President Obama is an exceptional orator and knows how to choose his words well. However in the end, while words hold a certain power, the intrinsic reality behind words is what really matters. It frequently has been the case that statements made by the Obama Administration either contradict themselves or do not accurately or transparently convey the reality they are communicating. In particular, abortion and all things related have been victim to deceptive rhetoric during the Obama Administration, with the truth behind the words seldom portrayed.
Most recently and dramatically this was witnessed during the healthcare debate. There are many examples to choose from, the most obvious being the Blair House Summit when the President dismissed charges of abortion funding in the healthcare bill as “inaccurate” and “Republican talking points” but then later contradicted his words by signing the now infamous (and impotent) anti-abortion Executive Order. Put simply, why would the president sign an Executive Order preventing something he claimed wasn’t there to begin with?
One other poignant example occurred just prior to the vote on March 22. Speaker Pelosi and other female Representatives claimed they were proud that “being a woman would no longer be a pre-existing condition.” One ponders what such words mean. We can all agree that no one should be excluded from medical benefits because of gender. Rather, Speaker Pelosi was equating being a woman with the ability to have a taxpayer-funded abortion (along with many others, I would argue that having an abortion is the antithesis of being a woman). The honest reality behind the words “being a woman is a pre-existing condition” is that abortion will now be supported by American taxpayer dollars. The Speaker’s statement was ironic and contradicted the press release on the Executive Order issued from the White House earlier that day. To borrow a phrase from the President, maybe the Democrats lost their “talking points.”
Apart from the healthcare reform debate, among the Administration’s initiatives the issue of maternal health receives much attention. Recently the U.S. Delegation led the way at the United Nation’s 54th Commission on the Status of Women by introducing and lobbying for a Maternal Health resolution; Maternal Health is a pillar of the U.S. government interagency $63 billion Global Health Initiative; domestically Maternal Health is a top priority within the Department for Health and Human Services and even within the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
So what exactly is maternal health? It sounds so good: All of us have mothers; most of us love our mothers dearly and would fight ardently on their behalf for excellent health services. But irony of ironies, the Administration’s definition of maternal health includes access to abortion. According to Secretary Clinton at the recent G-8 Summit on maternal health in Canada, “You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health,” Mrs. Clinton stated. “And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion.”
This might be a good moment to consider the reality behind the word “abortion.” Fittingly, the word does not adequately convey the reality of the procedure.
The following quote is from a woman who had an abortion and operated a clinic. “I’ve never been able to come up with the words to describe the abortion procedure. There are no words to describe how bad it really is. It kills the baby. I’ve seen sonograms with the baby pulling away from the instruments that are introduced into the [the woman’s body]… Yes, they are very painful to the baby. But, yes they are very, very painful to the woman. I’ve seen six people hold a woman on the table while they did the abortion.”
To the Obama Administration, abortion is a morally neutral and medically acceptable act. To women, born and unborn, it never will be.
Words have meaning. And among the most meaningful are these: Every single person from the moment of conception has dignity and the inherent right to live. Skillful oratory or not, that truth will long outlast the presidency of Barack Obama.