Progressive Values vs. Far-Right Values on Display


Politicians like to talk about values. People want to vote for leaders who "share my values." Social conservatives coined a term "values voters" which, like the American flag, patriotism, and Christianity, they alone want to define. If you don’t agree with them you have no values, are immoral.

Sophomoric? Absolutely, but unfortunately for too many voters it has worked, playing upon fear of anyone "different" and oversimplifying the complex life decisions people make. In politics, it’s often a race to the lowest common denominator, and the far-right increasingly seems to confuse "values" with "tactics." According to two recent polls, most Americans don’t fit with the far-right’s definitions of narrow values, and one assumes, cannot be impressed by their extremist tactics.

So what can we learn about progressive values as opposed to the narrowly defined social conservative values/tactics, as Democrats gather in Denver, and Republicans prepare for St. Paul next week?

In a great piece in Slate, entitled Pro-Choices — Plural, Michael Sean Winters discusses the Democrats more inclusive approach to the most divisive social issue of our time, abortion:

The trend among Catholic Democrats is not toward a doctrinaire
pro-life or pro-choice position but instead toward what could be called
"pro-choices," plural. They defend the legality of Roe, but
they want to make sure that programs are in place to help women make
the choice to carry the child to term, such as adequate and affordable
pre- and postnatal care and a less-cumbersome adoption system. They
also favor programs to reduce the need for abortions in the first place
through better age-appropriate sex education and family-planning
services. These proposals were part of a legislative effort
to reduce the number of abortions led by Democrats in Congress,
including pro-life Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio and pro-choice Rep. Rosa
DeLauro of Connecticut.

Barack Obama has warmed to this approach, altering the abortion plank in the Democratic Party platform. After affirming the party’s unequivocal commitment to Roe,
the platform asserts: "We also recognize that such health care and
education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby
also reduce the need for abortions. The Democratic Party also strongly
supports a woman’s decision to have a child by ensuring access to and
availability of programs for pre and post natal health care, parenting
skills, income support, and caring adoption programs." This language
does not please some hard-core pro-choice activists because it implies
a stigmatization of abortion, but it is difficult to portray oneself as
championing women’s reproductive freedom if you oppose such measures.

It should be noted that many "hard-core pro-choice activitists" have been working for this broad woman-focused reproductive health care agenda for decades, it is the far-right that has kept the focus in the media on abortion only. By contrast, the Associated Press reports that the Republican Party, influneced by its far-right flank, adopted even more extremist language in its 2008 platform;

Republicans went on record Tuesday with a reaffirmation of their
hard line on abortion …

In its platform debate, the party stuck to its
call for a constitutional amendment banning abortion despite McCain’s
opposition, and toughened already uncompromising language on the issue.

Conservatives
succeeded in removing a line from a platform draft that merely urged a
reduction in abortions — underscoring their point that abortion should
be eliminated.

McCain may have "opposed" the plank as he tries to move back to the center after his hard-right turn in the primaries, but that doesn’t square with his own long record of opposing abortion rights, apparent opposition to contraception, and perhaps old-fashioned, generational, and mistaken attitudes toward women.

While Democrats in Denver welcomed people of diverse faith and views on a variety of issues, extremist "pro-life" protesters, numbering only in the dozens, managed to scream loud enough, make enough of a scene, and get arrested to grab headlines.

At the convention itself, we’ve seen progressive family values on display in speeches by Michelle Obama, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Joe Biden, and  former President Bill Clinton who said;

In the last decade American workers have consistently given us rising productivity. That means year after year they work harder and give us more in return. Now what did they get in return? Declining wages, less than one-fourth the new jobs as in the previous eight years, smaller pension and health care benefits, rising poverty, and the biggest increase in income inequality since the 1920’s. American families by the millions are struggling with soaring health care costs, and declining coverage. I will never forget, the parents of children with autism and other serious diseases, who told me on the campaign trail, that they couldn’t afford health care and couldn’t qualify their children for Medicaid, unless they quit work or starved, or got a divorce. Are these the family values that the Republicans are so proud of?

 

Extreme tactics and narrowly defined values have defined the anti-choice movement for a generation, and they just continue to get more extreme, and further removed from the reality of the vast majority of American families.

While Democrats demonstrate their values in Denver, in contrast these same far-right extremists continue to push the absurd notion that Democrats in the Illinois Legislature from 2001-2005, including then State Senator Barack Obama, supported "infanticide," rather than acknowledging the fact that they opposed bills that threatened the state’s law protecting the right to a safe and legal abortion. The extremists flogging this story pushed it hard in 2004, when Alan Keyes lost the U.S. Senate seat to Obama in a landslide. Does this mean that Illinois voters support infanticide? Or were they just smart enough to see through the smoke and mirrors of the far-right?

The anti-choicers can’t quite bring themselves to tell the full story of the Illinois votes, selectively quoting from news sources and a FactCheck.org analysis to make it appear that only they are right. The truncated stories and misinfomration flood the anti-choice blogosphere. Read the full analysis from FactCheck, particularly the sections below where we include acknowledgment of confusion on both sides:

Even with the same wording as the federal law, the Obama
camp says, the state bill would have a different effect than the BAIPA
would have at the federal level. It’s state law, not federal law, that
actually regulates the practice of abortion. So a bill defining a
pre-viable fetus born as the result of abortion as a human could
directly affect the practice of abortion at the state level, but not at
the federal level, the campaign argues. And in fact, the 2005 version of the Illinois bill, which passed
the Senate 52 to 0 (with four voting "present") after Obama had gone on
to Washington, included an additional protective clause not included in
the federal legislation: "Nothing in this Section shall be construed to
affect existing federal or State law regarding abortion." Obama
campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor says that Obama would have voted for
that bill if he had been in state office at the time. But whether or not one accepts those arguments, it is not the reason
Obama had been giving for his 2003 opposition. He told Brody that the
federal bill "was not the bill that was presented at the state level."
That’s technically true; though the "neutrality clause" was identical
in the federal and state bills, there were other minor wording
differences elsewhere. But the Obama campaign statement
says that "Illinois And Federal Born Alive Infant Protection Acts Did
Not Include Exactly The Same Language." That’s true for the earlier
versions that Obama voted against. In the case of SB 1082, as it was
amended just before being killed, it’s false. The documents from the NRLC support the group’s claims
that Obama is misrepresenting the contents of SB 1082. But does this
mean – as some, like anti-abortion crusader Jill Stanek, have claimed – that he supports infanticide? In discussions of abortion rights, definitions are critically
important. The main bills under discussion, SB 1082 and the federal
BAIPA, are both definition bills. They are not about what can and
should be done to babies; they are about how one defines "baby" in the
first place. Those who believe that human life begins at conception or
soon after can argue that even a fetus with no chance of surviving
outside the womb is an "infant." We won’t try to settle that one. What we can say is that many other people – perhaps most – think of
"infanticide" as the killing of an infant that would otherwise live.
And there are already laws in Illinois, which Obama has said he
supports, that protect these children even when they are born as the
result of an abortion. Illinois compiled statute 720 ILCS 510/6
states that physicians performing abortions when the fetus is viable
must use the procedure most likely to preserve the fetus’ life; must be
attended by another physician who can care for a born-alive infant; and
must "exercise the same degree of professional skill, care and
diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as would be
required of a physician providing immediate medical care to a child
born alive in the course of a pregnancy termination which was not an
abortion." Failure to do any of the above is considered a felony. NRLC
calls this law "loophole-ridden."

This bill was not designed to reduce abortion, but to create fringe arguments and potentially a law that would undermine the medical rights of women in Illinois. As FactCheck points out, laws already existed that covered these concerns. This fringe argument is designed only to distract, and to keep the conversation focused on extremist issues instead of seeking common ground. Voters understand that legislative language is arcane, nuanced, technical and subject to manipulations and confusion — and this is an apt example. But fear, confusion and manipulation are the values and tactics of the far-right — and why we’ve made no progress on improving sexual and reproductive health care policies for 30 years.

What matters to the vast majority of Americans is what politicians are doing to solve problems, not arguing the same arguments generation after generation. With regard to sexual and reproductive health, that means finding ways to resolve divisions over abortion, by repsecting differing beliefs, so we can progress toward common sense education and prevention policies, not exacerbating divisions.

In rhetoric, platform and protest, social conservative values and tactics seem to be getting more extreme, not less. By contrast the mood of the country is more about finding common ground, like education and prevention policies, coupled with preserving rights of individuals to make their own private health care decisions.

Most importantly, Americans are ready to put social issues in proper context, focusing the government’s attention on issues the government should handle, rather than having the government dictate one group’s idea of morality, one belief, one set of values to citizens in the most culturally and religiously diverse nation on earth.

So far in Denver we see leaders of the Democratic Party demonstrating inclusion and talking about issues that matter to middle class families. This Friday, we’ll learn if Sen. John McCain will choose a pro-choice Republican running mate, which would further solidify the fact that the vast majority of Americans share pro-choice values. If he does, expect the radical "pro-life" values and protests we’ve seen recently, to spill over into the GOP convention hall as those who just passed the most extreme anti-choice platform ever, wrestle with a pro-choice keynote speaker in Rudy Giuliani, a (possibly) pro-choice Veep nominee, and in McCain, someone they’ve never really trusted.

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To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • invalid-0

    Oh two things really burn me up first when people say that people like me an atheist don’t have values or morals and second when I tell people I am prochoice they think I am for kidnapping all pregnant women and forcing them to get abortions. I am so sick of the smoke and mirrors the right wing uses to try to confuse people. It’s sickening. It’s time for us as prochoicers to take back the definition from the fringe loonies and tell people hey we are for family planning, helping women and men with reproductive issues, etc and we are the prolife party not you guys! We are all for making LIFE better for women, men and children by making health care better, child care better, family planning better, adoption easier and better, etc, etc. That’s the fight I am trying to take here to WV showing people especially people who think they are prolife but are really prochoice that we need a better reproductive health network in this state. We need to bring it out of the shadows and into the light. But so many here have been brainwashed into thinking that prochoice means killing babies or whatever nonsense their preachers are telling them that even though they don’t want to see abortion outlawed and know it needs to be around they just can’t make the leap to being prochoice or they are ashamed of it. In a way I am glad I moved to this area so much help is needed to change hearts and minds to showing them that true values are profamily and not the way they have been brainwashed to think.

  • invalid-0

    Good morning and greetings,

    My head is spinning— randomly, do I address your concerns—Values is a term that is synonymous with the term virtue. Moralists have coined the term as a modern version of the term virtue, which is a precisely formed moral habitual action that one must do to be happy. Since one uses the habitual tools of virtue or value to perform a moral action to be happy, there must be a wrong way to act and a right way to act. Virtue is performed for happiness and more importantly happiness consists of virtue. Your perceived narrowing of the term values by the Republicans exclusively towards traditional and, hence, objective or unchangeable moral behaviors is, therefore, not at variance with what term actually means in its etymological self. Rather, the term is properly employed by the Republicans to conserve objective morality in contrast to the mortality that is routinely manifested by the relative and deconstructive sense of the term values, which makes it at variance with the terms evolutionary etymology. There can be only one Natural Law. Why should this seem divisive or un-inclusive? The truth well set you free. Dr. King was very found of saying that. Some questions, as I ramble. Why are the only values that are frowned upon are those values that have societal and personal consequences for the way a person behaves? Why, if you are progressive and want all values to be considered equal, that you consider conservative values the only values that cannot be equal? You tell conservatives that it is wrong to tell liberals, democrats, or progressives that your values are wrong thereby becoming what you say others should not be. The Law of Non-Contradiction dictates that there can be only one proper manifestation of morality. Conservatives are not making that up. They are protecting it— what is already there. Anyway… — Were there is a smoking gun there is a shooter? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Matters not. Mr. Obama has a 100% approval rating by the very people who have a very eager desire and even a vested economic interest in seeing that abortions still continue in this country. I should think that is enough of a scare for pro-life types. —Well, social conservatives trust McCain. Perhaps you mean the fiscal conservatives that distrust him because of the common ground he has found with democrats despite the current misrepresentation to the contrary. —Again, the G.O.P. is using Giuliani to gain pro-war, anti-terrorism voters, of which that are not too view. — I agree, it will be interesting to see what McCain does w/ his V.P. I highly doubt he will alienate a base that seems to be so underestimated lately by the popular media. I mean this is the base that has initiated the moderation that has occurred. It would be unheard of to hear pro-aborts talking of such moderation without the strong work of the pro-life base. And your welcome. Anyway, do you really want to continue to intimate a pro-abort V.P. for McCain after this very fortunate week of debacles with Pelosi that has the American Bishops coming out so strong? Don’t overestimate your polls…

    Timothy+

  • invalid-0

    First of all – not all pro-lifers are fiscal conservatives, and many hold liberal (“progressive”) values as well. To paint these people as right wingers or extremists is a big mistake..

    Consider that if the Dems ever dropped their rabid support of abortion and one form of infanticide, they’d have Catholics flocking to vote for them. Instead, they are married to the abortion industry, so Catholics are in play, and have been slowly moving away from from them..

    >>same far-right extremists continue to push the absurd notion that Democrats in the Illinois Legislature from 2001-2005, including then State Senator Barack Obama, supported “infanticide,” rather than acknowledging the fact that they opposed bills that threatened the state’s law protecting the right to a safe and legal abortion

    Spin it away – regardless of the motives,Obama allowed one method of infanticide to continue.

    Even if it threatened the state laws – allowing infanticide to continue is at a *minimum* tacit approval.

    If it truely came down to protecting state abortion laws and protecting new born citzens of this country – then he certainly made the wrong choice, a choice which should disqualify him from the Oval Office.

    Finally, the baby’s born alive needed protection since obviously it was not being provided. (This whole debate is rather insane – to argue that there were existing statues is a moot point since these babies were being neglected to death, despite any statute.)

    Now, you guys can keep spinning this story away, but it isn’t working. Gallup released poll results yesterday which shows Obama’s support among Conservative democrats is slipping away.

    His refusal to provide protection for the newest citizens of this country is going to sink his candidacy…

  • scott-swenson

    Timothy,

    Thanks for proving my point by literally defining values. The funny thing is, most of us think its a virtue to fight for the values enshrined in the Constitution, which starts with a freedom of religion/belief and speech and extends and includes our right to individual liberty. America is the most religious nation on earth, because of those freedoms and our great diversity of belief, not because you get to tell others what to believe.


    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • brady-swenson

    Ha! Ruben, your continued insistence that Obama supported infanticide is the absolute worst kind of spin, the kind that turns concern for women’s health into an awful, baseless accusation. Barack Obama did not vote against the Born Alive act because he was pro-infanticide. He, I can’t believe I even have to say this!, did not participate in the killing of any born alive infants.  That is all anyone needs to know, end of story. Your stubborn insistence to call it anything else is the epitome of shameless spin.

     

    The fact that this is even an issue is evidence of the trickery that the extremists in the pro-life movement play on Americans.  It was always absurd that Stanek,
    the National Right to Life Committee, and others even suggested that
    Obama would oppose a bill that would in any way improve the survival
    chances of infants.  "Born alive" bills have no medical validity. They are not needed, all people born alive are already protected by many laws.  This whole "Born Alive" thing was a way to try to trap politicians into these kinds of smears.

     

    We’re not calling every pro-lifer an extremeist, we’re calling every pro-lifer who continues to insist on smearing a respectable man as a baby-killer what you are, way way extreme.  That’s just plain bold faced lying and has been from the beginning.  It didn’t work when Alan Keyes tried it in 2004 and it won’t work now because Americans can see right through your lies.  

     

     

  • scott-swenson

    Ruben,

    Thank you for making my point about the values of Americans that are finally recognizing the far-right approach to over-turning Roe v. Wade will do nothing to reduce abortion. Americans recognize the best approach is one that moves us toward solutions, not more confrontation and division, as you preach. I recognize that not all pro-life people are far-right conservatives and many of us who hold pro-choice, pro-prevention values, are reaching out to those people and asking that they take a hard look at what is really happening on the far-right. We can respect differences of belief and work together to improve evidence-based sexuality education, access to contraception and preserve the rights for women to make the best health care choice for themselves, whether that be to carry a pregnancy to term or not. This is where most people are, just not the extreme fringe minority of the “pro-life” movement.


    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • invalid-0

    >>Ha! Ruben, your continued insistence that Obama supported infanticide is the absolute worst kind of spin,

    Hold on a minute, let’s get some clarity here – I’m not saying Obama himself personally kills these infants with his own two hands, or that he locked them in utility closets – or that he supports *all* forms of infanticide.

    Let’s make sure we are all on the same page here – because it seems that the pro-abortion side is somewhat confused about infants and infanticide.

    Concerning the former fetuses, who, after being born alive are considered infants – let’s review some broad but accepted definitions of the word infant:

    * a child in the first year of life (Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary)

    * a very young child (birth to 1 year) who has not yet begun to walk or talk (Word net)

    Consider the following defintions of infanticide, which are broad in scope but still accepted:

    * The practice of killing newborns (American Heritage Stedman’s Medical dictionary)

    * the killing of an infant (Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary)

    * the killing of a newly or recenlty born child (Merriam-Webster’s dictionary of Law)

    Given these broad and accepted definitions, these infants, already born as a result of an abortion method, were killed by intentional neglect -and Obama could have helped to prevent it.

    Regardless of why he didn’t prevent this form of infanticide – defending state laws/abortion rights or otherwise – the outcome is that he allowed one method of infanticide to continue – at a minimum he gave it tacit approval, something your side can’t grasp. However, the public is grasping this, slowly, and it isn’t solidifying their support for him.

  • invalid-0

    >> the values of Americans that are finally recognizing the far-right approach to over-turning Roe v. Wade will do nothing to reduce abortion

    I’m not sure where you got that from or why you think you have checkmate.

    And left leaning value voters of faith are nothing new, and efforts to attract their attention are questionable at best – they’ve already been voting for the Democrats for quite a while now, haven’t they? And with Catholic support ‘peeling away’ from Obama, it looks like the values voter outreach may be a bust.

    >> Americans recognize the best approach is one that moves us toward solutions, not more confrontation and division, as you preach

    That’s nice sounding, but the solutions offered by the pro-abortion crowd haven’t, on the population level, worked very well in the past four or five decades. Think about it Abortion isn’t rare yet, is it? Teen pregnancy has been eliminated, right?

    >> many of us who hold pro-choice, pro-prevention values, are reaching out to those people and asking that they take a hard look at what is really happening on the far-right

    The problem is, abortion and infanticide are deal breakers for many, and they would rather tolerate the problems of the right rather than vote for abortion extremists. They may vote with their fingers pinching their noses, but the votes won’t be for Obama…

    You see, more and more liberal voters of faith know that abortion is the most urgent human rights and social justice problem of our time, and this election they will vote that way – but it won’t be for Obama. It might not be a large majority, but enough to keep him out of office.

    Finally, Obama’s support among conservative democrats is dropping – you call that a checkmate? I call that denial…

  • brady-swenson

    Obama did not allow anything to continue.  Allowing a born infant to die is and was against the law, even when Jill Stanek says she witnessed this happen.  And why is no one on the far-right of the pro-life movement ever mentioning the fact that BAIPA was not legally necessary. Oh, yes, because it completely undermines your claim. It only serves to entrap politicians a provide a basis for smearing them.

     

    Look no further than the Illinois Compiled Statutes: "Subsequent to the abortion, if a child is born alive, the physician
    required to be in attendance shall exercise the same degree of
    professional skill, care and diligence to preserve the life and health
    of the child as would be required of a physician providing immediate
    medical care to a child born alive in the course of a pregnancy
    termination which was not an abortion. Violation of these statutes
    constituted a Class 3 felony."

     

    The Chicago Tribune reported on 8/17/04 that laws in Illinois to protect babies born alive have existed for over 20 years: “‘For more than 20 years, Illinois law
    has required that when ‘there is a reasonable likelihood of sustained
    survival of the fetus outside the womb, with or without artificial
    support,’ an abortion may only be performed if a physician believes ‘it
    is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.’ And in such
    cases, the law requires that the doctor use the technique ‘most likely
    to preserve the life and health of the fetus’ and perform the abortion
    in the presence of ‘a physician other than the physician performing or
    inducing the abortion who shall take control of and provide immediate
    medical care for any child born alive as a result of the abortion."

     

    This is about smearing a politician, not about protecting the lives of babies or mothers and Americans aren’t fooled.

  • scott-swenson

    I’m speaking of the very clear pro-choice, pro-education, pro-prevention majority that has exists in America — regardless of party or candidate. You might want to check out our Republican Convention coverage and the poll released by Republicans for Choice. Or the Pew poll. Or Catholics for Choice. Or Polling Report.com on aboriton, or dozens of other polls that show very few American voters believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned.  And Rueben, what about all those nations that do prohibit abortion?  The have zero right? and women are always in perfect health and never injured or die as a result of illegal abortions?  Get real.

    I’d love to be a fly on the wall listening to McCain’s famous temper and salty langauge and how he’s being boxed in on his Veep choice by extremists when everyone knows he really wants to pick his buddy Tom Ridge.  


    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • invalid-0

    The Democratic case would be better made if they presented more legislation to reduce the number of abortions. Specifically with regard to this issue, I have seen no legislation within the last 2 years while they have held office so their argument seems hollow and is easy fodder for the Republicans. (If I am wrong, let me know which House or Senate Bill number so I can get educated.) Though Ruben presents extreme views, I see you both as being right. If Ruben got his way and abortions were outlawed, then you are right as well, they do not disappear. But that only plays into the hands of the Right, because in that scenario, both sides get exactly what they want. Example is Poland. Very restrictive abortion laws (only if mother is in peril), population of 38 million plus, and only 340 abortions in 2006! The US in the same year, abortion on demand laws, population of 301 million plus, 517,604 abortions. (source:www.johnstonsarchive.net) If Ruben got his way, we would get to stop hearing from him no.1, but you would also get your way which is reduced, not eliminated, abortions. Not win-win?

  • invalid-0

    Go look at the Nordic Countries, MarkV. Also look at all the deaths caused by illegal abortions.

  • scott-swenson

    Rueben, MarkV, Jill, et al …. I see your mega-church and raise you a Mile High Stadium in a full throttle display of American values, American diversity, American families, and faith that there is more that unites us than divides us. You can take the ten percent of the electorate that favors prohibition of abortion. I’ll stick with the 90%, regardless of party, faith, or status, that believes in America, and the value of choice.


    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • scott-swenson

    MarkV,
    The answer to your question is in our navigation bar under Policy Watch, and that is just a sampling of the more serious efforts that have been thwarted because social conservatives won’t allow discussion of anything that even comes close to comprehensive sexuality education, access to contraception, or providing better access to reproductive health care.

    The recent debate on the US global AIDS policy, known as PEPFAR, was completely highjacked by social conservatives screaming about abortion when not one word in the bill, not one cent of the money being authorized, had anything to do with abortion. The issue was the need to get reproductive health care services, like contraception, to women in Africa who often cannot negotiate their sexual relationships and need to be empowered and equipped to protect themselves — within marraige. If they won’t even help married women, you can imagine how they feel about marinalized populations like sex workers, often using transactional sex to feed their children because of extreme poverty.

    These are very real problems for real people, but the politics of the far-right, stuck only on banning abortion, prevents any rational discussion of the totality of the issue. These are not easy issues to talk about for anyone, but they are made infinitely more difficult when one side refuses even basic respect to people who have different beliefs, be they religious or not, or when they try to define what is acceptable.

    Thanks for asking, the other question that is important to ask is WHY you don’t know more about the fact that progressives have been pushing these issues. Some of that responsibility rests with progressives themselves, but much of it has to do with our democracy being held hostage by the far right, and their success in duping the mainstream media.


    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • invalid-0

    Scott, I find yours an interesting comparison – a mega-church and Obama’s speech. Both use the appeal of the mass crowd, lighting, music, and non-standard vocal variations to create a mood that whips people into having a unique experience that attendees think, act, and speak of things differently. What I saw on TV tonight was essentially a church service that used the aforementioned techniques to whip the crowd into a frenzy. Take away the packed stadium, make it a bright day, get rid of the U2 introduction and the vocal inflections, and the reaction people have had to the speech would be a lot different (still down with what he said, but not giddy about it).

    I’m surprised how many normally skeptical atheists are being swept up into a giddy frenzy over this. Its not an issue of supporting Obama – McCain is gonna start a new Cold War and kill foreigners and I wouldn’t give him my vote either; I’m just comparing that speech to church services.

    PS – Do you really stand by your statement that 90% of Americans are pro-choice? I see your statistic and raise you the province of South Ossetia (seeing as aparently anyone can lay claim to that land – even those who have slaughtered its civilians).

  • invalid-0

    I forgot to mention the “Yes we can” slogan, the flag and sign-waving, and the themes of patriotism and “us vs them” also add to the mystique. Like Dean Cain just said on Larry King, “it was like I was watching a pep rally.”

  • invalid-0

    The following is at Clara’s request above:
    numbers for 2006 where available
    DENMARK [pop 5.4 mil, abortions 2005 (’06 not posted yet) 15,280]
    or 1 abortion per 353 people
    FINLAND [pop 5.2 mil, abortions 10,645] or 1 per 488
    ICELAND [pop 301k, abortions 867] or 1 per 1 per 347
    NORWAY [pop 4.6 mil, abortions 14,132] or 1 per 325
    SWEDEN [pop 9.0 mil, abortions 36,606] or 1 per 245
    for comparison
    UNITED STATES [pop 301 mil, abortions 517,604] or 1 per 581.

    Based on these numbers, I am not sure what point you were trying to make. Those countries have higher abortion rates so surely you are not a Democrat who is for abortion reduction.

    And Scott, I appreciate the second, more serious and respectful reply. Those are good points and I will definitely look into them.

  • invalid-0

    do anti-choice people even realize how ignorant they can be? someone can explain in the most intelligent, educated, way possible how this smear campaign against obama is just that – a smear campaign. and how do they respond – “oh yeah…well, um…HE STILL SUPPORT INFANTICIDE!”. it’s depressing and disheartening. i almost decided to stop checking out this website today, because of comments by people such as lucille, truth returns(the single most oxymoronic comment name EVER), timothy, etc. then i realized that the web is chock full of anti-choice, anti-women rhetoric, and i’m NOT going to let these zealots chase me away from a brilliant website.
    and ruben, it’s hilarious to me that you quoted definitions of the word infant for us. i often do the same regarding the word “baby” for all the anti-choicers who insist on using emotionally loaded words, not logical arguments. also, i know what an infant is, and i still know that barack obama is NOT a supporter of infanticide.
    i, myself, am overcome with excitement tonight – knowing that the change IS coming this november!!!

  • invalid-0

    Sheryl Crow should have included “A Change would do you Good” tonight in her medley.

  • mellankelly1

    The Democratic case would be better made if they presented more legislation to reduce the number of abortions. Specifically with regard to this issue, I have seen no legislation within the last 2 years while they have held office so their argument seems hollow and is easy fodder for the Republicans. (If I am wrong, let me know which House or Senate Bill number so I can get educated.)

    • H.R. 119 – Prevention First Act: introduced 02/05/2007
    • H.R. 1074 – Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act: introduced 02/15/2007 
    • H.R. 1653  – Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act: introduced 03/22/2007
    • H.R. 2523 – Unintended Pregnancy Reduction Act: introduced 03/29/2007
    • H.R. 2526 – Access to Birth Control Act: Introduced 06/06/2007

     

    Of course, in addition to these Acts, Democrats also wish to protect a womans right to choose the course of her own pregnancy by keeping abortion safe and legal. And as far as being "fodder for the Republicans" – why don’t I just direct you to the legislation regarding prevention of unwanted pregnancies (thus, reducing the number of abortions) that they’ve introduced:

     

     

     

     hmmmm… let me know if you can find any because I am having the darndest time…

    Very restrictive abortion laws (only if mother is in peril), population of 38 million plus, and only 340 abortions in 2006! The US in the same year, abortion on demand laws, population of 301 million plus, 517,604 abortions.

    According the the most recent studies, each year 46 million abortion occur worldwide; the US accounts for approx 5% of the worlds population and only 3% of abortions world wide (the US abortion rate is lower than that of the world as a whole). 

     

     

  • invalid-0

    Melankelly answered for you. Her statistics is what I wanted you to see. And seriously 581 is a higher number than 488, 245, 325, 347, 353.

  • invalid-0

    Mellankelly1, Great stuff! I appreciate the research! I will definitely look into it! One of the problems I have with conversations like this is that the extreme emotions on both sides tend to dominate the blogs. It is nice to see that Scott here not only has good articles, but respectful commentors with factual responses.

    Scott, I do not agree that “democracy is being held hostage by the far right.” One huge example recently: When Nancy Pelosi appeared on “Meet the Press” on August 24th, she could have spent her time highlighting the positives about what Democrats have done about reducing abortions. Unfortunately she decided to misquote her faith instead of highlight her party’s progress. (Mellankelly1 did a better job above, and she is not in office!)

  • invalid-0

    Clara, I think you just read it wrong. If you had a 1 in 10 chance to live or a 1 in 500 chance to live, I think you would opt for 1 in 10. To put it in terms of percentages, it is the difference between 10% and 0.2%. A 1 in 581 (or .17%) is NOT higher than 1 in 245 (or .40%). And yes I agree, Melankelly1 gave me a good answer. I am taking her advice and researching her sources.

  • invalid-0

    pro-life atheist, I am intrigued by the screen name. The foundation of most pro-life positions is faith-based. But to claim to be an atheist as well…. now that would be an interesting discussion some day! But not here, as it would be inappropriate and unfair to Scott.

  • invalid-0

    MarkV, just quickly:
    Most pro-life viewpoints don’t revolve around a religious position; that’s just a misunderstanding perpetuated by bumpster sticker sloganism that seeks to quickly invalidate a plethora of arguments by invoking separatioin of church and state. Atheism requires a disbelief in a high power. There’s nothing that contradicts those two viewpoints, and there’s actually quite a few pro-life atheists out there. I have 11 friends on my cell phone that fit that bill.

  • invalid-0

    MellanKelly1,

    Okay, now that I have had some time to review this, H.R. 119 is the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act.

    What you are probably siting is H.R. 468 which is titled, “Communities of Color Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act.” This bill went no where. There were only 62 members of the 435 members in support at the time — that is not Congressional Republicans killing a bill. That is people not wanting their name attached to any race-based initiative that could come back to haunt them at reelection.

    H.R. 1074 – “Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act” I would not have supported either. You cannot legislate good role models as proposed (p.8, lines 13-16). This makes no sense “encouraging teens to delay sexual activity and providing educational services and interventions, including information about contraception.”(p.9, lines 11-16) That is like saying “I want less gun violence so I will teach them how to use a gun only at the driving range.” Here is another line “Exposing teens to realistic simulations of the physical, emotional, and financial consequences of pregnancy and parenting.” (p.24, lines 16-18) What is that?! The Catholic Church stopped using scare tactics about pregnancy 40 years ago. If they “saw the light,” why is this Rep. introducing such language in legislation?! This is poorly written bill and it went no where because BOTH sides recognized that. Your inclusion of it here just shows you never read the bill, then assumed its defeat was one-sided.

    H.R. 1653 – “Responsible Education About Life Act”. This bill has more legs, more sponsors, and is better written. The main component of this bill that I appreciate is that if the government is going to give a state money for this program, that state is required to provide independent evaluation of that program’s effectiveness. Without such measures, states tend to use the money to fund other programs, then claim the initial program is not working and still requires more funding. This one still has “legs” and is still gaining sponsors on both sides of the isle.

    H.R. 2526 is a bill to designate Greece as a program country for purposes of the visa waiver program established under section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act…. so you misquoted again.

    My guess is that you meant H.R. 2596 – “Access to Birth Control Act.” It is specifically aimed at pharmacies so they do not “interfere with or obstruct the delivery of services relating to a request for contraception” or “intentionally misrepresent or deceive customers about the availability of contraception or its mechanism of action” (p.5, lines 10-16). This bill is not about reducing abortions and you should not have sited it. Unless you liked the title and did not think I would check your sources…. which is a bit insulting.

    H.R. 2523 – “Unintended Pregnancy Reduction Act” This is not worth commenting on because both it and its Senate version (S.1075) have gone nowhere, so again the claim that the Republicans are killing these is not entirely fair when Congressional Democrats are not encouraged by the language or intent as well.

  • mellankelly1

    Okay, now that I have had some time to review this, H.R. 119 is the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act.

    What you are probably siting is H.R. 468 which is titled, "Communities of Color Teen Pregnancy Prevention Act." This bill went no where. There were only 62 members of the 435 members in support at the time — that is not Congressional Republicans killing a bill. That is people not wanting their name attached to any race-based initiative that could come back to haunt them at reelection.

    I was referring to HR 819 / S21 (no idea how I missed that… I’ve typed 10 key for like 15 years now…) which is the Prevention First Act.

     

    Also, after reading your response above I’ve noticed that perhaps you forgot the statement that I was originally responding to (not Republicans "killing a bill" – I certainly never made that claim).  Your direct quote was:

    The Democratic case would be better made if they presented more legislation to reduce the number of abortions. Specifically with regard to this issue, I have seen no legislation within the last 2 years while they have held office so their argument seems hollow and is easy fodder for the Republicans. (If I am wrong, let me know which House or Senate Bill number so I can get educated.)  [emphasis mine]

    And it was incorrect… they put forth a number of legislation to reduce the number of abortions. 

    "Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act" I would not have supported either. You cannot legislate good role models as proposed (p.8, lines 13-16). This makes no sense "encouraging teens to delay sexual activity and providing educational services and interventions, including information about contraception."(p.9, lines 11-16) That is like saying "I want less gun violence so I will teach them how to use a gun only at the driving range."

    Simply because you opine that responsible sexual education should not involve the consequences of sex and the basic tools needed to avoid an unplanned pregnancy or STI does not make it so.  And let me get this straight… you do not believe that we should encourage responsible gun use for those people who legally own guns (including not only how to shoot these guns, but the safety aspects of keeping the unloaded gun in a safe, locked place separate from the ammo?)  Clearly we disagree about these matters, as did the representatives in the house, however, that does not mean that the democrats have done nothing to pass legislation that would reduce abortion… it merely means that you disagree with this legislation.

     

    I’ll have to get back to you about this… I’d like a chance to finish reading your response and any research you’ve done.  I’ll respond more later.

  • invalid-0

    My apologies about introducing the gun analogy. The purpose was not to derail the conversation but to show why the arguement proposed in the HR bill made little sense. The point was that it is virtually impossible to deter anyone from anything while showing them how to do it. Doesn’t matter if you are showing them how to do it safely, you still have to show them how to do it first before the safety. Again I apologize if I picked a poor analogy… it was all I could think about at the time.

    Your “mistyping” is understandable, but the dates you mentioned matched the
    the nearby HR 468.

    I agree that you did not mention the Republicans killing the bill. That was my mistake and I apologize. I did not take the time to reread the feed as I should have.

    I do not think we differ as much as you think. If you read all of my responses above, my critique has been “presentation,” but not the goal. Again, I appreciated the Bills you sited. Some do not help your case at all, but just because they do not help your stated point, that does not mean that I do not agree with it. It just means that I hope you can find better examples. And I do that not to “put you down” or ultimately “throw it back in your face” kind of discussion. It helps me find the common ground, instead of relying on the Sunday Morning news conversations that seem to focus on the differences.

    Hopefully you understand that I have appreciated the conversation thus far…