Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Obama's positions on abortion

Here is what Barack Obama believes about abortion and what his voting record shows according to www.ontheissues.org:

On abortion in general:
- Obama consistently rates a 100% when it comes to voting "pro-choice".
- He is undecided as to whether he believes life begins at conception.
- He is a strong supporter of Roe v. Wade.
- He rates a 0% by the National Right to Life Committee

On partial-birth abortion:
- Obama believes states should have the right to restrict late-term abortions.
- He, however, voted against banning partial-birth abortion in Illinois in 1997 & 2000.
- Obama has adamantly defended women's rights to have partial-birth abortions.

On minors getting an abortion:
- Obama voted against a law that would require minors to notify their parents when getting an "out-of-state" abortion.
- He voted against a law that would prohibit minors from crossing state lines for an abortion.

On funding to help reduce abortions:
- Obama voted to increase funding for education and contraception targeted at teens to reduce unwanted pregnancy.

Based on this summary of Obama's view, there is virtually nowhere that I agree with him on this issue. The only thing I agree with is the desire to increase funding to help prevent teens from getting unwanted pregnancies. Other than that, Obama is way off to the political left when it comes to this issue.

What is particularly disturbing is his defense of partial-birth abortion. Even some of the most liberal Democrats have voted against partial-birth abortion. Yet Obama is steadfast in his pro-choice stance even there.

22 Comments:

At 2:54 AM, Blogger Dave said...

This makes a strong case for not supporting him as a candidate. I appreciate your thoughts on all of this, Mark.

 
At 1:37 PM, OpenID jtmorrison said...

Mark,

You have some great insights and thoughts here on your blog. I enjoyed reading them. We had some very different views when we worked camp together (Can you ever forget the conversation in the van on the ride home from the mall that weekend?? Wow.) On this issue, though, and the economic issues you've mentioned here on your site, we are in total agreement.

Obama is truly the most liberal candidate, particular on the issue of abortion, ever to be a candidate for President of the United States. It's scary how radically left he is on this issue...and others.

Hope all is well with you.

Blessings,
Tim

 
At 10:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I thought it would at least take until Labor Day for the right-wing zealots to bring up the abortion issue. But I guess when your candidate has no policies and is 15 points behind, then fear has always been the republican's best weapon. Luckily for the country, it is not going to work this time!

-Scott

 
At 10:59 PM, Blogger Rebecca said...

I cannot and will not believe republicans are pro-life unless they become anti-war and anti-death penalty.

Until then, the pro-life stance is a bunch of hypocrisy, and anyone who places themselves in this category is a true hypocrite.

 
At 11:50 PM, OpenID jtmorrison said...

Scott,

Call me right wing if you would like...I am not ashamed of that label at all. But, just in case you are not aware, the author of this blog is not a right-wing zealot to my knowledge. By the way...do you wear the label "liberal" proudly? Just wondering. "Right wing" gets thrown around a lot in today's political and cultural climate, but those same people usually aren't too keen on being labeled themselves.

Rebecca,
Both sides of this debate have their shallow arguments, and you have given the straw man for the pro-abortion side of this debate. I would definitely consider myself pro-life due to my Biblical position which holds that life begins at conception and that a child, born or unborn, has the same rights in the eyes of God as anyone else. War and capital punishment are completely separate issues. But, as I said, that is a common straw man that is put up often and will continually be debated as long as there are people willing to put it out there sa a (seemingly) viable option.

These are debates that will rage as long as there are those on opposite sides with breath remaining in their lungs.

Way to go, Mark. You've successfully started quite the discussion.

 
At 11:55 PM, OpenID jtmorrison said...

Scott,
I'm not sure what polls you're looking at (my guess would be those on CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and NBC), but Real Clear Politics is only showing Obama up in the general election by 4 percentage points (citing the Rasmussen polling date from June 26)...a far cry from 15. Check it out for yourself at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/latestpolls/index.html. Obviously they change very frequently.

Thank God we live in a country defended by brave men and women and have the right to debate these issue without threat or fear of retaliation by a sadistic regime.

 
At 3:46 AM, Blogger Dave said...

For the record, I am not "a right-wing zealot," but I happen to be pro-life. Such labels are why this country is so divided.

 
At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The country is divided because we have to many Christian leaders turning a blind eye to anything as long as their leaders support Pro-Life and anti-gay positions. Obama does not support abortion, he just feels that there are better ways to fight this problem then just changing a Supreme Court decision that will still allow abortions to go on. It is zealotry to only look at one issue but still feel innocent civilians dying in a needless war and our own people starving to death in a sports facility after a hurricane is ok as long as your candidate is against Roe v. Wade which even if overturned will not give you the solution you want.

 
At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave and Mark, I know both of you and know your heart and know that you are not a right-wing zealot. jtmorrison, I don't know you but am sure that if you are friends with Mark that you have a good heart and want what is best for people.

My frustration is that most of the lies and misrepresentations that have come out about Obama are being originated by people that are Christians. Instead of this type of leadership we, as Christians, need to be the light in this world shedding the greatest HOPE there is that we are saved through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that this world can be better. The church should be the biggest positive influence in this world not the biggest negative influence in a political campaign.

I have no problem with the debate. I have a problem with the misrepresentation that Obama has no values and is a baby killer. He wants the same thing you all want and that is to have no more abortions in this world. Let's agree on this and then we can have a real discussion on the best way to achieve this. This debate is good and if you feel that overturning Roe v. Wade is the answer then while I disagree at least we can discuss it. However the Pro-life side has never let it be about that. The saddest part of this debate is that most pro-choice people and pro-life people agree that abortions are wrong it is just that we have different solutions to the problem.

I'll stop throwing out words like right-wing if the other side will stop trying to make it look like I don't worship and serve the same awesome God that you all do.

 
At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops I forgot to sign my posts.

The two previous ones titled anonymous are from me.

Scott

 
At 1:20 PM, Blogger Dave said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 1:24 PM, Blogger Dave said...

(hey, I deleted the comment above because I didn't know how to edit the posting... Below is what I had posted, but with the spelling checked. :)

"I'll stop throwing out words like right-wing if the other side will stop trying to make it look like I don't worship and serve the same awesome God that you all do."

"Oops I forgot to sign my posts.

The two previous ones titled anonymous are from me."

Scott

--

Ah... so, this is Scott Jenkins...

Hey, Scott! Love you, brother... Let me say that I am BY NO MEANS suggesting that you do not worship the same God! I would never do that, regardless of how we might disagree...

I think we have all just entered the Spin Zone of politics where people are placing others in neat and tidy categories that are not necessarily true. Scott, though you are supportive of a pro-choice candidate, I do not consider you a "baby killer" nor do I consider you less of a believer. If I allowed the spin zone to impact me, however, I would... But I know you... you know me. This is the time to drop the rhetoric between sides and discuss.

In that same vein, however, may I say something? In your blog, you say:

"no real intelligent person would cast their vote for president on the abortion issue."

May I suggest that a comment like that doesn't help much in these sort of discussions? While you feel like some make you out to be a non-believer, comments like this make me (or others that are pro-life) out to be an idiot - as if I haven't given this issue a great deal of thought or prayer. Again.. such spin and straw man language needs to go if this country is to move forward and come to grips with the issues it is facing.

This is why I hate politics. I used to love it. But now I've grown tired of it... because of labels that don't fit. I am no more a right wing zealot as you are a baby killer. The language of politics is to lump people up in categories that are easily destroyed logically... and then destroy their position. Well, I don't want to do that to a friend. I want to understand my friend. And that's what's missing in our discussions... relationship. Categories are set up when there is a lack of relationship - it is the language of "us and them." It's time to build bridges, not burn them. Words burn. Words build. So... let's use some building words, like...

Scott... I think you rock, and I love you bro. No matter what your views are, I love you unconditionally. Help me understand your position so I can understand others that feel the way you do.

- be blessed...

 
At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave,

No worries. I fully respect you and am glad to have you as a friend. Don't worry I have been in politics to long to take any of it personally and if I said anything to upset you then please know that was not my intention.

My argument is not with you or Mark or anyone personally. It is with the amount of weight that the American Christian Church's leaders seem to put on it. Also to me it is not black and white which makes Mark's post very deceiving.

For one the partial-birth abortion issue. I am against the use of partial birth abortion except in cases where the life of the mother is involved. I know the right likes to say these times can't exist but they sometimes do. So to say someone is for partial birth abortion is wrong because if this exception is in there they would ban it also.

As for the minor consent issue. A lot of people like to say that a child can't get medicine without consent but they can have an abortion. That is really wierd and in almost all cases I would find this stupid as well. However there is a case where this consent requirement could be dangerous and without an exception to the law then the girl could get hurt more. This is why when these bans are written in black and white the truly courageous vote can be to not support them. Ok, you say what is this time when consent could hurt the girl? Say the girl is being raised by a single dad and the father of her baby is the father himself. If you write a law that requires her to go to him than that is dangerous to her. You say that's ridiculous that common sense would prevail and help her. Well we all know people or instances when the law and bureacracy did not make sense so this girl getting hurt under this law is a real possibility. So again I ask why does the right need all or nothing lets do the sensible thing and put in the exception. Without it causes some to vote against something they do support in almost all cases.

All I'm trying to say is that we are not all that far off from each other. Put those two exceptions in those two pieces of legislation and I and a lot of pro-choice supporters would support the laws.

Then comes Roe v. Wade. All overturning this decision does is send the decision to the states. So abortion will not be illegal.

Instead I would like to see both sides come together and understand that pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion and therefore work out these little differences and fix a lot of the laws to make abortion harder. Then lets stop cutting programs like adoption money and childcare money for poor people and work to bring the reasons that cause abortions to an end.

I fully appreciate that this is an important issue. It is to me as well. Life is an unbelievable gift from God and we as humans should value it. I do and know that most pro-choice people do as well. Let's stop being single-issue voters on this issue and look at the whole picture. Bush has not outlawed abortion. Yet innocent people die everyday in Iraq and innocent people suffered in New Orleans. These are life issues as well and need to be considered with so many others in casting a vote.

Anyway I do like the discussion but feel it has taken enough of my time. I appreciate everyone allowing me to voice my input. I will be signing off from this topic.

I hope everyone has a great weekend and Dave I hope the movie is going great.

Scott

 
At 10:21 PM, Blogger ecclesia said...

I've been quickly reading through the comments here and would just like to add my input. Forgive me if I've missed anything. I see a lot tying abortion in with war stuff. You can be pro war and pro life. The Bible talks about how war in inevitable. There will be wars until Jesus returns. Now, I'm not speaking in reference to the Iraq war because that is a whole separate debate. However, war can be a means of self-defense. If someone started robbing your home and threatning your family, if you had a gun, wouldn't you shoot the guy if your family was in danger? I worked at a bank and we had a customer who owned a gas station. You may have heard the story on the radio. He carried large cash deposits almost daily. He was being watched and one day was attacked. He shot one of the three men that tried to mug him. He wasn't charged.

Now to the abortion issue. I know you are talking of circumstances that could come up, what if someone is raped? What if...? Okay, there are the what ifs. But what about FAITH in God. I know some terrible things could happen to people. But is it that unborn child's fault? Can't we trust God to heal us through that time?

I have done extensive research on abortion because I had a friend who's daughter almost had one. I was hoping to stop her. I pulled up article after article of women who had abortions and regretted it. There are many health risks that come with an abortion. There are major psychological risks that come with abortion. Doctors have left their practice because they KNOW that life begins at conception and they know what is happening in the process of an abortion. I even had the unfortunate opportunity to view an abortion through a sonogram. I sat there that night in tears. I saw my little babies at 7 weeks and I witnessed life.

Not that I don't cry at the men and women that our serving our country and dying for us. My husband now joined the National Guard and it scares me to death that he would get sent to Iraq. But I can't even think about the war, whether it's right or it's wrong. I'm sure the men and women out there on the battlefields aren't bantering back and forth over these debates. Let's show our Armed Forces a little respect. These were people who chose to honor our country by defending our country. I don't know what Bush intended for us in going to Iraq, but these people are defending us from the horrible terrorist attacks that have taken place on our soil. Now Obama wants to just take them out of Iraq after the years they have spent there putting their life on the line so that the goal is accomplished. If we pull out now, which I know Obama plans to do, then all those that died was for nothing. Sorry, I just know many in the military that have served over there and each and every one of them would have a different story to tell and aren't worried about "anti-war."

There is a difference between the anti war issue and abortion issue.

One other thing. I absolutely do not agree with a minor having the right to have an abortion without parental consent. A minor is under 18 and is not fully capable of making such a grown-up decision. I'm telling you, they don't understand what is involved. The abortion clinics do not tell you everything. They are misled and misinformed and need parental wisdom. There is a reason why the legal age of adulthood is 18. Thank God I never got pregnant when I was 18. I probably might've thought then of having one, if I did. But if I had known then what I know now, I most certainly would not have done it. I heard of a circumstance if it was a single dad and it was the baby's father. There are people to help. There are pregnancy centers everywhere and people ready to counsel. Those people in the pregnancy centers have been through some stuff. I know people who counseled. All a minor knows is that they are scared and they just want to get rid of the problem. It goes much deeper than that. The problem doesn't just go away and the abortion clinics don't tell you that. Even if they did, the hormones of an emotional teenager will have the abortion. Teenagers are still maturing and growing up. They go through all kinds of hormonal stuff. They aren't capable of making that decision.

Why doesn't this world understand? I know it all sounds heartfelt, but I know people who have had abortions and I spoke of the stories I researched. It is very sad! Has Obama thought about these things?

 
At 10:45 PM, Blogger ecclesia said...

I wanted to add one more thing to the comment that I might be considered a bypocrite. I don't mean this in any harsh tones, so please don't take it that way. When a person enlists into the military, they have to take an oath. They are swearing to defend and honor their country, no matter what the cost. They have made a choice that they will defend, even if it means death. It is a high, high honor, but there is not draft anymore. It is a choice. It's like making a choice to claim your faith even if it means death, just like Christ. That unborn child inside the mother's womb never had a say. So you see, abortion is much closer to murder. Murder is "an act of deliberate killing." (dictionary definition) I know that even though I believe there are times that war is necessary, I don't deliberately want our men and women to die. If I had it my way, they'd all go over there and fight and all come back unharmed. But any mother who has an abortion, "deliberately" does not want that child. War is an act of self-defense many times. I'm not worried about what Bush thought, but I do know that I'm in support of this war if it means defending our country from terrorism.

 
At 11:23 PM, Blogger ecclesia said...

I'm so sorry, but I do have two more things to add. I promise, this is my last back to back. I should've thought before writing orginally.

Scott, you made a comment about people starving in a sports arena and I guess you were trying to say there are other concerns. Let's look at that for a second. Yes, maybe the government dragged their feet with Hurricane Katrina, but I believe that these are the times when the "church" should be heavily involved. There's a famous preacher who spent $34 million on a complex to have rotating lights, etc. I'm sorry, I know churches do things for a reason and I hope his intent was pure, but c'mon. That money could've solved Katrina's problem. The government is expected to get involved where the church should be getting involved. I'm guilty too. I sometimes spend money carelessly and could put it towards someone who needs it more. But gosh, Paul even said, that if someone was in need that the "body" the "church" should sell some property to help the poor. So, I guess that's not even an issue for me because I feel guilty that we as a church are not doing our job.

The other thing I wanted to hit on was the exceptions to these laws with abortion. Now, I personally don't even see the exceptions, but let's go with it. Certain laws were voted against because of these rare exceptions. Okay, we have speed limits set everywhere. If my son has a medical emergency, I'm going to rush him to the hospital. Chances are, I'm not going to be too worried about the speed limit. By the way, I worked for a Rescue Squad in NC and technically the ambulances shouldn't be speeding either. So, anyways, I'm speeding because of a medical emergency. I get pulled over. No cop (in their right mind) is going to issue me a speeding ticket when I'm trying to get to the hospital. Does that mean we don't have speeding laws? There is an exception to every law, if you want to think of one, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't have laws to set a guideline, a right way of living.

Okay, sorry this was in three parts!

 
At 1:51 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Good conversation everyone. I am glad we could get past some of the name calling on both sides. Nicely done.

My two cents: I think that if you disagree with a position on an issue, it becomes a legitimate reason for not voting for a candidate.

If people disagree with McCain's view on the war, then they have a right to not vote for him because of that disagreement.

Likewise, if people disagree with Obama's view on abortion, then they have the right to not vote for him because of that disagreement.

Both of these issue speak not only to the candidate's personal stance on that one particular issue, but also speak to the candidate's ability to make good decisions.

If you are against McCain's view of the war, then you will likely view his votes on the war as "bad decisions."

If you are against Obama's view of abortion, then you will likely view his votes on partial-birth abortion as "bad decisions."

So both issues are legitimate reasons to vote for or against a particular candidate for President.

 
At 2:08 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Two more cents:

If one's foundational value on issues is "Life" then the only way to be consistent is to have a stance that the Roman Catholic Church has or the Mennonite and Anabaptist churches have.

That means if your foundational principle on issues is "Life" then to be consistent you should be "pro-life", against euthanasia, against the death penalty and against war.

However, if your foundational value/principle for these issues is "Justice" then your stances will be different.

A person who has "Justice" as their foundational principle for these issues will likely be: "pro-life", against euthanasia, for the death penalty in certain cases and for a just-war.

A "Justice" view basically wants to protect "innocent life" and administer justice to "criminal life."

So being for a just-war and also being "pro-life" is not contradictory if your foundational value is "justice."

The question that remains is whether the Iraq war can fit into the category of a "just-war." But I will leave that question to the pundants.

 
At 2:16 PM, Blogger Mark said...

A final question:

I wonder what foundational principle drives a view that is "pro-choice," ok with euthanasia, against the death penalty and against war?

Scott and Rebecca, maybe you can help me out with this one.

Certainly the first two stances are driven by a foundational principle of "personal freedom." But I don't really know how that fits with the last two stances.

If the above view of these four issues is the commonly Democratic view, I am not sure what foundational principle drives them. Maybe someone else can answer that one.

 
At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark,

I perused this discussion and appreciate your recent summations.
Couple thoughts and questions as I continue to seek to understand others.

Abortion. It is a life issue. Infact,I think it is the foundational issue for me. I guess I look at it like Christ and the cross to my faith. Out of this belief, all others flow. Protecting life at its beginning is central to then protecting it afterwards (war, capitol punishment, economics, healthcare etc) Zealous?

Assuming life begins at conception (I'm called to reflect on the book of Jeremiah and his thoughts on God knitting him together)and therefore abortion is murder,
I'm wondering how we can reconcile protecting such an evil, in ANY form or circumstance, in the hope of a little good?



Also, is there ever a time that war/capitol punishment can be acts of preserving life?? I ask in light of the Haulocaust and simply because of the Biblical examples of God commanding both. This leaves me to think there must be a way to value life and justice....they are both attributes of Him after all.

Mark, again, thanks for drawing some circles around this dicussion.

Such fertile soil for division needs to be tempered with humility. After all, there is more at work here and in the spiritual realm, than the convictions of men and women.

Blessings to all of you as you continue to love each other in spite of the "heat".

 
At 1:13 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Anonymous,
I appreciate your thoughtful response. One administrative note: I typically don't allow people to post as "anonymous."

I will let it slide this time because you might be new to my blog. In the future, please leave a name with your posts so that we all know with whom we are talking. Thanks for doing me this favor.

As to your posts, I do agree that the principle of "life" and "justice" are cousins and are hard to differentiate sometimes.

The reason I tend to call the justice view a "justice" principle rather than a "life" principle is because the death penalty and war both require the taking of life (sometimes innocent life mistakenly).

So the preserving of all life, in this view, is not the ultimate driving principle. Instead, the "justice" view wants to preserve all "innocent" life. And in order to preserve "innocent" life it is ok with ending "criminal" life.

The "life" view is interested in preserving ALL life, innocent or criminal. This is the typical stance of the Roman Catholic Church and many Anabaptist or Pacifistic/Mainline Protestant denominations.

We often see the "justice" view more in fundamentalist churches and many conservative evangelical churches.

 
At 1:41 PM, Blogger Mark said...

I have been struggling, however, to find a driving principle behind the traditional Democratic view on these "life and death" issues.

The typical Democrat is: "pro-choice", ok with euthanasia, against the death penalty and against war.

For this view, the concern in the abortion issue is the rights of the mother. The concern in the euthanasia issue is the rights of the patient to make their own decision. Both of these views value "personal freedom" over the government's intrusion into their privacy.

But this principle can't be extended to the next two stances on the death penalty and war.

For this view, the main concern is that when we have the death penalty and war, innocent life will inevitably be harmed. So while there might be some good in the death penalty and war, the danger of killing innocent life far outweighs the good.

The contradiction becomes apparent pretty quickly. Innocent life is a high priority for this view when it comes to war and the death penalty but not when it comes to abortion or euthanasia.

In this Democratic view, the value of "personal freedom" trumps the protection of innocent life in the first two issues(abortion & euthanasia). But in the second two issues(death penalty & war), the value of protecting innocent life trumps everything else.

This inconsistency is why many Christians who are not Democrats do not understand the Democratic view on these four issues.

It would seem more consistent to either have the principle of "life" driving the views and therefore line up with the Roman Catholic Church and Anabaptist churches.

Or it would seem more consistent to be: "pro-choice," ok with euthanasia, for the death penalty and for just-war. At least then there could be an argument made that the foundation principle is "freedom."

This "freedom" view would desire to protect "existing quality of life" if necessary by killing "criminal" or "potential" life.

But most Democrats do not hold such a view. They are fractured in the foundational principles they use to have stances on these issues.

Or maybe I am just not seeing clearly the foundational principle that unifies the four stances of a typical Democrat on these issues.

 

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