The Daily Blog wondered earlier today whether President Barack Obama would take note of the 2009 March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Later in the day, he did — in an oblique and distinctly unsupportive manner.

“On the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we are reminded that this decision not only protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, but stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters,” Obama said in a written statement. “I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose.”

“While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue, no matter what our views, we are united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, and support women and families in the choices they make,” the president said. “To accomplish these goals, we must work to find common ground to expand access to affordable contraception, accurate health information, and preventative services.”

Concluded Obama, “On this anniversary, we must also recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights and opportunities as our sons: the chance to attain a world-class education; to have fulfilling careers in any industry; to be treated fairly and paid equally for their work; and to have no limits on their dreams. That is what I want for women everywhere.”

While not surprising, Obama’s commitment “to protect a woman’s right to choose” abortion is a disturbing reminder of where he stands: totally opposed to protecting the lives of unborn children by ending the legal framework of abortion established by the Supreme Court 36 years ago with its deadly Roe v. Wade decision.

And Catholics can take scant comfort in Obama’s pledge to find “common ground” by expanding access to “affordable contraception.” Use of means of artificial contraception is always gravely immoral, even when doing so doesn’t involve the potential for causing early abortions as in the case of methods like the contraceptive pill.

But pro-lifers can be grateful for one small victory: Obama has delayed repeal of the Mexico City Policy banning U.S. funding of groups that promote abortions overseas. Every additional day the policy remains in place means that the international abortion lobby can perform fewer abortions of babies in other countries than otherwise would be the case.

— Tom McFeely