This piece originally appeared on Townhall.com on January 26, 2010.
Dawn Johnsen is President Obama’s nominee to head the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). It’s arguably the most important office at DoJ. OLC sets policy for the entire federal government.
When not serving in government, Dawn Johnsen has spent her career promoting abortion-on-demand. She denies there is even such a thing as Partial-Birth Abortion. Even the term, she maintains, is “intentionally provocative.” She does not think that “progressives”–that’s PC-speak for liberal–should suggest that abortion is ever a tragedy.
Not for Dawn Johnsen Bill Clinton’s slippery formulation: “Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.” Dismiss for the moment that Bill and Hillary Clinton did everything they could in their eight years to promote abortion world-wide. The only places they made abortion rare were on the Moon and in Antarctica.
Even the Clintons’ basic premise was flawed. If abortion is “a fundamental constitutional right,” as they said in every official document, then why should it be rare? Is there any other fundamental constitutional right we want to be rare?
Hillary once said abortion is “wrong.” (Newsweek, 31 October 1994). Only once. But she pressed governments around the world to legalize it. That’s an odd way to deal with something you think is wrong.
Dawn Johnsen doesn’t think abortion is wrong at all. She is all for it. She drafted the five lethal Executive Orders that Bill Clinton signed within hours of taking the oath as President to promote easier access to abortion. Clinton struck down Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City Doctrine, allowing U.S. funds to go to Planned Parenthood and the UN Fund for Population. This order sluiced money to abortionists worldwide and even, as in China, to those who force women to have abortions.
Bill Clinton struck down Reagan’s order to Planned Parenthood to separate their so-called family planning activities from their abortion facilities. Under Bill Clinton–and up until the current day–teens can take devices and pills out one door and, when these fail, they are hustled back into the revolving door to the abortion center.
Johnsen goes much further in her pro-abortion militancy than even the Clintons, than even President Obama. She worked for years to strip the Catholic Church of its tax-exempt status. Why? Because the Catholic Church has never wavered in its outspoken defense of unborn children. Dawn Johnsen was part of the Abortion Rights Mobilization (ARM ) that fought a legal battle for eight years in the courts.
ARM’s assault on religious liberty and free speech was the brainchild of Lawrence Lader, the co-founder of NARAL, for whom Johnsen also worked. Lader said “abortion is central to everything in life and how we want to live it.” Johnsen’s record puts her very much in that camp. She has even likened pregnancy to slavery.
The Catholic Church would not be the only target if Johnsen is confirmed. Many Protestant churches and associations take pro-life stances. These include the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), and The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS). All of these church bodies could find themselves in the cross-hairs if Dawn Johnsen is confirmed.
We are very close to seeing a nationalized Health Care bill pass through Congress and sent to President Obama for signature. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) has signaled us that the final bill that is being “ping-ponged” back and forth between Speaker Pelosi’s office and Sen. Harry Reid’s will likely include federal funding for abortion-on-demand. That’s bad enough. But we can see that if churches object to funding for killing the unborn, they could be targeted by Dawn Johnsen at the Office of Legal Counsel.
Chief Justice John Marshall famously said in McCullough v. Maryland that “the power to tax is the power to destroy.” That’s what Dawn Johnsen tried to do for eight years to the Catholic Church in America. That’s what she could do to your church if she is confirmed by the Senate.
Fear of losing their tax-exempt status has for too long kept Christian pastors from speaking out on the grave moral issues of the day. It shouldn’t be, but it is so.
Because of Dawn Johnsen’s pro-abortion extremism, because she has sought to impose a “chilling effect” on religious free speech, because she has tried to destroy churches, this ACLU lawyer should be rejected by the U.S. Senate.