Anti-life (on steroids) Obama energizes pro-life movement


by Kelli and Jill

Yesterday in the Politico, Carrie Budoff Brown wrote on the increase in "anti-abortion recruitment" since Barack Obama became President:

The first hint of a stir came just after Election Day, when the computer servers at Americans United for Life crashed. People were swamping the Web site to sign a petition urging... Obama to stand firm against abortion.

"I got a call from one of our guys, 'We have a problem,' " said Charmaine Yoest, the group's president and CEO....

Obama's first 84 days in office have been like an extended recruiting drive for the anti-abortion movement, reinvigorating a constituency he sought to neutralize during the campaign. Activists report a noticeable spike in activity as Obama moves to defend and expand... abortion - causing anti-abortion voters to mobilize in ways never needed during the Bush administration. So far this year...

  • The Susan B. Anthony List says its supporters sent more anti-abortion-related letters, e-mails and faxes to Obama and lawmakers in the first quarter alone than during each of the last two years.

  • The American Life League reported a 30% uptick in donations over last year.

  • PA Sen. Bob Casey Jr. an anti-abortion Democrat who campaigned vigorously for Obama, has received more mail on abortion than on any other issue in 2009, spokesman Larry Smar said.

    Activists have sent more than 100k postcards urging Casey to oppose the Freedom of Choice Act....

  • More than 261k people have signed an online petition calling on Notre Dame to withdraw its invitation for Obama to speak at... [its] May 17 commencement....

  • And AUL plans to expand its plans to expand its staff in Washington and, after the post-election crash, recently upgraded its computer system to handle the bump in online activism.
  • Why?

    It's no surprise that Obama supports abortion rights. What's been surprising to these groups is a quick succession of policy and personnel moves by Obama as president -moves they say belie the words of Candidate Obama, who pledged to change the national conversation about abortion....

    The series of decisions started with Obama's move soon after taking office to lift federal funding restrictions on overseas family planning groups. Later, he moved to repeal Bush-era conscience protections for medical professionals. And his stem-cell decision angered groups that consider it tantamount to ending a human life, because the embryos must be destroyed to retrieve the cells.

    But his personnel moves also have caused alarm. Health and Human Services nominee Kathleen Sebelius fought attempts to dial back abortion rights as Kansas governor. Obama's communications director Ellen Moran previously ran EMILY's List, which backed women candidates who supported abortion rights. Obama's pick to run the powerful Office of Legal Counsel inside the Justice Department, Dawn Johnsen, was previously legal director for NARAL in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

    So Obama attempted window-dressing...

    The White House took steps earlier this month to shift the narrative. Obama's chief domestic policy adviser, Melody Barnes, assembled a conference call to kick off its abortion reduction initiative, asking for examples of successful local programs and announcing plans to hold a series of meetings on the issue.

    Obama also has appointed at least 4 religious leaders to the Council on Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships who oppose abortion....

    These steps haven't mollified the right, where the intensity is strongest. But even some moderates, who have been far less critical of Obama, acknowledge concern in their ranks....

    To be sure, anti-abortion voters were never going to support Obama wholeheartedly, but because he worked hard during the campaign not to play up his differences with them, any signs that they are mobilized could cause him trouble down the road.

    Obama won the Catholic vote in November, and did better among Protestants than 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry.

    In a poll released last week, Obama's disapproval ratings among Catholic and Protestant voters rose between February and April, but it was consistent with an increase in dissatisfaction among all voters. The fluctuation among white evangelicals was more severe, according to the survey by the Pew Center for the People and the Press. A 31% disapproval rating in February jumped to 47% in April, making it one of the steeper spikes among demographic groups...

    Recall Politico reported had received 261k petition signatures opposing Obama's appearance at ND...

    And some moderate anti-abortion advocates stand by Obama. Catholics United and three other groups started an online petition in support of Obama at Notre Dame that already has received more than 33k signatures.

    And then there's Kmiec...

    Douglas Kmiec... who crafted the Catholic case for Obama in 2008, echoed the sentiments of progressives last month while defending his continued support for the president.

    "So the political antagonists of the president can 'call me out' if they want," Kmiec wrote in response to questions from the U.S. News and World Report blog "God and Country."

    "Though I think their time would be better spent seeing the larger picture of the economic and related cultural challenges which face the nation and how the president brings great intelligence and open-mindedness to the needs of many who previously were invisible to the governmental process."

    Oh, really?

    [HT: Kristina H.; photo courtesy of]


    Well I agree that BHO has inadvertently energized the pro life movement. I do pro life training ala Scott Klusenforf, the Art of Pro Life Persuasion and thought that I was done with that and all of a sudden there is renewed interest and larger crowds. I guess we got lazy with a pro life president in office.

    Posted by: Maria at April 14, 2009 9:07 AM

    Wow, Kmiec is just sinking deeper and deeper into the hands of the devil.

    So I just want to share this fairly irrelevant story. I didn't know this, but I just learned last week that my dad went to the same high school as Kmiec. Kmiec was only two years below him. They both were known as very solid Catholics, and continued to be as they both went to law school. They were essentially on the same career path, but Kmiec became much more of a public figure and was much more publicly involved in the Church. My dad said that he used to always see Kmeic and think that that could have been him.

    But as my dad also pointed out, if that had been him, he too would have probably succumbed to his pride and been the poster boy for whatever Kmeic is the poster boy for. My dad could have been Doug Kmeic. I'm so so glad he isn't. Thank God for divine providence.

    Posted by: Bobby Bambino at April 14, 2009 9:16 AM

    Bobby, I think it just depends upon the choices one makes in life as you have in essence, stated.
    If your dad made choices that affirmed and strengthened his Catholic faith, they also made his character what it has become today. Likely, for your dad, "small" things were more important to him!
    I don't know Kmeic but I know that law school can have a very very negative impact on a person's character. I think law school somehow encourages a sense of pride that is quite corrupting.
    Sadly, I've had first hand experience of this in my own personal life.

    I also, after much reading of proabortion "catholic's" positions, believe that being social active and eco-friendly is merely a way to assuage their corrupted consciences. I can see how a catholic can fall into this trap - become proabortion and socially conscious in exchange for power. Ah, the screwtape letters come to mind. I'm sure Doug must have read Lewis at sometime during his education.

    Posted by: angel at April 14, 2009 9:50 AM

    "..the president brings great intelligence and open-mindedness to the needs of many "


    Posted by: RSD at April 14, 2009 10:08 AM

    "But as my dad also pointed out, if that had been him, he too would have probably succumbed to his pride and been the poster boy for whatever Kmeic is the poster boy for."

    Or maybe not Bobby...

    Interesting story.

    Posted by: Jasper at April 14, 2009 10:18 AM

    So now they justify Chairman BHO because of his economic tallent? He isn't even worthy of his learners permit.

    The economy is a challenge Mr Barry is not prepared to tackle.

    It is a messy aborttion now also

    Posted by: xppc at April 14, 2009 10:24 AM

    I think that he really is concerned with reducing the abortion rate, though we can all disagree that some of his laws do not succeed in doing that. I'm holding out on the hope that his mistakes thus far shall be ironed out, seeing as how he was sworn in in January and it is only April now.

    And it's good, I believe, to see so many pro-life activists waking up and fighting abortion. I think that, so long as the president is amicable, we've always been a grassroots movement, and we shall stay a grassroots movement. Bush was lovely since he opened doors higher up, but we've survived on nothing but optimissim before and we can do it again.

    Posted by: Vannah at April 14, 2009 11:32 AM

    Obama may WANT to reduce the abortion rate but his policies show something different. You cannot reduce abortion by promoting abortion.

    Posted by: Carla at April 14, 2009 12:32 PM

    You cannot reduce abortion by promoting abortion.
    Posted by: Carla at April 14, 2009 12:32 PM

    I'm not sure that's true. I can imagine that it is possible to reduce the abortion rate while also promoting the legality of abortion.

    Posted by: Hal at April 14, 2009 2:01 PM

    HI HAL!!

    Who needs to promote the legality of abortion? It is already legal. If you are talking about other countries then yes, we will export abortion to other shores.

    Obama saying he wants to reduce abortion is a laff.
    Why reduce it when it is so lucrative??

    PP's numbers are UP, UP, UP Hal!! They are doing MORE abortions. I am too lazy to get the numbers for you. :)

    Posted by: Carla at April 14, 2009 2:30 PM

    Hi Carla, I saw the numbers are up. Most think it's because the economy is tanking.

    As the economy improves, you'll probably see the numbers dip again.

    Posted by: Hal at April 14, 2009 2:36 PM you go:

    PP.. "slaughtered 305,310 preborn human beings in 2007 alone (up nearly 5.4 percent from 2006), which generated an estimated $130 million "


    Posted by: RSD at April 14, 2009 2:40 PM

    That's so sick...130 million dollars?

    I just watched a video on the Holocaust for history class and now this talk of cruelty against the unborn is making me ill.

    I don't agree with Obama, Carla, I am just trying a wild, childish stab at optimissim. I think that we could all use it every day. :).

    Please let him enact better policies for the poor...please.

    Posted by: Vannah at April 14, 2009 2:50 PM

    Just a heads up again. The movie will be released some time this week. I spent this weekend switching and adapting to the new computer, and I got the script last night. It may take an extra day or two to write the article though :)

    Posted by: PIP at April 14, 2009 2:53 PM

    RSD-Thank you!! :)

    PIP-That is so exciting!!

    I have optimism Vannah. In the American people to speak up and stand up for what they KNOW is right.

    Posted by: Carla at April 14, 2009 3:13 PM

    We heard this in 1992, as well: "the election of a pro-choice president may serve as a 'wake-up call' to pro-lifers everywhere." One might ask why they didn't simply wake up ten months before the -------- election.

    Posted by: bmmg39 at April 14, 2009 3:39 PM

    Yes, Carla, if Obama really wanted to reduce abortions then why has he rescinded and wants to rescind even more limitations on abortion? He is talking out of both sides of his mouth.

    Posted by: Eileen #2 at April 14, 2009 4:01 PM


    I think that people will start to do the right thing soon. I just have a feeling that, with so much tension in the world, people will stand up.

    Hooray, PIP!

    Posted by: Vannah at April 14, 2009 6:48 PM

    Eileen #2,
    But I love what Obama supporters say. He's a good guy doing a good job. He has appointed some good people that will do a good job. It all seems to be going pretty good.

    Posted by: Carla at April 15, 2009 7:08 AM

    "Please let him enact better policies for the poor...please.

    Posted by: Vannah at April 14, 2009 2:50 PM"

    I don't think that's even going to see, President abortion got the Life Issue wrong.

    If you get That wrong, most likely you'll get the other issues wrong, too...

    Without life, all the other issues (war, poverty, etc..) don't mean a hoot.

    Posted by: RSD at April 15, 2009 9:10 AM

    Carla @ 7:08, I hear the same nonsense also -- but no one seems to be able to define exactly what it is that is good!! He is a very bitter and angry man -- I think he wants to make as many people suffer as he can.

    Posted by: Eileen #2 at April 15, 2009 10:27 AM

    RSD -- that is it exactly!!

    Posted by: Eileen #2 at April 15, 2009 10:28 AM

    Carla - I think it could be possible to reduce abortion while strenusouly protecting its legality. I don't agree with doing so - of course it should be illegal - but I think it could be possible. Just not the way the pro-choice movement goes about it. I could MAYBE understand the "legal but rare" argument if abortion was treated the same way as other things we want to keep legal, but make rare - smoking, for example. Tell kids in school that smoking [abortion] is bad. Enact legislation restricting where people can smoke [have abortions]. Make it illegal for minors to buy cigarettes [get abortions w/o parental consent]. Those would be actions that would actually support the idea that abortion has to be legal, but should happen only as an absolute last resort - the "legal but unthinkable" tactic.

    I don't think Obama cares at all about reducing abortions, or if he does, he's very misguided about how that might ever happen. But I do think it could be possible for someone to support the legal "right" of a woman to choose abortion while ACTUALLY trying to reduce abortions. I don't think we'll ever see the abortion issue treated that way, though.

    Posted by: Scarlett at April 16, 2009 12:02 PM