Jump directly to the content

The Disappearance of Obama's Abortion Reduction Plan: One Political Theory

At the Saddleback Forum, Obama boasted, accurately, about how he'd stuck a sentence into the Democratic platform encouraging support for women who wanted to take a baby to term instead of having an abortion. Pro-life progressives hailed that sentence as a great victory and sign that he might be able to win over moderate evangelicals and Catholics with this new "third way" approach.

Then, the first abortion ads put out by the Obama campaign, didn't mention abortion reduction.

Last week, they put out a second abortion ad, this one trying to deal with the charge that Obama supports infanticide. They had two different (not mutually exclusive) ways they could have gone: Show themselves to be abortion moderates by emphasizing abortion reduction, or show McCain to be an anti-abortion extremist by emphasizing the Republican platform. The Obama campaign chose the second path. Again, no mention of abortion reduction.

Meanwhile, I picked up a copy of the Obama campaign's "Plan to Renew America's Promise." Though it mentions reducing unintended pregnancies, it dropped the sentence about helping women carry babies to term.

My uninformed theory on what's happened:there was always a tension for them between two goals: 1) appealing to pro-choice moderate women and 2) appealing to pro-life moderate evangelicals and Catholics. They've now concluded:

Winning moderate evangelicals is hopeless and, it turns out, centrist Catholics just dont care all that much abortion. Given that, it makes more political sense to reach out to those pro-choice women.

Of course this obviously leaves them open to charges that they didn't believe in abortion reduction all that much in the first place.

(Originally posted at Steve Waldman's blog at Beliefnet.)

Related Topics:Politics
Posted:September 22, 2008 at 4:43PM
Gleanings aggregates what others are reporting. Learn more.
Recent Posts
God and America: It's Complicated
Surveys show fewer think America is a Christian nation, but many see ‘special relationship’ with God.
Burning Black Churches Rekindle Old Fears
(UPDATED) Two cases of arson found so far. Most weeks average five.
What Mark Driscoll Told Brian Houston at Hillsong Conference
(UPDATED) Debate continues over how long pastoral restoration should take.
Struggle over Same-Sex Marriage's Religious Liberty Ramifications Begins
(UPDATED) Liberty Institute sees good news, but other Christian legal groups disagree.
Christianity Today
The Disappearance of Obama's Abortion Reduction Plan: One Political ...