Obama and Abortion: A Pro-life Atheist’s Take

Obama and Abortion: A Pro-life Atheist’s Take April 30, 2008

Nat Hentoff, a self-described “Jewish, atheist, civil libertarian, left-wing pro-lifer,” had a column in the Washington Times on Monday describing his disillusionment with Candidate Obama over the abortion issue:

My initial inclination to support Sen. Barack Obama’s road to the White House came from his work as a Chicago community organizer and his record in the Illinois legislature. He actually worked to rescue school dropouts from a lifetime dead end as well as provide job training for the unemployed. Later, in the Illinois state Senate, he was able to get a law passed requiring police to electronically record interrogations and confessions in homicide cases. But my view of him changed as I learned his record on abortion.

I am a nonreligious pro-lifer, my only religion being the Constitution. And I am not a single-issue voter, having often supported candidates who are pro-choice because I knew their civil liberties and civil-rights records. For one example, I was a great admirer of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. (New York, where I live, has had no senators of his quality and principles since.) Although Mr. Moynihan was pro-abortion, he strongly opposed partial-birth abortion, which he described as “only minutes away from infanticide,” since the fetus (whom I regard as a human being) was already clearly among us.

I admire much of Mr. Obama’s record, including what he wrote in “The Audacity of Hope” about the Founders’ “rejection of all forms of absolute authority, whether the king, the theocrat, the general, the oligarch, the dictator, the majority… George Washington declined the crown because of this impulse.” But on abortion, Mr. Obama is an extremist. He has opposed the Supreme Court decision that finally upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act against that form of infanticide. Most startlingly, for a professed humanist, Mr. Obama in the Illinois Senate also voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. I have reported on several of those cases, when, before the abortion was completed, an alive infant was suddenly in the room. It was disposed of as a horrified nurse who was not necessarily pro-life followed the doctors’ orders to put the baby in a pail or otherwise get rid of the child.

As a longtime columnist, John Leo, has written of this form of fatal discrimination, these “mistakes” during an abortion, once born, cannot be “killed or allowed to die simply because they are unwanted.” Furthermore, as National Right to Life News” in its April issue included in its account of Mr. Obama’s actual votes on abortion, he “voted to kill a bill that would have required an abortionist to notify at least one parent before performing an abortion on a minor girl from another state.” These are conspiracies (and that’s the word) by pro-abortion extremists to transport a minor girl across state lines from where she lives, unbeknownst to her parents. This assumes that a minor fully understands the consequences of that irredeemable act.

More. (HT: First Things)

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  • jonathanjones02

    Whatever one thinks of the alternatives, Obama’s strong and unqualified support for abortion on demand is a complete non-starter.


    The above, and his sponsorship of the Freedom of Choice Act – one of his “highest priorities” – is disappointing, to say the least.

  • Mike J.

    Obama seems not just a little pro-choice, but *very* pro-choice. A couple of weeks ago there was a post at Mirror of Justice (can’t recall if it was linked here) which pointed out that neither Hillary nor Obama could muster a “personally opposed” phrase.

    I can even imagine the attack ad bringing up his vote against the Born-alive act. Split screen with Obama on one side with a dramatic re-enactment of putting a new-born in a pail. The middle of the field may be lukewarm when they dress things up with “fetus” and “tissue” but they’re not so stupid as to not recognize a new-born.

    Disappointing is an understatement.

  • Senator Obama is very pro-choice: he will tolerate no advancements, real or perceived, towards chipping away at the legal basis of the “right to choose.” Moreover, he openly seeks to strengthen the legal foundation for abortion rights.

  • “I can even imagine the attack ad bringing up his vote against the Born-alive act.”

    I can imagine such ads too. Unless the public then asks “If ,as you claim, State Senator Obama voted against this bill in 2003, why has John McCain done nothing since then to stop this practice?”