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Obama Provides Support for Abortion

Warning! This is about government and politics.
And it's a little long.

I don't often talk much about politics. There are several reasons for this. For one, I often don't know what I'm talking about. I'm sure there are plenty of people who are more well informed than I am, and I figure I leave the public wars about political issues to be waged by those people. Two, it's almost always divisive. Most people who are informed enough to have meaningful conversations about political issues have strong opinions regarding those issues. And lots of people don't disagree well. It turns too personal too quickly, and becomes about more than the issue at hand. And three... well, I guess it's maybe just those two. But this morning, I read about something I wanted to speak up about.

President Obama took the office of president earlier this week and seems to be going to work right away. I'll state up front, throughout the campaigning and since the election, I've been impressed by Obama's poise, presence, and demeanor. He certainly comes across as a leader and someone whom people can rally behind. I've heard about our current president being responsible for accomplishing more just this week than I remember hearing the former president accomplish in his last six months in office (other than "economic bailout" talk). And, I'll also say that I've been skeptical of some of the decisions I've heard President Obama was hoping to make in office. I read about one of those decisions this morning.

Just a day after the anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling on Roe vs Wade, President Obama will be signing orders to lift a ban on federal funding for international groups that promote or perform abortions. This has been, according to the article, an on-going roller coaster of executive orders:

The policy was first instituted by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and continued by President George H.W. Bush. The policy was reversed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, and re-instated by President George W. Bush in 2001.

Now, what this will do is this:

The so-called Mexico City policy requires any non-governmental organization to agree before receiving U.S. funds that they will "neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations."

And, as government and politics usually goes, there's finger-pointing and accusations of back-tracking:

"President Obama not long ago told the American people that he would support policies to reduce abortions, but today he is effectively guaranteeing more abortions by funding groups that promote abortion as a method of population control," said Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee.

Here are the observations I want to point out:

This isn't a brand-new policy.
This isn't something that is being done for the first time. As the news report said, it's been an ongoing back-and-forth from administration to administration. And this is something that President Obama has been expected to do. But...

This is a significant statement on the value the US as a country places on human life.
The timing of this order, the day after the anniversary of Roe vs Wade, is what makes this so striking to me. Clearly, "abortion" and "women's rights" and "right to life" and buzz-word phrases like that have been the fuel for many debates. But [and this is coming from a dad who is right now waiting for the birth of his second child] contending that "life" doesn't begin until the fetus leaves the womb is pretty ridiculous to me. Even the concept of "viability of a fetus" is so subjective and doesn't provide clear, definitive guidelines.

Whether you argue that life begins at conception or argue that it begins at birth or if you think it's somewhere between the two, abortion of a baby is at the very least claiming the rights to and authority over the life (or potential life) of that person. I hear and respect the points made about endangering the life of the mother and about a woman's right to her body and instances of rape and concerns for the health and welfare of the child, etc... It is important, though, to recognize the weight of the authority claimed, even in those situations.

To what extent should US government money be used to support other country's healthcare needs?
I'm not at all opposed to "those who have" giving to and sharing with and supporting "those who don't have." In fact, I think that's something that everyone should look at and consider, but on a personal level. I think that should be the responsibility of the individual, not the government. I think that should be executed by the private sector (private businesses or organizations) rather than instituted, mandated, and over-seen by the government. I understand there are pros and cons either way this is handled, and ultimately comes down to one's opinion of the role of government. Even the order that President Obama is reversing was still providing US government money to international, non-government health agencies.

In sharing any of this, I'm not looking for heated public debate. I don't have the time, energy, or interest in long, constant, online arguments. Your thoughts and comments are obviously welcomed and I'd appreciate hearing some of your responses to any of this. It's just something that struck a chord with me and I wanted to hash out some of my thoughts a bit more and pass the thoughts on to some of you.

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