It was hard to overlook the not-so-subtle irony. During the same week: (1.) President Obama signed an executive order reversing former president Bush's embryonic stem-cell research policy. (2) The Vatican was blasted for (supposedly) saying that the washing machine had more to do with liberating women than the pill. (3) President Obama created a Presidential Council for Women and Girls.
Clearly, conventional wisdom has it that, between Pope Benedict XVI and President Obama, the latter is the feminist and the former is a lingering, oppressive, patriarchal figure. And if you had any doubts about it, look at the president's new council! He may not have his Treasury department staffed in this time of economic crisis, but at least the sisterhood is happy.
President Obama, no doubt about it, is a loyal follower of the liberal feminist agenda. Despite commentators suggesting that he has not delved into the culture wars, he has, in fact, already started to make an indelible mark. The same week -- Obama's first in office -- of the annual March for Life, commemorating the tragedy that has been Roe v. Wade, he made sure that U.S. taxpayer money could be spent on abortions overseas. Now, he has rejected another one of his predecessor's wise moves: the careful balance Bush struck between scientific innovation and moral responsibility.
I'm reminded of something my colleague Ramesh Ponnuru wrote in his life-preserving resource "The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life" (Regnery, 2006). At the time, thinking Hillary Clinton might be the next Democratic presidential nominee, he imagined a landslide for her if, while touting her "advocate for women and children" bona fides, she were to say that abortion is "distressing and difficult." She (fictionally) continues: "But that doesn't mean we're for abortion. Don't let anyone pretend that's what we stand for! Abortion is a tragic choice. We want to liberate women. Abortion is a sign that our society is pitting them against their children."
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