What follows is a release from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) in Washington, D.C., issued on Tuesday, October 7, 200. NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson and other NRLC staff persons are available for interviews on the subject of Mr. Johnson's new article on National Review Online, "Unholy Messaging ," including radio debates with advocates for Barack Obama.
Barack Obama's sweeping agenda for pro-abortion policy changes examined by NRLC's Douglas Johnson in National Review Online
WASHINGTON (October 7, 2008) -- The Obama campaign and its allies have adopted an extensive "messaging strategy" that seeks to persuade religiously committed Americans that Obama has a middle-of-the-road position on abortion policy and will promote "abortion reduction."
Douglas Johnson, longtime legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) and author of an article published today on National Review Online , titled "Unholy Messaging ," calls the Obama effort "a brazen scam."
"The scam depends on the Obama campaign, with cooperation from the mainstream news media, deflecting attention away from Obama's actual record, and from his extensive commitments to pro-abortion interest groups," Johnson said. "Barack Obama is firmly committed to an agenda of sweeping pro-abortion policy changes that, if implemented, will surely greatly increase the number of abortions performed."
Johnson noted that a few short months ago, during his primary contest, Obama and his advocates were boasting about his record of leadership in opposition to legislation to ban partial-birth abortions, to protect infants born alive during abortions, and to require parental notification for minors seeking abortions, among other pro-life bills. "Those boasts were well-founded, and the current effort to re-package Obama as a moderate is a brazen scam," Johnson said.
The Obama "messaging" campaign includes a recently launched "Faith, Family & Values Tour" that will visit Colorado, Indiana, North Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Florida, New Mexico, Virginia, and Wisconsin. In addition, various independent groups are disseminating advertising and literature that advances the same strategy.
Among the specific Obama positions documented in Johnson's article (which contains extensive hyperlinks to documentation):
-- Obama is a cosponsor of the so-called " Freedom of Choice Act " (FOCA, S. 1173 ), which Johnson calls "the most sweeping piece of pro-abortion legislation ever proposed in Congress." The FOCA is a bill that would make partial-birth abortion legal again, strike down restrictions on taxpayer funding of abortion, and nullify virtually every state and federal law or policy that would in any way "interfere with" access to abortion, including parental notification laws. In a letter sent to every member of Congress by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on September 19, Cardinal Justin Rigali wrote, "No one who sponsors or supports legislation like FOCA can credibly claim to be part of a good-faith discussion on how to reduce abortions.” In a speech to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund on July 17, 2007, Obama said, " The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing that I'd do ."
-- Obama advocates the nullification of state laws requiring parental notification or consent for a minor daughter's abortion, which would be one of the effects of the FOCA. Moreover, since entering the U.S. Senate, Obama has had two opportunities to vote directly on the question of parental notification for interstate abortions on minors, and he voted "no" on both occasions.
-- Obama advocates repeal of the Hyde Amendment, the law that since 1976 has blocked almost all federal funding of abortion, even though both pro-life and pro-abortion analysts agree that this law has prevented many abortions. By even the most conservative estimate, there are more than one million Americans alive today because of the Hyde Amendment. "Because the Hyde Amendment must be renewed annually, a new president hostile to the Hyde Amendment could quickly place it in jeopardy," Johnson observed. The FOCA would also nullify all state laws restricting state funding of elective abortion.
-- In a written response to a pro-abortion advocacy group , the Obama campaign said that Obama is opposed to continuing current federal funding for "crisis pregnancy centers," which provide needed assistance to many thousands of pregnant women.
-- NRLC has thoroughly documented that in the Illinois state Senate, Obama led the opposition to legislation to protect babies who are born alive during abortions, and persisted in his opposition even after Congress had enacted a virtually identical federal bill without a single dissenting vote. Obama has in numerous ways actively misrepresented the content of this legislation, and his actions on it, but even when such misrepresentations were proved by NRLC and others, the major media simply let Obama abandon them and fall back to a different set of equally misleading claims.
In his article, Johnson criticizes recent coverage in the "mainstream news media," which, he writes, "have, with few exceptions, been very compliant with Obama's recent efforts to downplay his hard-line pro-abortion history and policy commitments, for the purpose of winning the general election." Typically, journalists simply describe Obama's position as "supports abortion rights," without giving details regarding his advocacy of federal funding of abortion, invalidation of parental notification laws, and the rest.
Mr. Johnson's article has been cross-posted on the NRLC website under the title "Efforts to Sell Obama to Pro-Life Americans Collide With His Support for Sweeping Pro-abortion Policy Changes."