Though President Obama has made clear throughout his political career that he is pro-abortion, he told members of the Catholic Health Association (CHA) that when he worked with the Catholic Church in Chicago, he saw that “every human being, made in the image of God, deserves to live in dignity.”
[A]ll children, no matter who they are or where they come from or how much money they were born into, ought to have the opportunity to achieve their God-given potential; that we are called, in the words of His Holiness Pope Francis, “to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness, and respect for every human being.”
Obama’s words may appear as a purposeful twist to appeal to leftwing “social justice” Catholics while at the same time not admitting that unborn babies are, in fact, “human beings.” Like many liberals, Obama also uses the words of Pope Francis to shore up support for his policies he views as advocating for equality and fairness, while ignoring the Church’s unchanging doctrine in areas such as the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death, and marriage between one man and one woman.
As Newsweek reported in 2008, while an Illinois state senator, Obama repeatedly opposed legislation that would have defined a baby who survived abortion procedures as a “human being,” or a “person,” etc.
In 2001, for example, Obama said on the floor of the Illinois Senate:
Number one, whenever we define a previable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a – a child, a nine-month-old – child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it – it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an antiabortion statute.
Similarly, while running for the U.S. Senate in 2003, Obama emphatically stated at a press conference, “I am pro-choice.” Asked by a reporter if that applied “in all situations including the late term thing,” he repeated, “I am pro-choice. I believe that women make responsible choices and they know better than anybody the tragedy of a difficult pregnancy and I don’t think that it’s the government’s role to meddle in that choice.”
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of CHA, Obama was invited by the organization’s CEO and president, Sister Carol Keehan, to provide the keynote address at Tuesday’s event.
As Joan Desmond reports at National Catholic Register, the appearance of Obama with Keehan and her group “boldly signaled the enduring intertwined interests of a political leader and an industry lobbyist.”
“It has been my privilege to work with the president and his team over the past seven years,” Keehan said as she introduced Obama to the conference assembly, which was also attended by HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell and several members of Congress. “With CHA’s deep gratitude for his leadership and concern for the well-being of all Americans, it is my honor and pleasure now to introduce the president of the United States, Barack Obama.”
Keehan, a defiant member of the institutional Catholic left, broke with the U.S. Catholic bishops when it became clear the Obama administration would expand abortion through Obamacare and require free contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs to be provided to employees of many Catholic organizations and schools through health insurance plans. In return for her support and the appearance of “Catholic” endorsement of Obamacare, the president presented Keehan with one of the 21 ceremonial pens he used to sign the health care reform into law.
Later, when the bishops rejected the Obama administration’s “shell games,” aka “accommodations,” that were claimed to solve their ethical dilemmas with the HHS contraception mandate, Keehan once again provided Catholic “cover” for Obama, splitting with the bishops and announcing, “We are pleased that our members now have an accommodation that will not require them to contract, provide, pay or refer for contraceptive coverage.”
As Catholic News Agency reported in 2010, the late Cardinal Francis George, former archbishop of Chicago, said of Keehan, “Sister Carol and her colleagues are to blame” for the passage of the health care bill.
Keehan’s assistance to Obama has continued even to this year, when CHA filed an amicus brief that urged the Supreme Court to rule in the White House’s favor regarding eligibility for subsidies for Obamacare in every state of the country.
In a video during a press conference on Capitol Hill, Keehan said that with Obamacare, “our nation took a giant step forward. And now if this case is decided wrongly, we’ll take a giant step back.”
“Sister Carol’s public support for the president in this matter, and his appearance at the CHA event suggest that her standing as a religious sister will once again be used to leverage political support for the president,” writes Desmond. “And, in this case, it sent the message that there will be hell to pay if the high court, specifically the four Catholic justices on the conservative wing, rule against the White House.”
“I just love nuns, generally,” said Obama during his CHA address. “We would not have gotten the Affordable Care Act one had it not been for [Sister Carol Keehan].”
The CHA event afforded Obama an opportunity to pump up his signature health care law as the nation waits for another Supreme Court ruling that could affect its viability.
From the White House transcript of Obama’s remarks:
Nearly one in three uninsured Americans have already been covered — more than 16 million people -– driving our uninsured rate to its lowest level ever. (Applause.) Ever. On top of that, tens of millions more enjoy new protections with the coverage that they’ve already got. That 85 percent who had health insurance, they may not know that they’ve got a better deal now than they did, but they do. Americans can no longer be denied coverage because of preexisting conditions — from you having had cancer to you having had a baby. Women can’t be charged more just for being a woman. (Applause.) And they get free preventive services like mammograms. And there are no more annual or lifetime caps on the care patients receive.
Castigating his critics, Obama continued:
And while we were told again and again that Obamacare would be a job-killer — amazingly enough, some critics still peddle this notion — it turns out in reality, America has experienced 63 straight months of private sector job growth — a streak that started the month we passed the Affordable Care Act. (Applause.) The longest streak of private sector job growth on record — that adds up to 12.6 million new jobs. (Applause.)