February 16, 2009
I was disturbed to see a full-page ad in Sunday''s Dispatch with the headline "The Obama Abortion Agenda." The ad blamed the Democratic leadership for targeting "unborn children and their mothers" and made several generalized statements as to what would happen if the "Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA) were passed by Congress. It referred readers to a Web site to "learn more." Much in this ad is misleading, half-truth or patently false.
First of all, a visitor to the Web site shown (www.stoptheabortionadgenda.com) would learn nothing more that what was presented in the ad. It is only a petition, not an education. Secondly, a quick visit to www.snopes.com/politics/medical/choice.asp debunks many of the points in the ad, and further research supports the Snopes findings. Thirdly, although the legislation was first introduced in January 2004, it was turned over to committee and no further action has taken place. It was re-introduced in the 110th Congress where the bill, once again, languished in committee. The bill has not even been re-introduced in the present 111th Congress. I suspect, given its history and the other dire problems facing the Congress, that there is little for opponents to fret over.
Perhaps most disturbing is the tone of the ad. It is partisan fear mongering. Pitting the Democratic leadership of the country against what is supposedly "moral" according to the writers, is the worst kind of slander, especially when supported by unfounded statements and half-truths.
For instance, Democrat Senate leader Harry Reid believes in a restricted right to abortion, stating that "abortions should be legal only when the pregnancy resulted from incest, rape, or when the life of the mother is endangered." He has also voted several times to ban the "intact dilation and evacuation" or "partial-birth abortion" procedure. Painting all parties with the same broad brush to support a point makes the point invalid.
Further, President Obama has hardly made this issue an "agenda" item. He only stated that he was in favor of the bill when he was a senator. In fact, a visit to www.whitehouse.gov will clarify his position when it comes to reproductive rights.
I was saddened to see this ad because it is more of the same type of approach used by the previous administration over the past eight years. Misrepresentations and distortion supplant facts. Fear supplants education. Hype supplants common sense. We remain angry and divided as a result. We need to move beyond these tactics in order to understand and work with one another for the common good. Read the bill athttp://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:H.R.1964 , rather than take someone''s opinion for fact.
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