Election 2012

Is Obama an Abortion Absolutist? And Why Are We Talking About Abortion Again?


Hat tip: Instapundit.

Over at the Washingtion Examiner, Tim Carney writes that when it comes to abortion, President Barack Obama—and not Mitt Romney—is the true extremist.

Obama is an abortion absolutist. He opposes all restriction on abortion. The only red line he had in the 2010 government shutdown debate was federal funding for the nation's leading abortion provider Planned Parenthood. Tax cuts for the rich, domestic spending cuts—all those things he could accept. Reduced subsidies to the abortion lobby—that, he could not abide….

All of this puts Obama firmly outside the mainstream. In the latest Gallup polls, 71 percent favor laws requiring parental consent before a child gets an abortion. Obama opposes even parental notification. Only 26 percent of Americans think abortion should be legal under all circumstances. Obama thinks it should be legal and subsidized under all circumstances.

Carney notes that even many liberal legal theorists (he quotes once-perennial potential SCOTUS nominee Laurence Tribe) argue that Roe v. Wade is bad law (and that overturning it wouldn't mean the abortion rights would disappear). And Carney, who is very much against abortion adds

Obama's abortion absolutism doesn't come from a deep respect for individual liberty: He's a war-on-drugs stalwart who forces people to buy private health insurance and undergo intrusive scans or pat-downs at the airport. There's something else going on here.

Read the whole thing.

As I noted last week, around 77 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be legal under some circumstances, with only 20 percent saying it should be illegal always (the figures are from Gallup). And only 17 percent of voters insist that candidates share their views on abortion (about the same number of pro-lifers and pro-choicers feel that way).

Kathleen Parker had a great column in yesterday's Wash Post, where she noted that whatever else you can say about abortion and contraceptives, these are not front-burner elections but rather "the same old culture war" issues that are used to ply dedicated partisans and to spray fog over more central concerns. Interestingly (and accurately), she notes that it was Obama who injected these themes into the campaign by shoving contraceptives down the throats of folks (cough) via his health-care reform:

Obama reasoned correctly that he had the majority with him, especially among women and youth, for many of whom these debates seem antiquated to not-applicable. Hence, a new Obama ad by the creator and star of HBO's "Girls," Lena Dunham, in which she compares voting for the first time (for a man who understands women) to, you know, "doing it" for the first time. It's .?.?. what it is: a message to young women that losing one's virginity is top of the bucket list, but first you gotta vote for the president who will give you free contraception.

The same ol' culture wars. But, of course, women have had access to birth control for decades, and no one is trying to take it away. Anyone who suggests otherwise may have been spending too much time with Big Bird.

Read her piece here. 

And then read Morris P. Fiorina's work on the falsity of a radically divided America, which is showcased most thoroughly in his book Culture War? (check out the 3rd edition, updated in 2010).

And then…check the weather. And then…read about the various candidates' plans for the economy, foreign policy, and more before voting (or choosing not to vote).

NEXT: Sandy Hits FTSE 100

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  1. I’m pretty sure you can abort your fetus with nuclear arms.

    1. You can certainly kill your child with Obama’s drones.

      1. Or those unmanned airplane thingies…

  2. I have a theory about why this is such an enduring topic: It’s the Rubick’s Cube of culture issues; it’s always two or three steps away from being completely solved.

    1. 18 steps for the Rubik’s Cube.

      Unless you are aiming to cause a singularity which merges all 52 universes together and pisses off all the Monitors.

  3. why are we talking about abortion? Because when you cannot run on your record, you turn to whatever scares people about the other guy. When folks like Akin and Muordock say foolish things, you talk about wars on women and all the rest because you count on emotionalism to trump reason.

    1. Because when you cannot run on your record, you turn to whatever scares people about the other guy.

      I didn’t know I thought that until I read it.

    2. Yep. That’s pretty much all you get these days. I think that it is largely a combination of two factors. First is that they have similar positions on lots of things and second is that where they do differ, they are too afraid of scaring off the center. It’s a lot easier just to trash the other guy when all you are selling is shit.

    3. When a candidate runs on being Pro Choice or Pro Life, I know that there’s no good reason to vote for him/her.

  4. Obama opposes even parental notification.

    $1000 says he think minors shouldn’t be able to get tattoos, probably even with parental consent.

    1. Well of course the government should be able to stop that. That’s putting things in your body. Abortion is about taking them out. Duh.

    2. Well, I mean tattoos are permanent. You can always get pregnant again.

      1. A.Not necessarily.

        B. Not with the same fetus/baby/kid.

        1. But we aborted that dirty unwanted one.

        2. kid

          I fully support abortion if the woman is impregnated by a goat.

          Huh, I guess I fall into the 77%.

    3. Not true, Evening Elvish Hairstripe. How else are children supposed to marked and tagged?

      By smartphone or something like that? Ridiculous! Some sub-dermal microchip thingy? Ha! Retinal scan? Like you can get those squirmy kiddos to sit still! And certainly can’t rely on idiot parents to monitor their minors as they see fit. No sir!

      Clearly, they must be tattooed. No one said that they get a choice of what and where.

    4. Ditto, indoor tanning. And don’t get me started on alcohol. Why is this one issue so different from other areas where parents are supposed to be involved and exert influence/control?

      1. I think that there is one important difference with abortion. The decision to have an abortion or not will affect the young woman well into her adulthood (particularly if she wants the abortion and the parents are opposed) in ways far more significant than a tattoo.

        1. No, too rational. Abortion is a sacrament for the left (and a BIG moneymaker) for Obama.

        2. That totally depends on the tattoo.

          1. Yes, I suppose that gang tattoos on the neck and face would severely limit options later in life.

      2. The outcome makes it different. People always act like the question is abortion or no abortion. Wrong, the question is abortion or MOTHERHOOD. The same young girl who is not competent to make her own decision about a legal medical procedure will, nine months later, become a mother. Then she will be (in some states) emancipated and in charge of making those same decisions for herself AND another human being. How does that make sense?

  5. Obama may be an absolutist, but Nick is a flip-flopper. First he’s banging out some top notch alt-text, now he’s skipping it.

    1. Does a picture need alt-text when it has actual text?

      1. No qualifiers. Pictures need alt-text.

  6. It’s not as if Obama can run on his stellar economic performance.

    At least now we can stop hearing about how the Republicans are tricking the poor deluded Kansans and rednecks into voting based on abortion. Who am I kidding, that narrative will be back in place as soon as it’s convenient.

    1. Remember that narrative – tricking working-class people into voting “against their own interests” by voting Republican?

      Because we all know how much it’s in their interest to support another Obama term.

      1. You know what I find funny?

        The whole “voting against their own interests” argument is extremely short term thinking, which is exactly what progressives always whine about corporations doing.

        1. The “voting against their own interest” thing is just another way of saying “vote won’t stay bought”.

      2. I hate that. As if ordinary working people are not allowed to have principles. I like to ask people who trot that out whether they also recommend rich people vote republican since that would be in their self interest. But it seems like rich people are supposed to have principles (good progressive ones, of course) and poor people are just supposed to grab whatever they can.

        1. It’s not actually in their interest if you consider the fact that dependence on aid hinders freedom.

          People’s lifestyle tends to expand to the limit of their resources. If your resources are something that is contengent on a particular group of people being in power, then you have to keep voting for those people. And then you become a single-issue voter and you have to accept the conditions that come with the assistance. And everything else that goes along with the party.

          Voting against a handout isn’t necessarily against your self-interest. It’s actually shrewd to refuse to become dependent on the person who is trying to buy your vote.

          1. Oh, I understand that. But even if you take the “voting against their interest” thing at face value, it is pretty obnoxious and insulting.

            1. In leftist’s minds, when we don’t vote they way they think we should, or do anything else the way they think we should, it is just further proof of our lack of agency.

              We’re different from them in that we are almost mindless automatons controlled by corporations and right wing talking heads and ads that force us to eat at bad, bad fast food joints or shop at Walmart. Either that or we’re just plain racist. That’s why I find their adolation of Obama so deliciously ironic – yeah, we’re the irrational ones.

  7. This election is a win-win for me.

    If Obama wins, we get another four years of failure, and conservatives are more energized and anti-government for the 2016 elections.

    If Romney wins, the liberal butthurt will be immense, and Obama will go down in history as the inept progressive failure that he is.

    1. If Romney wins, the liberal butthurt will be immense, and Obama will go down in history as the martyred progressive saint that they’ll think he is.

      There were we go. Much more accurate now.

  8. Sometimes dude you just have to roll with it.


    1. Sometimes dude you just have to troll with it.

  9. Bah, that’s not an abortion absolutist. He hasn’t even joined the VHE movement yet!

  10. Of course, you could use the same stats for “77% percent of people favor abortion in some circumstances” to make the argument that “73% of people favor at least some restriction on abortion”. Which is probably why it’s not a determining issue for most voters – if you are somewhere in the chewy noughat center, you aren’t that far away from someone on either extreme.

  11. I think Obama’s “pro-choice” because he doesn’t think he has the votes to make abortions mandatory.

  12. I think if you apply the scientific definition of life to a fetus, you find that it is alive. Scientifically. Last time I checked, we have certain rights upon becoming alive. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In that order, also.

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