January 24, 2008
A Message to Pro-Choice Voters Regarding the Democratic Presidential Primary
Nancy Keenan is president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
This week Americans mark the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a milestone that coincides with the 2008 presidential election.
As we celebrate this occasion, and this critical time for women’s reproductive freedom, NARAL Pro-Choice America is proud that we have such strong pro-choice candidates like Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and former Sen. John Edwards, running for president.
As the political leader of the pro-choice movement, NARAL Pro-Choice America has researched the voting records, public comments, and actions of each of the candidates and shared the information we've documented with the more than one-million activists, supporters, and members our organization represents.
Beginning in Iowa, continuing into New Hampshire, and now in South Carolina and the states voting in the February 5 contests, there has been an undercurrent of speculation and innuendo that calls into question Sen. Obama’s record on choice. This has the potential to divide the pro-choice community and create tension where none should exist. Today, for the sake of our issue and our movement, I am asking that these tactics stop.
As someone who spent nearly two decades as an elected official before coming to NARAL Pro-Choice America, I know that, in the heat of the campaign, charges and counter-charges are made in the honest belief that one candidate is somehow better than another. I get that.
Let me be clear: Here are the facts pro-choice voters need as they head to the polls, whether this weekend in South Carolina, on “Tsunami Tuesday” to vote for the Democratic Party's nominee, or on November 4 when we all vote for the next president of the United States: Sens. Clinton, Edwards, and Obama are fully pro-choice. NARAL Pro-Choice America endorsed all three candidates in their previous campaigns. All of the candidates have voted pro-choice; have publicly affirmed that they are pro-choice; and have taken actions that back up their pro-choice voting records and statements. All three candidates endorse the Freedom of Choice Act, which would codify Roe and protect the right to choose for future generations. Sens. Clinton, Edwards, and Obama have steadfastly supported and defended a woman's right to make the most personal, private decisions regarding her reproductive health without interference from government or politicians.
NARAL Pro-Choice America has not yet endorsed a candidate for president because there are such equally strong pro-choice contenders in the Democratic primary. We understand that other organizations have made different decisions; we respect that. But our collective long-term goal as a pro-choice movement must be to advance the cause.
This focus on nonexistent differences between the pro-choice candidates distracts from the real goal. We must focus our fight on defeating the anti-choice Republican candidates who have called for the overturn of Roe.
NARAL Pro-Choice America will continue to support pro-choice candidates and defend them all against attacks. We can only hope that in the future, we, as a unified pro-choice community, will be defending against anti-choice politicians, not one another.
Posted by Bush v. Choice at January 24, 2008 5:33 PM
We have just observed the anniversary of what many people believe it the most erroneous decision ever handed down by the Supreme Court. At least four of the present justices would reverse it, and a fifth seems to be wavering in his support. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, one of the left wing's champions referred to it as "on a collision course with itself...having no basis in law or in fact". And many other abortion supporters have been even more critical of it.
It authorized the taking of human life as a solution to personal and social problems, something which cannot be allowed to prevail in America, or America itself will not prevail.
As people learn more about Roe, support for it diminishes. Its present level of support is due to the fact that many people still think it legalized abortion only in the first trimester. The same can be said of abortion in general, the more people find out about it, the more repulsed they are by it. In celebrating abortion rights we celebrate a "freedom" that depends on people's ignorance for its continued existence. And for many of my women friends, thirty five years of Roe do not evoke celebration, only bitter tears. Sorry, my fellow women, but we must face reality.
Posted by: Joie at January 24, 2008 9:47 PM
As people learn more about Roe, support for it diminishes.
Its present level of support is due to the fact that many people still think it legalized abortion only in the first trimester.
Again, unfounded rhetoric.
The same can be said of abortion in general, the more people find out about it, the more repulsed they are by it.
Maybe if they listen to anti-choice lies about abortion. Many anti-choicers are woefully misinformed about what abortion actually entails and what the realities of it are. Many people told lies and misinformation are disgusted - and I am disgusted that people who want to spread "the truth" only spread lies.
In celebrating abortion rights we celebrate a "freedom" that depends on people's ignorance for its continued existence.
Untrue. Women thankfully have the right to agency over their own bodies and lives. There are literally millions of women who know all the facts about abortion, and are thankful that their right to abortion exists. Furthermore, groups like NARAL do everything in their power to spread ACTUAL truth about abortion to women - not the lies spread by anti-choice groups. So who is interested in spreading ignorance? It's not NARAL.
And for many of my women friends, thirty five years of Roe do not evoke celebration, only bitter tears. Sorry, my fellow women, but we must face reality.
I would imagine it would. However, you do not speak for all women, and I'm glad that no one is forced to face your "reality." I'll gladly keep the reality where my worth as a grown human woman is more than a fetus.
Posted by: Anna at January 25, 2008 11:19 AM
Anna, you will find the answer to your request for citation in the push polls taken on abortion where the questioner states that Roe legalized abortion "in the first trimester". Look them up yourself. Additionally I would suggest you look up the numerous media stories that cite Roe as legalizing abortion "in the first trimester".
As regards the rest of your post, there is much I could say. However, I'll confine myself to citing the fact that on those rare occasions when women,about to be aborted,are allowed to see an ultrasound image of their babies, they are profoundly disturbed and many change their minds right there. If that doesn't indicate being repulsed, then what does? If that doesn't indicate prior ignorance about abortion what does? If That doesn't explain why many women later shed bitter tears about their abortion, then what does? If that doesn't show the hollowness of the claim of "agency over their own bodies" when another body is plainly visible,what does?
When women (men too) realize abortion is the taking of a life, not the removal of a "blob of tissue", believe me it changes minds Anna. It's time to remove the scales from our eyes about abortion. It is no blessing to women.
Posted by: Joie at January 26, 2008 2:42 PM