Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

Here's a simple yes or no question for a politician:

"Do you believe minors should be required to get parental consent -- or at least notify their parents -- before having an abortion."

As a staunchly pro-choice Democrat, the answer to this question is very important to me. I want the answer to be an unequivocal "no," possibly followed by the rationale that brought the politician to that conclusion, but that is not required.

Senator Barack Obama (or a staffer, as he tells it) got the answer right the first time in 1996 in a political survey filled out for the Independent Voters of Illinois -- Independent Precinct Organization, an Illinois voter group from whom he sought an endorsement.

Sadly, he had a quick change of heart (apparently the staffer got some things incorrect) and submitted an amended version (previous link) the very next day. His "no", now had a qualification:

"Depends on how young -- possibly for extremely young teens, i.e., 12- or 13-year-olds."

Okay, so now it's a "no" except under specific circumstances. While it's not the exact answer I'm looking for, I can deal with this - there seems to be some sense in having 12-13 year olds notify their parents.

Personally, I disagree. I believe females this young who become pregnant, are most likely the victims of incest or  rape, or lack the parental involvement to justify the legislation. Further, if a 12-13 year old girl feels she needs an abortion I don't believe anybody, even a parent, has the right to force a girl or woman to maintain a pregnancy. In addition, girls this young are the most likely to have severe complications during pregnancy, which further worries me. Lastly, I'm sure we've all heard of the stories coming out of Costa Rica, Columbia, Bolivia  of young girls molested, impregnated and denied abortions. I just believe that a right to choose is a right to choose, no matter how old you are. But again, while I disagree, I find this answer palatable.

Sadly, Senator Obama also does not claim this answer any longer.

Politico reports the Obama campaign's stance on the answers given in the aforementioned questionnaires:

"Sen. Obama didn't fill out these state Senate questionnaires -- a staffer did -- and there are several answers that didn't reflect his views then or now," Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for Obama's campaign, said in an e-mailed statement. "He may have jotted some notes on the front page of the questionnaire at the meeting, but that doesn't change the fact that some answers didn't reflect his views. His 11 years in public office do."

Okay, so what is the Senator's view on parental notification?

Senator Obama was elected to the state senate with the help of the endorsement from the IVI-IPO garnered by the questionnaires he now disowns. While in the state senate in 2001, he voted "present" on two parental notification abortion bills (HB 1900 and SB 562), leaving us again in the dark about where he stands on this issue.

Now, some, including his campaign, would have us believe that these "present" votes on this issue were something orchestrated by Planned Parenthood in Illinois, and that he just went along with it. What they don't tell you is that it was his idea to have people vote "present" instead of "no."

As reported by ABC News:

Speaking to ABC News as Obama was preparing to join Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and the wife of Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., in addressing Planned Parenthood's national conference in Washington, D.C., Sutherland said Obama approached her in the late 1990s and worked with her and others in crafting the strategy of voting "present." She remembers meeting with Obama outside of the Illinois Senate chambers on the Democratic side of the aisle. She and Obama finished their conversation in his office.

"He came to me and said: 'My members are being attacked. We need to figure out a way to protect members and to protect women,' " said Sutherland in recounting her conversation with Obama. "A 'present' vote was hard to pigeonhole which is exactly what Obama wanted."

"What it did," she continued, "was give cover to moderate Democrats who wanted to vote with us but were afraid to do so" because of how their votes would be used against them electorally. "A 'present' vote would protect them. Your senator voted 'present.' Most of the electorate is not going to know what that means."

While Sutherland was happy to give Obama latitude in voting "present," rather than "no,"she was quick to note that "it's also not a 'yes' vote."

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, some of the specific abortion votes in question include two occasions in 1997 (HB 382 and SB 230) when he voted "present" on bills which would have prohibited a procedure referred to by its critics as "partial-birth abortion."In 2001, he voted "present" on two parental notification abortion bills (HB 1900 and SB 562), and he voted "present" on a series of bills (SB 1093, 1094, 1095) that sought to protect a child if he or she survived a failed abortion.

This troubles me. Pam Sutherland is the president and CEO of the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council, and she articulates exactly what Obama was seeking to do. A 'present' vote protects you. It's like taking a stance without taking a stance - no one can hold you accountable. It's the best of both worlds; tell Dems you voted "present" to defeat the bill, and tell Republicans you voted "present" because you're moderate on the issue, or that you agree with them.

Fast-forward to 2004 during his US Senate bid. In yet another questionnaire for the IVI-IPO, he gave an even more evasive answer to the same question:

"I would oppose any legislation that does not include a bypass provision for minors who have been victims of, or have reason to fear, physical or sexual abuse," he wrote.

This is where I begin to have deep reservations and questions about Senator Obama's view on this issue. His answer here is not a yes or a no - this is a stipulation. It means he would vote "yes" to require minors to notify parents if it had the bypass provision.  So, he's okay with forcing young girls to remain pregnant, as long as they have not been victims of abuse.  A couple of questions Senator Obama, 1) Just how do we determine who has been a victim and who hasn't - a trial, personal testimony (how is this enforceable)? 2) Why are you now in support of requiring minors to notify parents when you were previously against it? 3) Are we to take your previous "present" votes on this issue as a "no" vote?

I will probably never get answers to those questions being that just last year, he changed his answer again, this time in a questionnaire for a nonpartisan reproductive health group.

Q: Does Sen. Obama believe adolescents should have the right to choose abortion, or should they be required to seek their parents' consent? Why or why not? Are there any circumstances that might make a compelling case for waiving the parental consent requirement?

A: As a parent, Obama believes that young women, if they become pregnant, should talk to their parents before considering an abortion. But he realizes not all girls can turn to their mother or father in times of trouble, and in those instances, we should want these girls to seek the advice of trusted adults - an aunt, a grandmother, a pastor.

Unfortunately, instead of encouraging pregnant teens to seek the advice of adults, most parental consent bills that come before Congress or state legislatures criminalize adults who attempt to help a young woman in need and lack judicial bypass and other provisions that would permit exceptions in compelling cases.

This answer is very vague and noncommittal and seems to lean toward "yes" more than "no."

Senator Obama argues the way it is currently being handled is inappropriate, yet, he does not offer a new solution or policy approach (this seems to be his standard way of "answering" questions).

It seems as though he is advocating young girls should be required to notify their parents, but if for some reason they can't, they should notify other family members or pastors. What is not clear is if the minors need the permission of the these alternate adults, or are these alternate adults allowed to usurp the legislated authority of the parent, and if so, why give the authority to the parents in the first place?

In short, his answer is purposefully vague, a non-answer, a "present" vote.

Senator Obama needs to provide a forthright and clear answer to this question. No more taking "cover" because he is "afraid" to be "pigeonholed" to a position.

The President cannot vote "present." The President has to make tough decisions on tough issues. Senator Obama has not yet proved he can do either. If Senator Obama wants my vote, he needs to earn it. He won't get my vote by dancing around issues and hoping I assume he holds my view.  

If he cannot to commit to answers, I will exercise my right to choose by voting "present" in November should he be on the ballot. I'll leave it to him to interpret what that means.

Tags: Barack Obama, parental notification, Planned Parenthood, present, Pro-Choice, senator, State Senate, US Senate, Vote (all tags)

Comments

35 Comments

Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

It's a pretty touch subject.  I'm sure that he's pretty conflicted having two daughters of his own, and his paternal instinct is to want parental notification.

If it were up to me, I'd want parents notified if the child is 15 years old or younger.  To me, if they weren't bright enough to use a condom, I sincerely doubt there bright enough to make a decision of that magnitude.  However, if the child is in someway being abused at home, there must be a way out of that notification.  At the same time, if that kind of shit is going on at home, it should be reported to the authorities and the minor should be taken out of the situation.  So one way or another, if it's not the parents that are notified, it should be the authorities.

by shalca 2008-04-02 01:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

I wonder why if they are not old enough/bright enough to decide on whether to continue a pregnancy how are they then magically able to raise a child?
Does completing a pregnancy make a person smarter? richer? more tolerant?

Personally I say no to any notification/permission for those 14+. Under that age it should be an issue for child protection sevices/police.

by J Rae 2008-04-02 01:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice
A female of ANY age who requests an abortion should be able to have one.
Teenagers 14+ tend to be in highschool with boyfriends/girlfriends ect. There is all kinds of press to be sexually active in highschools. Pregnancy in girls less then 14 is an abuse issue. A 12 or 13 Y/O who is pregnant needs protection. That they need protection should never take away their right to decide to not continue the pregnancy.
by J Rae 2008-04-02 02:31AM | 0 recs
What DID he have an OPINION on?

Just curious...

by architek 2008-04-02 05:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

"Senator Obama should be able to come to a decision and stand by it, instead of pawning responsibility on "staffers" and obscuring his position with vague answers and "present" votes."

Agreed. BO has already earned my "present" vote many times over.

by 07rescue 2008-04-02 02:22AM | 0 recs
As an Obama Supporter, Thanks for This Diary

As an Obama supporter, I want to thank you for writing this diary.

I want to thank you for reminding everyone about the extraordinary video endorsement of Obama by Lorna Brett Howard.  I want to thank you for reminding everyone that Obama's record is 100% on choice. I want to thank you for reminding everyone of the dishonest tactics used to distort this.

You've done Hillary no favors with this diary.

by nocore 2008-04-02 06:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

I've just finished reading a diary saying Obama was too pro-choice for Hispanics: http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/4/1/22552 6/6808

Really, which is it?

by grass 2008-04-02 01:41AM | 0 recs
Exactly which is it?

Is he pro-choice or not? To what extent is he pr-choice? Can you please articulate his  complete position for our benefits?

by ann0nymous 2008-04-02 02:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

Perhaps it should be a topic at the next debate.

I think it's very clear that he is pro-choice and pro-common sense.

For this particular issue of minors informing parents about pregnancies/abortions, I can't tell you much, except that he voted no for a law requiring notification of parents for minors getting out of state abortions (http://www.ontheissues.org/Senate/Barack _Obama.htm).

For what it's worth, I think an abortion is an incredibly tough decision to make, and young children need to have all the support they can get. It's important that they don't feel pressured into getting an abortion due to fear of what their parents might say, but at the same time parents shouldn't be able to discount a child's opinion.

I guess what I'm trying to say is a young girl shouldn't just be able to walk into a hospital and have an abortion with no questions asked, but instead should be provided with as much support (through counselling) as possible, with encouragement towards talking with her parents or other guardians.

by grass 2008-04-02 02:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

I don't think this is about limiting minors getting abortions in cases of rape or incest, that's twisting the issue. This is simply about informing parents when their child is about to do something that they might regret for the rest of their lives, or might possibly have adverse consequences, when they are in a state of panic or do not fully understand the situation.

From the quotes you have provided I think it is clear that he takes into consideration situations where the child doesn't have anyone to turn to, but he also wants to take into account the parents point of view - i.e. that they want to support their children in tough situations and wouldn't want them doing something rash. I'm not sure how that would translate into policy, but it's pretty obvious that a simple "abortion is okay in every situation, no questions asked" law isn't quite going to cut it, while a "all minors getting an abortion must have parents informed" law isn't going to work either. Instead something more complex and nuanced is required.

by grass 2008-04-02 03:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

http://www.reclusiveleftist.com/?p=845

March 14th, 2008

Do feminists for Obama understand what the hell this guy is about?
This article was published last fall, and the information in it was probably available before then, but I've just now discovered it:

Sen. Barack Obama had hired Pete Rouse for just such a moment.

It was the fall of 2005, and the celebrated young senator -- still new to Capitol Hill but aware of his prospects for higher office -- was thinking about voting to confirm John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice. Talking with his aides, the Illinois Democrat expressed admiration for Roberts's intellect. Besides, Obama said, if he were president he wouldn't want his judicial nominees opposed simply on ideological grounds.

And then Rouse, his chief of staff, spoke up. This was no Harvard moot-court exercise, he said. If Obama voted for Roberts, Rouse told him, people would remind him of that every time the Supreme Court issued another conservative ruling, something that could cripple a future presidential run. Obama took it in. And when the roll was called, he voted no.

Here's what that tells me about Obama:

At the age of 44 this man had no clue why voting to confirm a young, anti-abortion, anti-women's rights ultra-conservative to the Supreme Court was a bad idea for the women of America. Or he simply didn't care.
This article is reproduced on Obama's own website, so apparently he still hasn't figured out #1. Or he still doesn't care.
When he did change his mind it was only to preserve his presidential chances. Defending the rights of female American citizens wasn't enough.
In the fall of 2005 the feminist sphere was aflame with calls to block Roberts's confirmation. And while we were doing that, this chump was sitting in his Senate office making absurd noises about Roberts's "intellect".*

And you trust this clown?

Seriously, check it out.  The article in question is posted on Obama's website!
http://www.barackobama.com/2007/08/27/th e_outsiders_insider.php

***A

by adrienne4dean 2008-04-02 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

100% rating from Planned Parenthood.

The reality-based community beckons whenever you'd like to join it.

by amiches 2008-04-02 02:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

It's truly bizarre, and speaks to the desperation of the Obama haters, that they would go after him on choice (from both sides, no less).

The man is pro-choice.  He's with the majority of the Democratic party.  So is Hillary Clinton.  Let's move on.

by Skaje 2008-04-02 03:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

Obama's record on choice is weak, while that of Clinton is solid.  Notice all the present votes on choice legislation Obama cast.  This is one of many reasons why I will not cast my vote for Obama.

by truthteller2007 2008-04-02 03:14AM | 0 recs
I take it you don't

buy the Chicago Planned Parenthood story? That they told him to vote present to encourage Dems in more conservative districts to also vote present?

Damn those sneaky Planned Parenthooders, always trying to undermine abortion.

by grass 2008-04-02 03:19AM | 0 recs
Re: I take it you don't

No, I do not, for Illinois NOW condemned this strategy.  And another state Senator Debbie Halverson claimed no such strategy existed.  

I quote a Chicago Tribune article now only available in the archives:

Shortly after Obama's presidential bid was announced a year ago, state Sen. Debbie Halvorson (D-Crete) said her "present" votes were "an easy way of voting" because casting a "no" vote would be "so harsh [since] nobody's for killing babies."
"I don't recall any kind of strategy," said Halvorson, now seeking the Democratic nomination for Congress. Planned Parenthood "may have said it was OK to vote 'present,' but no one on that list [of those voting present] needed cover."

No strategy existed, in other words.  Barack Obama is a liar.

by truthteller2007 2008-04-02 03:32AM | 0 recs
Re: I take it you don't
1)NOW isn't Planned Parenthood
2)Head of Chicago NOW changed from supporting Sen. Clinton to Obama because of this lie
3)No idea who Halvorson is, but according to the Illinois CEO of Planned Parenthood there was a strategy, hence Obama getting 100% on pro-choice matters from them.
by grass 2008-04-02 04:16AM | 0 recs
by Bee 2008-04-02 04:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Lorna Brett Howard

Lorna Brett Howard had no affiliation with NOW during the legislative sessions in which the present votes were cast.  Visit Illinois NOW's webpage for their discussion of Brett Howard, who has not been a member of NOW for almost a decade.  Brett Howard, in other words, is irrelevant.

by truthteller2007 2008-04-02 09:06AM | 0 recs
Re: I take it you don't

To put it bluntly: screw NOW, seriously screw them, PP is there for choice when the rubber meets the road, and frankly I trust them far more on choice issues (what with them actually being directly affected by said issues-- as opposed to the indirect effects felt by NOW).

by Socraticsilence 2008-04-02 07:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

Ummm ... Are you saying that you will vote for McCain in a general election matchup over the Democratic nominee Barack Obama?  

If so, some Democrat you are.  

by DailyKingFish 2008-04-03 07:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

Of course his pro-choice rating takes into account his present votes. The Illinois Planned Parenthood has explained that they asked him to do this as part of their legislative strategy. It is a normal part of IL legislative process.  They consider him to be staunchly pro-choice.  This is a faked-up issue that has been repeatedly addressed.

I'm not surprised to see it raised again. Probably suburban Philly households will be getting the same debunked flyers soon claiming that Obama is weak on choice. Folks in NH are currently outraged that they were fooled by the Clinton campaign by these arguments.  

by politicsmatters 2008-04-02 05:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

Obama is weak on choice, and he is weak on issues important to the LGBT community.

by truthteller2007 2008-04-02 03:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

LGBT thing is hilarious, I mean its one of the few area's where his pastor should actually inoculate him but no, the fact that McClurkin appeared and spoke (which was not what was agreed to) at an event organized by volunteers totally overrides the fact that Obama is the only major politician to speak directly to the African American religious community about its homophobia-- I mean sure that could have cost him the support of Black Churches (especially with Clinton as an alternative-- this was before Bill hopped into the gutter), but hey it was just a speech I mean its not like he stood up for gay people and signed a law banning them from getting married, or bravely crusaded for their right to be chucked out of the military, no that took the courage and integrity of a Clinton!

by Socraticsilence 2008-04-02 07:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

His 'present' votes were made at the request of Pro-Choice organizations (led by the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council) because they're politically savy enough to understand that when the far right wing Republicans propose some wild and crazy bill related to this issue it's being used as bait so that they can then attack the Democrats for voting for (or against) it.  

Pro-Choice groups aren't stupid.  They know that good pro-choice democrats and moderates sometimes need cover on this issue to avoid being defeated in upcoming contests.  

This is what Pam Sutherland, president of the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council said about this situation: "The poor guy is getting all this heat for a strategy we, the pro-choice community, did."

The strategy in question was to have pro-choice Democrats (Obama leading the way) vote present on the bill, giving an 'out' and some cover to enough moderate republicans so that they could also vote present rather than voting no and have that vote used against them later.  The pro-choice community's strategy worked and these bills were defeated because there weren't enough votes.  

Bottom line: Obama is pro-choice.  He voted 'present' on those bills in a carefully coordinated strategy between Illinois' pro-choice community, the rest of the Democrats in the senate, and moderate Republicans to defeat a far right-wing Republican bill trying to ban abortions.  

by Whash 2008-04-02 04:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

I am concerned about a specific part of the parental notification.  At least in Pennsylvania, that last time I looked, there is no provision for a PARENT of a pregnant minor to waive notification, in the best interest of his/her daughter.  That is a parent can not IN ADVANCE, say that if their daughter has a reason to not notify them, that the a parent would prefer that she get good and timely medical attention, rather than take medically risky alternatives, have no care at all, or force the issue before a judge.  For those that advocate for parental notification, why is this alternative not a parental prerogative?

In terms of the Presidential election....

I am not a fan of Casey because he does not support my right to choose whether to carry to terminate a pregnancy.  Therefore, for me, the Casey endorsement is a BIG warning sign.

It is also my understanding that BO considered voting for Alito (like Casey did) until it was pointed out how this would be a liability in a Presidential run.

From what little research I have seen thus far, Rev. Wright does not support a women's right to choose, although the parent church does support a women's right to control her reproduction.

In contrast, I have also seen complaints from the BO camp that he is pro-choice and that words to the contrary are just political smears.  BO's voting "present" on choice issues has given his cover in State politics, but if the last 8 years have taught us anything, a congress that is merely present is not a substitute for leadership.

BO comments, such as http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCifpbfQl OM and others, frankly do not inspire my utmost belief that he will not waiver, in part because he spends so much of his time trying to get off of the issue.  My right to control my reproductive health touches on every single other issue - housing, economy (particularly income disparity), healthcare, education, religion, child and elder daycare/foster care/kinship care (which BO knows a bit about), G&L rights (as parents), marijuana legalization (and use of medicines - RU485, pharmacists not dispensing medicines) and yes, my positions on Bush's war (I do not babies - mine or other mothers, be they American or other citizens -  to die in a preemptive, illegal and endless war).

However, I am willing to listen.  If anyone want to share links to is words and writing that provide links to evidence about how staunchly BO will defend my right to choose, I would be happy to do the follow-up reading to convince myself of BO's standing.  What I hear is to just gloss over it.  He may have been following a strategy set up by pro-choice to give him cover, but that past action under the name of cover is not enough to convince me of his future action.

Fundementally, I do not think my right to self -determinisation is helped by a President who needs cover nor employs a fence-sitting strategy in the face of unrelenting attacks from the far right.

by Aunt Susan 2008-04-02 04:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

I think maybe you misunderstood me (or someone else) when I said the 'present' votes provided cover.  

They provided cover not for Obama and the other liberal Dems, but for the moderates/republicans that wanted to defeat these bills but feared actually voting no.  

Obama and many of the other Democrats voting 'present' were all from extremely liberal districts where voting no wouldn't have been an issue.  They voted present so that the others who didn't enjoy that advantage could still defeat these bills without fear of getting booted from office in the next election.

And again, this was done at the specific bequest of Illinois Planned Parenthood, and it's president is on record saying as much.  

As far as Casey goes, he's Catholic and like a lot of Catholics he's opposed to abortion.  This group includes many of the Catholics that have been voting for and endorsing Clinton all season (she's won Catholics in most states by something like 2:1), both White and Hispanic Catholics.  I don't agree with Casey on this issue, and I think all the evidence says that Obama doesn't either.

by Whash 2008-04-02 05:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

The "present" votes are a red herring.  As was alluded to in the quote you provided, there was a concerted effort by the GOP wingnuts in the state to introduce bills with names like "The Protection Of Children From Murder Act" and stuff like that to coerce Dems into voting no so that they could make flyers that said "Mr. X votes 'No' on the Protection of Children from Killing act".  This was a big issue in swing districts, especially in downstate Dem districts where the people tended to be both low information and socially conservative.  Obama didn't personally need cover being from a liberal Chicago district, but he agreed to join this to give legitimacy to the people who needed cover.

As far as the changing answers go, that is a legitimate issue if you want to make it one, but Obama has been pretty consistent on questions like this on the minutia of complex and sensitive issues - on these issues he gives a range of answers to the specific question, but the answers boil down to "I'm going to take a common sense approach to any situation, but I can't tell you what it is without having the specific bill with all the details in front of me".  If that's not good enough for you, then that's a legitimate problem for you.  I trust Obama's judgment.

by NJIndependent 2008-04-02 05:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

Thank you for a well researched and interesting diary!

At first, Obama's inability to take a political stand for anything is perplexing. But as esteemed blogger Anna Shane has demonstrated, it's really a pattern of behavior. He just doesn't take a position and stick to it. Obama is trying desperately to be everybody's friend. All the while risking of course being, in the end, nobody's friend.

by DemAC 2008-04-02 05:39AM | 0 recs
He wasn't trying to be OUR friend on healthcare

or poverty..

Elizabeth Edwards was outraged, and he blew an Edwards endorsement..

Thats a pretty big mistake.. Do you think he would have made it if he wasn't being forced to?

by architek 2008-04-02 05:52AM | 0 recs
What I meant is that there may be someone

else behind the scenes, pulling his strings...

by architek 2008-04-02 05:53AM | 0 recs
Re: What I meant is that there may be someone

Oooh, and who might this nefarious puppet master be?

by Whash 2008-04-02 06:00AM | 0 recs
Re: He wasn't trying to be OUR friend on healthcar

You must have missed the part where Elizabeth herself said that story was completely false on Morning Joe today.

by bawbie 2008-04-02 06:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

This is a well-thought out and written diary, although I don't necessarily agree with the issues at hand. As a pro-choice female, I am torn - while I  understand that an underage girl will not need permission to enter a hospital to give birth, it does seem a bit strange to say that no parental notification would be needed in the case of an abortion,especially since that same girl would need to have a parent's permission to get her ears pierced, to enter into a contract, to marry, etc. (I also don't think abortion should be used as a birth control method). But I understand the problem when there is a case of abuse.  Does anyone know the statistics of the number of teenagers who seek abortions who are the victims of abuse vs. those who just got caught having unprotected sex? I really don't know.

As far as Obama is concerned - I think this was political strategy - fine.  But I think this adds to the narrative that he is not willing to take a stand on tough issues.  He's lost my vote if he's the nominee, but I wouldn't point to this particular issue as what decided it for me.

I also find it troubling that he has a habit of blaming his staffers for things that come out that cast him in a negative light (this survey, the "Punjab" memo, telling NH firefighters he missed their meeting because of his staff's scheduling errors, missing the Kyl-Lieberman vote because he wasn't told [even though every other Dem running for President made it to DC to vote}, Goolsbee and NAFTA, Powers and "monster", Susan Rice, etc.)

by cmugirl90 2008-04-02 06:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Obama: "Present" on Choice

This is an interesting diary and represents one of those minor differences that can be twisted, "Obama present on choice", "Hillary likes war" that sort of thing. Basically there's more doubt on Hillary's hawkishness (where she's become anti-war, a departure from her previous Bush-McCain record) than Obama's pro-choice cred.

by Socraticsilence 2008-04-02 07:27AM | 0 recs

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