Founded by Dr. James Dobson
Tier 3 - Personhood Later
Focus on the Family with their founder James Dobson attempt to protect the innocent, yet they delay the country's acknowledgment of the God-given right to life of the unborn by undermining personhood efforts and by supporting laws which, like Roe v. Wade itself, regulate how and when an abortionist can "legally" kill a child.
- Focus founder abandons pledge to God; now supports candidates who would kill children: On April 28, 1990 at the Washington D.C. Rally for Life on video and to hundreds of thousands of Christians, Dr. Dobson stated, "I want to give a pledge to you on a political level... I have determined that for the rest of my life, however long God lets me live on this earth, I will never cast one vote for any man or woman who would kill one innocent baby." 1 Sadly, it was promise Dobson didn't to keep. In 2006, Ross Marshall of Focus on the Family explained Dr. Dobson's decision to support politicians that favor the killing of some unborn children, using the 2004 Presidential election as an example: "It is true that Dr. Dobson on previous occasions that he would never cast a vote for any politician who supports abortion. Recently, however, there have been times he felt he was faced with the necessity of making a difficult but inescapable choice between two or more major candidates. Using the 2004 election as an example, one one hand, President Bush has a solid albeit, not perfect pro-life record; Senator Kerry, judging by his stance on abortion, seems to have little regard for the welfare of the unborn. Some may say it is a matter of selecting the 'lesser of two evils.' Dr. Dobson prefers to ask, 'What is the greater good?' Dobson went on to support pro-abortion Presidential candidate John McCain 2 and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin in 2008.
Focus on the Family Puff Piece on the Abortion Pill: The Supreme Court's partial-birth-abortion ruling that upholds the PBA "ban" actually teaches abortionists how to perform a "legal" late term abortion. Similarly, and as proof that Focus on the Family has lost their way, the organization has published a pamphlet that explains to women how to kill their unborn child. See it and weep. Click for this Focus' pro-abortion-pill flyer (which they have now modified, terribly insufficiently, after the outrage expressed by American RTL, Abolish Human Abortion, Colorado RTL, and many other no-exceptions, no regulations, anti-abortion groups and leaders). Of course Focus expects that the complications they present and their moralizing on later pages in this How To guide on killing your child will offset all the how-to advice. The "safety tips" include: "Don't: use this method of abortion if it's been more than 49 days..." And "Do: Take the abortion pill orally, not vaginally." And "Go for a follow-up visit after the abortion is complete to make sure you are healthy." Yes. Healthy as a horse. This is not unlike giving Nazis instructions on how to kill the Jews without undue complication for the Germans, with a suggestion at the end that they might consider not participating in the Holocaust. And it's like teaching slave owners how to rape without contracting an STD. Sadly this is the expected rotten fruit from the moral relativism and legal positivism that James Dobson sowed into his group, as documented right here at Pro-life Profiles.
- Praise for the Supreme Court's ruling on partial-birth abortion: Dobson and Focus on the Family spent years and a considerable amount of resources attempting to rally public support to uphold state laws banning the partial-birth abortion technique, a technique that allowed abortionists to kill fully formed children by keeping their heads in the womb while deflating their skulls with the use of scissors and a suction catheter. The Supreme Court took up the issue in Gonzales v. Carhart and did outlaw the procedure. Dobson praised the ruling as victory for the unborn, saying, "thank God for this victory that affirms the value of human life." Yet it did anything but that. While the ruling banned the partial-birth abortion procedure, the ruling, on page 30, said: "The medical profession [abortionists] may find different and less shocking methods to abort the fetus..." The ruling allowed an abortionist to deliver a late-term baby all the way up to the navel and then kill him (especially pp. 17-26). 3 Later after being rebuked for the supporting the ruling in an open letter signed by HLI's Rev. Tom Euteneuer, Operation Rescue National's Flip Benham, ALL's Judie Brown, and Ambassador Alan Keyes 4 , Dobson, conceded in writing that, "Ending partial-birth abortion, which would more accurately be named 'late-term murder,' does not save a single human life." 5
- Focus on the Family supports Mitt Romney: Focus on the Family Action released a video online candidate guide which stated Mitt Romney "...has staked out positions on all three of the areas that we have discussed," "continues to be solidly conservative," and "on the social issues we are so similar." 6 The videos on the Focus Action website no longer play. Apparently, Romney's rabidly pro-abortion record as governor didn't cause Focus on the Family Action to consider abandoning its lesser-than-two-evils strategy in choosing candidates to endorse.
- Supports laws that allow killing of unborn children: Being pro-life with "exceptions" means to support the intentional killing of an innocent child. Dobson is personally pro-life, without exception. However, Dobson repeatedly legislation supporting a woman's right to choose to kill her child, if the child's father is a rapist or if the child is the result of an incestuous relationship. He admittedly is willing to sacrifice the lives of some children to save others. 7 God does not authorize pro-lifers to bargain with anyone's life. Since Dobson left Focus on the Family in 2010, the organization has continued the practice of supporting laws that allow for the legalized killing of the unborn. Under the Talking Points section on abortion at the Focus on the Family website, the organization supports multiple such laws after certain conditions are met. Focus on the Family supports the killing of unborn children after "a period of time to reflect on the medical information provided before having an abortion," provided that "women receive full medical disclosure of possible risks associated with and alternatives to abortion before deciding to have one," and so long as parental notification or consent has been given. 8 Although the purpose of such laws are designed to reduce the number of abortions, they, in reality, convey the message that murder is acceptable as long as the child's mother is well informed or her parents believe abortion is acceptable.
- Regulation Horror in Focus on the Family's Own Video: This 25-second clip provides an example from 2015 of how the misguided pro-life industry works to improve the image of the abortion industry. In this Focus on the Family report by Kim Trobee we learn of the (poor) judgment of Americans United for Life (AUL) and the public relations work being done for Planned Parenthood, unwittingly, by Focus' well-meaning but confused Indiana Family Institute and their policy director Ryan McCann...
- Opposition to Personhood in Louisiana: The 2011 Louisiana Personhood Bill was killed by opposition including from anti-personhood pro-life organizations. "Opposition to HB 645 came from the state's National Right To Life affiliate, the state's Catholic Bishops, and the state's Focus on the Family affiliate," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. John LaBruzzo. "And the personhood opposition, of course, also came from Planned Parenthood and the ACLU." 9 Thus Louisiana's state affiliate, Louisiana Family Forum, opposed personhood in 2011.
- Refused to endorse Personhood in Colorado: Focus on the Family refused to endorse Colorado's Amendment 48, which defined personhood as beginning at conception, in 2008. Carrie Gordon Earll, senior director of public policy at Focus on the Family Action in 2008 said of the amendment: "There is the possibility of unintended consequences if such a measure were to be put before the wrong court. That would be of concern." She added the amendment, if it reached the wrong court, could entrench Roe vs. Wade "even further." 10 Focus on the Family distributed a memo to pro-life state legislators and groups written by National Right to Life General Counsel James Bopp regarding Amendment 48. The memo argued for the defeat of Amendment 48. 11 It's appalling that Focus has more concern for how the courts would view Amendment 48 and similar personhood measures than it has for standing for God's commands.
- Opposition to Personhood in Missouri: Phyllis Schlafly, the leader of the Missouri Family Network which is the state affiliate of Focus on the Family and other pro-life organizations met with Gregory Thompson, who was leading the efforts to get a personhood amendment on the ballot in Missouri, in 2009 and told Thompson they opposed the effort to put the issue on the ballot. 12
- James Dobson and Focus Endorse Horrific Supreme Court Nominees: In 2005 and 2006, Dobson used his radio program to endorse pro-abortion Supreme Court nominees John Roberts 13 and Samuel Alito. 14 Dobson proclaimed his listeners had helped "change history" by supporting the nomination of both. Alito was so appreciative of Dobson's support, he sent him a thank you letter that said, "I hope that you and the Focus on the Family staff know how much we appreciate all that you have done." 15 Both Roberts and Alito would be involved later in one of the most shameful Supreme Court rulings endorsing the slaughter of unborn children, 2007's Gonzales v. Carhart ruling, which recommended "less shocking" methods of killing fully formed babies in the last trimester of a pregnancy.
Yet another pro-life giant in terms of popularity cannot quite seem to grasp the reality that unborn children are no different from children after they are born. Neither Dr. Dobson nor Focus on the Family, obviously, would condone the killing of a child who is a product of rape or incest after the child is born, but they have supported state laws that would do exactly that to a child before he's born. Nor would either condone "less shocking" ways of killing children that have been born yet both praised a Supreme Court ruling making that recommendation. No wonder the pro-life movement in America has been spinning its wheels all these years when such high profile pro-lifers such as Dr. Dobson are willing to compromise on God's enduring command "Thou shalt not murder."
- 2Dr. Dobson's October 2008 newsletter
- 3Gonzales v. Carhart. https://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=000&invol=05-380
- 4OPen Letter to James Dobson, https://americanrtl.org/open-letter
- 5Dr. James Dobson, May 2007, FocusAction.org.
- 6Time article A stealth Mitt Romney endorsement
- 7Focus on the Family endorses Measure 11
- 8Focus: Talking Points, Abortion.
- 9Louisiana Rep. John LaBruzzo: Our Focus on the Family state affiliate opposed HB 645
- 10'Personhood' poses quandry, David Montero, Rocky Mountain News, September 15, 2008.
- 11The Legacy of Judas: Response to Bopp, https://americanrtl.org/james-bopp
- 12Talking to Palin and Personhood in Missouri, Denver Radio Broadcast
- 13ProlifeProfiles' John Roberts
- 14ProlifeProfiles' Samuel Alito
- 15Justice Alito's Thank You Note to James Dobson, Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2006, https://blogs.wsj.com/law/2006/03/02/justice-alitos-thank-you-note-to-james-dobson/