5 Ways Obama’s Abortion Answer Helps With Cultural Conservatives

Steve Waldman notes that after his year-and-a-half long campaign to target evangelicals and other cultural conservatives, Barack Obama is jeopardizing the outreach with a less-than-stellar appearance at Saddleback last month his new ads hitting McCain over his pro-life views.Obama’s interview yesterday on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos focused on the abortion issue only for a couple minutes, but Obama said a lot that could help him with more socially conservative voters:1. He admitted that his answer at Saddleback Forum regarding when a baby is entitled to human rights begins–“answering that question with specificity is above my pay grade,”–was “probably” too flip.2. He brought his religion into it: “What I intended to say is that, as a Christian, I have a lot of humility about understanding when does the soul enter into … It’s a pretty tough question. And so, all I meant to communicate was that I don’t presume to be able to answer these kinds of theological questions.”3. He framed the abortion issue as a moral one, rather than toe the ol’ “keep your rosaries off my ovaries” line of the pro-choice movement: “What I do know is that abortion is a moral issue, that it’s one that families struggle with all the time. And that in wrestling with those issues, I don’t think that the government criminalizing the choices that families make is the best answer for reducing abortions.”4. He floated a vague plan for reducing abortion: “I think the better answer… is to figure out, how do we make sure the young mothers, or women who have a pregnancy that’s unexpected or difficult, have the kind of support they need to make a whole range of choices, including adoption and keeping the child.”5. He was able to cite language in his party’s platform that’s aimed at reducing demand for abortion, giving ballast to his abortion-reduction rhetoric.None of that is likely to win over ardent pro-lifers, who are thrilled over McCain’s Palin pick. But Obama’s sensitivity yesterday on the abortion question could make culturally conservative voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida less morally queasy about supporting him.7

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Justin Taylor

posted September 8, 2008 at 9:38 am

One thing I think it’s important to point out is that Obama seems to be shifting the topic. Warren didn’t ask a theological/metaphysical/espistemological question (e.g., when, or how do we know when, a soul is created?); rather, he asked a very specific legal question (at what point do rights confer?)—which is something every politician must answer. Obama’s answer is pretty clear (the unborn have no rights within the womb)—and thus I don’t think this will sway many conservative evangelicals.
Justin Taylor

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posted September 8, 2008 at 12:56 pm

I liked the pay grade comment and thought it was a humble and even an honest answer when he could have gone with the party line.
Justin T., your point is valid in that seemingly he was answering the wrong question. But I do not think he was, he was tying God into law and that is the point that the above article is in some ways making.
I have always voted Republican for president (registered Libertarian). But this time I am voting for Obama.
Regarding Abortion: At this point I see that the Dems have a plan to reduce abortion, while the Repubs have been promising to overturn Roe and scaring us with the line for too long. Some positive action is better than being lied to year after year. Repubs need to know that talk is not enough anymore (oh and I am also sick over the so called “patriot act”)Sorry~

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Douglas Johnson

posted September 8, 2008 at 1:29 pm

This talk by Obama about “abortion reduction” is a pretty wrapper, but it doesn’t match the “gift” inside the package, which is a public policy agenda that would, if implemented, substantially increase the number of abortions.
Here’s just one example: One policy that both sides agree actually has substantially reduced the number of abortions performed in the United States was the cutoff of Medicaid funding for abortion on demand. There are various empirical studies that demonstrate that many children have been born, who would otherwise have been aborted, because Medicaid funding of abortion has been denied by the federal Hyde Amendment, and by the comparable policies in effect in the majority of states. By the most conservative estimate, the federal Hyde Amendment alone has saved over one million lives since it was first enacted in 1976. Yes, many of the Medicaid-eligible women obtain funding for abortions from other sources, but many instead give birth. Both sides agree that this has occurred — indeed, the pro-abortion side cites these studies in urging Congress and state legislatures to repeal these pro-life policies, while pro-life groups see this as a success story.
Well, here is a proven “abortion reduction” policy, so is Obama for it? No, because all that “abortion-reduction” talk is just pixie dust to distract the gullible. They cooked that up in focus groups, as a way to give the abortion lobby all the policies it wanted, and to give those religious folks soothing words.
Obama advocates repeal of the Hyde Amendment (and as a state senator, he voted against restricting state funding of elective abortions). Moreover, in 2007 Obama gave a speech to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund in which he promised abortion would be covered in his national health care plan, which means that everybody would be required to pay for elective abortion through taxes, mandatory premiums, or both. And, Obama is a cosponsor of the so-called “Freedom of Choice Act” (S. 1173), which would invalidate virtually all state and federal limits on abortion, and which also provides that “A government may not . . . discriminate against” abortion “in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.” In fact, 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 I’d do.”
Obama’s position on tax-funded abortion is consistent with the plank in the Democratic Platform that reads: “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports . . . a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay . . .”
Douglas Johnson
Legislative Director
National Right to Life Committee
White Paper on Obama and Born-Alive Infants:
Documentation on the “Freedom of Choice Act”:

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Dr. Ed

posted September 10, 2008 at 8:00 am

I believe Johnson makes a compelling case.
I hope Americans engage in a calm examination of what is being said by the Obama machine, not just about Abortion but about everything. That will be the only way to avoid our buying snake oil (a worthless preparation fraudulently peddled as a cure for many ills).

My main contention is that Obama is a FAKE. He is not at all new, as he is the artificial love child of marketing techniques and Saul Alinski’s ‘Rules for Radicals’.
Politically, Obama exist because he is portrayed as THE agent of CHANGE, but he is just the incarnation of an old fake remedy.
When you sit back and look at recent history you can’t fail to notice that Obama’s birth was preceded by seven years of relentless Bush -Cheney demonizing and by the politization of the war (by all means necessary, including a few partial truths, many exaggerations and innuendos, and a enormous collection of obscene lies).
Why is this historical preamble to Obama important? Well, it is because Obama’s handlers and Obama himself come from Saul Alinski’s school of radical strategies (literally, as does Hugo Chavez).
In a Marxist-Leninist practical approach, Alinski’s recipe for “Change” was to create the conditions that would allow his wanted “change”.
Speaking of us, the old radical said “They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future”.
Does that statement ring familiar? Isn’t this what is happening today?
So, now you know how old the NEW snake oil (Obama) really is.

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posted September 10, 2008 at 3:24 pm

How interesting! Can’t debate the issues of Obama’s stand on abortion so you must resort to trying to identify him with socialist/communist writers. My major question is “Has the Republican Party really done anything in the past 8 years to reduce abortions in this country?” Remember they have been in the majority in the Legislative Branch and the President has been Republican. So. . . my next question is “Do you expect more of the same if you elect McCain and Palin?” And my answer to that is “Yes” they to will do nothing to prevent abortions since they have very narrow views on sex education and contraception. That is why I support the Democratic Platform and Obama/Biden. The reduction of abortions is a multi-prong issue and is not just doing away with Roe v Wade. As a woman in my 60’s I have seen the both sides of the Roe v Wade issue since I lived before the days of the law and the ease of getting contraception (the Pill) and that is not a time I want to see women return to again. I may not think that abortion is right but I think that women need to have choice. Even God allowed Eve and Adam to make a choice in the Garden of Eden. And the Bible story says that Eve made the wrong choice and then had to live with the consequences. So if God allowed choice in the Garden of Eden then the US should allow choice about abortion and contraception issues.

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