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.