Friday, January 23, 2009

Contradictions are always signs of error

In my philosophy classes, my students learn that while paradox is part and parcel of Christian thought, contradiction is not. This blog is based on the idea that contradictions are signs of error, and that both meaningful speech and action are impossible if contradictions are permitted.

Scot McKnight has written a fine piece for his Beliefnet blog urging President Obama to avoid a commiting a nasty contradiction. "Abortion is also torture," he reminds us.

Obama and Abortion
Friday January 23, 2009
Categories: Public Issues

Barack Obama, as far as I'm concerned, is not off to a good start when it comes to "change" and ending the "politics as usual" he claimed in his campaign. First, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade he has announced what amounts a contradiction: reduce abortions by supporting and funding abortions. This makes no sense to me. What really makes it difficult morally is that such support is offered on the day he was also announcing -- rightly -- to close down GTMO and speak against the evils of torture. Abortion is also torture. Women have the right to choose what to do with their own bodies, but once there's a pregnancy, that woman is now carrying someone else's body -- that body is no longer simply her own. Support of abortion and opposition to torture is a moral contradiction, and I call on the Obama Administration to re-think their position of their stance on abortion.

Second, our President has postponed announcing that he will support the Mexico City Policy decision. Reagan withdrew support for international clinics that supported abortion, Clinton reinstated support, G.W. Bush withdrew the support, and it appears Obama will reinstate support again. We expected to hear his reinstatement yesterday, but it didn't happen. Everything I hear is that it will happen. This, my friends, is politics as usual. Here's what change could mean: there are plenty of clinics to support that don't do abortions; support those. To choose to reinstate support is to make a choice to support clinics that specifically provide abortions. There is here neither change nor is there a politics that is not usual.

Washington, DC ( -- President Barack Obama used the occasion of the thirty-sixth anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision to issue a contradictory statement. The new president called for reducing abortions but honored the radical decision that ushered in an era of 50 million abortions and virtually no limits.

Obama praised the Supreme Court for issuing what has been one of the most condemned rulings in its history.

"[T]his decision not only protects women's health and reproductive freedom, but stands for a broader principle: That government should not intrude on our most private family matters," Obama said in a statement.

And he reaffirmed his official position supporting abortion.

"I remain committed to protecting a woman's right to choose," he said.

The president also issued a call for an expansion of access to birth control and contraception, even though studies and actual abortion data have shown they do nothing to reduce the numbers of abortions.

"While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue, no matter what our views, we are united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, and support women and families in the choices they make," he said. "To accomplish these goals, we must work to find common ground to expand access to affordable contraception, accurate health information, and preventative services."

Washington, DC ( -- In a move to downplay his pro-abortion agenda, President Barack Obama has decided to wait a little longer to reverse a Bush policy preventing taxpayer funding of abortions overseas. The Mexico City Policy prevents sending public funds to groups that perform or promote abortions in other countries.
The new president could either issue an order tomorrow or in the near future to reverse the policy or allow Congress to do it.

Obama was expected to overturn the pro-life policy on his first or second full days in office and to possibly do so today, on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.

However, a CBN News report indicates Obama will not overturn the policy on a day that pro-life advocates mourn the Supreme Court allowing virtually unlimited abortions.

While Obama is still expected to fund foreign abortions at some point, CBN News indicates Obama is attempting to camouflage his pro-abortion agenda by issuing a statement calling for efforts to reduce abortions.

"It is unclear whether Obama intends to reverse the Mexico City Policy at some point in the future but this reliable source tells me that this move signals that Obama will stress the need for reducing abortions in this country rather than focus on the divisive tit for tat policy reversals of the past," writes David Brody a senior correspondent for the network.

The move may infuriate pro-abortion groups, which campaigned relentlessly for Obama and expected him to immediately reverse the policy upon taking over the White House.

At the same time, Obama could approach overturning the Mexico City Policy in the same manner as he is apparently approaching reversing Bush's limits on funding embryonic stem cell research.

Obama appears to want Congress to do the heavy lifting to pass legislation reversing the protections and he can both get credit for signing the bill and deflect criticism by not becoming the sole decision-maker changing the rules.

Such a move would also make it much tougher for pro-life advocates to undo the decision -- and Obama could also rely on Congress to reverse the Mexico City Policy.

In September, 2007, Sen. Barbara Boxer introduced an amendment to a spending bill that would have reversed the policy and the Senate approved it by a 53-41 percentage point margin.

The move didn't take effect only because President Bush threatened to veto any spending bill that removed the Mexico City Policy -- something Obama would unlikely do.

Let us pray that reason prevails. Meanwhile I rest in this paradox: while hopeful, I'm not optimistic that it will.

1 comment:

Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, I think I hear you well. And agree.