Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman


Obama’s Abortion Straightjacket

posted by swaldman

Should he win, Obama will need to early on figure out how to get out of a political straight jacket of his own making: on abortion. His challenge will not be traversing the political parties but two Democratic constituencies who both worked hard for him and want very different things..
For the last few months, pro-life progressives have pushed hard the idea that Obama would help reduce the number of abortions through common ground efforts to help women avoid pregnancy or carry babies to term.
One group ran ads in battleground states explaining that Democrats could reduce abortion more than Republicans. Another argued against banning abortion as imprtactical and said abortions could be reduced if policies provided medical and financial care that would help women “choose life.”
Pro-life progressives have publically assured voters that Obama would be committed to reducing the number of abortions.
On the other hand, Obama said early in the campaign that his first act as president would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, a fairly radical bill that would wipe out state abortion restrictions. Pro-choice groups have worked hard for Obama, too, and take that commitment seriously.
How will he bridge that gulf?



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MarcM

posted November 3, 2008 at 3:29 pm


Simple…he signs the FOCA insuring a woman’s right to choose is fully protected. Then he works with Congress to push through bills that will help implement programs that address the economic reasons women give for getting an abortion. Women are protected, abortions are reduced, and the GOP loses a battle cry for mobilizing their troops.



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Steven Waldman

posted November 3, 2008 at 4:11 pm


MarcM, the problem is that the freedom of choice act would wipe out many state restrictions — such as parental consent laws — that probably have the effect of reducing some abortions. So he’ll be increasing abortions with one slate of policies while tries to decrease them with another. And that says nothing of the total culture war that would result if he signs that as his first act.



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Scot McKnight

posted November 3, 2008 at 4:30 pm


Thanks Steve for pointing to the tension we are all feeling about the Obama Plan (for life). I posted at my blog — now with you at Beliefnet.com — about the tension some feel over Obama’s stands.



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Paul Dirks

posted November 3, 2008 at 4:45 pm


I fail to see how these two ideas are mutually exclusive. Any look at the various state efforts to restrict abortions reveal a startling lack of concern over preventing pregnancy and encouraging viable families.
You’ve provided a thoroughly false choice.



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Tim Schultz

posted November 3, 2008 at 5:36 pm


Steven-
Here’s how he bridges the gap: Obama’s “first act” promise is contingent on FOCA first passing the House and Senate, which it will not. Yes, leading Congressional Democrats like Pelosi support it, but there aren’t the votes in the House (or Senate) to sweep away all state abortion restrictions, particularly the (relatively) popular ones like parental notification and informed consent.



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Limbo Limbo Low

posted November 3, 2008 at 5:46 pm


Please don’t have voter’s remorse should Obama win tomorrow and become a disapointment to “pro-life progressives”. You knew who he was when you voted for him.



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HuckFinn

posted November 3, 2008 at 9:40 pm


It is utterly fanciful to pretend that an Obama presidency would reduce the abortion rate, in light of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.



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Daniel

posted November 4, 2008 at 12:04 pm


The agenda of expanding social programs has been that of religious progressives for years. They are now trying to create a common ground that attempts to subvert pro-life advocates from the goal of making abortion illegal. Religious progressives never make the case of making abortion illegal, but rather criticize those against abortion as being hypocritical for holding positions that differ from them on anti-poverty programs, universal health care, crime & punishment and more.



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Deborah

posted November 4, 2008 at 1:18 pm


I think this website pretty much sums up Obama’s views on abortion! Please view it before casting your vote and as much as you would like to turn away or not watch it in it’s entirety, you owe it to yourself and God to watch it all. After all, a vote should be an informed vote. WARNING: IT IS GRAPHIC! (not a pretty site)



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Your Name

posted November 4, 2008 at 2:00 pm


Deborah-
Thank you for sharing a video should be mandatory viewing for ALL pregnant woman seeking an abortion. That is a very organized “clump of cells” being sborted.
Here is another video. It is an actual 911 call. A woman has given birth to a live 22-week-old boy in an abortion clinic and locked herself and her child in the bathroom because the staff want the baby to die. Her friend is placing the call:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfnNzIzvT-k
A questions for pro-life progressives who support the democratic abortion plank:
Which “organized clump of cells”(wink-wink) must die to allow which “organized clump of cells” life???



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