- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 18, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Pro-choice groups in America are lobbying President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team to remove all restrictions on abortion instituted by President Bush and the Republican led-Congresses over the last eight years. A 55-page lengthy policy paper, “Advancing Reproductive Rights and Health in a New Administration,” was sent to the transition team and posted to its Change.gov Web site this week. It was ripped from the page in less than a day.

More than 60 groups supporting more accessible and readily available abortions for women and girls signed onto the First-100-Days policy plan. They ask for $700 million for programs under Title X (family planning) of the U.S. Code that includes abortions. They also want to strike a rule change at Health and Human Services that went into effect Aug. 26. It prohibited states and other recipients of federal funds from penalizing heatlh-care workers who refuse to provide abortions because of religious or moral beliefs or risk losing federal funding. The rule change came after Catholic Charities’ hospitals in California were forced to provide abortions. Pro-choice groups cried foul when abortion was defined as a “form of contraception,” the same code language that state governments were using to force hospitals to provide them in the first place.

The groups also want Mr. Obama to do away with the “global gag rule” that prohibits foreign recipients of U.S. family planning aid from using their own funds to provide abortions or advocate for laws and policies supporting them. Perhaps the greatest overreach is that associated with the groups’ request that Mr. Obama eliminate “abstinence-only” education programs. Mr. Obama should take note here that such programs were authored and funded by his Democratic predecessor, President Clinton, and remember his own statement to Iowa voters: “I’m all for education for our young people, encouraging abstinence until marriage.”

While many Democrats and Republicans are removing abortion litmus tests for appointees and judges, the policy paper encourages Mr. Obama to only “nominate individuals who, in addition to meeting the requirements of honesty, integrity, character, temperament, and intellect, demonstrate a commitment to justice, civil rights, equal rights, individual liberties, and the fundamental constitutional right to privacy, including the right to have an abortion.”

Mr. Obama was largely hesitant to talk about abortion throughout the campaign. It seems he had good reason to be apprehensive. Pro-choice groups want to pull out all the stops, and their wish list has no bounds - the policy paper even calls for more funding for the U.N. Population Control program. We are always more interested in which populations they decide need controlling and why.

Mr. Obama may not have wanted to talk about abortion during the campaign. But the campaign is over. He must not bow to pressure and lift restrictions on abortion. Pro-life Americans voted for him too.

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