Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sen. Obama's Reason For Banning Abortion


Photo by annia316.


Just found out that Sen. Obama would seek to ban abortion because abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all…

Inspired by Sen. Obama's inclusiveness, star quality, progressiveness, emanation of hope and change, not to mention his impeccable grasp of the reality that banning a perfectly safe and effective medical procedure is justified because it violates some nebulous universal principle, I think I might just sit out the upcoming presidential election.

ETA:

Heh, I should've known. From the Obama site (via; emphasis in the original comment):

So let's rededicate ourselves to a new kind of politics - a politics of conscience. Let's come together - Protestant and Catholic, Muslim and Hindu and Jew, believer and non-believer alike. We're not going to agree on everything, but we can disagree without being disagreeable. We can affirm our faith without endangering the separation of church and state, as long as we understand that when we're in the public square, we have to speak in universal terms that everyone can understand. And if we can do that - if we can embrace a common destiny - then I believe we'll not just help bring about a more hopeful day in America, we'll not just be caring for our own souls, we'll be doing God's work here on Earth.



(via)

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20 Comments:

At 5:59 PM, Blogger Anne Hanna said...

I'm not a regular reader, but I was pointed to this post by a friend. I'm extremely concerned by your assertion that Barack Obama is anti-choice, especially since everything else I've heard about him (for example, this) indicates that he's strongly pro-choice. If what you say is true, it would definitely affect my support of him, so I'd like to read more about it. Can you provide a link to your source for this?

 
At 6:03 PM, Blogger Anne Hanna said...

Oh, just reread that article and saw the quote you were referring to, having missed it the first time through. Given his record, I suspect he's speaking hypothetically...

 
At 6:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure. From your link, I think he may have been speaking hypothetically. Read this article, which quotes Obama at length in response to an abortion question.

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/06/obama-explores-abortion-issue/

"A lot of people have arrived in the view that I’ve arrived at, which is that there is a moral implication to these issues, but that the women involved are in the best position to make that determination."

Read the whole response. It doesn't come across like a 'ban all abortions' position at all. Quite the contrary - safe, legal, rare.

 
At 4:09 AM, Blogger ema said...

Anne Hanna,

Thank you for stopping by and reading.

I don't think he's speaking hypothetically.

Look at the context. He says he's against female patients receiving proper medical care because of a personal religious belief. Followed immediately by the "abortion violates some principle" bit. In other words, that abortion needs to be banned is a given. The question is how would he, Sen. Obama, go about doing that.

Anon @6:29 PM,

The link doesn't work, but to comment on just the quote you included.

Either the women involved are in the best position to make that determination or abortion violates some universal principle [and thus needs to be banned].

 
At 10:34 PM, Blogger lyrl said...

Obama has a very strong pro-choice voting record in Illinois. One discussion can be found here.

The quote "I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice..." is absolutely hypothetical.

I don't demand an atheist for President, and the second quote in your post does nothing to prove anything other than Obama is not an atheist or a maltheist. I just believe I deserve someone who respects my right to be agnostic, which Obama does admirably.

 
At 6:03 AM, Blogger ema said...

lyrl,

Thank you for the link. I didn't find the post too helpful, but I did find some interesting nuggets in the comments.

Because I'm not familiar with that site and its commenters I don't have a good handle on how accurate the information is, so I'll take it with a grain of salt.

With that proviso, someone who, like Sen. Obama, does not see himself as supportive of abortion, and who would support federal legislation to restrict abortion, is not someone I'd consider a very strong pro-choice person.

The quote...is absolutely hypothetical.

I disagree and I stated my reasons why.

I don't demand an atheist for President, and the second quote in your post does nothing to prove anything other than Obama is not an atheist or a maltheist.

You missed the point of the quote. It wasn't meant to prove that he's not an atheist. What the quote does show is that Sen. Obama pays lip service to inclusiveness but has no intention of actually being inclusive. [And after 8 years of a president who believes he governs by divine guidance, having more of the same is dubious, to say the least.]

I just believe I deserve someone who respects my right to be agnostic, which Obama does admirably.

Sure, as long as you get with the program of doing God's work here on Earth.

 
At 8:00 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

I actually read that quote as his saying that he will not try to pass laws based purely on religious ideology.

 
At 7:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the person who posted that Obama is anti-choice seriously misunderstood Senator Obama's comment and this angers me. Not only is he clearly speaking hypothetically (contrasting himself to Huckabee's stauch evangelical Christian stance on all matters), the writer in the article that is referenced identifies Obama's position as 180 degrees (as in the opposite) apart from Huckabee. We all know Huckabee would take away any rights from the American people that his religion dictates. I would support anyone with a platform 180 degrees from that of Huckabee's.

The person who posted that Obama is anti-choice needs to re-read it the quote that she is referring to, several times if necessary. Furthermore, Obama's official pro-choice stance and pro-choice voting history in Illinois confirms his stance.

 
At 10:13 PM, Blogger ema said...

Rachel,

I read it as him saying that banning abortion is not the issue (it's a given), rather how one goes about it--appeal to a nebulous universal principle vs. personal religious belief--is.

Anon @7:29 PM,

We all know Huckabee would take away any rights from the American people that his religion dictates.

And, based on his religion, Sen. Obama says he wants to be doing God's work here on Earth.

In any case, I don't think it's appropriate to use Huckabee as a metric (talk about setting the bar low). Sen. Obama is in a different class and, in my opinion, it's best to judge him based on his own actions and statements.

 
At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Stacey said...

Here are a few of Obama's statements, then (emphases mine):

"You know, I think that most Americans recognize that this is a profoundly difficult issue for the women and families who make these decisions. They don't make them casually. And I trust women to make these decisions in conjunction with their doctors and their families and their clergy."


[Transcript from Democratic Presidential Debate in South Carolina, MSNBC, April 26, 2007.]


"I explained my belief that few women made the decision to terminate a pregnancy casually; that any pregnant woman felt the full force of the moral issues involved and wrestled with her conscience when making that decision; that I feared a ban on abortion would force women to seek unsafe abortions, as they had once done in this country."

[The Audacity of Hope, pp.197-8.]

"I strongly disagree with today's Supreme Court ruling, which dramatically departs from previous precedents safeguarding the health of pregnant women. As Justice Ginsburg emphasized in her dissenting opinion, this ruling signals an alarming willingness on the part of the conservative majority to disregard its prior rulings respecting a woman's medical concerns and the very personal decisions between a doctor and patient. I am extremely concerned that this ruling will embolden state legislatures to enact further measures to restrict a woman's right to choose, and that the conservative Supreme Court justices will look for other opportunities to erode Roe v. Wade, which is established federal law and a matter of equal rights for women."

[Statement from Sen. Obama on Supreme Court Decision upholding Federal Abortion Ban.]

Senator Obama is a Christian. I am not. He makes ample room for both of us and his statements above appear as pro-choice as it gets: it's women who choose. Period. To imply that Obama would seek to ban abortion for any reason at all seems to me to be taking an argument to an absurd conclusion, given Obama's statements.

As a friend of mine who also supports Obama and works in one of our state's handful of abortion clinics said, what does he have to do to prove himself? Actually perform an abortion?

 
At 5:41 PM, Blogger ema said...

Stacey,

Thank you for the links.

 
At 11:18 PM, Blogger Lesley Plum said...

Obama has a 100% NARAL rating. He does not seek to ban abortion at all. In the context of his other statements about abortion, I think he was (a) speaking hypothetically and (b) specifically saying he would NOT seek to ban abortion on religious grounds. I think to him, the given is that abortion should remain legal and was explaining his rationale.

 
At 2:27 AM, Blogger ema said...

Lesley Plum,

Welcome!

Point (b) is what I have a problem with. It's clear he's saying that he wouldn't [or, if we assume he's speaking hypothetically, that one shouldn't] ban abortion on religious grounds, but not because banning abortion is wrong, but rather because using religion as a justification isn't the proper way to go about it.

 
At 5:34 PM, Anonymous matt weiner said...

It seems to me that what Obama is invoking here is basically John Rawls's idea of public reason: that, in a pluralist society in which people disagree about fundamental metaphysical and moral values, we ought to argue on grounds that are accessible to all.

To quote Rawls:

Faced with the fact of reasonable pluralism, and granted that, on matters of constitutional essentials, basic institutions and public policies should be justifiable to all citizens (as the liberal principle of legitimacy requires), we allow the parties the general beliefs and forms of reasoning found in common sense, and the methods and conclusions of science, when not controversial.... This excludes comprehensive religious and philosophical doctrines... from being specified as public reasons. If we are to speak of public reason, the knowledge and ways of reasoning — the plain truths now common and available to citizens generally — that ground the parties’ selection of the principles of justice must be accessible to citizens’ common reason.

So someone can't just cite their own religion as a basis for what you want the government to do (even if it's ultimately why they want to do it), they have to find an argument that can appeal who don't share their religion.

And if they can't find an argument that appeals to everyone, then they shouldn't try to get the government to follow their policy.

I think that last bit is what's important here; Obama doesn't think that banning abortion can be justified on grounds that are acceptable to everyone. Otherwise he wouldn't have the voting record Lesley talked about. He's saying that banning abortion is just an attempt by other people to force their religion on the rest of us, and that that's wrong.

 
At 10:25 PM, Anonymous Ketzirah Carly said...

What a horrifically irresponsible post. Obama's comment was taken completely out of context and interpreted to whatever end you wanted.

The point he was making is that you can't, as president, try to ban abortion based on your religious values. You must find a reason beyond that.

His record for choice is clear. You have your own agenda which clearly doesn't involve him as president.

 
At 4:25 AM, Blogger ema said...

Matt Weiner,

Interesting analysis; here's where we disagree. Sen. Obama could've made it clear that he doesn't think that banning abortion can be justified on grounds that are acceptable to everyone simply by saying so. Instead, he said the exact opposite and reduced us to looking at tea leaves (his past voting record) to infer the "true" meaning of his statement.

Ketzirah Carly,

What a horrifically irresponsible post.

I don't think the word [irresponsible] means what you think it does.

The point he was making is that you can't, as president, try to ban abortion based on your religious values. You must find a reason beyond that.

Exactly! And the point he should have been making is that, as president, you shouldn't try to ban abortion.

You have your own agenda which clearly doesn't involve him as president.

My only agenda is to keep politicians, of any party, from playing Ob/Gyn.

 
At 7:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to rain on the Obama parade, but he is not all that different than G.W. Bush.

Both men are deeply religious, and both are fairly outspoken about it. It is troubling, that in the 21st century, an advanced industrial country would even consider choosing a leader, who is guided by a mythical being up in the sky. By definition, if such believes are sincere, religion, with its promise of ETERNAL salvation/damnation, would ultimately trump any "temporal" considerations, such as the Constitution.

Both men are big spenders: Bush has increased non-military government spending to levels unmatched since the Great Society, and Obama promises to outdo him.

Finally, both have a preacher's knack for making generally meaningless statements, with strong emotional appeal.

 
At 8:30 PM, Anonymous Blume said...

Sen. Obama could've made it clear that he doesn't think that banning abortion can be justified on grounds that are acceptable to everyone simply by saying so.

But this is exactly what he is saying. You clearly do not understand his use of the subjunctive mood.

I can't state it any more clearly than Matt Weiner did, but I add my voice to ketzirah carly in saying: what a horrifically irresponsible post.

 
At 1:58 AM, Anonymous M.J. said...

Ditto what Blume said. You're clearly not understanding his use of the subjunctive mood.

Subjunctive (adj.): of, relating to, or constituting a verb ... that represents a denoted act or state not as fact but as a contingent

In this case, the statements you're calling into question are contingent upon clauses that begin with "may be" and "if" to denote their hypothetical nature.

Anyway, I'm disturbed by this irresponsible, implausible interpretation of Senator Obama's statements.

I'm dismayed, as well, that the second Anonymous commenter chose this as a forum to discuss the similarities between Bush and Obama. Pretty much every similarity between the two cited by Anonymous is a similarity shared by most politicians seeking to get elected in the current cycle.

 
At 4:55 AM, Blogger ema said...

m.j. (and Blume),

When Sen. Obama says I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons... he's not saying "If I were a person who, because of religious reasons, opposes abortion [hypothetical]....". He's saying "Although I am person who opposes abortion because of religious reasons [statement of fact]...."

As to the implausibility of my interpretation, hmm, let's see. Sen. Obama already thinks that the American people ...believe that women should have some control over their bodies and themselves.... (emphasis mine) And who better than the government/politicians to dictate the exact degree of control women may be permitted to have over their bodies and themselves?

 

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