The relevant text of Obama’s 100-day newser (excerpt below, from HuffPo) indicates that the dreaded FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act) is not in the offing, at all. When many of of suggested that was the case (as I did here) we were cast into outer darkness. FOCA was too good a wedge for the anti-abortion, anti-Obama bloc to wield. So what now? A modest proposal: cut the demonization (esp with red herrings) and, as pro-life leader Cardinal Rigali has, focus on things like getting Obama and others to sign on to the Pregnant Women’s Support Act. Obama still has something of a “Catholic problem,” as Michael Sean Winters put it in this NCR essay. But a bullhorn (and a bullwhip) will only deafen the Administration.
Here is Obama’s answer to the question on Notre Dame and FOCA and abortion:
REPORTER: Do you still hope that Congress quickly sends you the Freedom of Choice Act so you can sign it?
OBAMA: You know, the — my view on — on abortion, I think, has been very consistent. I think abortion is a moral issue and an ethical issue.
I think that those who are pro-choice make a mistake when they — if they suggest — and I don’t want to create straw men here, but I think there are some who suggest that this is simply an issue about women’s freedom and that there’s no other considerations. I think, look, this is an issue that people have to wrestle with and families and individual women have to wrestle with.
The reason I’m pro-choice is because I don’t think women take that — that position casually. I think that they struggle with these decisions each and every day. And I think they are in a better position to make these decisions ultimately than members of Congress or a president of the United States, in consultation with their families, with their doctors, with their doctors, with their clergy.
So — so that has been my consistent position. The other thing that I said consistently during the campaign is I would like to reduce the number of unwanted presidencies that result in women feeling compelled to get an abortion, or at least considering getting an abortion, particularly if we can reduce the number of teen pregnancies, which has started to spike up again.
And so I’ve got a task force within the Domestic Policy Council in the West Wing of the White House that is working with groups both in the pro-choice camp and in the pro-life camp, to see if we can arrive at some consensus on that.
Now, the Freedom of Choice Act is not highest legislative priority. I believe that women should have the right to choose. But I think that the most important thing we can do to tamp down some of the anger surrounding this issue is to focus on those areas that we can agree on. And that’s — that’s where I’m going to focus.
Spin or invitation? How can you not engage?