Obama defunds ‘snowflake babies’
Program aids in embryo adoption
The federal government’s only program aimed at preventing the discarding of “extra” frozen human embryos is itself in danger of being discarded.
In a move that pro-lifers are calling more evidence of the Obama administration’s “pro-abortion slant,” the White House has sought to defund the Embryo Adoption Awareness Campaign in its fiscal 2013 budget.
The Department of Health and Human Services “is not requesting funds for this program” because “the Embryo Adoption program will be discontinued in FY2013,” HHS officials said in a February funding report to Congress.
While some observers support this move as a way to free up funds for more urgent reproductive-health concerns, supporters of embryo adoption say this is the wrong time to abandon embryos that are sometimes called “snowflake babies.”
“I think that daily we talk to people about . . . embryo donation and adoption, and we hear the response, ‘Really?
stakes involved for Israel, for America and for the world,” Mr. Obama said. “Rest assured that the Iranian government will know our resolve and that our coordination with Israel will continue.”
He made the comments a day before a scheduled meeting at the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the question of Iran high on their agenda. Mr. Netanyahu also plans to address the AIPAC conference on Monday. Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are expected to address the conference later in the week.
The Israeli news service Haaretz reported that Mr. Netanyahu wants to leverage the AIPAC conference to gain commitments that the Obama administration will support an attack on Iran’s facilities.
Rep. Howard P. “Buck” Mckeon, California Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, spoke on C-SPAN earlier Sunday about the possibility of a joint operation.
“I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to take care of whatever needs to be done,” Mr. Mckeon said.
Moments before Mr. Obama spoke, Israeli President Shimon Peres told the AIPAC crowd that Israel would defend itself against the threat of an “evil” Iranian regime. Mr. Peres said there is “no space between” Israel and the U.S. when it comes to a policy regarding Iran.
“President Obama made it clear that the United States of America will never permit Iran to become nuclear,” Mr. Peres said. “He made it clear that containment is not a viable policy. As the president stated, all options are on the table. The United States and Israel share the same goal: to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Our message is clear. Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon.”
In his most extensive comments yet on the subject, Mr. Obama said Iran, a sponsor of terrorism that has vowed to destroy Israel, must not be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon. But he said the U.S. and Israel “both assess that Iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon, and we are exceedingly vigilant in monitoring their program.”
“I firmly believe that an opportunity remains for diplomacy — backed by pressure — to succeed,” Mr. Obama said. “Sanctions are continuing to increase, and this July — thanks to our diplomatic coordination — a European ban on Iranian oil imports will take hold. Faced with these increasingly dire consequences, Iran’s leaders still have the opportunity to make the right decision.”
But Iran’s leaders should know that he “would not hesitate to use force” if necessary, the president said.
Mr. Gingrich, a former House speaker, said the president is playing the public “for fools.”
“You’ve had no evidence that the president is prepared to take steps to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons,” Mr. Gingrich said on CNN’S “State of the Union.” “They talk and the Iranians build,” he said. Mr. Obama, who is campaigning for re-election on his kept promises to end the war in Iraq and wind down the war in Afghanistan, emphasized that he would use military force only as a last resort.
He defended his administration against what he called election-year partisan attacks that he is soft on Israel’s security.
“If during this political season you hear some question my administration’s support for Israel, remember that it’s not backed up by the facts,” Mr. Obama said. “My administration’s commitment to Israel’s security has been unprecedented. Our military and intelligence cooperation has never been closer. Our joint exercises and training have never been more robust. Despite a tough budget environment, our security assistance has increased every year.”
He said the U.s.-israel relationship “is simply too important to be distorted by partisan politics.”
Even as Mr. Obama called for lowering the rhetoric on military action, he seemed to encourage some in the audience by reminding them that Israel has the power to act unilaterally against Iran.
“Make no mistake: We will do what it takes to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge, because Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat,” Mr. Obama said.