100 Days Presser: The FOCA Fade

posted at 11:36 am on April 30, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Can’t say that this expiration date bothers me as much as I assume it bothers Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and other pro-abortion forces.  Last night at his 100 Days presser, CNN’s Ed Henry asked Barack Obama when he would fulfill his campaign promise to the abortion industry and make signing the Freedom of Choice Act a priority.  Obama stammered out a retreat, clearly uncomfortable in front of an audience not entirely comprised of abortion activists:

Q: Thank you, Mr. President. In a couple of weeks, you’re going to be giving the commencement at Notre Dame. And, as you know, this has caused a lot of controversy among Catholics who are opposed to your position on abortion.

As a candidate, you vowed that one of the very things you wanted to do was sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which, as you know, would eliminate federal, state and local restrictions on abortion. And at one point in the campaign when asked about abortion and life, you said that it was above — quote, above my pay grade. Now that you’ve been president for 100 days, obviously, your pay grade is a little higher than when you were a senator.

Do you still hope that Congress quickly sends you the Freedom of Choice Act so you can sign it?

OBAMA: You know, the — my view on — on abortion, I think, has been very consistent. I think abortion is a moral issue and an ethical issue.

I think that those who are pro-choice make a mistake when they — if they suggest — and I don’t want to create straw men here, but I think there are some who suggest that this is simply an issue about women’s freedom and that there’s no other considerations. I think, look, this is an issue that people have to wrestle with and families and individual women have to wrestle with.

The reason I’m pro-choice is because I don’t think women take that — that position casually. I think that they struggle with these decisions each and every day. And I think they are in a better position to make these decisions ultimately than members of Congress or a president of the United States, in consultation with their families, with their doctors, with their clergy.

So — so that has been my consistent position. The other thing that I said consistently during the campaign is I would like to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies that result in women feeling compelled to get an abortion, or at least considering getting an abortion, particularly if we can reduce the number of teen pregnancies, which has started to spike up again.

And so I’ve got a task force within the Domestic Policy Council in the West Wing of the White House that is working with groups both in the pro-choice camp and in the pro-life camp, to see if we can arrive at some consensus on that.

Now, the Freedom of Choice Act is not the highest legislative priority. I believe that women should have the right to choose. But I think that the most important thing we can do to tamp down some of the anger surrounding this issue is to focus on those areas that we can agree on. And that’s — that’s where I’m going to focus.

First, kudos to Ed Henry for asking an actual policy question, and not a “how great is it to be you” softball like the Jeff Zeleny question that followed this.  Henry has done a good job for CNN in acting like an actual White House correspondent instead of a bowing acolyte.  And this one clearly pushed Obama out of his comfort zone.

When Obama ran as a candidate and wanted cash from Planned Parenthood and its abortion-industry allies, he sounded a lot different than last night:

In 2008, FOCA was his “top priority”. Now it’s not even one of his priorities.  Unfortunately, I doubt that this new position will last for long, especially after the Democrats get 60 seats in the Senate.  Still, it’s interesting to see Obama flat-out renege on a core commitment to the Left.  I wonder just how many of these Mulligans he has remaining.


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