It is no secret that in life, our values tend to guide our decisions. The things we hold dear, the things that are priorities to us, our principles … these are the factors that influence how we live our lives, from who we associate with to how we spend our time and how we spend our money. In Washington, it’s no different. If you want to know what an elected official values, you need look at who he associates with, how he spends his time, and how he spends your money. In politics a budget is more than mere numbers on a balance sheet. In its original form, before it is sliced and diced and edited and revised by committees, it is ideology distilled.
Conservatives have been deeply troubled from day one by the apparent ideology that guides President Obama’s decisions, and while his well-funded and resourceful PR apparatus has been extremely successful at managing his public image, his spending priorities tell us all we need to know about the man behind the machine.
We know, for example, that despite the rhetoric President Obama doesn’t hold our military in very high esteem. Why else would his administration go to the mat defending its contraception mandate while at the same time pushing a cut in medical benefits for our men and women in uniform? We also know that the president isn’t really concerned about rising gas prices, given his willingness to fritter away billions of taxpayer dollars on failing “green” ventures while blocking efforts to expand domestic production of fossil fuels.
By far the most troubling to traditional conservatives, however, are the president’s budgetary actions pertaining to the unborn.
Last year, when the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a budget that included the defunding of Planned Parenthood (which receives approximately one third of its $1 billion annual budget from the federal government), the president’s cohorts in the Senate had a conniption fit, rending their proverbial garments over the GOP’s “war on women” and pledging that such a draconian measure would never see the president’s desk. Planned Parenthood is a sacred cow to those on the Left, the president included, and he clearly sees nothing wrong with allocating hundreds of millions of dollars a year for the nation’s single largest abortion provider.
Indeed, many women are convinced that women’s “health care” is a high priority for President Obama, and undoubtedly it is if you define abortion and birth control as health care. What doesn’t count as health care in the president’s mind, however, is anything that might actually facilitate or encourage pregnancy and live birth. Thus, the president simply can’t in good conscience continue funding for the pernicious “Embryo Adoption Awareness Campaign,” which exists to facilitate the adoption of surplus frozen embryos (or “snowflake babies”) resulting from in vitro fertilization. Citing “limited interest,” the Department of Health and Human Services has eliminated the $1.9 million program in its FY 2013 budget.
So we see clearly where the president’s priorities lie. He’s absolutely fine with plunging America ever-deeper into debt for the cause of free birth control, abortions on the cheap, unproven alternative energy initiatives, bank bailouts, auto bailouts and the like. In his mind these are all justifiable, moral causes that demand government support. On the other hand, things like medical care for infants that survive botched partial-birth abortions or adoption awareness campaigns for frozen embryos … such “limited interest” issues don’t merit government funding, no matter how minimal.
Thomas Jefferson believed that “the chief purpose of government is to protect life. Abandon that and you have abandoned all.” Frozen embryos aren’t mere surplus property to be discarded, but nascent human beings who should be protected released from their state of “suspended animation” and allowed to reach their full potential. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama does not share Mr. Jefferson’s views on this matter.
Several years ago, I had the privilege of meeting a family whose lives had been enriched by the blessing of twins. The Borden family adopted their sons while they were still frozen embryos at a fertility clinic in California, and came to Washington to speak out against the destruction of embryos for stem cell research. Their story, and the twins growth and development, is a compelling testament that what is at stake when dealing with frozen embryos is nothing less than human life itself.
One would hope that the cause of human life is worth a few million dollars to the president of the United States. If not, perhaps the American people need to evaluate whether this is the kind of person they want setting the priorities for how their money is spent.
Ken Connor is an attorney and co-author of Sinful Silence: When Christians Neglect Their Civic Duty. He is also chairman of the Center for a Just Society.
Publication date: March 14, 2012