Commentary Magazine


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Abortion Confusion

Barack Obama’s muddle on abortion hasn’t gotten a ton of coverage. And in fairness to the mainstream media they have had a lot more critical and dramatic flip-flops to cover (e.g. Iraq and FISA). But as this story shows, Obama has flummoxed his pro-choice supporters. Did he mean to undercut the legal underpinnings for Roe v. Wade? They don’t think so. But if not, what was he up to? Pro-choice advocates are concerned: “that kind of statement [undercutting the mental health justification] really feeds into the wingnut argument that women have abortions because they are frivolous about that decision, because we are having a bad hair day.”

Let me help: 1) He was trying to give meaningless rhetorical comfort to value voters; 2) he didn’t realize that questioning the mental health justification for late-term abortions was a fundamental no-no for pro-choice absolutists; 3) when he tried to correct his error, his explanation didn’t make any sense either; and 4) He’s going to appoint as many Ruth Bader Ginsburgs as he can find to fill vacancies, so they needn’t worry. I think that covers it.

In short, there is no need for anyone to worry that Obama has gone wobbly on abortion. They can worry, however, that they are dealing with someone whose legal acumen is vastly overrated and who says things that will make healing the breach with Hillary Clinton supporters that much more difficult. They can join the growing and long line of disappointed and disillusioned Obama supporters. Hey, if they wanted a knowledgeable, experienced hand who understood all the intricacies of abortion law and politics, they should have supported Hillary.