Obama Versus McCain on Abortion

This is a continuing series on the Primary Issues of the Presidential Election 2008. | Read Round One: McCain Versus Obama on the issue of Health care. | Round Two: Their take on the Iraq War. | Round Three: Obama Versus McCain on Free Trade. | Part One of Round Four on Natural Resources and Fossil Fuels, here. | In Part Two, we think the Democrats, Republicans And We All Are Misguided. | Part Three: McCain’s Position. Hypocrites Need Not Apply!! | Part Four: Obama Will Save The World, But the US will Go Broke in the Process | Round five: Is the US the Melting Pot or the Stagnation Pot? The candidate’s position on Immigration | Round Six: On the Issue of Abortion | Round Seven: McCain Versus Obama on Social Security: Obama Needs a Fundraiser, McCain Missing in Action | Part one of Round Eight: McCain Versus Obama on National Security, Obama’s Position | Part two of Round Eight: McCain Versus Obama on National Security, McCain’s Position

This topic touches on every election even though many of us do not want to overweight it in the light of a Presidential election.  The reason it plays so strongly in a Presidential election, however, is the President appoints Supreme Court Justices, and they decide upon the federal laws pertaining to abortion.  In addition, and more importantly, it plays to the morals of the candidate, and provides the sides a way to condemn the other for their beliefs.

The Republicans have carved out the pro-life niche.  Their belief is abortion at any time in the pregnancy and for any reason other than endangerment of the mother’s health, is wrong and an abomination.  It is seen as murder of a viable living being.  This belief, while it may sound extreme, is also the Christian belief.

The Democrats have played the “women’s right to their body” niche.  They believe it is the woman’s right to decide, and that no one but the woman has that right.  There are varying extremes, but they do not see abortion as a murder, but a right.  This belief, while it may sound extreme as well, is the US Supreme Court’s belief (see Roe Versus Wade).

The fact is for most people, this is a very muddied issue.  One has to believe that no woman wants to take the life of her unborn child, but that life’s pressures and circumstances are different for each.  There are choices, such as having a child and putting that child up for adoption.  With waiting lists years long for people wanting to adopt, it is hard for many to understand why any woman would abort an unborn fetus.

What people have to put into perspective is that a pregnancy does not take nine minutes or nine days, it takes nine months.  It is not something most women can conceal and it has major ramifications with respect to one’s family and future.  A single event can have life long implications.

There is a notion that this does not and should not involve the father, that he has no rights to his own unborn child even if he is willing to raise the child.  This appears to be believed by both sides given the way fathers are dealt with in the courts with respect to custody and their rights involving their children. Fathers appear to never have real rights to their children in the United States.  We would like a Presidential Candidate to stand up and defend Fathers’ rights, but have yet to see it happen as they tend to pander to women’s rights.

Many abortions involve women that cannot afford the child, that live in poverty, may be drug addicts and are for one reason or another, desperate to rid themselves of the fetus before it can impact their lives.  In fact, one argument for abortion is that a woman in such a desperate situation will risk her life to abort her fetus herself if she cannot find a safe method, so it is inhumane to not allow a woman that outlet.  Our horrific pictures of coat hangers come to mind.

The fact is the water is very muddy with respect to this issue.  Everyone seems to have their own level of acceptance for either side.  While some argue for Roe versus Wade, they believe there is a point, perhaps the third trimester of the pregnancy, at which the woman should no longer be allowed to abort.  While some are pro-life, they believe there are certain extremes, such as rape and incest, when abortion is justified.  The fact is though, if you are pro-life, it is the fetus that has the rights, and the fetus does not have any concept of how it was conceived.  Therefore, it is very difficult to approve any form of abortion.  It would be like a vegetarian that eats only McDonald’s burgers other than their vegetarian diet.  It is a cow, but oh that special sauce.  You are a vegetarian or you are not.  There is no in between.  And such is the abortion issue for many.

How has this played out in politics?

It is always the same mantra.  In politics, it is difficult to take a position only part way because you can get cut to shreds seeming to waffle.  Your personal beliefs can become your enemy if they do not seem firm.  Imagine the debate.  “Senator McCain, you claim to be a vegetarian, but how do you explain this video of you consuming a Big Mac last Thursday?”

So, typically, those politicians on the side of abortion cite Roe versus Wade and believe it is totally the woman’s right to choose in all cases.  Similarly, those politicians that side with the pro-life argument favor the total “life begins at conception” position, arguing that at the moment of fertilization, a human life with his or her own rights to life exists.

Politicians tend to play this with the same repeated arguments against the other side.  Those in favor of a Roe versus Wade will point at the other side and say they EVEN do not favor abortion in cases of rape and incest, and by bringing up the much more rare and often horrific instances that could lead to pregnancy, diminish the importance and wonderment of the rest.  Those that are on the pro-life side will accuse the other side of murder, and some believe it in their hearts to such a degree that they believe, in an almost vigilante way, that they must protect the rights of that fetus.

So, the game is on, and one side is inferred to be murderers or at least support murder, and the other is implied to endorse incest and rape.  These are great images to paint on your political nemesis.

While this may not sound all that political to many of us, it has huge political ramifications in elections.  Catholics, and most Christians, are very heavily taught that abortion is murder and that one should not vote into power anyone that would support it.  Inherently, that supports the right.  Many people cannot understand why people vote the way we do, but we believe this issue decides many a vote on religious grounds.  Because we are predominantly a Christian population, it has huge ramifications with respect to election results.

Interestingly, finding McCain’s position in a search was easy.  It was more difficult to find a non-interpretive statement of Obama’s.  Obama seems to want to hide his position or at the very least not put it in writing.

McCain’s Position

We take McCain’s position from his website.

Overturning Roe v. Wade

John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench.

Constitutional balance would be restored by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, returning the abortion question to the individual states. The difficult issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat.

However, the reversal of Roe v. Wade represents only one step in the long path toward ending abortion. Once the question is returned to the states, the fight for life will be one of courage and compassion – the courage of a pregnant mother to bring her child into the world and the compassion of civil society to meet her needs and those of her newborn baby. The pro-life movement has done tremendous work in building and reinforcing the infrastructure of civil society by strengthening faith-based, community, and neighborhood organizations that provide critical services to pregnant mothers in need. This work must continue and government must find new ways to empower and strengthen these armies of compassion. These important groups can help build the consensus necessary to end abortion at the state level. As John McCain has publicly noted, “At its core, abortion is a human tragedy. To effect meaningful change, we must engage the debate at a human level.”

It is not surprising that this is the position of the Republican running for President.  It would have to be, because it has been for some time.  We believe John’s position here to be pretty much rote.

Promoting Adoption

In 1993, John McCain and his wife, Cindy, adopted a little girl from Mother Teresa’s orphanage in Bangladesh. She has been a blessing to the McCain family and helped make adoption advocacy a personal issue for the Senator.

The McCain family experience is not unique; millions of families have had their lives transformed by the adoption of a child. As president, motivated by his personal experience, John McCain will seek ways to promote adoption as a first option for women struggling with a crisis pregnancy. In the past, he cosponsored legislation to prohibit discrimination against families with adopted children, to provide adoption education, and to permit tax deductions for qualified adoption expenses, as well as to remove barriers to interracial and inter-ethnic adoptions.

We do favor adoption vastly over abortion, but we would not vote for someone because of that belief.  We are surprised at parts of John’s statements though.  We were unaware of any discrimination against families that adopt or barriers to interracial or inter-ethnic adoptions.  We would like John to elaborate a bit on that, because we know people that have adopted their children and are very well adjusted and the children have benefited from wonderful loving parents.  What discriminations are there John?

Protecting Marriage…

We will not print this part of John’s position.  He devotes a significant argument for promoting marriage to prevent abortion.  We believe that the two are completely independent of each other.  It is a political diversion.

To make it a more political issue, how about removing the marriage tax John?  Whoops, not that committed are we?

Addressing the Moral Concerns of Advanced Technology

Stem cell research offers tremendous hope for those suffering from a variety of deadly diseases – hope for both cures and life-extending treatments. However, the compassion to relieve suffering and to cure deadly disease cannot erode moral and ethical principles.

For this reason, John McCain opposes the intentional creation of human embryos for research purposes. To that end, Senator McCain voted to ban the practice of “fetal farming,” making it a federal crime for researchers to use cells or fetal tissue from an embryo created for research purposes. Furthermore, he voted to ban attempts to use or obtain human cells gestated in animals. Finally, John McCain strongly opposes human cloning and voted to ban the practice, and any related experimentation, under federal law.

As president, John McCain will strongly support funding for promising research programs, including amniotic fluid and adult stem cell research and other types of scientific study that do not involve the use of human embryos.

Where federal funds are used for stem cell research, Senator McCain believes clear lines should be drawn that reflect a refusal to sacrifice moral values and ethical principles for the sake of scientific progress, and that any such research should be subject to strict federal guidelines.

We are unclear on the stem cell argument.  We can understand the belief in conception within the womb, but the creation of stem cells by creating embryos outside the womb is less clear if it would save or assist human life, but there is really no other position the pro-life side can take if they believe every fetus has the right to life, and it really would not impact our vote.

Protecting Children from Internet Pornography

John McCain believes the Internet offers tremendous promise…

However, there is a darker side to the Internet. Along with the access and anonymity of the Internet have come those who would use it to peddle child pornography and other sexually explicit material and to prey upon children.

John McCain has been a leader in pushing legislation through Congress that requires all schools and libraries receiving federal subsidies for Internet connectivity to utilize technology to restrict access to sexually explicit material by children using such computers. While the first line of defense for children will always be strong and involved parents, when they send their child to school or drop their child off at the library, parents have the right to feel safe that someone is going to be looking out for their children.

OK, John, now you are way off in outer space now.  We have somehow managed to mix in an argument against internet pornography with going to the library?  We think you should think of removing this paragraph.  We don’t think too many people are viewing child pornography at their local public library.  This seems so deluded as to question your ability to make Presidential decisions and to draw necessary lines.

For example, would you go to war and kill thousands of innocent people because a single madman rules that nation?  Whoops, we already did that.

Protecting Children from Online Predators…

Do you work for Dateline NBC Senator?  We swore we were supposed to be reading about your position on abortion.

The Greatest Honor is to Serve the Cause of Human Dignity…

OK,  again, you are in outer space.  In this section, John rambles on  about compassion and human sacrifice and his military service to the nation.  What?  How can you bring up your military service when speaking of abortion?  Could it be you are you speaking of soldiers that have raped the young girls of other nations in areas where the US is based?

We think you may want to rethink bringing up your military service every time you speak of any issue.  Every position you take is not justified by Vietnam.

While we would not vote against you for being pro-life, we would consider voting against you for exploiting abortion by associating it with their military service to acquire votes.  We find that an absurd association and, quite honestly, not worthy of a President.

Obama’s Position

Supports a Woman’s Right to Choose:

Barack Obama understands that abortion is a divisive issue, and respects those who disagree with him. However, he has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women’s rights under Roe v. Wade a priority as President. He opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in that case.

Obama buries his positions on abortion under Women’s Rights in an apparent effort to conceal them in the same way McCain appears to accentuate his.  He obviously believes in a women’s right to choose under all circumstances.  In fact he calls himself a “champion”.  “We are the champions, we are the champions, no time for losers, cuz we are the champions, of the world”.  A new theme for you perhaps Senator?  We picture our champion Obama in front of an abortion clinic with a cape and big O on his chest ready to right the wrongs of those that would deny a woman her rights to abort.

Barrack appears to have no statements to make about encouraging adoption or providing support for unwed mothers.  He seems to avoid the alternatives, almost promoting the act.  We find it a hollow, cowardly position.  We are not saying it is wrong for someone to support Roe versus Wade, but we also believe that any viable candidate should strongly suggest the alternatives and that support of those alternatives i  critical to this issue.  To speak of it with such brevity and to only refer to the courts certainly does not sound Christian to us.  You did say you are Christian did you not Senator?  Well, except when speaking in this interview.

Preventing Unintended Pregnancy:

Barack Obama is an original co-sponsor of legislation to expand access to contraception, health information and preventive services to help reduce unintended pregnancies. Introduced in January 2007, the Prevention First Act will increase funding for family planning and comprehensive sex education that teaches both abstinence and safe sex methods. The Act will also end insurance discrimination against contraception, improve awareness about emergency contraception, and provide compassionate assistance to rape victims.

Here we agree fully.  We do believe in the availability of contraception and health information and preventive services.  It is delusional to believe support of the family could possibly prevent unwanted pregnancies and we are certain Sarah Palin’s daughter did not intentionally get pregnant.  We would like to say that we do see courage, though, in supporting one’s daughter through that pregnancy and we also support Sarah’s daughter’s right to choose,  Roe vs Wade is not about a woman’s right to only abort her fetus.  The Senator seems to have missed that fact in his attacks on Palin and her family.  Senator, we just wanted to inform you, the other choice is to have the child and that takes vastly more courage than to abort it.

Therefore, because you avoided the topic, this leaves us wondering.  Do you favor abortion over adoption?  Do you believe Roe versus Wade applies at all points in the pregnancy?  Do you find your Christian faith at odds with your political stand?  What does your church preach?  We do know the leader of your church was quoted as saying “God Damn America”.

Conclusion

We are offended by some of the associations made by John McCain with respect to abortion.  We believe he went off topic, attempting to associate unrelated issues to abortion and to somehow associate his military service to protecting an unborn fetus.

But we believe Obama copped out almost completely avoiding the hard questions on abortion, leaving his position open to public interpretation.  By not stating his opinions openly and clearly, he leaves that interpretation to others.  We are disappointed in this shallow statement, but it does keep Obama somewhat slippery on the subject, allowing him to distort his view enough in the public eye so as to garner votes from either side.

We are dissatisfied with both sides stated positions, but we believe it is not up to the President to decide anyway, other than by the appointment of Supreme Court Justices, so we do not consider it central to our selection.  We do believe that our opinion of each candidate is driven by the way in which each expresses his opinion.  We believe McCain overstepped by a wide margin.  We believe Obama understated and dodged the issue.

Round Six, Draw

Round Seven: McCain Versus Obama on Social Security: Obama Needs a Fundraiser, McCain Missing in Action

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3 thoughts on “Obama Versus McCain on Abortion”

  1. I think there are a good number of Christians nowadays that tend to have more “progressive” beliefs. Beliefs that would be frowned upon by traditional Christians who feel that there is no grey area on any issue. No matter where you stand on the topic it’s definitely a sensitive one for many people.

  2. I disagree with the statement that the Christian belief is that all abortion takes a human life and is an abomination. Many thoughtful Christians do not hold that belief regarding very early interruptions of pregnancy, and in fact, the church has a long history of inconclusion on that very issue. The opinion that all interruptions of pregnancy, even to save the life of the mother, and/or in cases of rape or incest are murder is very much a mid-20th century to the present day phenomenon.

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