On the 36th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision to repeal all state laws that banned abortion, what did President Obama do to mark the occasion? Nothing. Despite organized marches and protests that took place in the capitol and around the country, President Obama did not comment or address the occasion. This may be because he was still learning the ropes of his new position and had more pressing matters to address.
That being said, in a July 17, 2007 speech given during a Planned Parenthood Action Fund appearance, he stated, “The first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing I’d do.” The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) retroactively eliminates limitations set by Roe v Wade and other laws, and allows for non-parental notification and partial-birth abortion. In addition, it prevents any future limitations from being imposed.
While the anniversary came and went, the day after was a different story. On January 23rd, reports came out of the White House that President Obama would be lifting a ban against federal funds going to any international organization that performs or promotes abortion. This act would reverse the “Mexico City Policy” reinstated by President George W. Bush in 2001. Initiated by President Reagan (1984), the policy was in effect until President Clinton repealed it in 1993.
It is not the promised signing of the Freedom of Choice Act, but it is one more win for the pro-choice crowd.
The White House website states in the agenda section that “President Obama understands that abortion is a divisive issue, and respects those who disagree with him. However, he has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women’s rights under Roe v. Wade a priority in his Administration. He opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in that case.”
According to the Project Vote Smart database, from March 2005 through February 2008, of the five listed abortion-related pieces of legislation up for vote, Sen. Obama gave no vote on three. He voted for the Unintended Pregnancy Amendment and no on the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act.
If conservatives are to hold the President to his words, this is one promise they may wish he’d break. Based upon all of the evidence, it is likely that at some point during his first 100 days, the promised signing of FOCA will occur.
However, if FOCA is made law, will it set a precedent for additional retroactive and future-controlling laws to be put into place? Is one retroactive and forever unchanging law appropriate for a democracy? Before you answer, consider that such wording could be enacted in a law you would be against.
One Million for Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood/Presidential Candidate Information Site
“Full Speech” link to Video of Full Speech by Barack Obama
Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA)
The Library of Congress – Thomas Library
Obama to Lift Ban on Overseas Abortion Funding
FoxNews.com. January 23, 2009
The White House Website
Agendas – Women – Reproductive Choices
Project Vote Smart
Voting Record Database
‘Jane Roe’ Rethinks: Pro-life advocates welcome Norma McCorvey’s change. Brian Caulfield.
Catholic New York. August 17, 1995