Life Advocacy Briefing

November 3, 2008


Special Edition: The Two Principal Nominees for President, In Their Own Words / Why this Special Edition / Sen. Barack Obama / Sen. John McCain / Original Source Guidance

Why the Special Edition?

WHEN WE READ A NEWS ITEM reporting the following paragraph on motivation for an ad hoc group of six Georgia pro-lifers initiating the Internet website, we decided even some of our Life Advocacy Briefing readers, incredible as that may seem, might yet be “undecided” in Tuesday’s Presidential election – or that readers might wish to have this tool to help persuade their undecided acquaintances. Here’s the motivating paragraph, quoted from a news release by The Maximus Group which was published Oct. 27, 2008, in Illinois Federation for Right to Life News:

“For Janice Givens, a mom and homemaker in Atlanta’s northern suburb of Alpharetta, the lack of commitment to voting pro-life by those she always considered fellow pro-lifers was stunning. ‘As we got closer to Election Day, I found many pro-lifers – people I had known for years – were conflicted or misinformed on where the candidates stood on abortion and therefore were still undecided or not voting to protect the unborn. I found people who I always considered pro-life wavering on the Life issues because of current events and basic ignorance on what could happen if we lost this election,’ says [Mrs.] Givens. ‘Last week, I gathered some friends together who I knew shared my discouragement and shock; we prayed for wisdom and were inspired to do something in the names of the nearly 49 million lives lost to abortion.’”


Sen. Barack Obama

The Democratic Party nominee’s July 17, 2007, speech to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, reprinted from Baptist Press

It’s been a little over five months since I announced my candidacy for President of the United States of America, and everywhere we’ve been, we’ve been inspired by these enormous crowds. … These crowds are not about me; it’s about the hunger all across America for something different. It’s about the sense that we can do better, that we’ve come to a crossroads, that we’re not pointed in the right direction. And as I look out over these crowds, … I think about my own two daughters, Sasha and Malia, and sometimes it makes me stop and it makes me wonder: what kind of America will our daughters grow up in? What kind of America will our daughters grow up in?

Will our daughters grow up with the same opportunities as our sons? Will our daughters have the same rights, the same dreams, the same freedoms to pursue their own version of happiness? I wonder, because there’s a lot at stake in this country today, and there’s a lot at stake in this election, especially for our daughters.

To appreciate that, all you have to do is review the recent decisions handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States. For the first time in Gonzales vs. Carhart, the Supreme Court upheld a federal ban on abortions* with criminal penalties for doctors. For the first time, the courts endorsed an abortion restriction without an exception for a woman’s health. The decision presumed that the health of women is best protected by the court – not by doctors and not by the woman herself. That presumption is wrong.

Some people argue that the federal ban on abortion was just an isolated effort aimed at one medical procedure – that it’s not part of a concerted effort to steadily roll back the hard-won rights of American women. That presumption is also wrong. Within hours of the decision, an Alabama lawmaker introduced a measure to ban all abortions. With one more vacancy on the court, we could be looking at a majority hostile to a woman’s fundamental right to choose for the first time since Roe vs. Wade, and that is what is at stake in this election.

The only thing more disturbing than the decision was the rationale of the majority. Without any hard evidence, Justice Kennedy proclaimed, “It is self-evident that a woman would regret her choice.” He cited medical uncertainty about the need to protect the health of pregnant women, even though the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found no such uncertainty. Justice Kennedy knows many things; my understanding is that he does not know how to be a doctor.

He dismissed as mere preferences the reasoned judgment of the nation’s doctors. As we’ve seen time after time these last few years, when the President says otherwise, when the science is inconvenient, when the facts don’t match up with the ideology, they are cast aside. Well, it’s time for us to change that. It is time for a different attitude in the White House. It is time for a different attitude in the Supreme Court. It is time to turn the page and write a new chapter in American history.

We know that five men don’t know better than women and their doctors what’s best for a woman’s health. We know that it’s about whether or not women have equal rights under the law. We know that a woman’s right to make a decision about how many children to have and when – without government interference – is one of the most fundamental freedoms we have in this country. We also know that there was another voice that came from the bench – a voice clear in reasoning and passionate in dissent. A voice that rejected what she called, quote “Ancient notions of women’s place in the family and under the Constitution, ideas that have long been discredited.” One commentator called the decision in Gonzales, “An attack on Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s entire life’s work.” And it was. But we heard Justice Ginsburg, and we know what she was saying. “We’ve been there before, and we are not going back. We refuse to go back.”

We know it’s not just one decision. It’s the blow dealt to equal pay in the Ledbetter [v. Goodyear] case. It’s the blow dealt to integration in the school desegregation case. It’s an approach to the law that favors the powerful over the powerless – that holds up a flawed ideology over the rights of the individual. We don’t see America in these decisions – that’s not who we are as a people. We’re a country founded on the principle of equality and freedom. We’re the country that’s fought, generation after generation, to steadily extend that equality to the many, not restrict it to the few. We’ve been there before, and we’re not going back.

I have worked on these issues for decades now. I put Roe at the center of my lesson plan on reproductive freedom when I taught constitutional law – not simply as a case about privacy but as part of the broader struggle for women’s equality. Steve and Pam** will tell you that we fought together in the Illinois State Senate against restrictive choice legislation – laws just like the federal abortion ban* that are cropping up. I’ve stood up for the freedom of choice in the United States Senate, and I stand by my votes against the confirmation of Judge Roberts and Samuel Alito.

So you know where I stand. But this is more than just about standing our ground. It must be about more than protecting the gains of the past. We’re at a crossroads right now in America – and we have to move this country forward. This election is not just about playing defense. It’s also about playing offense. It’s not just about defending what is; it’s about creating what might be in this country. And that’s what we’ve got to work together on.

There will always be people, many of good will, who do not share my view on the issue of choice. On this fundamental issue, I will not yield, and Planned Parenthood will not yield. … [T]he first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing I’d do. … That’s why I think it’s important for us obviously to get not only a Democratic White House as well as a stronger Congress to protect these rights.

*Sen. Obama refers to the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act

**Sen. Obama refers to Planned Parenthood of Chicago c.e.o. Steve Trombley and Planned Parenthood of Illinois lobbyist Pam Sutherland

[Life Advocacy Briefing editor’s note: We sought to check a particular section of the Obama transcript via the Internet website “YouTube,” which features actual video recordings and on which the Obama address to Planned Parenthood had been posted; the Obama/Planned Parenthood video has been removed.]


Sen. John McCain

The Republican nominee’s July 3, 2008, speech to the National Right to Life Convention, reprinted from Baptist Press

… More than 200 years ago, our nation’s founders declared that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It was no accident that they cited Life as the first and most basic right, for without recognition of the right to life, we are not guaranteed any other rights. Sometimes all wisdom asks of us is that we recognize common sense. But sometimes wisdom, as do all other virtues, requires courage.

Wisdom suggests that we should be willing to give an unborn child the same chance that our parents gave us. But it takes courage in this political climate to insist on the protection of unborn children, who can’t vote, have no voice, and can’t reward you with support and donations. Wisdom suggests that when federal judges impose their social views on the citizens of every state, the result is going to distort our politics in harmful ways. But it takes courage to insist that the courts have to return to their proper role.

I will look for accomplished men and women with a proven record of excellence in the law and a proven commitment to strictly interpreting the Constitution of the United States. I will look for people in the cast of John Roberts, Sam Alito, my friend the late William Rehnquist – jurists of the highest caliber who know their own minds, and know the law, and know the difference.

I have been pro-life my entire public career. I am pro-life because I know what it is like to live without human rights, where human life is accorded no inherent value. And I know that I have a personal obligation to advocate human rights wherever they are denied – in Bosnia or Burma, in Cuba or the Middle East, and in our own country, when we fail to respect the inherent dignity of all human life, born or unborn. That is a personal testament which you need not take on faith. You need only to examine my public record to know that I won’t change my position. I’ve been proud to serve our great country in the military and in Congress.

Throughout these years, I have always believed that the most important duty of our national leaders is to protect human life. We protect human life from violent extremists who would destroy it to produce a cruel ideology. We protect the lives of the most vulnerable, whether they are the unborn, the elderly or the disabled. It is a privilege to defend Americans in war and in peace.

I’m proud to stand with you in defending the sanctity of human life and in supporting mothers and children under the most challenging of circumstances.

I’m proud of my wife Cindy, who brought our daughter Bridget home from Mother Teresa’s orphanage in Bangladesh and blessed our family with the gift of this blessed child of God. I am as thankful for her as I am for all of my children and am glad that we were able to give her a home and a better life.

My friends, we confront a difficult question when we address the issue of abortion. The American people are compassionate people who cherish life and liberty. They love life, and they have an instinctive compassion for those who confront difficult circumstances. We believe that the best way to respond to such situations is to demonstrate our love and support for the mothers and children who are at the center of such challenges. The pro-life movement has done this for decades by participating in and supporting thousands of pregnancy care centers that help women and their children meet these challenges.

In November, the American people will choose a new President to lead our country during very challenging times. I will proudly defend my record of protecting human life during key debates on domestic and international policy. I am proud to have supported a ban on partial-birth abortion and legislation that would protect children who survived an abortion procedure.

On the very first day after the Supreme Court upheld the ban on the hideous practice of partial-birth abortion, a bill* was introduced in Congress to codify this practice in every one of the United States of America. The same legislation would strike down the Hyde Amendment – named after our great friend and champion of human life, the incomparable Henry Hyde – and would also strike down every other federal and state limitation on abortion funding. This legislation, which has been co-sponsored by my opponent, would also strike down every parental notification law enacted anywhere in our country.

The American people have come together to say that partial-birth abortion offends our national conscience, that taxpayers should not be forced to pay for elective abortions, and that states should be allowed to enact parental notification laws. And those who oppose these protections of human life, unable to prevail in legislatures, hope to appoint to the federal courts jurists who would reject this political consensus and impose on us abortion policies that offend the conscience of many, many Americans.

My friends, I want to thank you again for your commitment to a cause that is greater than us all – protecting human life and helping women and children, wherever they need our support. May God bless America, and your unselfish efforts on behalf of all His children.

*Sen. McCain refers here to the “Freedom of Choice Act,” a principal goal of the abortion industry.


Original Source Guidance

From the Word of God, The Holy Bible

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19.

“If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14.


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