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The right to life, liberty, happiness and access to Abortion

Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I am a single issue voter. I admit it. A candidate’s stance on abortion is my litmus test. I believe that any candidate who supports abortion cannot be a leader. How can we trust someone who is not willing to protect the most vulnerable in our society? Fr. Frank Pavone has a striking comparison: If a candidate told us that they were pro-terrorism, we would never consider voting for them regardless of how they were going to fix the economy or reform health care. Yet, when a candidate says they are pro-abortion we weigh that with their foreign policy experience and plans for tax cuts . I have heard numerous people on this campus claim that they feel that Obama’s policies are the most holistically “pro-life” and for that reason they will be casting their vote in his favor. While I will avoid other “life” issues, I want to address Obama’s stance on abortion and what he plans to do about it-something I feel that no amount of health care reform can ever justify.

Barack Obama has said, “The first thing I’ll do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act .” The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) will effectively codify Roe vs. Wade. So, even if the Supreme Court does overturn Roe, abortion rights will be untouched. This law not only guarantees the right to abortion for future generations, it also strikes down all existing laws that in any way limit access to abortion.

The FOCA would end the need for parental consent or notification which is required in 35 states . While a school nurse cannot give a middle school girl a Tylenol without her parent’s consent, she can take her to have an abortion without ever telling the girl’s parents. The FOCA would end all waiting periods before abortions and eliminate the need for informed consent. The FOCA would strike down the ban on partial birth abortion, a horrendous practice where all but the head of a viable baby is delivered, the back of the neck is punctured, the brain is suctioned out, and a dead baby is delivered . The FOCA would strike down the Born Alive Infant Protection Act which requires a doctor to provide medical treatment to a baby born alive during an abortion.

Not only would this act affect state’s abortion restrictions, this act effectively redefines abortion as a fundamental right (as most argue was intended by Roe vs. Wade and the companion case Doe vs. Bolton). This means that not only can the state not restrict a woman’s access to abortion; the state must provide a woman with the means to exercise this right. The FOCA will invalidate all laws restricting funding of abortion (namely the Hyde amendment) and all laws that prohibit abortions in public hospitals. The FOCA would cut federal funding to pregnancy centers that do not provide abortions or refer to abortion clinics. The FOCA will invalidate all laws allowing hospitals or health-care providers, to decline to provide or pay for abortions (conscience laws). So, any of you pre-meds reading this may be required in the future to perform abortions whether you like it or not. The FOCA will also strike down any “physician-only” laws that say that abortions much be preformed by a licensed physician. Interestingly enough, most of these laws do not require that the physician be in any way trained in obstetrics and gynecology. The physician could be an allergist or podiatrist and still be a legal abortion provider. If the FOCA is passed, anyone can be an “abortion provider” because to do otherwise might interfere with a woman’s access to abortion. Currently, regulation of abortion clinics is left to the state. Sadly, in many states, veterinary clinics are more regulated than abortion facilities. By letter of the FOCA, regulations could not legally exist.

Obama is not pro-life. He may have ideas about how health care, the economy, and poverty should be managed, but he is an outright supporter of death of almost 3300 children daily. Obama believes we should end the Iraq War because roughly 4,000 of our soldiers have died. So all things considered, am I a one issue voter? Heck yes!