Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman


Are Democrats Serious About Abortion Reduction or Not?

posted by swaldman

The Obama campaign had been arguing that the candidate was charting a third-way approach to abortion: supporting abortion rights but promoting policies that would reduce the number of abortions. Pro-life liberals were therefore deeply disappointed to hear that after the Palin announcement, the Democrats started running a radio ad about abortion that made no mention of abortion reduction, instead just stating the Democrats’ support for abortion rights. “Unless the Obama campaign will stop emphasizing abortion rights and strongly address the major common cause issues with a spirited vision and practical details, the Republicans can continue to scoop up a ton of votes,” said Joel Hunter, a moderate evangelical who gave a benediction at the Democratic convention.This Sunday, the Democratic ticket seemed to emphasize a new approach. On Meet the Press, Joe Biden went farther than the platform or Obama had gone before: “what we’re going to be spending our time doing is making sure that we reduce considerably the amount of abortions that take place by providing the care, the assistance and the encouragement for people to be able to carry to term and to raise their children.”A Democratic candidate pledging to “reduce considerably the amount of abortions” — that’s the phrase that pro-life liberals have been yearning for. On This Week with George Stephanopolous, Obama returned to talking about abortion reduction (and also clarified his above-my-paygrade gaffe). He said his paygrade line was “too flip” and that “as a Christian I have a lot of humility about understanding about when does the soul enter. All I meant to communicate was that I don’t presume to be able to answer these kinds of theological questions.” He went on to say, “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. I think the better answer — and this was reflected in the Democratic platform — is to figure out, how do we make sure that 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.”We’ll see in the next few weeks whether that was just an unauthorized ad-lib or the beginning of a new thematic thrust.p.s.The full transcript of the Biden appearance on Meet the Press:MR. BROKAW: Two weeks ago I interviewed Senator Nancy Pelosi-she’s the speaker of the House, obviously-when she was in Denver. When Barack Obama appeared before Rick Warren, he was asked a simple question: When does life begin? And he said at that time that it was above his pay grade. That was the essence of his question. When I asked the speaker what advice she would give him about when life began, she said the church has struggled with this issue for a long time, especially in the last 50 years or so. Her archbishop and others across the country had a very strong refutation to her views on all this; I guess the strongest probably came from Edward Cardinal Egan, who’s the Archbishop of New York. He said, “Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being `chooses’ to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.” Those are very strong words. If Senator Obama comes to you and says, “When does life begin? Help me out here, Joe,” as a Roman Catholic, what would you say to him?SEN. BIDEN: I’d say, “Look, I know when it begins for me.” It’s a personal and private issue. For me, as a Roman Catholic, I’m prepared to accept the teachings of my church. But let me tell you. There are an awful lot of people of great confessional faiths-Protestants, Jews, Muslims and others-who have a different view. They believe in God as strongly as I do. They’re intensely as religious as I am religious. They believe in their faith and they believe in human life, and they have differing views as to when life-I’m prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception. But that is my judgment. For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society. And I know you get the push back, “Well, what about fascism?” Everybody, you know, you going to say fascism’s all right? Fascism isn’t a matter of faith. No decent religious person thinks fascism is a good idea.MR. BROKAW: But if you, you believe that life begins at conception, and you’ve also voted for abortion rights…SEN. BIDEN: No, what a voted against curtailing the right, criminalizing abortion. I voted against telling everyone else in the country that they have to accept my religiously based view that it’s a moment of conception. There is a debate in our church, as Cardinal Egan would acknowledge, that’s existed. Back in “Summa Theologia,” when Thomas Aquinas wrote “Summa Theologia,” he said there was no-it didn’t occur until quickening, 40 days after conception. How am I going out and tell you, if you or anyone else that you must insist upon my view that is based on a matter of faith? And that’s the reason I haven’t. But then again, I also don’t support a lot of other things. I don’t support public, public funding. I don’t, because that flips the burden. That’s then telling me I have to accept a different view. This is a matter between a person’s God, however they believe in God, their doctor and themselves in what is always a-and what we’re going to be spending our time doing is making sure that we reduce considerably the amount of abortions that take place by providing the care, the assistance and the encouragement for people to be able to carry to term and to raise their children.



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I SEE

posted September 7, 2008 at 10:44 pm


The democrats are clearly willing to say anything they think will garner a few extra votes. They show their lack of character by their willingness to pander to pro-choice AND pro-life voters. That won’t build voter confidence.
I see Pastor Joel Hunter is now a “moderate evangelical” and no longer “a registered Republican- strongly anti-abortion” who “does not consider himself a part of the religious left.” When he is quoted advising Obama’s campaign how to stop the Republicans from “continuing to scoop up a ton of votes”- he sounds like any other partisan political shill.
Luke 16
No servant is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.



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Jamie

posted September 7, 2008 at 11:33 pm


I SEE, I recommend that instead of taking a news article as the Gospel truth, you read Joel’s own statements that he has provided regarding this.
Here are some links:
Regarding the benediction: http://blogs.northlandchurch.net/2008/09/02/open-letter-from-dr-joel-c-hunter—benediction-prayer/
Regarding being a registered Republican: http://blogs.northlandchurch.net/2008/08/21/pro-life-pastor-to-offer-benediction-at-democratic-convention/



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Theresa

posted September 8, 2008 at 12:20 am


For those who cannot access the radio ad–
“The campaign of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, sent radio stations in battleground states a radio ad that points out McCain’s opposition to abortion.
“As a nurse practitioner with Planned Parenthood,” says a woman’s voice, “I know abortion is one of most difficult decisions a woman will ever make. I’m Val Baron. Let me tell you – if Roe v Wade is overturned, the lives and health of women will be put at risk. That’s why this election is so important. John McCain’s out of touch with women today. McCain wants to take away our right to choose. That’s what women need to understand. That’s how high the stakes are.”
“As president, John McCain will make abortion illegal,” says an announcer. “McCain says quote, ‘I do not support Roe v. Wade. It should be overturned.’ And listen to McCain’s answer on Meet the Press.”
“A constitutional amendment to ban all abortions,” says the late great Tim Russert. “You’re for that?”
“Yes, sir,” says McCain.
“We can’t let John McCain take away our right to choose,” says Baron. “We can’t let him take us back.”
The Obama campaign would not comment on the ad buy, but presumably it is aimed at radio stations that skew towards women and younger voters.”



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tim

posted September 8, 2008 at 7:22 am


It is important to clarify that the Democratic platform calls for reducing unintended pregnancies, which could substantially reduce the need for (and number of) abortions. The strategies here involve education (comprehensive sex education, contraception and family planning) and economic (access to affordable services, including abortion and adoption, and other assistance that would enable poor women keep their children if they choose).
Abortion reduction is a loaded term. Parental notification and outright criminalization are also aimed at abortion reduction. But pro-choice advocates reject these strategies not only because they take away a woman’s right to choose, but also because they are largely ineffective and lead women (especially young women) to take desperate measures at the risk of their lives and health.
To me, the Democratic platform is much better than it was, when it began and ended with a defense of Roe v. Wade. Now, it’s about helping women (and men) make informed decisions and supporting the decisions they make, without taking away their freedom to act according to their own consciences.



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Douglas Johnson

posted September 8, 2008 at 10:43 am


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 that abortion-reduction talk is just pixie dust to distract the gullible.
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
Washington, D.C.
Legfederal@aol.com
http://www.nrlc.org
White Paper on Obama and Born-Alive Infants:
http://www.nrlc.org/ObamaBAIPA/WhitePaperAugust282008.html
Documentation on the “Freedom of Choice Act”:
http://www.nrlc.org/FOCA/index.html



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I SEE

posted September 8, 2008 at 11:03 am


“Pro-life voters of either party can now support Sen. Obama on the basis that more lives will be saved than if they had just taken a moral stand hoping to overturn Roe v. Wade”
“Because of the emotional/social hot-buttons of the traditional evangelical community, things just got very difficult for Sen. Obama,” said Joel Hunter, the Republican pastor who gave the benediction at the Democratic convention. “I am not sure of the shelf-life of ecstasy.”
“Unless the Obama campaign will stop emphasizing abortion rights and strongly address the major common cause issues with a spirited vision and practical details, the Republicans can continue to scoop up a ton of votes.”
Sorry Jamie- Joel Hunter does not sound apolitical or non-partisan to me.
Seems to me he has been pandering votes for Obama for quite some time. He has even attempted Obama’s classic “get new voters registered”- but it failed. The site is still up. Watch the video. He misquotes scripture “Render under Caesar what is Caesar’s” saying it means Jesus wants you to politicize the people in your church and says he is especially interested in empowering leaders with twelve or more in their church/group.
http://www.thechristiancitizen.net/
Maybe you should research your pastor’s ties with RACHEL LASER and the liberal think tank- THIRD WAY.



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WHAT IS THIS?

posted September 8, 2008 at 4:53 pm


Is this legal?
From the CHRISTIAN CITIZEN site:
Pastors and Ministry Leaders
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you. It is our goal to extend your leadership capabilities, so that you can lead your constituency to have a direct voice in government.
Our goals:
1. To be witnesses for Christ in all areas of life, including the realm of citizen participation.
2. To increase the number of Christian voters and voices in government, as a way of following Christ’s instruction (Matthew 22:21).
3. To empower all Christians for participation in government, by alerting them to the relevant issues and showing them how they can respond.
How to use The Christian Citizen as your personal tool for leadership:
1. Sign on as a Pastor or ministry leader, giving us the information requested. (You will be able to list multiple zip codes to represent your full constituency).
2. Upon approval, your church or ministry will be access all the information within The Christian Citizen.
3. You may then send your constituency emails about local, state, or national issues. You will be able to reserach information on the site and will be emailed information related to applicable issues for you and your constituency.
4. Ask them to respond to the appropriate representative by with the informaiton provided, and writing a letter. You may want to give them a sample letter to copy or edit.
5. You will receive periodic emails about national issues from The Christian Citizen’s founder, Dr. Joel Hunter. You may pass them along to your constituency, edit them, or ignore them. This tool was built for .
6. You may pass this information along to other ministry leaders, so that eventually we will have a grassroots Christian voice in every realm of government.
Check out the other video of Pastor Joel Hunter:
http://www.thechristiancitizen.net/AboutUs/tabid/53/Default.aspx



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Steven Waldman

posted September 8, 2008 at 11:22 pm


Joel Hunter was indeed a regular republican. he pastors a traditional church in Florida. He was actually briefly head of the Christian Coalition, a sign of how mainstream he was deemed in evangelical circles. Of late he has become critical of the conservative approach and advocating policies that are more in synch with obama, though he will not endorse a candidate.



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Douglas Johnson

posted September 9, 2008 at 9:14 am


his 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 that abortion-reduction talk is just pixie dust to distract the gullible.
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.” (Does that sound to you like a law intended to promote “abortion reduction”?) 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
Legfederal@aol.com



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