President Obama Promises Abortion Compromise, Ignores Notre Dame Scandal

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 29, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

President Obama Promises Abortion Compromise, Ignores Notre Dame Scandal

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 29
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — During the press conference Wednesday night marking the first 100 days of President Barack Obama’s administration, Obama promised compromise on abortion. He also ignored a question on the scandal at Notre Dame, where he will give commencement at the Catholic college.

CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry asked President Obama about the so-called Freedom of Choice Act and abortion.

"As a candidate, you vowed that one of the very fisrt things you wanted to do was sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which, as you know, would eliminate federal, state and local restrictions on abortion. And at one point in the campaign when asked about abortion and life, you said that it was above — quote, ‘above my pay grade,’" Henry asked.

"Now that you’ve been president for 100 days, obviously, your pay grade is a little higher than when you were a senator," he added. "Do you still hope that Congress quickly sends you the Freedom of Choice Act so you can sign it?"

Obama appeared unable to formulate a coherent answer and talked about abortion in vague generalities.

"You know, the — my view on — on abortion, I think, has been very consistent. I think abortion is a moral issue and an ethical issue," Obama responded.

"I think that those who are pro-choice make a mistake when they — if they suggest — and I don’t want to create straw men here, but I think there are some who suggest that this is simply an issue about women’s freedom and that there’s no other considerations. I think, look, this is an issue that people have to wrestle with and families and individual women have to wrestle with," Obama added.

Obama reaffirmed his pro-abortion position during his answer.

"The reason I’m pro-choice is because I don’t think women take that — that position casually. I think that they struggle with these decisions each and every day. And I think they are in a better position to make these decisions ultimately than members of Congress or a president of the United States, in consultation with their families, with their doctors, with their doctors, with their clergy," he said.

Later, Obama retreated to the promotion of some sort of compromise on abortion and reducing abortion, even though he has compiled a thoroughly pro-abortion record during his tenure thus far.

"The other thing that I said consistently during the campaign is I would like to reduce the number of unwanted presidencies that result in women feeling compelled to get an abortion, or at least considering getting an abortion, particularly if we can reduce the number of teen pregnancies, which has started to spike up again," he said.

"And so I’ve got a task force within the Domestic Policy Council in the West Wing of the White House that is working with groups both in the pro-choice camp and in the pro-life camp, to see if we can arrive at some consensus on that," he said.

Not until the latter part of the response did Obama finally get to Henry’s question about the Freedom of Choice Act, a bill that would not only make unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy for any reason federal law — but it would also overturn every abortion limit or law to reduce abortions in all 50 states.

Obama essentially avoided whether he would sign the bill.

"Now, the Freedom of Choice Act is not highest legislative priority. I believe that women should have the right to choose. But I think that the most important thing we can do to tamp down some of the anger surrounding this issue is to focus on those areas that we can agree on. And that’s — that’s where I’m going to focus," he said.

Henry started out his question with a request for comment on the scandal at the University of Notre Dame, where hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates have spoken out against the invitation to Obama to give the commencement address and receive an honorary degree.

"In a couple of weeks, you’re going to be giving the commencement at Notre Dame. And, as you know, this has caused a lot of controversy among Catholics who are opposed to your position on abortion," Henry said.

Obama never responded to the question.

Jill Stanek, a nationally recognized pro-life nurse, responded to Obama’s answer.

She said "it riled pro-lifers like me on three points."

"Obama admitted ‘abortion is a moral issue and an ethical issue’ without saying (or being pressed to say) what exactly makes it so; If what makes abortion a moral and ethical issue is that it kills children, why does Obama condone it; and If Obama still isn’t sure abortion kills children, why does he condone it?" she said.

Stanek also condemned Obama’s answer as mere political posturing.

"Thus, note an example of Obama’s gift, chastening both ends of the political spectrum to speak as the middle of America thinks, even while taking hard left actions," she said.

Stanek also pointed out that Obama reneged on a campaign promise he made to Planned Parenthood — that he would make signing FOCA his first act as president. Now, Obama calls the bill "not [the] highest legislative priority," in an attempt to backpedal from his support for it.

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