When a bill outlawing sex-selection abortion was brought up in theHouse last week, ABC’s Jake Tapper asked White House spokesman JayCarney if the President had a position on the issue. Carney didn’t havean immediate answer but later a deputy press secretary sent Tapper a statement which read:
The Administration opposes gender discrimination in all forms, but theend result of this legislation would be to subject doctors to criminalprosecution if they fail to determine the motivations behind a verypersonal and private decision. The government should not intrude inmedical decisions or private family matters in this way.
It was no surprise that Obama was against the bill, but the phrasingof the statement was striking. There is a vague reference to opposingconcludes by saying the government should not intrude in “private familymatters” which could be read as inclusive of the decision to abortbased on gender.
The White House statement is even more striking when compared to the one Planned Parenthood issued to the Washington Postyesterday. The entire point of this letter from the “director of globaladvocacy at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America” is to rebutthe claim that PP supports sex-selection abortions:
In his op-ed regarding the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act [“The real war on women,” June 1], Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.) claimed that Planned Parenthood is “okay with exterminating a child . . .simply because she’s a girl” and referred to a coordinated hoax patientcampaign that used highly unusual patient scenarios in an effort todiscredit Planned Parenthood’s services, mission and values.
Putting aside the fact that the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Actwould have imposed harmful restrictions on women’s health care and wouldhave interfered with the doctor-patient relationship, Mr. Smithasserted that Planned Parenthood supports sex-selection abortions. Thisis simply untrue. Planned Parenthood opposes sex-selection abortion.
The willingness of the largest abortion provider in the U.S. to publicly oppose anyabortion practice, even in this ultimately toothless way, is noteworthy. It tellsus something about how extreme this practice really is that PlannedParenthood is concerned about being associated with it.
So why didn’t the White House come out and say what even the mostprogressives abortion rights activists said last week, i.e. that itopposes sex-selection abortion on principle (even if only in theory)? Based on thetepid statement the White House issued last week, it appears thePresident is staking out a position to the left of Planned Parenthood onthe issue of sex-selection abortion. If that’s not the definition ofabortion extremism, it should be.