Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey used last week’s March for Life as another opportunity to sound the alarm on the administration’s “virulently pro-abortion” agenda and to declare that President Obama is “obsessed with promoting abortion.”
Au contraire, President Obama, whose responsibility it is to run America, has his hands full cleaning up the mess left by the last guy and winning over Americans who have been incensed ever since he offered them a cheaper, more efficient, and more ethical way of caring for their health. He doesn’t have time to be “obsessed” with abortion.
Chris Smith, on the other hand, is obsessed with abortion. Smith, whose top campaign contributor for the last election was Right to Life’s PAC, has made it his mission to make abortion inaccessible both here and abroad. As Michelle Goldberg reported last year in the American Prospect:
Smith, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has devoted much of his career to fighting reproductive rights worldwide, personally prevailing on foreign politicians not to liberalize their abortion laws and, during the Bush years, leading the charge to freeze the American contribution to the United Nations Population Fund.
Smith co-sponsored a bill prohibiting taking a minor across a state line to obtain an abortion if the minor lives in a state that requires parental notification. He also co-sponsored a bill to allow federal funding to be used for alternative-to-abortion services, that is, services that promote “childbirth instead of abortion” and provide “information or education (including classes), regarding prenatal care, childbirth, adoption, parenting, chastity, or abstinence.” These “Crisis Pregnancy Centers”, which often set up shop across from reproductive health clinics, promote childbirth by giving women medically inaccurate information about abortion, often insisting that abortion causes breast cancer, infertility, and the non-existent post-abortion syndrome. They disseminate overtly religious information—that abortion will cause you to go to hell, for example. Smith has worked to impose anti-contraception, anti-abortion policy on other countries, as well, authoring a bill to deny funding to any foreign organization that promotes or performs abortions—a reintroduction of the Mexico City Policy that Obama rescinded last January.
One of Smith’s tactics is, perversely, to present himself as an advocate for women’s health. He claims that abortion leads to depression, suicide, and a 40 percent increase in breast cancer risk. These claims have been refuted again and again by the American Psychological Association and the National Cancer Institute, respectively. (The NCI points out that studies that have shown such a link “used recalled information in populations in which induced abortion had a social or religious stigma, differential reporting of prior abortion by breast cancer patients, and controls”—as in, “I am pro-life, so are most people I know, and I know a woman who I think had an abortion and later, she developed breast cancer.” Not science.)
In his speech at the March for Life, Smith called the right to life movement “the greatest human rights struggle on earth.” And he addressed the following to President Obama: “we do pray and fast for you, even as we tenaciously fight your anti-life policies.”
70,000 women die each year as a result of illegal abortions. Through his work on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Chris Smith is doing his best to drive that number up. So, Chris Smith, though your use of the words “human rights” is nauseating, I will pray and fast for you, even as I tenaciously fight your anti-life policies.