Wednesday 7 November 2012

Obama re-elected. What will it mean for beginning of life policy?

The man whom pro-life leaders have called ‘the most pro-abortion president in US history’ has been re-elected.

Obama snagged the race after taking key swing states, including Virginia, Ohio, and New Hampshire.

Obama’s support for liberal abortion has already been well documented (see here, here and full list of all his actions here).

But what will his re-election mean more generally with respect to issues at the beginning of life? The Hastings Centre in Washington DC has compiled a useful summary.


“[W]e will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, profoundly wrong and has no place in our society, or any society.”

Source: The White House website


President Obama believes a woman’s health care choices are personal decisions, best made with her doctor—without interference from politicians. He continues to support a woman’s right to choose under Roe v Wade.

Source: Campaign website

Conscience Clauses, Contraception, and Family Planning

The Obama Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services has issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that “guarantees women access to recommended preventive services including contraception without cost sharing, while ensuring that non-profit religious organizations are not forced to pay for, provide, or facilitate the provision of any contraceptive service they object to on religious grounds.”

Source: Department of Health and Human Services website

Stem Cell Research

“Today, with the Executive Order I am about to sign… we will lift the ban on federal funding for promising embryonic stem cell research. We will vigorously support scientists who pursue this research. And we will aim for America to lead the world in the discoveries it one day may yield…Medical miracles do not happen simply by accident. They result from painstaking and costly research – from years of lonely trial and error, much of which never bears fruit – and from a government willing to support that work… As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research – and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly."

Source: Executive Order Signing

Whatever we may think of Obama’s policy in other areas there is no doubt that his re-election does not bode well for human embryos, pre-born babies and Christian conscience.

Expect this to have an impact not just in the US but also with international funding and policy pushed by American delegates to the UN through groups like IPPF and UNFPA.


  1. Yep, it's true he's very liberal on abortion, can't deny that. You also can't deny that hes probably more committed to social justice than any other US president I can remember.

    1. Yes I agree that oppressing the poor is wrong but this is a blog about abortion, stem cells, conscience issues etc. Also I'm not clear how Obama getting the US into even worse debt by mortgaging the country to the Chinese is going to help the poor -

    2. He's trying to improve access to healthcare for America's poor, that's how. Now, the way he's finding the money could be called into question but when the UK government is trying to solve the problem by protecting the rich and taking from the poor, I think borrowing is more morally sound.

      The reason I'm playing devil's advocate with you Peter (apart from it being fun) is that I don't like it when Christian organisations such as CMF take sides with one political party as no party I have come across in US or UK politics is comitted to Christian values, not wholly anyway. Left-wing parties tend to fall down on moral/ethical issues and right-wing parties aren't very strong on social issues (the UK con-lib coalition is spectacularly weak in both areas). I appreciate that in a medical blog you have to concentrate on medical ethics, where conservatives seem to be stronger, however there is a danger in losing sight of the whole picture if you do this, which ends up with you giving the impression that certain politicians are the "correct" choice for Christians.

      Your move

    3. You'll find this blog I think to be a peculiar mixture of right and left which I hope reflects the fact that Christian ethics span both sides of the political spectrum. Jesus is concerned as much about the pre-born baby as he is about the child foraging on a rubbish tip.

      I think CMF's publications and activities also reflect this range of concerns. I write more on life ethics because that is what I'm most familiar with and because, as you say, it is both Christian and medical. But you'll see the range if you look at some of the stuff on global health, economics and developing world linked above. There's not enough space here to unpack my convictions on economics but they have aspects of both right and left.

      CMF certainly has no party affiliation and I personally do not currently support any of our three main parties.

    4. electrogoth: I agree with your analysis on the poor choices we have among today's parties.

      But I think it's wrong to call reducing benefits "taking from the poor". It's not taking, it's giving less. The only world in which those two things are equivalent is a world where all the money actually belongs to the state and anyone only has what they have because of the state's grace. That's not a Biblical picture and hopefully not a true one in the UK today either.

      One big difficulty (among many) with helping the poor via the mechanism of government is that you end up with the sense of entitlement that leads to calling reducing benefits "taking from the poor", as if it was their money that we are "taking away". Poor people need help, in accordance with their circumstances, but that help should be local and relational, not national and impersonal.

      Borrowing to fund benefits is effectively taking the money of our children (who will pay the taxes which repay the debt) and spending it on ourselves. The fact that we've been doing this for years, and can now no longer afford it, doesn't make it suddenly morally right to do it _more_.

  2. Having said that I could never vote for Obama because:

    1. He has done more than any other US president to promote abortion in the US and around the world resulting in millions of human deaths.

    2. Abortion is an incredibly important human rights issue because no one is more innocent, more vulnerable and killed in greater numbers than the preborn child - 42 million every year as against 57 million human deaths from all other causes combined.

    Let me put it another way. If a US president had perfect economic and social policy but was actively promoting child prostitution would you vote for him? I suspect not. I most certainly would not even contemplate it. Well child prostitution is a horrendous criminal act but it involves far fewer numbers than abortion and it maims rather than kills. Of course abortion is only one issue but many Christians don't see it as an issue at all. I think that is terribly sad.

    1. Peter, citations please.

      You assert (point 1) that he has promoted abortion AND that it has resulted in millions of human deaths. Provide a source for each or withdraw the statement.

      Suggesting that abortion is in any way akin to abusing a sentient being (child abuse) is ridiculous, it is no better than suggesting that the removal of a tumour is like wife beating.


  3. Are you saying child prostitution is less criminal than abortion? If anything it is much much worse. I suspect you would want your child dead rather than subject to rape or buggery. I know I certainly would.

    I don't care for Obama either, or any of our national parties in the UK for that matter, but when one has to choose between parties, one votes for the lesser of two or more evils. Personally, if I were American, I would have voted for Romney - but I guess other anti-abortion voters might still have chosen Obama.

    Electrogoth, are you American or British?

    1. Thanks James. I think they are equally evil but more are affected by abortion. I agree with you about the lesser of two evils.

  4. And again, after so many corrections by others, you fail to recognise that a foetus is NOT a human being. It lacks the conciousness to be called a sentient being. The fact that you still ignore this makes me think it is deliberate.

    Second, for someone who cares so much for the sanctity of life, you seem awfully quiet about the cases where a woman dies because she was denied an abortion. Case in point: and

    Third and final point would be this: for a medical professional, I believe it should be unnecessary for anyone to tell you that the human body is sacret and that medical decisions regarding it can only be made by the persion in question. Things like a tattoo or a blood transfusion (Iehova's Witnesses). What then gives you the right to advocate third party involvement in the decisions regarding biological processes of a woman's body?

    If you value life so much, adopt a child. Show true love for life itself. But please don't pretend to save anyone while in the mean time trying nothing more or less than forcing your world views upon the uteri of others.


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