I know, the Doug Kmiec posts are getting redundant, but he fascinates me as the clearest example among the Obamicans of someone who’s personally captivated by Obama (“Lightworker!”) but intellectually unable to justify voting for him on that basis. The solution: Self-persuasion through argumentation that the most liberal member of the senate is somehow the more responsible choice this year for a conscientious pro-life voter. Read his latest essay and tell me if you don’t have the distinct sense that he’s trying to convince himself of what he’s saying more so than the reader. Here’s my favorite part, which builds on a point he made last month about how Obama and McCain really aren’t all that different on abortion since neither one wants to amend the Constitution to ban it:
Senator Obama’s position accepts the existing legal regime which leaves the abortion decision with the mother — which is all right so long as the mother is persuaded to choose life. Senator McCain’s position would leave the decision with the individual states — which is all right so long as the individual states prohibit abortion.
Since we are assured of neither, neither position is fully pro-life.
In truth, both positions are pro-choice, with the former focused on the individual and the latter focused on the state. Senator McCain’s position is sometimes described as pro-life, but it is more pro-federalism (states being free under the McCain position to decide to permit or disallow abortion as they see fit).
From a standpoint of subsidiarity and prudence, one can make an argument that the Obama position is preferable since it does not arrogate to a higher level that which can be done more effectively below in direct relationship with the mother.
See what he’s doing here? The only way he can justify his vote for Obama on this point is to set up a false dichotomy: With Obama you get legal abortion but determined efforts to talk women out of it and with McCain you get abortion banned in some states … and no effort whatsoever to talk women out of it. It all nets out! Except of course it doesn’t: He has no reason to think McCain would be any less diligent than Obama would in setting up outreach programs to discourage pregnant women from aborting. On the contrary, given how passionate Obama’s base is about this subject, he has every reason to believe he’s blowing smoke. I’m mighty curious to hear the specifics of what Senator Hopenchange has in mind by way of getting women to carry to term, just like I’m curious to hear how McCain’s continuation of “an unjustified war” to try to keep the peace in Iraq would be worse for the culture of life than a pullout that might lead to ethnic cleansing. Which reminds me: Has Kmiec heard yet about the “tactical readjustments”?
Exit comparison. From the essay:
Those who are pro-abortion, as I see it, are those who advocate the practice as a matter of fundamental right or as part of a radical, often feminist, agenda that takes no account of the moral weight or significance of unborn life.
And from the NARAL website:
Sen. Obama is fully pro-choice. In his own words:
“A woman’s ability to decide how many children to have and when, without interference from the government, is one of the most fundamental rights we possess. It is not just an issue of choice, but equality and opportunity for all women.