Friday, January 25, 2008

Obama on Choice

The Clinton campaign has been attacking Obama's record on choice, which is a shame.  Both Democratic front runners as well as John Edwards are pro-choice -- that is something to celebrate.  If Clinton is serious about reproductive justice, she should not use it as a weapon to fight those who are on her side of the issue.  (Full disclosure: although I would be happy to see Clinton in the White House, I am for Obama and am a member of his Women's Policy Committee).  Here's what Obama had to say in honor of the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade:

Thirty-five years after the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, it’s never been more important to protect a woman’s right to choose. Last year, the Supreme Court decided by a vote of 5-4 to uphold the Federal Abortion Ban, and in doing so undermined an important principle of Roe v. Wade: that we must always protect women’s health. With one more vacancy on the Supreme Court, we could be looking at a majority hostile to a women’s fundamental right to choose for the first time since Roe v. Wade. The next president may be asked to nominate that Supreme Court justice.  That is what is at stake in this election.

Throughout my career, I’ve been a consistent and strong supporter of reproductive justice, and have consistently had a 100% pro-choice rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

While I was in the U.S. Senate, South Dakota passed a law banning all abortions in a direct effort to have Roe overruled; I am the only candidate for President to raise money to help the citizens of South Dakota repeal that law.  When anti-choice protesters blocked the opening of an Illinois Planned Parenthood clinic in a community where affordable health care is in short supply, I was the only candidate for President who spoke out against it.  And I will continue to defend this right by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president.

Moreover, I believe in and have supported common-sense solutions like increasing access to affordable birth control to help prevent unintended pregnancies. In the Illinois state Senate, when Congress failed to require insurance plans to cover FDA-approved contraceptives, I made sure those contraceptives were covered for women in Illinois.  In the U.S. Senate, I've worked with Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) on a bill that would make birth control more affordable for low-income and college women, and introduced the Senate version of Representative Hilda Solis’ bill to reduce unintended pregnancies in communities of color. As President, I will improve access to affordable health care and work to ensure that our teens are getting the information and services they need to stay safe and healthy.

But we also know that Roe v. Wade is about more than a woman’s right to choose; it’s about equality. It’s about whether our daughters are going to have the same opportunities as our sons. And so to truly honor that decision, we need to update the social contract so that women can free themselves, and their children, from violent relationships; so that a mom can stay home with a sick child without getting a pink slip; so that she can go to work knowing that there’s affordable, quality childcare for her children; and so that the American dream is within reach for every family in this country. This anniversary reminds us that it’s not enough to protect the gains of the past – we have to build a future that’s filled with hope and possibility for all Americans.

See also these responses to a questionnaire the RH Reality Check blog sent to Obama's campaign staff.

Please.  He supports FOCA and opposes the Hyde Amendment.  Can we please attack the Republican front runners, who really do oppose reproductive freedom?

Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, agrees:

Beginning in Iowa, continuing into New Hampshire, and now in South Carolina and the states voting in the February 5 contests, there has been an undercurrent of speculation and innuendo that calls into question Sen. Obama’s record on choice. This has the potential to divide the pro-choice community and create tension where none should exist. Today, for the sake of our issue and our movement, I am asking that these tactics stop. As someone who spent nearly two decades as an elected official before coming to NARAL Pro-Choice America, I know that, in the heat of the campaign, charges and counter-charges are made in the honest belief that one candidate is somehow better than another. I get that.

Read her full statement.

2008 Presidential Campaign, Politics | Permalink

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