Democrats Move Left On Abortion
"Above my pay grade." Those words rang in the ears of Gene Taylor, a middle-age member of Saddleback Church I interviewed after the worship service on Sunday morning. He was referring to the answer offered by Barack Obama when Pastor Rick Warren asked him at what point in its development a baby gets "human rights."
"In this country," Mr. Taylor told me, "there is no higher pay grade than the president." Which is true at least metaphorically. Mr. Taylor added, "I thought I was going to be supporting John McCain. Now I'm sure of it."
Mr. Obama's flip-sounding response did not go over well with the evangelicals in the audience of Saturday night's presidential forum. After a week in which the Democrats have been renegotiating their abortion platform, Mr. Obama was supposed to provide a voice of clarity, and above all moderation, for the party. His middle-of-the-road views were supposed to appeal to independent-minded Catholics and evangelicals who agreed with Democrats on some issues, but couldn't pull the lever for him if he was too radical on abortion.
It didn't work out that way. Add Mr. Obama's recent admission that during his time in the Illinois legislature he voted against a law protecting babies who survive an abortion procedure, and it seems as if the Democrats have accomplished the impossible: They have moved to the left on abortion.
On the party's platform, the Democrats dropped the words "safe, legal and rare," the phrase used most famously by both Bill and Hillary Clinton to signal moderation on the issue. The Democrats also added the modifier "unequivocally" to strengthen their support for abortion rights. As if there were any doubt about the message that these changes send to the party's radical factions, here is feminist Linda Hirshman celebrating in a piece for Slate: "With the release of the new platform, the emancipation of women may once again become a legitimate political position."
Comment: I trust that no one who believes that life begins at conception would vote for Obama!