With his uptilted chin and elitist policies, President Obama has proved how little he understands the average American or cares to represent him. Case in point: his abortion policies.
Rick Warren: “[A]t what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?”
Barack Obama: “Well, you know, I think that whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.”
“I've got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby.”
The social media prowess of President Obama’s campaign helped propel him into office in 2008, but it certainly did not help him understand the views of average Democrats, let alone average Americans. This May, Gallup reported that a majority of Americans (50%) self-identify as prolife, while only 41% self-identify as prochoice. This prolife majority is comprised not only of Republicans, but also of Democrats and Independents. Members of all three political affiliations increasingly see themselves as prolife.
Even though a majority of Americans disagree with him on abortion, President Obama shows no sign of damping his relentless abortion agenda. Instead, he lobbied for Obamacare. Before Obamacare, many Americans (myself included) had grown used to what seemed to be the abortion status quo. Roe v. Wade survived, but state and national prolife laws provided checks on particularly egregious abortion techniques and practices. It was tempting to think that abortion could be contained and eradicated slowly. That in the meantime the Hyde Amendment would prevent taxpayers from being forced to subsidize abortions. We tried not to think about the financial support we already were forced to give Planned Parenthood, and the lives claimed as the slow-motion strategy played out.
Obamacare changed all that. President Obama has destroyed the all-powerful illusion of the abortion status quo, and we begin to see there’s no emergency brake on evil. New methods of assaulting consciences are continually being revealed. “Abortion-free” health insurance is becoming an endangered species. And Obamacare is increasing the country’s prolife/proabortion divide as nothing else could.
As John-Paul Deddens, the founder and executive director of Students for Life of Illinois puts it, “Obamacare gives unprecedented power to the executive branch to use insurance requirements to buy votes. The abortion lobby has already gotten its pay-off through the contraception mandate and the abortion surcharge instituted by the HHS. These mandates will not only constitute political favoritism but also the largest expansion of abortion since Roe forcing everyone to pay for the contraception, sterilizations and abortions of others.”
As disturbing as the implications are for the prolife community, it’s even more frightening for the unborn of America. “Safe, legal, and rare” is becoming “Just as unsafe, legal, and subsidized.” Indeed, the 2008 Democratic Party’s platform, which was patterned from Obama’s campaign, dropped the word “rare” in reference to abortion entirely.
Even in Illinois, there is hope amid the heartache. This is where President Obama came of political age, and where he first voiced his support of postnatal infanticide. But it’s also where Jill Stanek began her political and ethical career. As a nurse in Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Mrs. Stanek saw multiple children who survived abortions but were abandoned in a soiled utility room to die. Her testimony to Congress on behalf of the unborn has been strategic in bills such as the Born Alive Infant Protections Act, and she now maintains a prolife blog that earned her the title “Worst Person in the World!” from Keith Olbermann.
Mrs. Stanek is not alone. Prolifers from across the state participate in events such as 40 Days for Life and Life Chain to pray for the end of abortion. This year, five Illinois cities participated in the spring 40 Days for Life campaign, and there are already 96 confirmed locations for Life Chain in Illinois. Meanwhile, prolife organizations such as the Illinois Family Institute are keeping Illinoisans abreast of prolife bills, news, and perspectives.
Young people in Illinois are finding ways to voice their prolife convictions. Live Action’s investigations in Illinois have complemented the work of prolife elected officials in the statehouse. Thousands of students gather in Washington, D.C. on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade for March for Life, and Illinois students are among them. (Here is a video from the 2012 March).
And four years ago, Illinoisans Mike Schaefer and Jimmy Becker combined their love for biking with their concern for unborn children, and Biking for Babies was born. This year, over the course of nine days, ten bikers rode the 1100 miles from New Orleans to Chicago, to encourage others to become involved in the prolife movement. They also raised $31,000 for eight Midwest prolife organizations, including the Living Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center in Champaign, the Life Network in Waterloo, and Students for Life of Illinois in Champaign.
On the last day of the ride, Mike Schaefer blogged,
“I can simply say that it was a real blessing to bike with and be supported by such wonderful friends. It really isn’t a cause for which we ride. It’s because life is worth living that we ride. The linguistic, political, and social framework of that which is ‘pro-life’, in as much as it may look similar to any other social platform, only attempts to share with others the far bigger and more meaningful reality of something that we are certain of because there is something ultimately very beautiful about it–something so valuable and noble at every stage in life that we fear doing damage to our own humanity should we take it away from someone else, no matter the circumstance.”
The tenacity it takes to plan and execute such a trip is also needed on college campuses, where faculty and peers are often openly hostile to those who take a prolife stance. Students for Life of Illinois is standing in the gap, and offering encouragement and resources to students on 24 Illinois campuses.
Recently this organization recognized three students for their outstanding contributions to the prolife effort in Illinois. Christina Foreman and Pam Suresca have been outstanding leaders on their campuses (the University of Illinois at Chicago and Loyola University), and were named Passionate Leader of the Year and Outstanding Student Leader of the Year.
Videos made by others from their campuses show the contagious enthusiasm these young women have about building a prolife culture: “What stands out the most to me about Christina is the loving way in which she communicates the prolife message. Christina is utterly fearless when speaking about the prolife movement.”
The third award recipient was Anne Marie Dust, an alumna of Bradley University, was named the Courageous Student of the Year. When Miss Dust was applying for a nursing residency at Vanderbilt University, the University required her to agree to participate in abortions. Understandably shaken, she weighed her options. Objecting might limit her chances to take her nursing examinations, or even find a job. Finally, she made her choice. “At the end of the day you have to stand up for what is most important to you,” she says. With the help of the Alliance Defense Fund, she filed a federal complaint. Here is the result of her actions:
The legacy of Illinois and this nation hangs in the balance. Each of us must decide whose vision will shape the future: the proabortion vision of Barack Obama, or the prolife vision of Jill Stanek, John-Paul, Anne Marie, Mike, Jimmy, and others. Here in President Obama’s home state, our fight to defend the unborn is just beginning. But where there’s life, there’s hope.