Obama advisor: “It is not our goal to reduce the number of abortions”

posted at 4:48 pm on May 22, 2009 by Allahpundit

Uttered at a meeting of abortion interest groups, pro and con, to discuss the sort of meaningless “common ground” to which Obama paid lip service at Notre Dame.

I noted that there are three main ways the administration can reach its goals: by what it funds, its messages from the bully pulpit, and by what it restricts. It is universally agreed that the role of parents is crucial, so government should not deny parents the ability to be involved in vital decisions. The goals need to be clear; the amount of funding spent to reduce unintended pregnancies and abortions is not a goal. The U.S. spends nearly $2 billion each year on contraception programs — programs which began in the 1970s — and they’ve clearly failed. We need to take an honest look at why they are not working.

Melody testily interrupted to state that she had to correct me. “It is not our goal to reduce the number of abortions.”

The room was silent.

The goal, she insisted, is to “reduce the need for abortions.”…

Abortion advocates object to the phrase “reducing abortions.” It connotes that there is something bad or immoral about abortion. Melody’s background as a board member of one of the most hard-core abortion groups in the country (Emily’s List even opposes bans on partial-birth abortion) sheds light on why she was irritated when that was stated as her boss’ goal.

What exactly is the policy difference between reducing abortions and reducing “the need for” abortions? In theory, they amount to the same thing: More funding for contraception, more economic incentives for pregnant women to make it financially viable for them to carry to term, etc. The author, Wendy Wright, takes this as a sign that Obama’s not planning to do anything differently on abortion except tweak the rhetoric, which is an eminently fair conclusion given his record but cuts against the logic of her piece. Sounds to me like the dopey rhetorical distinction (doesn’t the fact that they’re trying to reduce the practice sufficiently signal that it’s “bad or immoral”?) is meant to appease pro-choicers in advance of a baby step — no pun intended — towards providing more support for life. Although … that can’t possibly be true, can it?

While you mull, for your consideration, the latest ad from CatholicVote on this subject.

Update: I think the difference between reducing the number of abortions and the “need” for abortions is the same difference between creating jobs and “creating or saving” jobs.

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Seriously when I see people argue about sovereign rights of a woman to a body I really think they are frigging stupid and full of the Kool Aid. That type of talk is put out there by radical feminists. We have laws against prostitution, drug abuse, and suicide and those things harm no one but the person doing it to themselves. So please get real get off the aid and think for yourself idiot.

Jamson64 on May 22, 2009 at 5:56 PM

Agreed. The same argument about the rights of a woman to her body to justify the death of a baby could be used by a man to justify the rape of his victim. He has a right to do what he wishes with his body, doesn’t he? What does it matter that another person is being violated? The so-called right to privacy trumps all doesn’t it?

jimmy2shoes on May 22, 2009 at 9:34 PM

For me at least – the abortion debate ceased being a “debate” when ultrasound technology showed clearly a viable little human a pretty young age. Hard to think about a 20 week old as a clump of cells!

Having said that, we will never satisfy the abolutists on each side of this debate. Obama offers moderate rhetoric but clings bitterly to the most radical position on the left. George Bush spoke soothingly to the so-cons but never did much with that whole culture of life thing other than throw a few taxpayer dollars into abstinence promotion.

Clearly, the country would largely be OK with abortion with restrictions based on the culture of each state. Massachusetts would be different than Mississippi. Democracy in action, baby.

The problem is that the Supremes froze the debate in amber with an incredibly awful decision in 1972, and now we are tied up with the notion of stare decisis, which freezes these abominations forever.

And we are left with the abolutists yelling at each other across the widening chasm.

johnboy on May 22, 2009 at 9:40 PM

The inability to call evil evil is the measure of a society that has no moral code.

“Nuances” designed to avoid offending people who engage in immoral acts is just a lesser form of the above flaw in a society.

Sackett on May 22, 2009 at 10:39 PM

You cannot successfully legislate morality…

I call B.S. Every law is an attempt to “legislate morality” and to think otherwise is disingeneous at best and dissembling at worst.

Shall we take a fairly innocuous example? How about laws against speeding?

Why is speeding against the law? Because it’s dangerous. But it’s your body – why not allow you to take the risk if you choose (again, using that word ‘choice’)?

Well, because you have a good chance of harming or killing someone else in the process. Agree that preventing that is a good goal? I’m sure you do.

Now for the $64k question… why is preventing you from harming someone else a desirable goal? Could it be that we share a “value system” – a morality, if you will – that innocent human life is valuable and should be protected from the reckless acts of others? Bet it is.

OK, so, when we get to that point, we have agreed that our laws against speeding by definition an attempt to legislate morality.

Well, you might ask, why is your morality the one which should control? What makes yours ‘right’? Why can’t each of us choose (there’s that pesky word again) whether we wish to drive at a reckless speed or not? After all, it’s my car, isn’t it? Don’t I have a right to do what I want with my own car?

To which I answer, well, yeah – you can certanly choose to ignore traffic laws. Your choice, to be sure. But don’t expect to use that line of reasoning with a judge – unless you’re prepared to face the consequences. In other words, just because you can choose to disobey a law – which, as we’ve seen is the semantic equivilent of acting immorally, because the law itself is based on morality – does not make the act moral in and of itself.

The application to the case of abortion being “a woman’s choice of what to do with her own body” I leave as an excercise for the reader…

psrch on May 22, 2009 at 11:34 PM

Love the Catholic Vote ad. Those guys are good!

Christian Conservative on May 23, 2009 at 2:31 AM

All of the above arguing is exactly why abortion should not be legislated on. The fact that society has to argue about the value of life tells the whole story.

The point was made, however those that truly understand individual rights and personal responsibility as well as value life will understand the issue completely without coloring it with religion. Society in general is a very long way from coming to a consensus like that.

Lastly, to certain dummies out there….
When the phrase “legislate morality” is used, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make stupid laws all day long. What it means is that you cannot force morality into a person’s mind, soul, and being by simply passing a law. One would hope that eventually in an evolved, intelligent, moral society, a person would be responsible enough to never put themselves in a position where aborting a fetus would be an option, and then, an option that is so repugnant that it would be rejected before it was even considered. No LAW will ever do that for society.

I don’t think any of us will live long enough to see that though.

Spiritk9 on May 23, 2009 at 11:21 AM

American Power tracked-back with, “Open Your Hearts and Minds to Abortion!”:


Donald Douglas on May 23, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Of course it’s not their goal. they make tons of money from abortions.

TTheoLogan on May 23, 2009 at 2:47 PM

My immediate response:

“Ma’am, you just said that you wish to reduce the need for abortions, but not abortions themselves, correct? As such, you are saying that your plan is to have abortions that are not needed.

Say that 1000 abortions are needed per day/week/month/whatever. You wish to reduce the ‘need’ for those abortions. Let’s say that you are successful, and the ‘need’ drops to, say, 800 abortions per whatever. However, since your _stated plan is to not reduce abortions_, you would still have 1000 abortions performed per time interval.

This means that, in this situation, you are clearly performing unneeded abortions. Since this is not rational, I can conclude one of three things.

1) Your policy are irrational.
2) You actually wish to reduce abortions, but do not wish to say so.
3) You do not wish to reduce abortions, which means you do not wish to reduce the need for them.

Which is it?”

Scott H on May 23, 2009 at 7:23 PM

Very good point, if a person has a right to do anything they want to with their body, why is there not a Constitutional right to prostitution? Prostitution should be a valid contractual right. If abortion is a Constitutional right, abortion should be allowed as in Sweden to select for gender. Its only a clump of cells, and I want a girl/boy/blue eyes/green eyes/left handed/right handed, etc. should be a valid exercise of Constitutional rights.

If abortion is a right, why should this right be limited? If Barak believes sex is “sacred” or an act blessed by God, it follows from this reasoning that abortion is likewise a sacred right. Why in Obama’s thinking should we reduce the number of abortions. I understand why we should seek to reduce the number of traffic violations or tax cheats, but why should we seek to reduce the number of abortions if abortion is a right?

Will the voters EVER recognize Obama’s double speak on this issue?

Angry Dumbo on May 23, 2009 at 11:45 PM

I attended Mass this Sunday morning as I do every week. I was expecting the usual homily but this week was markedly different. Our celebrant gave a most erudite and moving homilies re. Obama, Notre Dame and abortion “ripping them both a new one” (my words). I would do it an injustice to try and summarise. It was a prepared written homily so hopefully it will be printed for others. When he finished there was silence, followed by a standing ovation. A rarity at a Catholic Mass.
Of course this will never be reported but I thought you might like to know. Maybe the gloves have come off.

diogenes on May 24, 2009 at 4:36 PM

diogenes on May 24, 2009 at 4:36 PM

One can only hope. The recent statements by the Pope calling pro-lifers “religious extremists” is hardly encouraging.

chunderroad on May 25, 2009 at 10:38 AM