As the pro-choice President takes the reigns of our fragile country, Barack Obama has attempted to navigate the shark-infested waters of the abortion issue with surgical precision. Obama is speaking about abortion in a way that is meaningful to pro-lifers and sensitive to the realities of the issue.
Though he unashamedly supports the "right of women to choose" whether or not they will undergo and abortion, he claims to believe strongly that we should work to reduce the need for and occurrences of abortions in the United States. Furthermore, he openly supports sexual education with an abstinence emphasis. On this, we can agree.
Obama's actions, however, don't seem so promising. First, there is his Pre-Presidential record on abortion, which is abysmal at best. Then, there is his transition-time appointments:
-Dawn Johnsen: Former Legal Director for NARAL will serve as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel
-Tom Daschle: Recently withdrawn nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services who led the fight against the partial-birth abortion ban in the Senate.
-Melody Barnes: Former board member at Planned Parenthood who worked for the Center for American Progress will serve as White House Domestic Policy Director.
-Ellen Moran: Worked for Emily's List, a pro-choice political action group, will head up the White House communications team.
-Jackie Norris: Former board member at Planned Parenthood will serve as Chieft of Staff to the First Lady.
Finally, there is Obama's one actual move on the issue: a repeal of the Mexico City Policy, which will open up federal funding for international organizations who provide abortions and family planning. According to a recent Gallup Poll, the repeal ranks as the most unpopular of his actions as President, by far.
Today, the Washington Post ran a story entitled, "Obama tries to appease both sides of the abortion debate," which outlined the tensions involved here. I am one of those evangelicals who really believes in the sincerity and heart of this administration, but I remain skeptical about Obama's ability to build and cross the bridge. If he fails to do so, it may mean a break down of trust for those evangelicals who are trying their best to find common ground on which to join him.
"Many of us feel like we've stuck our necks out with our constituencies," I told the Washington Post. "He will have done us a great disservice if he does not come through."