In the News 2011

Obama attacked on abortion — by abortion rights groups


As news of the Osama bin Laden raid recedes, politics returns — and President Obama is taking heat from a big part of his political base: abortions rights supporters.

Conscience magazine, published by the group Catholics for Choice, produced a symposium from writers questioning Obama’s commitment to abortion rights.

A sampling, from the Catholics for Choice website:

In the lead article, “Is Obama Prochoice?” Jodi Jacobson reflects on what
appears to be a volte-face between Candidate Obama and President
Obama. “As a candidate, Obama said all the right things. As a president,
his actions suggest that then-presidential contender and current
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was right—he will not fight for us.… The
president has presided over the greatest erosion to women’s
reproductive health and rights in the past 30 years, and a continuing
degradation of our rights at the state level. Yet still he remains silent. Is
Obama prochoice? Not by my definition.”

Jonathan Stern of the Global AIDS Alliance suggests that Obama’s record
is inferior to that of his predecessor, George W. Bush. In “Better the Devil
You Know?” he explains his disenchantment with the current
administration. “While many of us strongly support President Obama’s
economic, tax, energy and foreign policy—particularly compared with
those of President Bush—we are very disappointed, even disillusioned,
with his global health policy. His ‘commitment’ was a bait and switch. In
effect, on this topic, the ‘devil’ we knew was better than the angel we

Noted political journalist Sarah Posner decries the lack of oversight at the
Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships in one of two
articles on religion and public policy. In “President Obama’s Religion
Problem,” she explains how the office’s head, Joshua DuBois, refuses to
tell anybody what he does; has done little if anything to see through the
office’s stated priorities—especially as they relate to discrimination—in
hiring issues; and doesn’t seem to be held accountable by anyone.
In “All at Sea: USAID under Obama,” author and journalist Michelle
Goldberg reveals the prochoice community’s fears that because the
administration wasn’t willing to take a strong stand when Democrats
were in a position of strength, they’ll be even weaker now that the
Republicans control the House of Representatives.

Rev. Barry W. Lynn, an attorney and executive director of Americans
United for the Separation of Church and State, suggests that the
president return to law school. “Sadly, it may be safe to conclude that
although the president may have been well-regarded as a professor of
constitutional law in Chicago, he has since then had some significant
memory loss on subject matter from the textbooks he undoubtedly once

President of Catholics for Choice, Jon O’Brien, in “Still Looking for a
Champion,” concludes, “As I write, President Obama is announcing his
bid for reelection. I expect we’ll be hearing more promises about
improving the lives and health of women in this country, whether through
education and family planning, or support for women who want to
continue a pregnancy as well as for those who do not. The new
campaign website asks, ‘Are you in?’ Perhaps a better question is, ‘Mr.
Obama, are you?’”
In “Broken Promises” Jen Heitel Yakush, director of public policy at the
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, calls on
the president to shape up. “The president must eschew the ideological
advances of a desperate minority who do not want our nation’s young
people to receive the sexual health information they need and deserve.
Instead, he should follow through on his promise to fund comprehensive
sex education for all school-age youth.”

This article originally appeared in USA Today – The Oval.

Catholics for Choice