Anti-abortion homicides have returned to the U.S. after nearly eight years of truce, casting a shadow on Barack Obama’s presidency and splitting the nation into two rival camps as diametrically opposed to each other as they were in the early 90’s.
Obama’s election has stripped the pro-life movement of any peaceful means to limit or end abortions. President Obama has already overturned Bush’s decision to hold back funding from aid agencies operating abroad that perform abortions. Obama has also allowed the use of tax revenues to fund stem cell research performed using aborted fetuses and has promised to sign a bill currently in Congress that would repeal virtually all restrictions and limits placed on abortion after the 1970s.
Throughout his career Obama has supported the right of every woman to control her so-called “reproductive health,” a term that more than half of Americans consider to be nothing more than a euphemism for the murder of unborn babies and do not approve of funding this activity through tax money.
Few think abortion will ever be criminalized, but equally few back any active federal support for abortions, which is exactly what the proposed bill would do. It would use federal legislation to repeal the over 550 state ordinances currently in use and approved by the Supreme Court.
States could no longer decide that minors have to inform parents before having an abortion. Nor could states require that information on the dangers of abortion be provided to those considering the operation, or enforce waiting periods for abortions. Additionally, hospitals run by churches would be forced to offer abortion services and doctors would be prohibited from declining to perform abortions on personal moral or ethical grounds.
With such far-reaching reforms in the pipeline, the U.S. Catholic Church, the Christian right and even a majority of the charismatic/evangelical Christian left are now challenging the new president. Immediately after Obama’s election Catholic bishops condemned the new abortion measures as crimes against the church and religious freedom. The Catholic Church has also threatened to close all its hospitals if the bill goes through, which would result in a decrease of healthcare coverage for a large portion of Americans. The Vatican has also forcefully condemned President Obama’s actions.
The leader of Evangelicals for Social Action, Ronald Sider, who backed Obama in the election, has spoken out in equally strong terms. Members of the organization knew Obama was in favor of upholding the current right to abortion, but were assured that he would not pursue any further measures supporting abortion. However, it seems that this is exactly what president Obama is about to do and the left-wing Christians are noticeably upset. On the other side of the political spectrum, the Christian right is already calling President Obama a “baby killer.” The Christian right has received lots of new momentum and supporters due to the row over abortion, making rumors of the movement’s death quite premature.
Thus Obama faces a tough dilemma. He must somehow satisfy the leftist elements in his own party calling for the abortion bill, but by signing the bill he would anger at least half of the American public. In such a scenario, promises made on the campaign trail about uniting the nation and making culture wars a thing of the past will be buried for good. A majority of Americans think even in the current economic downturn that the right of unborn children to life is a more important issue than keeping their neighbors’ or even their own jobs safe. Should Obama keep to the course he’s currently on, these Americans are sure to raise a storm to be remembered.