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Dawn Stacey M.Ed, LMHC

Avoid an "Unintended Presidency” - Discovering Your Democratic Options: Barack Obama

By September 27, 2007

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Let me introduce you to Barack Obama, Democrat.

Listen up y’all - Senator Barack Obama is our friend! He is a presidential hopeful who could quite possibly restore America and fix all the things that George W. has done in an attempt to strip away our reproductive rights.

Upon researching Obama’s views, I must say, that I am pleasantly surprised. After learning about Huckabee, I must admit, I was beginning to get a little scared and discouraged. So my sincere thanks goes out to Barack Obama for restoring my faith that there are actually some politicians out there who are “in touch” with reality!

Senator Obama voted yes on an amendment that would provide $100 million to allow for greater access to family planning services and require health plans to include equitable coverage for prescription birth control. Additionally, this amendment’s aim is to reduce teen pregnancy through the creation of sexual education and pregnancy prevention programs. This message? Obama is IN FAVOR of initiating programs to increase contraceptive awareness and access as a way to reduce the number of abortions, improve women's health care, and provide funding for educational programs that explain the use of emergency contraceptives. Yeah – I know…a public official who actually is interested in helping the people that he serves…go figure!

I believe that Senator Obama has taken an extremely proactive approach when it comes to reproductive and sexual health. He is a cosponsor of the Prevention First Act of 2007 (which basically proposes full funding of Title X - America's family planning program). According to Obama:

"I believe we must work together to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. I support legislation to expand access to contraception, health information, and preventative services to help reduce unintended pregnancies. That is why I co-sponsored the Prevention First Act of 2007, which will increase funding for family planning and comprehensive sex education that teaches both abstinence and safe sex methods. It will also end insurance discrimination against contraception, improve awareness about emergency contraception, and provide compassionate assistance to rape victims."
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a president who understands the connection between sex education, birth control, and unintended pregnancy? You would think that this is an easy equation to grasp; however, too many politicians out there live in la-la land, preaching that if you don’t teach kids about sex, they won’t have it. Unbelievable, if you ask me.

Barack Obama also co-introduced the Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act, with the intent to remove some of the government penalties on married families and support fathers already trying to do the right thing; this act would also make it more difficult for men who try to avoid their parental responsibilities, increase enforcement of child support and strengthen domestic violence prevention services. This legislative initiative shows that Obama is also sensitive to family values, and the strengthening of the family unit.

For almost a decade, Senator Obama has been a leader in the Illinois legislature in the fight to protect a woman's right to choose; according to Obama, “A woman's ability to decide how many children to have and when, without interference from the government, is one of the most fundamental rights we possess. It is not just an issue of choice, but equality and opportunity for all women…I have consistently advocated for reproductive choice and will make preserving women's rights under Roe v. Wade a priority as President. I oppose any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's ruling in this case.” So, it should come as no surprise that Obama has earned a 100% Pro-Choice voting record from NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Senator Obama does not approve of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the federal abortion ban: “I think that most Americans recognize that this is a profoundly difficult issue for the women and families who make these decisions. They don't make them casually. And I trust women to make these decisions in conjunction with their doctors and their families and their clergy. And I think that's where most Americans are. Now, when you describe a specific procedure that accounts for less than 1% of the abortions that take place, then naturally, people get concerned, and I think legitimately so. But the broader issue here is: Do women have the right to make these profoundly difficult decisions? And I trust them to do it. There is a broader issue: Can we move past some of the debates around which we disagree and can we start talking about the things we do agree on? Reducing teen pregnancy; making it less likely for women to find themselves in these circumstances.” Aaaah, I am hearing it again…the VOICE OF REASON.

Obama further said, “I strongly disagree with today's Supreme Court ruling... I am extremely concerned that this ruling will embolden state legislatures to enact further measures to restrict a woman's right to choose, and that the conservative Supreme Court justices will look for other opportunities to erode Roe v. Wade, which is established federal law and a matter of equal rights for women."

And let’s talk about character for a moment - I came across this story about Senator Obama which truly displays the depth of his character and symbolizes the way our next president should be: caring, nonjudgmental and open-minded.

Barack Obama shared his experience with an abortion protester at one of his campaign events. This anti-choice lobbyist handed him a pamphlet, and queried, “‘Mr. Obama, I know you're a Christian, with a family of your own. So how can you support murdering babies?’ [As per Obama] I told him I understood his position but had to disagree with it. I explained my belief that few women made the decision to terminate a pregnancy casually; that any pregnant woman felt the full force of the moral issues involved when making that decision; that I feared a ban on abortion would force women to seek unsafe abortions, as they had once done in this country. I suggested that perhaps we could agree on ways to reduce the number of women who felt the need to have abortions in the first place.

‘I will pray for you,’ the protester said. ‘I pray that you have a change of heart.’ Neither my mind nor my heart changed that day, nor did they in the days to come. But that night, before I went to bed, I said a prayer of my own-that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that had been extended to me.” This example speaks volumes as to the compassion and empathy Senator Obama could bring to the White House. Obama’s actions should serve as a model to us all; the fact that he could so graciously extend this notion of good faith to abortion protesters. Maybe it’s a lesson that many of these anti-choice protesters should take to heart – the idea that we can agree to disagree while also being courteous and respectful to one another.

So, my fellow voters (yes, I want you all at the polls this year), we have before us a man with integrity, honor, and compassion. It sounds like he has a genuine interest in working with the citizens of America and wants to do right by us. He is practical and understands the plight that real people go through everyday; he embodies the concepts of values and faith, yet does not have this need to shove them (or his religious views) upon the nation. We need our next president to be ready to effectively handle the complexities and delicacies of real life and work towards real solutions, ones that are not based on lofty, “dream-world” ideals that have little applicability to the people of this country.

I will refer to Barack Obama’s campaign website (as I believe) sums up this man and his goals better than I could probably do:

    “My Policy: Across our country, everyday people like you have experiences and ideas that haven't previously been heard. This is your chance to speak your mind and help set the policies that will guide this campaign and change the country.”

    On his site, there is a place where everyday people are encouraged to share their story, submit an idea, upload a video, or record a message - with the following encouraging words, “The best, most comprehensive plan for change in our country will reflect your story and your experience [and/or] will include your ideas and your feedback. Take a moment to share your personal experience on this issue [or] to share your ideas… You have ideas. You have experiences. Share them… Take the time to create a video and submit it to the campaign. Talk about your experiences, your ideas for how to improve things, where you want our country to be five years from now, or anything else related to the issue... Over the coming months, people's stories [and] the best ideas will be featured and incorporated into the campaign's policy proposals. Be as broad or specific as you want...America needs a president with a mandate from the people, and everyone deserves a voice in shaping our next president's agenda.”

Under our current presidency, we, as a people, have been stifled and ignored. We need a president who will honor the beliefs that our country was founded upon. A leader who will embrace the ideals of our founding fathers. Senator Obama’s leadership approach embodies the true spirit of America. Abraham Lincoln, in his historic Gettysburg Address, spoke these powerful words: “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

President Bush has allowed these words to fall upon deaf ears. Barack Obama will breathe life back into America and reassign value to the very ideals that serve as the foundation of our great country and its great leaders.

Barack Obama Photo Courtesy of Rh Reality Check

March 4, 2008 at 2:26 pm
(1) Judy says:

Mr. Obama says we should work together to reduce the number of abortions in this country.

But if abortion IS murder, is there any reason it should be legal? Could we work on reducing the number of abortions while ensuring the unborn child has a right to life?

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