bill stops doctors from performing abortions on second and third trimester fetuses. The procedure this late in the pregnancy involves delivering everything but part of the fetus (usually the head), and at that point the horrid act is performed. Such a bill had been raised by the Republicans twice during the Clinton years but twice he vetoed it. Once the bill was finally passed under Bush the fight was far from over. Bush however, was not going to bow down to the courts and let liberals once again have their way. He stated, “the facts about partial-birth abortion are troubling and tragic and no lawyer’s brief can make them see otherwise. The executive branch will vigorously defend this law by any who would try to overturn it in the courts.” Finally they were victorious, but the fight is far from over.
Given Obama’s record measures to overturn will most likely be taken during the Obama years, and similar cases could overturn or modify this decision since the members of the Court are likely to change. Michelle Obama even sent out a letter in 2004, explaining how partial birth abortion was an important medical procedure and needs to be protected. When the partial birth abortion ban was up in the Illinois Senate he voted present twice.
Bush also signed the Unborn Victim’s of Violence Act of 2004. The bill is also known as Laci and Conner’s Law, after Laci Peterson and her unborn son. The bill lays out 60 federal crimes in which an unborn child can be considered a legal victim. An example was Scott Peterson, he was charged with double homicide, Laci and her unborn son. At its signing ceremony Bush said, “Any time an expectant mother is a victim of violence, two lives are in the balance, each deserving protection, and each deserving justice. If the crime is murder and the unborn child’s life ends, justice demands a full accounting under the law.”
Bush also appointed judges to the various courts that would uphold these positions, and largely those of his party. The Supreme Court appointments were a fierce battle in Congress because the democrat senators fight to keep anyone, no matter how qualified, off of the bench who may, even slightly, lean to the prolife side.
For those who used Bush’s abortion record to justify voting for Obama, I challenge you to look at what Bush accomplished and Obama’s opinion on these policies (most he has said he will reverse). There are reasons he was considered the most liberal member of the senate.
Filed under: Election '08, Miscellaneous, National politics, Virginia Politics | Tagged: 2008, Abortion, Barack Obama, Bush, John McCain | 1 Comment »