Blackadder’s Lair

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Democrats Move Left on Abortion

After a week in which the Democrats have been renegotiating their abortion platform, Mr. Obama was supposed to provide a voice of clarity, and above all moderation, for the party. His middle-of-the-road views were supposed to appeal to independent-minded Catholics and evangelicals who agreed with Democrats on some issues, but couldn’t pull the lever for him if he was too radical on abortion.

It didn’t work out that way. Add Mr. Obama’s recent admission that during his time in the Illinois legislature he voted against a law protecting babies who survive an abortion procedure, and it seems as if the Democrats have accomplished the impossible: They have moved to the left on abortion.

On the party’s platform, the Democrats dropped the words “safe, legal and rare,” the phrase used most famously by both Bill and Hillary Clinton to signal moderation on the issue. The Democrats also added the modifier “unequivocally” to strengthen their support for abortion rights. As if there were any doubt about the message that these changes send to the party’s radical factions, here is feminist Linda Hirshman celebrating in a piece for Slate: “With the release of the new platform, the emancipation of women may once again become a legitimate political position.”

Some conservative Democrats and a few leaders on the religious left have cited other shifts, such as the inclusion of access to “family planning services” and “age-appropriate sex education” in the platform, as evidence that the party is softening its stance. But phrases like “sex education” and “family planning,” especially when uttered by government officials, rarely warm the hearts of conservative, religious Americans.

If Democrats had wanted to “make room” for pro-lifers, they could have. One proposal for the platform was a statement of “conscience” — that is, language noting that people of good conscience can disagree on abortion. This was rejected by the platform writers.

More.

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August 20, 2008 - Posted by | Abortion, Election, Politics

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