Democrats for dead babies
By Michael Bates
Look at our presidential candidates, brag Democrats. Such diversity, such pluralism, such variety. We have a woman and a black running. Heck, there's even a white male tossed in the mix just for fun. Indeed, Democrats perceive a veritable embarrassment of riches.
What they don't have is a contender who's even moderately pro-life. Every one of them ardently supports abortion rights.
Hillary Clinton has pledged her resolve to "keeping abortion safe, legal and rare," a popular Democratic mantra that begs the question of, if there's nothing wrong with abortion, why do they want it to be rare? Barack Obama has avowed: "I have consistently advocated for reproductive choice and will make preserving women's rights under Roe v. Wade a priority as President."
John Edwards boasts of his 100 percent voting record with the National Abortion Rights Action League and has a past NARAL president advising his campaign. Bill Richardson pledges that "when I'm president" he'll fight for a woman's right to choose (death).
Given all this diversity, it was unforeseen, at least to me, that Mrs. Clinton would put down her Kleenex long enough to assail Mr. Obama for being insufficiently pro-abortion. A mailing to New Hampshire Democrats warns them that as a state senator Obama voted an ambiguous "present" on a number of abortion bills.
Seven times, the flyer noted, Obama had a chance to "stand up against Republican anti-choice legislation." Each time, he weaseled out according to Hillary.
The Illinois senator responded with a statement of support from the Chicago chapter of the National Organization for Women assuring abortion enthusiasts of Barry's support.
As reported last month in the New York Times, that robust profile in courage Obama voted present nearly 130 times in his two terms in the state senate. He explains those votes were part of a strategy to provide political cover for other Democrats. They voted present so that a straight yes or no couldn't be used against them by opponents.
That's a plausible justification, and perhaps even holds a grain of truth. But then, how does Obama explain the instances in which he was the only member, or close to only member, voting "present"? Cover was provided, alright, but for a guy who, as Hillary's campaign has revealed, shared with his kindergarten teacher his presidential ambitions at a tender age.
At any rate, Ms. Clinton is flat out wrong in accusing Barack Obama of not hewing to the abortion rights line. An Associated Press story on the mailing details why:
"During his eight years in the legislature, Obama cast a number of votes on abortion and received a 100 percent rating from the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council for his support of abortion rights, family planning services and health insurance coverage for female contraceptives. He voted against requiring medical care for aborted fetuses who survive, a vote that especially riled abortion opponents."
It's too much to expect the mainstream media to describe "aborted fetuses who survive" as what they truly are: babies. The reluctance to write clearly on the subject is also obvious in news articles that awkwardly reference "a procedure opponents call partial-birth abortion." What, you ask, do supporters of the procedure call it?
State senator Obama voted in 2002 against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. The legislation was part of a package that defined a "born alive" infant, including those born after a botched abortion, and required doctors to evaluate and provide medical care to them.
The need for this protection was underscored by a nurse at a Chicago area hospital who had seen a baby born alive and then set aside to die. Infanticide is the accurate word for that, but it might offend an important Democratic special interest group.
Barack Obama didn't cravenly opt to be merely "present" when it came to infant protection. He went for the Democratic gold and straightforwardly voted no.
Over the past two decades, the party has wholeheartedly embraced the abortion agenda. Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Al Gore, Dick Durbin and other Democrats at one time claimed they were pro-life. Now it's easier to find a soft drink in Teddy Kennedy's refrigerator than to unearth a leading Democrat willing to admit opposition to abortion. They'd be pariahs.
And so Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama go after each other over who's more pro-abortion. Democrats may view their candidates as an embarrassment of riches. To me, they're just embarrassments.
This Michael Bates column appeared in the January 10, 2008 Reporter Newsspapers.