Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Politics of Life

Politics Matter

Our President is in the process of appointing nominees to fill the executive branch of our government. This is crucial to watch. The President may offer rhetorical flourishes about his policies but his appointees are the ones who work where the rubber meets the road. Our new President is arguably the most anti-life President in history, and a look at a couple of his nominees is a good indicator of how his views will translate into policy.

For instance, his Justice Department nominees include Thomas Perrelli who, before becoming the President’s nominee for Assistant Attorney General, served on Michael Schiavo’s legal team in the Terri Schiavo case. He helped fight the successful battle to allow Michael to have Terri starved to death, even though she was not suffering from any terminal illness and even though her parents offered to assume the entire burden of her care (Source: Charles Colson). Though the President voted to disallow the starvation of Terri Schiavo, the vote seems to have been for politically expedient purposes. Now he is nominating a lawyer who fought for the opposite cause to a position of immense power that will potentially have far more influence than any long-forgotten vote to the contrary -- not just for end of life issues, but for who-knows-what-else will come up on his watch.

A few offices down the hall at the Justice Department, President Obama has also nominated Indiana University Law professor Dawn Johnsen to head the department's Office of Legal Counsel. Among her qualifications, Johnsen is a Yale educated, ACLU trained veteran of the Clinton administration (nothing surprising so far) who also happened to work as Legal Director of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL -- since been renamed NARAL Pro-Choice America). During her tenure there, Johnsen, argued before the Supreme Court of the United States in, Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, in a case that involved a Missouri law that restricted the use of state funds and resources for abortion (note: the law did not ban abortion).

In that case, Johnsen argued that any restriction that makes abortion less accessible is:
tantamount to "involuntary servitude" because it "requires a woman to provide continuous physical service to the fetus in order to further the state's asserted interest [in the life of the unborn] ... [a woman, therefore] is constantly aware for nine months that her body is not her own: the state has conscripted her body for its own ends ... such forced pregnancy" violates the Thirteenth Amendment. (Source: National Review, 3/9/09 p.17)
If you don't have your Constitution in front of you, you may have forgotten that the Thirteenth Amendment is the one that prohibits slavery.

But that's not all. Along with equating pregnancy with slavery, Ms. Johnsen opposes: 24-hour waiting periods, parental consent requirements for minors, and all laws against partial birth abortion. In fact, Johnsen believes that agreeing with her on these issues should be a litmus test for judicial nominees because "the notion that legal restrictions [are] some kind of 'reasonable compromise' -- perhaps to make abortion 'safe, legal, and rare,' prove nonsensical."

So no, I have no desire to get my apologetics all tangled up with my politics. But when it comes to moral issues, there are some things that we just cannot avoid. If these are the kind of political appointments we can expect out of Mr. Obama, we have no choice but to get involved.

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