People who want to vote for Obama labor mightily to get around his extreme pro-choice/pro-abortion record.
I recently posted a long list of Obama’s extreme pro-choice/pro-abortion record and statements. An attempted counterpoint shows the difficulty that his supporters have grappling with these records and these statements if they are not extremist on the issues themselves.
The main arguments in the attempted counterpoint are as follows:
First, Obama has recently made several rhetorical statements about the importance of finding of third way and of coming together on abortion. Second, according to Doug Kmiec, its hopeless to overturn Roe anyway. Third, Obama has promised that his welfare spending will reduce abortions. Fourth, Obama has tried to explain away his votes and positions on Illinois’ born alive infant protection law and on the Partial Birth Abortion Act.
The first argument is an argument that we should trust Obama’s good intentions–or, at least, his statement that he has good intentions. His record, his policies, and his specific promises are pretty extreme, so we only have his vague campaign rhetoric to rely on. A true moderate would not be against parental notification laws or have a 100% record from National Abortion Rights League or a 0% record from the National Right to Life Council. Obama offers just words. A mess of pottage has more to it.
The second is an argument of despair. Its also baseless With Roberts and Alito, pro-lifers achieved their first major abortion law victory in years when the Supreme Court upheld the Partial Birth Abortion Act. We are one more Supreme Court appointee away from overturning or cabining Roe v. Wade. Obama’s appointees will be Ginsburgs, who would almost certainly undo the minimal progress that has already been made–parental notification laws, waiting periods and informed consent laws, the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, the Partial Birth Abortion Act–let alone actually make any progress on Roe v. Wade. Even if a McCain were constrained by the Democrats to appoint Kennedys instead of Thomases, we would still see real progress on the abortion front. Why should pro-lifers give up on the cusp of success?
The third is a prime example of the politician’s trick of explaining that all problems are nails and his pet policies are the hammer. Obama has not actually identified any concrete assistance he would like to provide women or children that he thinks would reduce abortion. He opposes moderate measures like parental notification laws that have been empirically shown to reduce abortion. He has promised to cut funding for crisis pregnancy centers. He has refused to sign on to the specific public welfare and social assistance program advocated by the Democrats for Life, probably because they include a few minor notification or informed consent type measures as part of their total proposal.
The fourth is only valid if Obama *successfully* explained away his votes and his position. He hasn’t, not even close.
There was a bill that was put forward before the Illinois Senate that said you have to provide lifesaving treatment and that would have helped to undermine Roe v. Wade.
The bill did require lifesaving treatment. As Obama knows, an Illinois law could never “undermine” Roe v. Wade, a federal constitutional decision. Further, Obama opposed a version of the bill that included an express statement that it only applied if there were no conflicts with Roe. The only true statement here is that Obama opposed a bill that would have required lifesaving treatment. As chairman of the committee that heard the bill, Obama was personally responsible for killing it himself on more than one occasion. Later, when it made it to the floor over his opposition, he was the only legislature who spoke against it, though I believe others voted against it, or at least voted “present.”
The fact is that there was already a law on the books in Illinois that required providing lifesaving treatment
The Attorney General of Illinois provided an opinion that the law already on the books did not require the treatment. This opinion was made available to the legislature, including to Obama. Obama heard evidence that live-birth abortion babies were being abandoned to die. He has never contested any of this. And there is absolutely no record that at the time he opposed born alive infant protection because he thought the law was redundant. Instead he went on record as opposing it because it would burden the original decision to have an abortion.
With respect to partial-birth abortion, I am completely supportive of a ban on late-term abortions, partial-birth or otherwise, as long as there’s an exception for the mother’s health and life, and this did not contain that exception
All the opponents of the Partial Birth Abortion Act claimed to support it *in principle* if there were enough exceptions made to it. Obama is no different. Like most other opponents, he says he wants a ban on aborting partially-born babies only if an abortionist can circumvent the ban by certifying that he thinks the woman’s mental health or other forms of well-being might be minimally adversely affected. Abortionists like Tiller in Kansas (who performs many of America’s abortions of late-term babies) have stated that in their opinion any time a woman wants a particular abortion procedure performed, it would be detrimental to her mental health if she were denied it. Obama knows this. His qualified support of the a ban on partial birth abortions is an unqualified mirage.
And of course Obama has never even attempted to explain away his support of the so-called Freedom of Choice Act, his support for federal abortion funding (some moderate!), and his many other radical pro-choice statements and positions.
Ultimately pro-lifers qua pro-lifers cannot support Obama. The attempted counterpoint admits this when it derides single-issue voting and finally suggests that pro-lifers vote for Obama not because they are pro-lifers but despite being pro-lifers. All right. I cannot in conscience, not in a country where 1 million babies are aborted each year, 100,000 late-term babies are aborted each year, where over 900,000 babies are aborted for reasons of convenience, and where 90% of Down Syndrome children are killed in the womb. Others’ consciences may differ. But if so I urge them to be fully informed about what they are embracing. Much better to be a reluctant enabler than a head-long dupe.
Update: see rebuttal here.