Crisis Magazine for Thursday had a hard-hitting article by George Neumayr, former Editor of Catholic World Report. Entitled “President Obama and the Primitivism of Planned Parenthood”, Neumayr highlighted the determinedly anti-life stance of the President, who chose to speak at a conference of Planned Parenthood, one of the US’s most powerful abortion providers.
Obama chose to pour scorn on the efforts of pro-life campaigners in states such as North Dakota and Mississippi, telling his appreciative audience “When you read about some of these laws, you want to check the calendar; you want to make sure you’re still living in 2013.” This is a common ploy among progressives: to make their opponents sound out of date, old-fashioned, stuck in yesterday’s antiquated and hard-hearted mores. (The same emotive tactics were used by Piers Morgan in his CNN debate of March 26 with Ryan Anderson, author of “What is Marriage? Man and Woman”, over same-sex marriage; in that instance the young man bravely stuck to his guns, refusing to bow to Morgan or the studio audience, all of whom, it seems, were against him.)
As Neumayr points out in his article, Obama was careful not to use the word “abortion.” Even for abortion supporters the word has come to have queasy connotations, especially, perhaps, because of the current notorious trial of Kermit Gosnell, the legally-approved abortionist of Philadelphia, whose clinic has demonstrated to the world that there is often very little to choose between so-called “back street” abortions and their high street counterparts.
In his carefully chosen words, the President said, “For nearly a century now, one core principle has guided everything all of you do – that women should be allowed to make their own decisions about their own health.” Referring to Roe v Wade, which put abortion on the statute books, Obama continued, “Forty years after the Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s constitutional right to privacy, including the right to choose, we shouldn’t have to remind people that when it comes to a woman’s health, no politician should get to decide what’s best for you.” “Health”, “choice”, “privacy”; how reasonable these words sound, taken out of context; but in the context in which they are used, they simply veil the brutal activities of men like Kermit Gosnell.
The Planned Parenthood audience listened appreciatively as Obama went on to reassure them that “after decades of progress, there’s still those who want to turn the clock back to policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century. And they’ve been involved in an orchestrated and historic attempt to roll back basic rights when it comes to women’s health.” As has been pointed out by other commentators, the 1950s in the US were not, in fact, the dark ages of civilisation from which we have been liberated: marriages then were more stable and intact; families were larger; there was a shared consensus on the meaning of marriage and a shared clarity on right and wrong behaviour.
Interestingly, during his first term of office, Obama opposed granting minors non-prescription access to abortifacients. Now, confidently into in his second term, his administration allows over-the-counter sales of these powerful drugs for ages 15 and above. Planned Parenthood applauded the President for this decision but, inevitably, the organisation is now pushing for more: that all age barriers to abortifacients be removed.
Obama concluded his speech with fighting talk: “Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere”, he declared and reassured his audience that he would “be right there with you fighting every step of the way.”
And who is the President targeting with all the presidential powers, real and rhetorical, at his disposal? Defenceless unborn children.