What a different sixteen years makes.
Back in 1992 when then-Governor Bill Clinton campaigned for the presidency with a pledge to make abortion “safe, legal, and rare,” he was in significant ways speaking the mind of America.
At the time, many polls showed a slim majority of Americans believing that abortion should remain legal, yet also believing that efforts should be made to reduce the overall number of abortions performed.
Of course, as was the case on many important policy matters, candidate Clinton’s rhetoric didn’t match with President Clinton’s policies, and after eight years in the White House, his administration clearly left a “pro-abortion” legacy.
Nonetheless, Clinton moderated the Democratic Party’s “official” position on abortion, at least a little bit. And the very fact that the party would even agree back in the 1990’s to using the words “rare” and “reduce” in the context of discussing abortion, indicates that the Democrats’ previously held “abortion on demand” position was no longer being embraced by a majority of Americans (if, indeed, it ever was).
But that was in the 90’s. Now, just days away from the 2008 Democratic National Convention, where Senator Barack Obama will presumably become his party’s nominee for President, reports indicate that there is a bit of an internal struggle with those who are formulating the Democratic Party platform. What’s the controversy about? Whether or not the word “rare” should stay in the abortion plank. Apparently, the prevailing sentiment is that making abortion “rare” is now an unworthy, and perhaps even harmful objective.
But the party platform will likely morph and change a few more times between now and the convention. What won’t morph and change, however, is Senator Obama’s legislative track record. And on the issue of abortion and the proper care of children, an ugly and lethal profile of Mr. Obama has begun to emerge.
Many of the details trace back to the whistle-blowing of a woman named Jill Stanek, a Registered Nurse who, back in 1999, was working in a hospital maternity ward in Obama’s home state of Illinois. Ms. Stanek went public in that year, decrying a practice in her hospital known as “induced labor abortion,” wherein doctors force a woman’s cervix to open prematurely.
Worse yet, according to Ms. Stanek’s claims, babies that were being “removed” from their mother’s bodies in this way were often very much alive, but were left unattended - - and, thus, left to die.
Ms. Stanek tells of a particularly heart-wrenching and chilling situation wherein she observed a Downs Syndrome baby boy that was “born,” wrapped up in a blanket, and then set on a shelf in the hospital’s “soiled utility room,” left to die. Grieved at the idea of the little boy “dying alone,” Ms. Stanek goes to attend to the child, and cradles and rocks him until he finally passes away some forty-five minutes later.
When Ms. Stanek began speaking-out publicly about her observations and experiences, she quickly garnered attention from Illinois state legislators and media professionals. But Barack Obama, then a member of the Illinois state legislature, would have nothing to do with the movement that formed in opposition to the “induced labor abortion” procedure and the infanticide that was resulting from it. Indeed, thee times Mr. Obama opposed legislation that sought to prevent the “babies left for dead” scenario, and would have required that babies who were born be given life sustaining care.
Ms. Stanek later went on to the federal level, testifying before members of Congress both in 2000 (while Bill Clinton was still President), and in 2001 (after Bush had taken office), on the infanticide that was occurring in American hospitals. After both the U.S. House and Senate unanimously passed the “Born Alive Infant’s Protection Act,“ Ms. Stanek attended the bill’s “signing ceremony” at the invitation of President Bush.
So let’s be very clear: staunch abortion advocates Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and Russ Feingold, all recognized in 2002 the brutality entailed in leaving American newborns to die on the shelf in the “soiled utility room.” Yet, the Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama could not recognize this.
In the final analysis, it may not matter whether or not the Democratic Party includes the words “rare” and “reduce” in the abortion plank of its platform. The party has chosen as its standard bearer a man who represents something that is perhaps even more vicious than abortion, and if elected, could take the nation into dilemmas like we've never seen before.