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Barack Obama on abortion and the Freedom of Choice Act

Almost every time I write an article about abortion, I am asked the question, “what would you do if your wife or daughter were to be raped?”. For me, the answer is that I don’t know and I pray to God I never find out. The pro-choice advocates always throw that argument into the mix, saying it isn’t fair to the woman to be pregnant with a child from someone who raped her and while I agree that it isn’t fair, that argument simply doesn’t hold water for me.

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Consider the following survey results concerning the reasons given for wanting an abortion. You can read the full report here.

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Summary: This report reviews available statistics regarding reasons given for obtaining abortions in the United States, including surveys by the Alan Guttmacher Institute and data from seven state health/statistics agencies that report relevant statistics (Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Utah). The official data imply that AGI claims regarding “hard case” abortions are inflated by roughly a factor of three. Actual percentage of U.S. abortions in “hard cases” are estimated as follows: in cases of rape or incest, 0.3%; in cases of risk to maternal health or life, 1%; and in cases of fetal abnormality, 0.5%. About 98% of abortions in the United States are elective, including socio-economic reasons or for birth control. This includes perhaps 30% for primarily economic reasons.

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Barack Obama, Planned Parenthood and the rest of the pro-choice crowd want us to believe it is all about equality or choice, but if it is about choice, then why is that choice not excersised before the pregnancy, instead of waiting until there is an innocent life that will be snuffed out without a choice of their own? Why do they not choose to not get pregnant, instead of just getting rid of the results of their actions?

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As this Presidential election draws nearer to an end, with 21 days left until November 4 and one of the most important votes you or I will ever cast, I want to draw attention once again, to Barack Obama’s position on the Freedom of Choice Act and the effect it will have on the number of abortions performed in this country every year.

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Technically, the Freedom of Choice Act is called H. R. 1964 and you might be surprised at the heading that is printed under the name of the bill.

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To protect, consistent with Roe v. Wade, a woman’s freedom to choose to bear a child or terminate a pregnancy, and for other purposes.

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Barack Obama has made it a practice to put Roe v. Wade at the center of what he has tried to do to protect abortion. In a speech before Planned Parenthood on July 17, 2007, he says Roe v. Wade is about equality, not about privacy. You can view highlights or the full video here.

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I have worked on these issues for decades now. I put Roe at the center of my lesson plan on reproductive freedom when I taught Constitutional Law. Not simply as a case about privacy but as part of the broader struggle for women’s equality. Steve and Pam will tell you that we fought together in the Illinois State Senate against restrictive choice legislation-laws just like the federal abortion laws, the federal abortion bans that are cropping up. I’ve stood up for the freedom of choice in the United States Senate and I stand by my votes against the confirmation of Judge Roberts and Samuel Alito.

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Is there any doubt what Barack Obama will do as President? He has made it very clear what some of his first actions will be, if he wins this election. In a question and answer session following his speech before Planned Parenthood, he let it be know what his first act would be.

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Dessa Cosma: Um, as you were talking about earlier, the recent Bush Supreme Court’s decision really took away critically important decisions from women and put them in the hands of politicians. And as a result of this, we’re expecting, and have already seen, so much anti-choice legislation at the state level. Um, what would you do at the federal level not only to ensure access to abortion but to make sure that the judicial nominees that you will inevitably be able to pick are true to the core tenets of Roe v. Wade?

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Barack Obama: Well, the first thing I’d do as president is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. [Applause.] That’s the first thing that I’d do. Um, but the, okay, but, but your question about the federal courts is absolutely on target. I taught Constitutional Law for ten years and I have to say after reading this latest decision and the series of decisions that the Supreme Court has been putting forward that I find it baffling.

What the Freedom of Choice Act will do is codify Roe v. Wade and make it the law of the land. In the view of the pro-choice community, that will guarantee the right of future generations of women to choose. In my view, it will pave the way for multiple millions of innocent babies to be murdered, all because someone made a choice. I ask you again, is there any doubt what Barack Obama will do on the issue of abortion if he is elected President? I think not and it isn’t something our country can afford.

Sarah Palin said it better than I could when she said:

A vote for Barack Obama is a vote for activist courts that will continue to smother the open and democratic debate we need on this issue, at both the state and federal level. A vote for Barack Obama would give the ultimate power over the issue of life to a politician who has never once done anything to protect the unborn. As Senator Obama told Pastor Rick Warren, it’s above his pay grade.

Nothing else needs to be said.

About LD Jackson

LD Jackson has written 2053 posts in this blog.

Founder and author of the political and news commentary blog Political Realities. I have always loved to write, but never have I felt my writing was more important than in this present day. If I have changed one mind or impressed one American about the direction our country is headed, then I will consider my endeavors a success. I take the tag line on this blog very seriously. Above all else, in search of the truth.

2 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • Great article. It surprises me that Conservatives and Evangelicals have note done a better job or getting out this information.

    I have a similar post on Abortion and Obama here:

  • twana

    Thank you for this post. All Americans need to be totally aware of Obama’s politics. He’s not for the people. He’s for himself.

    I hear the same arguments as well,”what if the woman is raped” or “what about incest.” I remember awhile back I did research on how many women received abortions because of those two reasons. It was down in the single digit percentage numbers. It’s just a front talking point to trigger “concern”.

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  • akeem17

    Let me start by saying that my name is Akeem Coleman and I am a 17 year old African American man. I grew up in California and now I live in Bowie, Maryland. I belive that any men who are speaking on the subject and believe in pro-life, and even the woman who have not experienced child birth yet, are mysogynistic and have no idea the pain and anguish that women have gone through over the abortion issue. I believe that it is wrong to force a woman to carry a baby for 9 months and then give it up. I think that choice should be given to women and not decided by men sitting in an air conditioned room in 1,200 dollar suits. There are many reasons that this should be. One of them being rape victims having to carry their one of their male family members, or rapists children and reliving the pain and fear of that traumatic experience every day for 9 months. Another reason is before Roe V. Wade Many women were injured or killed because of unlawful or unsafe self abortions.

    Clara Bell Duvall
    Dec. 23, 1896 – March 27, 1929
    Clara Duvall, her husband and five children (ages 6 months to 12 years) were living in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her parents due to limited financial resources when she learned she was pregnant again. Clara attempted a self-abortion with a knitting needle. Her doctor, knowing she was seriously ill and in severe pain, delayed sending her to a hospital for several weeks. The Catholic hospital where she died chose to list the cause of death as “pneumonia.”

    Ruth Irene Friedl
    Aug. 24, 1901 – Aug. 21, 1929
    Denied a legal abortion though her pregnancy was diagnosed as life-threatening, Ruth Friedl attempted to self-abort by drinking a plant poison, ergot apiol. That night at the dinner table of their home in Denver, Colo., with her husband and two small children present, she collapsed and died.

    Pauline Roberson Shirley
    June 22, 1910 – August 22, 1940
    Pauline Shirley and her six children were living with her mother in Arizona while her husband sought work in California. After an illegal abortion, she began to hemorrhage and was hospitalized. She needed massive transfusions. While Pauline’s mother searched the community for donors, Pauline bled to death.

    Vivian Campbell
    December 12, 1925 – May 6, 1950
    Vivian Campbell was the mother of two children ages five and three. She was newly separated from her husband when she realized she was pregnant. Sending her children to stay with her parents, she sought and obtained an illegal abortion. She sent for her husband, but by the time he arrived at the hospital it was too late. She died in agony of peritonitis.

    Geraldine Santoro
    August 16, 1935 – June 8, 1964
    The photo of Geraldine Santoro dead on a hotel room floor has become a symbol for the horror of illegal abortion. Gerri, as she was known, lived on her family farm in Coventry, Conn., with her two daughters. At the age of 28, separated from her abusive husband, she became pregnant by another man, Clyde Dixon. Afraid that her husband would kill her if he found out, she and Dixon looked for ways to terminate her pregnancy. With no other options, they attempted to perform the procedure themselves. When the operation went awry, Dixon fled, leaving Santoro behind where she bled to death. A chambermaid found her body the next morning.

    Rosie Jimenez
    1950 – Oct. 3, 1977
    A single mother with a 5-year-old daughter, Rosie Jimenez of McAllen, Texas, was a scholarship student six months away from her teaching credential. She was the first known victim of the Hyde Amendment, which cut off Medicaid funding for abortion to women on public assistance — women who by the government’s own definition cannot afford health care. Too poor to pay for the procedure at a private clinic, she died in agony from a botched illegal abortion.

    Becky Bell
    August 24, 1971 – Sept. 16, 1988
    At 17, Becky became a victim of an Indiana state law requiring parental consent for a minor to obtain an abortion. Unable to bring herself to disappoint her parents by telling them she was pregnant — or go before a judge to bypass the law — Becky sought an illegal abortion. When she became seriously ill, her parents rushed her to the hospital. In severe pain from a massive infection, Becky still could not tell them, and despite the efforts of the doctors, she died.

    The seven women above are just a small representation of the countless women who have died because they did not have access to safe and legal abortions. Most of these women died before Roe v. Wade offered them a safe alternative. However, women continue to die and suffer injury due to current restrictions that particularly affect young women and poor women.


    And thirdly many conservatives say just put the child up for adoption. Most of these conservatives grew up in middle class neighborhoods with 1 or 2 loving parents and siblings to be close to. The odds of that 1 child getting adopted are 1 in 50. In 1999, the latest year for which totals have been finalized, there were about 581,000 children in foster care in the United States.[1] Twenty-two percent of these children — about 127,000 kids — were available for adoption. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of math which is most likely similar to these children in foster care, then I will do it for you. That means that in 1999, 581,000 children were in foster care. Only 127,000 kids were available for adoption. Now saying that all 127,000 kids were adopted in that year. 581,000 – 127,000 = 454000. Now these are just numbers to you but try to imagine 454,000 1-17 year olds not being adopted in that year. Now try to put yourself into their shoes. Most likely you have been in a therapy session or have taken psychology classes. Now try to imagine the feelings of unworthiness that these children are feeling because of the fact that they think their parents and every other adult in the world does not want them. Many of these children, I would say about 20 percent continue to harbor these feelings of worthlessness until they are released from foster care at the age of 18. Some of these children even join gangs or are sent to jail for committing crimes. These crimes are stemming from the emotions they felt from being in foster care for the whole of their lives. This means that the foster care system is releasing many dysfunctional adults into the world.But yet conservatives want to make more of these dysfunctional adults (who stem from fetuses) by making every pregnancy go to term.
    Source 1:
    Source 2:

    Fourthly, and this is my last point. Pregnancy for women(which I can only imagine being a man) is a very stressful period of time. Pregnancy-related discomforts (such as nausea, fatigue, frequent urination, swelling and backache) can be stressful, especially if a pregnant woman attempts to accomplish everything she did prior to pregnancy. There is also morning sickness that a woman may feel every day. So men imagine throwing up in the morning then walking around and trying to work with an 8 pound person in the space between your bladder and your stomach along with the weight of the amniotic sac storing the liquid which the fetus lives in for the 9 months of pregnancy. Lots of planning and effort goes into having a child. For the health of a child the woman will need to stop: drinking, smoking, abusing any substances or drugs, and try not to fall wrong and hurt her child. They must start taking prenatal vitamins and eating healthier as well. The chances of a woman doing all of these things when she is pregnant with a child that she doesnt want are slim to none. Not to mention the trauma that a mother can go through at the time of birth. Considering if the woman brings the fetus to term many things can happen. On the list of these things is autism, down-syndrome, still-birth(the baby’s heart stops beating before they are removed from the womans body), diseases in pregnancy, birth defects, an ectopic pregnancy (An ectopic pregnancy can cause a rupture of the fallopian tube. If you are pregnant and experience sudden, sharp, severe abdominal pain where the woman must seek treatment immediately), and the chances of a premature birth. In which all of these things the chances will be increased if a woman does not do all the things that need to be done in pregnancy.


    In conclusion I believe that Obama’s decision that birth should be the choice of a woman is valid and there are probably many reasons(like the ones outlined in this paper) that he has taken into consideration. I am not saying that I want every fetus to be aborted, but I am saying that the decision is not one that I or any other man or woman should make for someone else.

  • Well, that’s quite a long comment and very well written. However, I couldn’t disagree more with what you have to say. From your statements, you seem to believe there are a lot of abortions that need to be done because of rape or incest and that number is actually very small. The vast majority of abortions performed in this country is due to the fact that a woman doesn’t want to put up with the consequences of her actions. If she didn’t want to get pregnant, she should change her behavior to prevent the pregnancy and not get pregnant with the willingness to kill the baby because it doesn’t suit her lifestyle.

    You say at the end that Obama’s decision that birth should be the choice of a woman, but let me ask you this. Who gets to choose for the babies that are about to be aborted? Shouldn’t someone fight for them?

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