The State of the Union, Abortion, and the President’s Hollow Plea

The State of the Union, Abortion, and the President’s Hollow Plea January 21, 2015

Source: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
Source: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Tuesday night, President Obama delivered his next-to-last State of the Union address. It was forgettable political theater, a sluggish homily to supporters and recycled talking points to everyone else. Shortly before the address, however, a more significant event took place. The White House informed Congress, via communique, that the President would veto a Republican-sponsored bill to outlaw most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

While President Obama’s absolutist views on abortion are not breaking news, this is a particularly extreme position. An unborn child has significant physiological development at twenty weeks. Thanks to modern medical technology, all Americans are able to see for themselves how completely human the twenty week-old fetus really is. Consequently, a strong majority of Americans favor outlawing abortions after the 20 week mark. President Obama’s views here put him well outside popular pro-choice ideology and on the fringe of the feminist and liberal camps.

Just hours after taking his stance, the President spoke to the nation about his economic plans. Without the slightest irony, he urged the government and the citizenry to support his policies on the basis that they would help care for and esteem children:

Because — because I want this chamber, I want this city, to reflect the truth that for all our blind spots and shortcomings, we are a people with the strength and generosity of spirit to bridge divides, to unite in common effort, to help our neighbors, whether down the street or on the other side of the world.

I want our actions to tell every child, in every neighborhood: your life matters, and we are as committed to improving your life chances…as committed as we are we are to working on behalf of our own kids. [Emphasis mine]

As respectfully as I can, I have to say to the President that this is simply inexcusable and insufferable ignorance. I can think of no more laughable moral platform than that which gives pretense to valuing the lives of children, while at the same time declaring that the most defenseless and the most vulnerable among them should be denied the human right of life.

This is moral cowardice in the extreme. It is ideology’s complete triumph over integrity and justice. And it renders the President’s words a hollow and hypocritical sham.

Denny Burk is exactly correct:

Where is the concern for “every child” being able to know that their life matters? Where is the burden to improve the “life chances” of unborn children? Nowhere. In fact, his administration doesn’t even acknowledge that they are a part of the moral equation. He doesn’t even acknowledge them at all! Rather, his administration cites “reproductive rights” and the “right to choose” as if they are absolute and inviolable rights. Bottom line: He believes that unborn children are nothing.

Mr. Obama can speak as glowingly about cooperation, unity, and “coming together” as his oratorical gifts can manage. It is utterly meaningless claptrap as long as his administration holds the outrageous belief that babies like this one are sub-human and unworthy of even basic legal protection. The fact that Mr. Obama and his party are willing to stand athwart of American persuasion shows that it is a matter of conviction. That makes the moral hypocrisy all the more frightening.

Until Mr. Obama “evolves” on this issue, as he claims to have done on same-sex marriage, no genuinely pro-life American voter can see value in his appeals to the well-being of children in his economic policy. His is a hollow plea indeed, an appeal to a moral standard that his administration and his party seem eager to escape.

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