Speaking at a Planned Parenthood conference last week, President Obama celebrated the abortion provider as an icon of progress. Mocking the legislative efforts of pro-lifers within such states as North Dakota and Mississippi to curb abortion, Obama said to his chuckling audience, “When you read about some of these laws, you want to check the calendar; you want to make sure you’re still living in 2013.”
But what exactly is progressive about killing the vulnerable? The blood-splattered bins behind Planned Parenthood in 2013 AD don’t look that much different than the hilltops of 2013 BC where unwanted babies were left to die.
Abortion is not progressive but primitive. It is a measure of a society’s refusal to grow more civilized.
Of course, Obama went to great lengths to avoid using the word abortion in his speech. The word “health” served as its substitute: “And for nearly a century now, one core principle has guided everything all of you do—that women should be allowed to make their own decisions about their own health.” A casual observer might have thought that he was addressing doctors at a cancer screening clinic.
Obama defined death as “health” and government control as “choice.” He said with a straight face, “Forty years after the Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s constitutional right to privacy, including the right to choose, we shouldn’t have to remind people that when it comes to a woman’s health, no politician should get to decide what’s best for you.” Never mind that he is presiding over a system predicated on the power of politicians to control, design, and ration health care.
“So the fact is, after decades of progress, there’s still those who want to turn back the clock to policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century,” he continued. “And they’ve been involved in an orchestrated and historic effort to roll back basic rights when it comes to women’s health.”
As Kermit Gosnell sits on trial for snipping the necks of infants, surely such rhetoric has lost its power to scare anyone. Is Obama really suggesting that the 21st century is a refuge from horrors? While he clings to his chronological snobbery, to use C.S. Lewis’s phrase, life grows more and more crude. It is more akin to the practices of pagan antiquity than to the progressive uplands of Obama’s imagination.
In the 1950s, children bought bubble gum at the corner store. Now they can buy abortifacients. “Obama administration allows over-the-counter sales for age 15 and up,” read a Washington Post headline this week. The paper called it “a historic liberalization of contraception rules—perhaps the most significant since the morning-after drug was approved 14 years ago.”
The FDA dishonestly calls these products, which can now be “sold next to painkillers and toothpaste” (as the Post puts it), “emergency contraceptives.” That sounds nicer than abortifacients. But the morbidly simple name of the product, “Plan B,” gives away its purpose.
In his first term, evidently worried that he would look too extreme, Obama opposed granting minors nonprescription access to abortifacients. In 2011, he said that as the “father of two daughters, I think it is important for us to make sure that we apply some common sense to various rules when it comes to over-the-counter medicine.”
Winning a second term has apparently dispelled this reservation. Now the administration’s position is that the search for a pesky prescription shouldn’t inhibit 15-year-olds in their shopping at CVS. “Research has shown that access to emergency contraceptive products has the potential to further decrease the rate of unintended pregnancies in the United States,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg. “The data reviewed by the agency demonstrated that women 15 years of age and older were able to understand how Plan B One-Step works….”
Planned Parenthood applauded Obama for this decision, but in a grimly comic sign of the times demanded that he remove all barriers to nonprescription use. After all, don’t 12-year-olds have a right to over-the-counter abortifacients too? “While we fully support this expansion of access to birth control, we continue to believe that the administration should lift all unnecessary restrictions to emergency contraception,” said Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards.
This is the group that Obama holds up as one of America’s greatest claims to enlightenment. In his speech last week, he reassured the audience that Planned Parenthood is an immovable pillar of society. “Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere,” he said. “It’s not going anywhere today. It’s not going anywhere tomorrow.” And he vowed “to be right there with you fighting every step of the way.”
What makes him so sure it won’t topple? Perhaps a future president will one day look back and promise his audience “that he won’t turn the clock back to 2013 and the dark days of Kermit Gosnell and Planned Parenthood.”