In 1993, when Christine Todd Whitman was the Republican candidate for the governor of New Jersey, her views on abortion were muted at best. I recall being cautiously optimistic as I voted for my state's first and only female governor. By the time she ran for a second term, it was clear she had little use for us pro-lifers. In 2005, Whitman published a book called It's My Party Too and became an outspoken critic of "social fundamentalists."

I haven't read Whitman's book, but my guess is that she came to her convictions about "social fundamentalists" after losing significant battles as governor. In 1997, Whitman vetoed a ban on partial-birth abortion that was overturned by the state legislature. Then in 1999, avoiding another potential veto, she signed a parental notification bill into law. Pro-lifers, it would seem, could celebrate significant legal victories under an abortion rights governor. Not so. Both laws are permanently enjoined by court order. We won the political battle and nothing changed.

In 2008, Barack Obama ran on a platform of change. Change in tone, change in rhetoric, change in focus. When I was considering my vote, I wasn't terribly bothered by his "above my pay grade" response to Rick Warren's Saddleback Forum question about when a fetus is entitled to human rights. People of good faith disagree about when en-soulment happens. I understood his answer to be a nod to this reality. What did bother me, however, was a response he gave to an abortion question in western Pennsylvania a few months earlier. "Look," he said, "I got two daughters - 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby." That is an astounding statement from the child of a teen mother. It is also one I take to have sprung from a place of deep personal pain.

I disagree with Obama on abortion. Like many others seeking a consistent pro-life ethic, I was willing to forgive his stumbles and give him a chance to be a catalyst for change. But I was disappointed, though not surprised, when he rescinded the Mexico City Policy that barred foreign aid to organizations that perform or promote abortion. His reversal of the Bush policy on human embryonic stem cell research was less troubling to me for two reasons. First, because unless the Dickey-Wicker amendment is repealed, no embryo destruction will be funded; and second, because highly reputable sources that I have interviewed within the field over several years say the science is not there. No cures are coming. President Obama can set up false dichotomies between hESC research opponents and the parents of sick children (as he did in his Notre Dame speech) all he wants, but it doesn't change this reality.

At Notre Dame, the President outlined goals I can support, such as reducing unintended pregnancies, making adoption more accessible, providing support for women who carry their children to term, a sensible conscience clause, grounding health-care policies in both ethics and science, and broadening respect for the equality of women.

The President concluded this portion of his speech by exhorting opponents on this issue to develop open hearts, open minds, and fair-minded words. I'm all for that. I'm also willing to believe that he wants to be an honest friend to pro-lifers. I hope so anyway, because I'd rather have an honest enemy than a false friend. Whitman was a false friend, and I've never forgotten it.