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September 22, 2008

The Disappearance of Obama's Abortion Reduction Plan: One Political Theory

At the Saddleback Forum, Obama boasted, accurately, about how he'd stuck a sentence into the Democratic platform encouraging support for women who wanted to take a baby to term instead of having an abortion. Pro-life progressives hailed that sentence as a great victory and sign that he might be able to win over moderate evangelicals and Catholics with this new "third way" approach.

Then, the first abortion ads put out by the Obama campaign, didn't mention abortion reduction.

Last week, they put out a second abortion ad, this one trying to deal with the charge that Obama supports infanticide. They had two different (not mutually exclusive) ways they could have gone: Show themselves to be abortion moderates by emphasizing abortion reduction, or show McCain to be an anti-abortion extremist by emphasizing the Republican platform. The Obama campaign chose the second path. Again, no mention of abortion reduction.

Meanwhile, I picked up a copy of the Obama campaign's "Plan to Renew America's Promise." Though it mentions reducing unintended pregnancies, it dropped the sentence about helping women carry babies to term.

My uninformed theory on what's happened:there was always a tension for them between two goals: 1) appealing to pro-choice moderate women and 2) appealing to pro-life moderate evangelicals and Catholics. They've now concluded:

Winning moderate evangelicals is hopeless and, it turns out, centrist Catholics just dont care all that much abortion. Given that, it makes more political sense to reach out to those pro-choice women.

Of course this obviously leaves them open to charges that they didn't believe in abortion reduction all that much in the first place.

(Originally posted at Steve Waldman's blog at Beliefnet.)

Comments

Well why would ya? If it's not murder then who cares? Get all the abortions you want. There should be no more discussion about it than whether or not to remove some melanoma growing on your butt. Just make sure it's SAFE! Oh, and obviously legal too.

Obama was never serious about reducing abortions. (http://www.lifenews.com/nat4332.html)

In July 2007 he made it clear he would sign the so-called Freedom of Choice Act, the bill that would make unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy the national law. (http://www.lifenews.com/nat4070.html)

The bill also overturns every state abortion limit like partial-birth abortion bans, parental involvement laws, informed consent laws to protect women, and bans on taxpayer-funded abortions.

Obama wants all of those laws overturned and said doing that would be his first action as president.

Never mind that those laws have been proven to reduce abortions (http://www.lifenews.com/state3492.html)

Whether or not Obama is elected president, he will have the opportunity to become a significant American statesman.
When the media criticized Bristol Palin, Obama very graciously noted that he himself was conceived by an unwed teen.
How fortunate for him, and for the country, that his conception occurred before Roe v. Wade.
Perhaps he will come to reflect on the great gift of life, and the pressures that his mother was spared by accident of history, and will become an advocate for protection of human life from conception to natural death.
Perhaps he will come to reflect that those who fought and died to end slavery were unmoved by the argument "if you don't want slaves, don't own them."

Of course this obviously leaves them open to charges that they didn't believe in abortion reduction all that much in the first place.

Look, Obama's "abortion reduction" spiel was never anything more than a public relations product cooked up at liberal think tanks, especially Third Way, where veteran pro-abortion activists (and I mean people whose previous jobs were with Planned Parenthood and the like) specialize in developing strategies to help hard-core pro-abortion politicians camouflage their positions.

The real Obama is firmly committed to an agenda of hard-line pro-abortion policies that, if implemented, would greatly increase the numbers of abortions performed.

For example, by conservative estimate, there are more than one million Americans alive today because of the Hyde Amendment, which cut off federal funding for abortion starting in 1976. Some of them are probably turning out for the Obama "Faith, Family, Values Tour" meetings. Even the Alan Guttmacher Institute (linked to Planned Parenthood) and NARAL admit that the Hyde Amendment (and the similar policies adopted by many states) have resulted in many, many babies being born who otherwise would have been aborted -- indeed, the pro-abortion groups periodically put out papers complaining about this.

So, the Hyde Amendment is a proven "abortion reduction" policy, big time. Yet Obama, of course, advocates repeal of the Hyde Amendment -- and he also wants to enact a mandatory national health insurance program that would also mandate coverage of abortion on demand. As a state legislator, he voted directly against limits on public funding of elective abortions. So much for "abortion reduction."

Douglas Johnson, Legislative Director, National Right to Life

And another thing: pro-life state laws -- for example, women's right to know laws, waiting periods, and parental notification laws -- are saving countless lives, but Obama is a cosponsor of the so-called "Freedom of Choice Act" (S. 1173), which would invalidate virtually every federal and state limitation on abortion. Don't take my word for it -- read what Planned Parenthood said about it, here:
http://www.nrlc.org/FOCA/PPFAfoca-questions-12445.mht

On July 17, 2007, Obama told the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, "The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing that I'd do."

Obama has also voted directly against parental notification requirements twice, out of two opportunities, during his short time in the U.S. Senate. A recently released study by Michael New, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama, found that laws requiring notification to or consent of one parent prior to a minor’s abortion have reduced the minor abortion rate, in states that have enacted such laws, by approximately 13.6 percent (even though these laws have court-mandated judicial bypass provisions). In states that enact laws requiring the involvement of both parents, the in-state minor abortion rate dropped by about 31 percent.

Obama even advocates repeal of the national ban on partial-birth abortions, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2007 on a 5-4 vote. Indeed, one of the major purposes of the "Freedom of Choice Act," according to its prime sponsors, is the nullification of the ban on partial-birth abortions.

Douglas Johnson
Legislative Director
National Right to Life
Legfederal//at//aol-dot-com
www.nrlc.org

In the end it doesn't matter what the politicians say. Until the Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade, abortion will still be legal in the US. It was that way under Carter and Clinton, and it was that way under Reagan and Bush I and II. It will stay that way under Obama or McCain.

Sooooooo? Give? Up?

We can render Roe v. Wade obsolete and irrelevant by working to change the minds and hearts of people about abortion, one person at a time. 1 heart + 1 Mind = 1 Life

Deborah Smith
Executive Director
Safe Choice Pregnancy Care Center
Ellijay, GA 30540

If I'm not mistaken, wasn't abortion legalized because of women dying from illegal abortions? IN other words, abortions will happen, in spite of legislation.

Poverty is common catalyst for abortions, both in terms of no access to birth control and too desperately poor to bring a baby to term.

Women with no health insurance but not poor enough for medicaid have to pay for deliveries out of pocket.

And working women often have problems paying for good child care.

If we tackle these problems, abortion will become a choice few women make.

Many gullible women have been indoctrinated by the leftist intelligentia that if the "religious zealots" come after abortion "rights" then the next thing you know they'll be chained to the kitchen sink. It's never a moral issue with liberals because they automatically lose that argument. It's obfuscation and the-best-defense-is-a-good-offense approach. Defocus on them by accusing the opposition of something ridiculous. Good politics but totally disingenuous.

The pro-life position holds the belief that life is ordained by God, in utero at the moment of conception. And so, for those of religious faith, pregnancy is always a health care concern for both mother and unborn child. The pro-abortion position holds the belief that a pregnancy is a biological process that may, with a woman's support, naturally reach post partum viability and the birth of a person who shares the rights of all people. And so, for those who aren't religious, pregnancy falls within a spectrum of choices that includes choosing the biological act of conceiving -- all the way to choosing to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. I THINK MANY OF US CAN AGREE that it takes supernatural faith to crossover from the pro-abortion to pro-life views of the ultimate source of life, when life truly begins and when protection of life is morally warranted.

In our democracy we seek, through considerable struggle, to avoid government enforcement of supernatural faith as a matter of church/state separation. And let's be clear, people aren't rendered faithless or unsaved as a result of state funded abortion clinics anymore so than people are rendered supernaturally faithful or saved as a result of state funded churches. In America we humble ourselves to the mysterious work of God through His Church and simultaneously pledge ourselves to a balanced democracy that respects free will and encodes universal moral beliefs. With our votes and our taxes the government is tasked to debate and fund services for the public good. But in that process it cannot force the public to adopt any religious devotion to God. I THINK MANY OF US CAN AGREE that when the government funds health care it must painstakingly allow for non-faith freedoms (aka choices), to determine the extent of health considerations in the case of a pregnancy.

And tying this all in with the blog post, I think a democracy can and should strive to reduce the abortion rate -- and I think Obama is the right leader to guide us to compassionate incentives and democratic solutions.

Denise, I think you're respose might be too nuanced for the other commenters.

There is no general consensus on when life begins (last survey I read indicaed that only about 30% in the US hold the life begins at conception theory). There is also no scriptural support for this theory.

And finally, there is no candidate seeking to abolish abortion. Even if Roe v Wade is overturned this will merely push the iussue to a state level (and if Roe v Wade were overturned, then the Republicans may lose their one issue voting block - little wonder they've made so little progress against it over the last 20 odd years - little wonder that Republican appointed Judges made the initial decision).

Think think think.

Our belief in the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" may be a source of consensus whether or not we agree on any supernatural component undergirding that belief. If you view life as something occurring prior to delivery of a baby, which I think is logical based on what we know about biology, then you may be concerned about abortion whether or not you have a supernatural or religously-based component to your thinking.

Therefore, the concern about abortion may be approached totally independent of any desire to indoctrinate anyone or any entity of the state with sectarian religious dogma. It can be approached in purely humanistic terms without any infringement on church/state separation.

Tell you a secret; evangelical opposition has nothing to do with "sanctity of life". They just don't want to lose their favorite firewall against hanky panky.

If it were otherwise, they wouldn't be pushing for abstinence-only sex education, which caused more unwanted pregnancies and therefore more abortions.

ProLife is the biggest deception ever: http://runholy.com/?p=42 . Once we give this right of the choice of what we do with our bodies to the government, we are opening ourselves to the Spirit of Pharoah/Herod. Right now the government does not have the right to murder our children. If Roe Vs. Wade is ever overturned, the government WOULD have this right.

As far as FOCA, I have no idea why Obama is choosing to sign this. Usually when it comes to politics there are reasons for and against the passing of a bill. From reading this post, I don't understand, but I would like to look more into it to see the other views.