Pro-Life Leaders to Meet with White House Faith-Based Director

By Fred Lucas | March 23, 2009 | 7:14 PM EDT

President Barack Obama (AP Photo)

( – Pro-life leaders will meet Tuesday with the director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships to discuss ways to reduce the number of abortions in the United States.
Representatives from conservative groups – Concerned Women for America (CWA), the Family Research Council, Care Net and the Christian Medical and Dental Association – will attend the meeting with Josh Dubois, executive director of the faith-based office and a former evangelical pastor.
“We hope to start a dialogue with the White House faith-based office,” CWA President Wendy Wright told “The faith-based office has been reformulated to now have a new mandate, which included reducing the number of abortions and focusing on fatherhood.”
On Feb. 5, when Obama unveiled his faith-based office – an office started during the Bush administration – the new president said the priorities would be to “support women and children, address teenage pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion,” among other priorities addressing poverty.
The Obama administration also said the office “will strive to support fathers who stand by their families, which involves working to get young men off the streets and into well-paying jobs, and encouraging responsible fatherhood.”
But Obama’s initiatives since taking office have been consistent with his pro-abortion policies in both the U.S. Senate and the Illinois state Legislature. Shortly after taking office, Obama signed an executive order to allow federal funding to go to groups that administer abortions abroad.
The White House also reversed a Bush administration conscience clause designed to protect health workers who do not want to assist with abortions or the distributions of contraceptives.
Obama also signed an executive order to allow federal funds to go to embryonic stem cell research, potentially expanding the private market for the creation and destruction of human embryos. And, Obama nominated the pro-abortion Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to be secretary of Health and Human Services.
Wright thinks it is important to keep an open discussion with the White House to find the common ground that Obama talked about in the campaign.
“We want to present information on the kinds of programs that are effective in reducing the number of abortions,” Wright said. “So far, I think this administration has really only been hearing from groups like Planned Parenthood, which profits from a higher number of abortions.
“So, of course, the kinds of policies and programs they’re going to promote would be ones that would not reduce the number of abortions. They just don’t have an incentive for reducing abortion.”
She said a willingness of evangelical groups to meet with the White House at least ensures that it is hearing from all sources.
“And especially that they are getting information on programs and policies that actually work, not just those that are politically correct,” Wright said. “So, we look forward to this meeting. We hope that it will be the first of many meetings.”
What has worked in reducing abortions has been pregnancy centers, of which 1,160 across America are run by the organization Care Net, which helps women find alternatives to abortions. Nine out of 10 women who go to the pregnancy centers choose to carry their pregnancy to term, said Kristen Hansen, spokeswoman for Care Net.
Hansen said the group is not seeking a grant, but primarily wants to help educate the White House about the success of pregnancy centers. She said the centers have 30,000 volunteers, and the centers provide pregnancy tests, baby clothes, maternity clothes, diapers and tests for sexually transmitted diseases.
The centers also show women how to obtain health care, and teach classes on saving money as well as paternity and child birth classes.
“There is a wide range beyond that based on community needs. We are deeply rooted in our communities,” Hansen said. “A lot of what we do there is common ground support for women. We provide support for pregnant women. There is a consensus to provide help and reduce the need for abortions.”