The conservative pro-life movement has been hitting Obama on his explanation last night for why he opposed the Born Alive Act in the Illinois state legislature. But God-o-Meter thought the bigger headline from the abortion discussion in the debate was Obama’s emphasis on reducing abortion while foregoing any rigorous defense of a woman’s right to choose.Check out this exchange from last night:Compare it to this exchange over abortion between John Kerry and George W. Bush from a 2004 debate:The thrust of Kerry’s response: as much as he might oppose abortion personally, he couldn’t force his personal beliefs on others. The thrust of Obama’s: the goal of reducing abortion is one that’s widely shared by Americans and there are plenty of reasonable ways to work toward it without outlawing the procedure.Pro-life groups view such rhetoric as cynically political; what legislation has Obama ever pursued, at the state or federal level, to reduce demand for abortion?Politically speaking, though, it’s striking how much those themes echo George W. Bush’s response ’04 about building a culture of life, which also de-emphasized the decades old Republican shibboleths about the need to ban abortion completely.6

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