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Nobody is pro-abortion? Oh, Really….

(waving) I am….

By way of Jeralyn at Talk Left:

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Barack Obama said anti-abortion Democrats are backing him because they feel he respects their opinion on the issue despite disagreement on it.

The Democratic presidential candidate favors abortion rights, but he noted his support from former Rep. Tim Roemer of Indiana and Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania who are anti-abortion.

“It may be that those who have opposed abortion get a sense that I’m listening to them and respect their position even though where we finally come down may be different,” he told reporters at a news conference.

“The mistake that pro-choice forces have sometimes made in the past, and this is a generalization so it has not always been the case, has been to not acknowledge the wrenching moral issues involved in it,” he said.

“Most Americans recognize that what we want to do is avoid, or help people avoid, having to make this difficult choice. That nobody is pro-abortion, abortion is never a good thing.”

A couple of things shriek out through this story.

First, the way he simultaneously accuses those of us who support legal abortions of not acknowledging the wrenching moral issues involved AND he protects himself from our (my) dismay of the accusation. It’s a very clever way of phrasing an insult.

Second, “That nobody is pro-abortion, abortion is never a good thing.” Oh, Really?

I’m not sure how many living women have had abortions, but I’m guessing that a good many of them are reasonably happy with their decision. That without access to a safe, legal abortion their lives would have been dramatically more complicated at best and significantly degraded at worst.

I’m well past the point of being personally at risk of an unwanted pregnancy. But that doesn’t make me insensitive to the fact that unwanted pregnancies happen every day. And some of those pregnant women would do almost anything to get out of it.

Senator Obama’s entire statement reeks of insensitivity. And considering today’s other so-called gaffes, it makes me wonder, Is it even possible for Obama to discuss an issue without insulting someone?

[UPDATE] For more on this visit Obama: “Abortion Is Never a Good Thing” by BDBlue.

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51 Responses

  1. Hillary Clinton has worked with Tom Delay to make adoption and foster care easier. She continuously talks about ways to reduce unwanted pregnancies.

    Which brings me to my BRILLIANT idea of the day.

    Start Universal Health Care by calling it a pro-life Bill. REALLY!! Every pregnant women should have access to good, free health care. Every new mother and her baby should have access to best health care when the child is small. Of course, every child should have access to health care.

    How could the right oppose that??

  2. The rationale behind my plan is that you help young women and assure them of healthcare (which is got to be a major stress and worry), so they would want to keep their baby.

    How could the right oppose that?

  3. I think it’s a grand idea. But what do I know? Cancer survivor McCain doesn’t seem to care of the rest of us have access to cancer treatment…

  4. Still, there are a lot of reasons why a pregnancy is wrong for some reason and access to health care is only a part of that decision.

  5. Who said “Safe, legal, and rare?”

    I’ve never heard anyone except right-wing idiots suggest that that there are people who think abortion is no big deal.

    The “pro-choice” movement has always recognized that it’s a huge decision for any woman, and any guy who really cares about that woman.

  6. I just about fell off my chair. So I, who supports pro-choice, do not acknowledge the difficulty in making such a decision”

    I. Don’t. Think. So.

    FUCK YOU BO.

    I support Bill Clinton’s position – abortion should be safe legal and rare. And you make it rare by providing sex education, birth control and choice.

    I know…I was there in the 70’s when NONE of that was acceptable.

    OBAMA SUCKS!

  7. I know all about the wrenching moral issue and I sure don’t need him to explain it to me. What a clueless smart ass comment.

    When will the big progressive blogs come to their senses and realize that the Obama they thought they knew a few years ago, is the Obama we know today?

    I checked DKos for the first time since February and they are high-fiving each other over how Obama responded to his PA bitter-people comment. They are so clueless my head is exploding.

  8. My head is still spinning.

    myiq2xu & Shainzona, I feel like my head exploded. The levels of insult to that statement.

    Has anyone ever run for office while insulting so many people in so many ways?

    That’s the main reason I didn’t qualify my support for abortion. At least tonight, I’m not backing down an inch.

  9. tabbycat — did you see? My head exploded too.

    Honestly, he’s out of control.

  10. lol, katie, I did. Our heads exploded together. I’ll bet it won’t be the last time. 🙂

  11. Obama is a lot like my ex husband. I ” fell in love” before I really knew him. The electorate so far has done the same. And he will say anything that it takes to get that voter into bed. That slogan he used: “we are who we have been waiting for” is getting a little scary.

  12. Yes, Katiebird. There are many reasons beyond healthcare. But that’s a major stress and worry for women, and the right cannot deny that. How could they politically deny healthcare to pregnant women in need and call themselves pro-life? Don’t they think that would encourage those women wrestling with the decision to carry the pregnancy to term?

    I am pro-choice, and Clinton phrase, safe, rare and legal describes perfectly how I feel. But I think it’s a perfect opportunity to either get healthcare for mothers, or expose the right for its hypocrisy.

  13. Pat, that’s a really good phrase “And he will say anything that it takes to get that voter into bed.”

    I must be the dumpy girl with the glasses, though. He doesn’t seem to want me at all…..

    ghost, Thanks for clarifying that. My brain really did explode earlier and I needed the extra explanation.

    How dare that man imply that I’m lacking morals?

  14. katiebird:

    I’ve always had a thing for dumpy girls with glasses. You’re not, by chance, a librarian are you?

    LOL – just kidding.

    Sort of – I really like girls with glasses.

  15. Corrente did a great rant on Obama on this issue:

    “First, pro-choice forces are most Americans. Jackass.

    Second, the last people on the planet who need to be lectured about the moral issues surrounding abortion are pro-choice forces, many of whom – in case you hadn’t noticed, asshole – are women. You know, the ones faced with those awful choices. And, boy, do I like being lectured to by a man about how very difficult they are. These forces are also the ones who also support birth control and adoption or, hell, providing daycare and support to women who want their baby but can’t afford it. That’s why they’re called pro-choice.

    Third, I’m sick and tired of you equating morality with conservative assholes.

    Fourth, if you care about morality and saving lives, you could start with supporting universal healthcare.”

  16. myiq2xu (giggling) I am a librarian! Are you a mind reader? Or have I mentioned it before?

    WS, thanks for pointing out BDBlue’s post at Corrente. I’ll add a link.

    I like some of the alternate post titles….

  17. All Obama said was that pro-choice forces haven’t conveyed their “moral issues” with abortion enough, thus lending themselves to easy criticism from pro-life critics. He wasn’t saying that pro-choice people don’t care. He even said “nobody is pro-abortion” implying that those right-wing attacks are false.

  18. Am I wrong, or is the WORM TURNING today?

  19. Nobody, Justin? Really?

    I am pro-abortion. I believe that safe & legal abortions should be available for woman who needs it. And that it should be her own decision.

  20. Yep, Safe, Legal and Rare. The best way to avoid a wrenching moral decision is to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place. A woman’s conscience is none of Obama’s Doggone business. He is not welcome to explore every woman’s motives in order to pronounce whether their judgment is moral or not. And he ought to learn that little aphorism about the word “assume”.

  21. sarah: No, the media is just messing with us. But if I were Hillary’s campaign, I would spend a whole lot less time worrying about what the media is going to report about me or my surrogates. They are not her friend, will never be her friend and it’s pointless to try to please them. Concentrate on the locals.

  22. Sarah, I hope it is. The stuff that’s come out today indicates a change in tone, doesn’t it? (also, do you sometimes comment at Kevin Drum’s site? There’s a Sarah who takes a lot of abuse from the Obama Fan Boyz there)

    rd, I agree, a woman’s conscience is none of any politician’s business. What a weird way to make a medical decision. ..

  23. Kbird: Can you imagine the state telling men that a part of their bodies doesn’t belong to them and they are not allowed to exercise control over it? We’d have martial law within hours.

  24. Or that they can only have a medical procedure if they confess to feeling really, really bad about it.

    It’s absurd. If it wasn’t so tragic.

  25. Hey katiebird, I do not know Kevin Drum’s site.
    I take abuse at HuffPo and TPM , but don’t care – I still keep posting because I think they need to know not everyone is lockstep and drinking Kool-aid.

    It seemed that it was turning slightly in the last few days. This evening it does feel like it, but maybe it is a transitory thing as riverdaughter implies. Just the media messing with us…..

  26. “Nobody, Justin? Really?

    I am pro-abortion. I believe that safe & legal abortions should be available for woman who needs it. And that it should be her own decision.”

    So does Obama, and he has shown it with his 100% voting record on abortion. As the commentators above noted, all of us Democrats are trying to reduce abortions by say providing better sex educations. Saying you’re “pro-abortion” implies you don’t care about lowering the abortion rate. Even in the case of abortion saving a women’s life, it is still a traumatizing and horrible experience. Hence, bad.

  27. Well, Justin, I can only take him at his word. And he said, “nobody is pro-abortion.” Those are his words. Can I be blamed for thinking that he is NOT pro-abortion?

    Do I care about lowering the abortion rate? No. No, I don’t. As I said above, I think abortion should be available for any woman who decides she needs it.

    The possibility of trauma might be part of her decision or it might not. I have faith that most women are capable of judging that for themselves.

  28. Justin, I agree with you that his voting record reflects a pro-choice position. But that pro-choice position has always been a safe one before. He’s never had to buck the tide of public consent, and lead people in his direction. Now, that the opportunity has come, he passes it by using anti-choicer frames against his own allies.

    This Is Not Unity.

    “Pro-Abortion” doesn’t not have to mean what the “public perception” means. He could just have easily have said, that while abortion is a moral issue, those who support reproductive rights consider the consequences of abortion to reach their stance, and must be respected as well, instead of dismissing a large portion of his party as arriving at an “immoral” stance.

  29. Darn tags.

    Should be closed after “allies.”

  30. “Do I care about lowering the abortion rate? No. No, I don’t. As I said above, I think abortion should be available for any woman who decides she needs it.”

    I’d agree with that. There is nothing contradictory though about trying to have fewer teen girls get pregnant (and thus fewer abortions) and allowing free, unfettered abortions to anyone who wants them.

    I’d assume you are against abstinence only education in schools, for example. But if abortion is not undesirable at all, why would it matter if a teenage girl got pregnant? She can easily get an abortion in this country. I’d say it matters because abortions usually are traumatic for those girls and their family, thus we should try and lower the abortion rate through education.

  31. This’ll be my last comment on this, since I know I’m not really wanted here.

    “Now, that the opportunity has come, he passes it by using anti-choicer frames against his own allies.”

    This is the key difference in perception between us. By engaging in the language he did and bringing up the “moral issue,” Obama has effectively disarmed Republican opponents who would try to make an issue out of abortion. It is a brilliant piece of verbal jiu-jitsu, and helps the Democrats draw in people who would usually never vote for a Democrat.

  32. I get the impression that he is not talking about abortion at all really but just trying to get votes and that this is a cold calculated part of the overall campaign strategy to pick up undecided voters. Hope and Change, indeed…..

  33. “I’d assume you are against abstinence only education in schools, for example. But if abortion is not undesirable at all, why would it matter if a teenage girl got pregnant? She can easily get an abortion in this country.”

    And if Obama would support federally mandated health care for everyone instead of only parents, teen girls would have easy access to contraceptives, thus bypassing the need for an abortion. Women do not use abortion as birth control. The meme about the 17 yr old prom princess aborting at 36 weeks doesn’t exist.

    I’d say it matters because abortions usually are traumatic for those girls and their family,

    First, women have abortions. Second, the trauma is also a manufactured belief of the anti-choicers. But many women do feel remorse, some even switch sides(many anti-choicers have abortions) but much of the remorse comes from the public judgement that people feel free to make about an individual decision. And Obama is signaling a willingness to make those judgements.

  34. The problem with this approach is that the anti-choice crowd, among other opponents we will listen to and respect, will not be satisfied with merely being listened to. Sooner or later, they’re going to expect professed respect for their opinions and morals to be made concrete. They’re going to want something. So does Obama plan to give them something besides a sympathetic ear? If so, what, pray tell, is it? If not, how can they be kept on-side? If it’s “brilliant verbal ju-jitsu,” who is being flipped? And won’t they figure out eventually that they have been? What then?

  35. This from the guy who says that babies are a punishment? This from the guy who believed that 12 and 13 year olds should be able to get an abortion without parental consent when he was filling out that questionnaire in Chicago? Does he honestly believe that by not having a position he can decide where he stands when he faces McCain?

    OMG. Where are the feminists who fought so hard for this issue in their outrage?

  36. Doesn’t BO’s comments smell suspiciously similar to his “teenage pregnancies are punishment” bon mot?

  37. I’m convinced, and I dont’ think it’s any secret, that all his stances are carefully crafted to appease all audiences. Meaning everyone thinks they’re getting a pony but he knows better. The only one getting something is Obama getting votes.

  38. The thing about his statement which annoys and irritates me the most is that it is pandering to right-wing memes about the Democratic Party. He left out the fact that Democrats have always fought tooth and nail for full finding of Planned Parenthood and other sources of birth control and education in order to PREVENT unplanned pregnancies. And, the moral issue that he fails to acknowledge is fundamentally whether or not women have the right to control their own bodies. The right-wing has always fought against any funding of Planned Parenthood, sought to eliminate birth control and education for young women who may be at risk of unwanted pregnancies. It is offensive in the extreme to me that Obama completely panders to right-wing memes and ignores the wrenching moral dilemma of women who fight every day to retain control of their OWN BODIES. This man is NOT GETTING MY VOTE.

  39. Obama is triangulating, plain and simple. I thought the “progressive” blogosphere hated triangulation?

  40. I agee with Obama’s sentiments that it would be better if we did not have abortions – that was Clinton’s main point – legal, safe and rare. It is a medical procedure so that is best avoided by not getting pregnant in the first place. However, it is a lot safer than carrying a pregnancy to term. We need more funding and research into better methods of birth control.

    That being said, I do not see it as a moral issue – at least not for early term abortions. Abortion is not murder or the killing of a person. A fertilized egg or fetus is not a human being anymore than an acorn is an oak tree. Also, it is not the beginning of life – the sperm and egg are also living cells, so it is just another point on a continuum along the way to the possible creation of a human person. The only rationale for saying it is a person is religious. The Catholic Church only decided in recent times that at the moment of conception God breathed a soul into the embryo. Earlier Catholic theologians did not believe that the soul was created at conception, but only when the fetus was developed enough to be a person.
    As Gary Wills points out in his book “Head and Heart: American Christianities”:
    “The question is not whether the fetus is human life but whether it is a human person, and when it becomes one. Is it when it is capable of thought, of speech, of recognizing itself as a person, or of assuming the responsibilities of a person? Is it when it has a functioning brain? Aquinas said that the fetus did not become a person until God infused the intellectual soul. A functioning brain is not present in the fetus until the end of the sixth month at the earliest.”

    Mr Wills is a highly regarded author of books on religion that have gotten a lot of attention in the media in the past. Somehow this one was ignored. Surprise.

    It is time the left make it clear that though we support abortion rights we do not believe in murder, and frame the debate in these terms. Answering “It’s murder” with “It’s a woman’s choice” is a losing argujment – and unbelievably dumb.

  41. Does anyone remember in a January debate when he didn’t say Yes, he supports pro-choice…but rather that he thinks the decision should be between a women, her doctor, her family and her clergy? (Whose next…the neighbors next door? Your boss? Your insurance comany?))

    I fell off my chair (again…damn I’m bruised everyday!) to hear that the clergy should be included in the decision. And the family (a teenager may not have a supportive family – that’s a very familiar story!).

    Now all things beng wonderful, a woman will make this difficult decision with lots of support around here. But that should not be “the standard” upon which all abortions are decided.

    The problem is he did not say YES. It was a simple question with a simple answer and he did not say the magic word.

    Instead he goes off on preaching and then ends up in a quesitonable position.

    I have not trusted the man since I heard that answer. AND, at the time, I was undecided.

  42. Ah come-on, Shainzona. Don’t you always stop off at the church before you fill your prescriptions or schedule medical appointments? Be reasonable!

    (I’m melting)

  43. I hate his recent equivocation on abortion, but I do defend his “punishment” comment. Anti-choicers view pregnancy as a punishment, though they don’t call it that. But, yes, ITO, it is a punishment for that dirty nasty sex you were having, and that truth needs to be framed to people who sent on the fence, that for the political forces dedicated to ending abortion, it is about the consequences. That’s why they also stand against birth control, because you shouldn’t be having that dirty nasty sex.

  44. Always remember what Obama told the Christian Broadcasting Network; “I TRUST women to make a PRAYERFUL decision about abortion.”
    Here is the link:

    http://www.cbn.com/CBNnews/266144.aspx

    Keep your condescension and your smug religious sexism off my body!!

  45. That’s why they also stand against birth control, because you shouldn’t be having that dirty nasty sex.

    But that’s the best kind! Killjoys.

  46. “This from the guy who says that babies are a punishment? ”

    If you’re a poor 16 year-old who wanted to do something with your life, then yeah, it seems a baby could be seen as a negative thing. Shocking.

    “This from the guy who believed that 12 and 13 year olds should be able to get an abortion without parental consent when he was filling out that questionnaire in Chicago?”

    So although it is a their body, parents should be able to force their kids to go through a pregnancy? Ugh. Obama got that one right.

  47. On top of everything else, didn’t casey just tell the NYT he endorsed Obama because his underage daughters think he’s cool? Obama really wants to open the can of worms about why Casey endorsed him?

    “By engaging in the language he did and bringing up the “moral issue,” Obama has effectively disarmed Republican opponents who would try to make an issue out of abortion. It is a brilliant piece of verbal jiu-jitsu, and helps the Democrats draw in people who would usually never vote for a Democrat.”

    Yeah, and having a war hero on the ticket neutralized the patriotism smears. Maybe you haven’t been paying attention, but Democrats (Clinton included, and she’s taken flak for it too) have been playing this game for years, with very similar language. Yes, i know–it’s shocking, but it’s not some brave new revolutionary departure that Obama initiated. It appeases no one, and only serves to piss off pro-choice people who don’t enjoy useless pandering and condescention. And, you know, as far as “getting people to vote Democratic who normally wouldn’t” a) no it doesn’t and b) those people aren’t going to vote for Rev. ‘God Damn America’;s parishioner, or the ‘bitter religious dupes’ candidate, either. In fact, it’s not just people who never vote Democratic–you’d be surprised how many Democratic vets and elderly voters are considering casting their first ever republican vote.

  48. Oh, and btw? Choice is a winning issue for us. We don’t WANT Republicans to not make an issue of it. If they make an issue of it, that helps us. Our chances of getting the votes of hardcore pro-lifers are slim (“no, you don’t understand, they’re not baby murderers, they’re baby murderers who’ve given it a lot of thought, it’s a *moral issue* with them”). But, our chances of getting the votes of moderate pro-choice Republican women if it becomes an actual election issue? Much higher. Pro-choice Republicans tend to justify their votes by saying they don’t really think aborition rights are in danger because it’s not made into a major issue.

  49. Wish I still had my old bumper sticker- “If men got pregnant, abotion would be a sacrament.”

  50. well, of course, abortion is a hard, moral decison for those making it. duh!

    what obama and the merry band of self righteous followers don’t seem to get it often abortion is an act of desperation for many reasons from rape to lack of funds to support a baby. maybe the lady fears violence from her family or the man. that happens more often than the latte drinkers might think.

    the desperate woman wanting an abortion will seek and get it no matter what the law says. the sad fact is many women died from illegal abortions. but the self and smug self rigtheous fail to see or remember it. sometimes the woman can’t just trot off for 9 months in order to give birth hence the desperation. please remember these women will get them with or without legal support.

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