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Reading about President Obama’s controversial speech at Notre Dame reminded of how adept our president is at saying one thing while doing just the opposite. He was at the top of his game in his commencement address, assuring his listeners, for example, that he respects pro-life medical professionals and supports a conscience clause to protect those who do not wish to participate in abortion. From the story :

He called for an effort to “honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women,” Obama said.

Obama plans to revise a Bush-era “conscience clause,” which would cut off federal funding for hospitals and health plans that didn’t allow doctors and other health-care workers to refuse to participate in care they believe conflicts with their personal or moral beliefs.

No, Obama plans to revoke the Bush conscience clause , not revise it. Unless that plan changes during the rule promulgation process, the administration can hardly be said to be honoring pro-life consciences.

Perhaps by speaking so respectfully to the graduating Fighting Irish, the president is signaling that he plans to change the radical course he has steered to date on cultural issues. More likely, Obama will continue to say moderate things—to great cheering in the media—while his administration acts immoderately, as he did with stem cell research when he not only revoked the Bush embryonic stem cell research funding policy, but also, as I noted here , the noncontroversial Bush requirement that the government fund “alternatives” to using embryos in finding pluripotent stem cells, this even though the alternatives approaches are bearing great fruit.

In the first 100 days of his administration, the president had two great opportunities to steer the kind of centrist course about which he spoke at Notre Dame—and both times he rejected the moderate path. Now, with the administration flirting with health care rationing and therewith the establishment of an implicit duty to die, there is no reason to think that Obama’s future policies will be any more consistent with his soothing utterances than have his past.

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