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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
deminmo
just looking for answers
08:24 PM on 08/19/2008
Obama has two daughters. His view on abortion is not going
to be as easy to articulate. Should he have said, "I can't speak
for God on the issue of when life begins." Or something to that
effect. Should he say, "I'm in favor of the woman making the choice,
not me or the government." Like Pastor Warren said, he was aiming
to throw the canidates off a little to see the real person, not the
politician. For me, even with stammering Obama came off as more
real. Maybe the issue should be, Bush denying federal funds to
hospitals that offer contraception, making some equal to abortion.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
mollysgran
09:25 PM on 08/19/2008
Hey! That is what he meant when he said it was "above his pay grade"! He meant that he did not want to speak for God! And he is right. It should be up to the woman to make the choice. It is between her and her God, Maker, Higher Being -- whatever. This is NOT something that should be politicized!

I am amazed that it is usually men that get all hot under the collar about the subject. If you don't like abortions, then stop having sex. Don't bother me with you hang ups.
12:04 AM on 08/20/2008
Men can't speak for God, but women can?

-boggle-
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
VasuMurti
08:15 PM on 08/19/2008
During the primaries the three leading Democratic presidential candidates were pro-death penalty. Democrats in Congress have repeatedly gone along with Bush on Iraq and granted telecommunication companies immunity for warrantless surveillance. And the Democratic Party has repeatedly shown that it is willing to drop issues like capital punishment, same-sex marriage, and gun control (especially in red states, where they can't win on these issues!) from its agenda. Why can't the Democratic Party (similarly) drop its support for abortion rights from the Party platform?

A Zogby International poll in August 1999 found that the majority of Americans recognize that abortion destroys a new individual human life (52 percent versus 36 percent), oppose partial-birth abortions (56.4 percent versus 32 percent), are opposed to tax-funded partial-birth abortions (71 percent to 23 percent), and think parents should be notified if their minor child seeks an abortion (78 percent).
08:05 PM on 08/19/2008
It will be hard to convince the 30% that believe life begins at conception that the inevitable person is not entitled to the protections enjoyed by all other humans.
BTW only 25-30% of Americans believe in abortion on demand..which Roe allows.
08:25 PM on 08/19/2008
You better go back to school because there is no such thing as 'abortion on demand' any more than there is 'heart surgery on demand' . We do, however, have ignorance on demand courtesy of the people who allow their pastors or right-wing talk radio or the Republican party to interpret the law so they can regurgitate it as a blog comment.
10:02 PM on 08/19/2008
incorrect..see response to Ant. "for any reason a woman chooses" certainly qualifies as on demand. This aspect of the law is fairly common knowledge.
08:34 PM on 08/19/2008
I believe Senator Obama did acknowledge that he would probably never see eye to eye with those single issue voters that rigidly hold to the "begins at conception" stance. I respect him for acknowledging that, rather than even pretending to be able to "convince" them.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Anthrofreak
08:03 PM on 08/19/2008
These so called "low information voters" only understand things in simple, binarily opposed frameworks. Nuance is wasted on them. They are so focused on emotional knee jerk issues like abortion and gay marriage that the mere mention of them is enough to illicit their predictable emotional response. Lets ask those same people to consider supporting sex education, funding for programs like planned parenthood and asking ALL insurance companies to cover birth control.

Their eyes glaze over and they go back to beating their chests and thumping their bibles. They are too stupid to realize that all of the above are likely to reduce unplanned pregnancy and the number of abortions. Women won't need abortions if they don't get pregnant in the first place. It's common sense. They can't think in terms cause, effect and prevention.
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thinklib
I will not mince words.
08:57 PM on 08/19/2008
There are millions of 'low information voters' on both sides.

They respond to 'emotional knee jerk issues' from both sides.

One side 'thumps their bibles' while the other side thumps their copy of Christopher Hitchens' latest book.

One side thinks, for some reason, there isn't enough sex education and that we have to teach our kindergarteners how to put condoms on bananas. The other side thinks there is plenty of sex education already and perhaps we should build up morality and integrity instead.
09:25 PM on 08/19/2008
What you call "emotional, knee jerk issues" are for some people anything but.

There are many, myself included, who are pro-life, 2nd ammendment backers who believe marriage is between a man and a woman that aren't blithering idiots. We have well thought out positions and have carefully considered opposing arguments and reasoning.

Our nation would be a better place if more people could believe that those who disagree with them aren't knuckle draggers just because they disagree.
08:03 PM on 08/19/2008
Great discussion! Wish I had time to read it all. It's rare to see such a range of viewpoints in one place and it really does have an impact. Here's my two cents.

It's past time to reframe this issue with a vengeance. How about this:

"Do you think the government should force women to continue their pregnancies?"

That seems mighty similar to rape.
02:22 PM on 08/21/2008
Or maybe this...

" Do you think the government should allow some people the right to end other peoples' lives?"

That seems might similar to murder.
07:39 PM on 08/19/2008
Senator Obama would be served well by reading the analysis of Drew Westen for how he (Obama) should respond to Republican hot button issues. The Pastor Rick interview, recent McCain attacks, and the media is in a period of tear Obama down (they make money on both ends building a candidate up and then tearing same candidate down, and money of course is what the media is about) raise an important red flag for weakness in the campaign. We do not want to follow the road John Kerry took in '04. Please encourage the Obama campaign to consult Westen.
07:26 PM on 08/19/2008
I find it hard to believe that the only item of importance on the part of evangelicals has to be abortion. If that is true then this nation and all of us have failed, and deserve whatever fate has in store.

People are murdered for no reason all over the world - and the election is said to revolve on when life begins? That kind of thinking is an indication that education at every level of life and school has failed.
HUFFPOST COMMUNITY MODERATOR
luvobama
Hospice volunteer...
07:27 PM on 08/19/2008
Indeed. Sad thing is, those who need to, won't get it.
07:17 PM on 08/19/2008
Hence forth the left should refer to this forum as the "Massacre at Saddleback".
06:57 PM on 08/19/2008
Whatever the answer, it needs to be short so people can understand it and it will sound decisive (unfortunately, many prefer a decisive answer they no is wrong to even a minute of waffling even if it will give the right one).

But I would like to throw in that we need to pull the focus from simply abortion back to regular birth control. Someone in my family gets this pro life propaganda and in it I have seen repeated calls for the criminalization of birth control, including overturning Griswold v. Conn which I believe had more to do with condoms than invasive medical procedures. This cannot stand, those people really ARE the American Taliban and I bet many Saddleback Church members would not count themselves part of THAT movement.

Anti abortion forces have their wedge issues, the forces of light need our own.
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
deminmo
just looking for answers
08:47 PM on 08/19/2008
Bush is trying to outlaw most contraception and calling
it related to abortion. No one wants to support the thousands
of children born without stable homes, nor pay for the health
care, but they are more than willing to dictate private choices
for the rest of us.
10:07 PM on 08/19/2008
Margaret Sanger, who founded Planned Parenthood's predecessor, was also a big fan of eugenics. So was an infamous German dictator.
06:53 PM on 08/19/2008
If Obama's strategists, consultants, pollsters, debate prep people, and managers had not yet developed an effective answer to the most obvious, the most likely, and the most important question, ABORTION -- then why did they allow him to appear for questioning at an evangelical religious forum (Saddleback)?

Is this malpractice or simple incompetence?

Is Drew Westen really right (in his book) about the Democratic consultants lack of professional qualifications especially knowledge of the scientific literature that describes how political persuasion works?

Would the title of Amy Sullivan's 2005 "Washington Monthly" article, 'Fire All the Consultants!' be more effective for the Democratic Party if interpreted literally and not just figuratively?
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HUFFPOST COMMUNITY MODERATOR
slaxx
06:45 PM on 08/19/2008
good blog. i too was very disappointed with obama's answer. he had to know that the question was coming and could've found a better way to express his ideas than saying that it was above his "paygrade."

and i too find it odd how even though most americans and christians are pro-choice, the pro-life candidate can easily and with pride say that life begins at conception, but pro-choice candiate always appear ashamed and fearful fo expressing their opinions on abortion. we have to stop pandering to the far-righties who are actually in the minority in this issue.

i was equally upset with how hesitant obama was to say that churches that get federal funding shouldn't be allowed to discriminate. give me a break. would anyone have any qualms with saying that the KKK can't discriminate if it's using federal funds for its programs? mccain goes on the ellen show and has no problem telling her to her face that gay marriage is wrong, but candidates can't/won't even speak freely about their beliefs with regards to the issues that might offend the religious right, even when these issues don't even effect the right's lives and MOST americans don;t agree with them.
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06:20 PM on 08/19/2008
I agree completely with this article, and only wish that Barack Obama, and all the democrats, would adopt this description of their thoughts (it is so very simple!). They keep missing the boat on this topic, which should not be a political issue, in my opinion. I left the Republican party because of their ever-increasingly religious position on abortion, based on their notions of "faith" and what fit into their narrow view. No one religious group has the right to legislate their views on another, whether that person be of the same faith, a differing faith, those who are unsure of faith, atheists, etc. It's called freedom of religion and freedom from persecution for our differing religious beliefs. Anti-abortionists are, in effect, persecuting others for differing religious beliefs. In the past 8 years, in particular, it's as though this administration is attempting to secure religion in the center of our government, and adopt policies and legislation based upon it.

Our founding fathers decided to separate church and state for a very good reason, and we are seeing the results of Republican attempts to add it back in, blur the line, in all areas. SOMEONE (actually, many people, as a voting block) has to come out and say, in no uncertain terms, that the government, and/or any religious group, does not have the right to make one person, group of people, a nation, live by the religious beliefs it deems the correct ones.
07:58 PM on 08/19/2008
I too left the Republican party years ago in disgust when they sold out to the extreme religious right.
While watching the charade at Rick Warren's church, I found myself wondering how many of those female congregants had themselves had abortions, and never told anyone.
I've met several women over the years who've told me about past abortions, and I'm convinced the only reason they told me was because they knew my current personal disdain for religion, and that I wouldn't judge them one way or the other. None of them expressed any regrets about what was for them, a deeply personal decision that they had to make at a particular time in their lives. These weren't exactly the types of women that would ever go to church and allow themselves to become poster children for guilt, shame and regret either. I wish more such women would speak out publicly, but I also understand why they don't.
06:17 PM on 08/19/2008
In the early 19th century abortion in the United States was legal. Historians of the subject estimate that one in five pregnancies was terminated. No organized church, not even the Roman Catholic Church, opposed it. Advertising of abortifacients and abortion providers was commonplace in newspapers. There was no controversy over late term abortion because a woman faced little difficulty in obtaining an abortion early in a pregnancy. It was generally understood that abortion was acceptable up to the time of what was called the "quickening" of the fetus. Regulation of the procedure varied from jurisdiction to jurisdiction (see http://law.jrank.org/pages/446/Abortion-Abortion-in-American-law-nineteenth-century.html), accelerating with the success of professional physicians organized in the American Medical Association gaining a monopoly on the practice of surgery, inclluding the provision of abortion. From about 1870 until Roe, abortion was illegal. Thanks to this hundred-year-blackout most Americans seem to think that abortion has from Biblical times been regarded as murder and a sin, an error that has muddled straight thinking about the issue.
06:39 PM on 08/19/2008
Also, slavery was legal.

Sometimes, the law gets it wrong.
06:05 PM on 08/19/2008
I have a simple answer to the abortion question. I used it when a co-worker started his pro-life rant.

I understand your feelings on this and I know my feelings, but are either of us qualified to make that decision for any other person? Until you have walked in their shoes, you have no right to make that decision.

Personally, it has always galled me that only men make these decisions for Americans. Not one has ever carried a child, nor will they ever become pregnant.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
wolfgangmo
06:23 PM on 08/19/2008
I would have read the article but it was too nuanced.
06:36 PM on 08/19/2008
Agreed. Until you have walked in that baby's shoes you have no right to make that decision.
My husband and I thank you.
HUFFPOST COMMUNITY MODERATOR
luvobama
Hospice volunteer...
07:26 PM on 08/19/2008
Oh brother. Thank you hall monitor.
08:28 PM on 08/19/2008
Let your husband speak for himself.
05:55 PM on 08/19/2008
The post was as much about messaging in general as it was about abortion.

On a few key themes traditionally viewed as Republican strengths, a simple, non-nuanced message can go right to the gut:

National Security: Republican actions have made our enemies stronger. Worried about what Iran will do next in Iraq? Well, Iran wasn't in Iraq before we invaded. Iran is stronger because we invaded. (Pick your foe and repeat.) Republicans have no business telling anyone how to make America safer.

Taxes: John McCain wants to tax your children. The national debt has grown for $5.7 trillion to $9.6 trillion on this president's watch. Just the interest on the increase is a $2,000 tax increase per family of four for every year your children live. What scum would rather tax your children forever than close loopholes for multi-millionaires and big oil?

Leadership: If McCain is such a leader, why couldn't he lead his party away from the trough of earmarks? Isn't that what leaders do? Elect McCain, get the Republicans.