WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's impassioned State of the Union plea to pass gun laws in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre revealed either "blindness or hypocrisy," Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) charged.
Obama argued Tuesday that more than 1,000 people killed by guns since the slaughter at the Newtown, Conn., school at least deserve to have proposals to curb gun violence get a vote in Congress. "Now, if you want to vote no, that’s your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote," Obama said. "Because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun -- more than a thousand."
But Franks said after the speech that Obama was ignoring what the Arizonan sees as a bigger problem: abortion.
"He talks of 1,000 little birthdays that won't occur because of the tragedies of the last month," said Franks. "And yet he leaves out the 4,000 little birthdays that won't occur because of what happened in abortion clinics in the last 24 hours," he said. Census statistics from 2008 recorded 1.2 million abortions that year, or about 3,300 a day.
Franks, who opposes Obama's gun control proposals, allowed that the president was right to worry about gun deaths.
"You know, I have 4-year-old twins, and I waited a long time for them, and it's the joy of my soul. I suppose if it weren't for them, I might just say stop this merry go round and let me off," Franks said. "The tragedy that took place in Newtown is one that I still can't find the capability to wrap my mind around. It's one of the most tragic things that could happen to any family. At night, thinking of my own children in that context, it just leaves a hole in my heart."
But Franks said he thinks it's wrong for people like the president to distinguish between born and unborn children,
"We in this country, we used to equate different classes of human beings very differently, as well," Franks said. "We learned better. We had a little Civil War kind of to uncloud our mind about all that." He said his abortion opposition is a matter of civil rights.
"Some of the president's words about the desire and commitment that we should have for our children should apply to all children, especially the most defenseless of all children, that being the unborn," Franks said. "And yet, this is the abortion president, that speaks to us now of protecting children.
"It's hard for me to understand all that," Franks added. "I embrace his efforts to address the cataclysmic tragedy that happened in Newtown, but I mourn his either blindness or hypocrisy to leave out the 4,000 children who died not the last month but today."
Franks is not the first member of Congress to to call Obama, the abortion president, citing Obama's support for access to abortion and other reproductive services. But it does show how deeply many Republicans hold that view, in spite of an election that Obama won convincingly.
It was a win in which women turned more towards Democrats, in part because of pro-abortion sympathies. Even after the election, on the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, polls found seven in 10 Americans still support the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion.
For Franks, that's merely a symptom of a nation that has yet to wake up.
"I hope that 100 years from now, it would be to look back and say, 'Look what we were doing to our own children,' that maybe they would look back and say, 'We finally opened our eyes,'" Franks said.
"If people really looked into their hearts, they would see the reality," Franks said. "I just hope America finally comes to herself and says, 'This is not who we are.'"
Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.