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McCain, Obama, and Abortion


Time has an article today entitled “Rigidness on Abortion May Hurt McCain.” No surprise. Every presidential election one or more organs of the mainstream press trots out the argument that being pro-life is a net liability. Ramesh, among others, has shown that this argument is empirically suspect.

What of Obama’s rigidness on abortion? Has there ever been a presidential candidate more committed to Roe? Indeed, so committed that he refuses to distinguish between a baby in the womb and one born alive? Apparently, it’s escaped Time’s notice that Obama is the only U.S. senator to have voted against the language of the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act. He’s the only U.S. senator to have gone beyond even NARAL’s position on the bill. He opposes a ban on partial birth abortion. He opposes parental notification laws. His position on abortion, aside from his evasive rhetoric, is absolutist and sclerotic.
The problem for Obama isn’t merely his abortion absolutism, it’s that his position on the Born-Alive Act transcends abortion: Obama is left to explain the difference between nonfeasance and malfeasance as relates to infanticide; the difference between a baby entitled to protection and a baby entitled to none. That’s not a position any other presidential candidate has ever had to explain.

If Obama is forced to defend his Born-Alive vote during one of the debates his “nice-guy” gleam will be tarnished considerably. Clearly, his campaign understands this. Consequently, the dissembling on Obama’s vote.