Friday, September 5, 2008

The speech I wish Mr. Obama would make

Yesterday I appealed to pro-life voters to consider reality, not rhetoric: which candidate, if elected president, would be more likely to reduce America's abortion rate?

Today I appeal to Mr. Obama to consider the viewpoint of his pro-life supporters--and of those who would love to support him but can't get past his pro-choice record. I am not asking him to change his position, but only to speak forthrightly to this issue and, I hope, to show his own respect for human life.

Here is the speech I wish Mr. Obama would make.

Today I want to speak to people who grieve for the children lost to abortion in the United States—over 40 million since the Roe v Wade decision, over a million last year.

As you all well know, I believe every woman has the right to choose whether or not to bear a child. I have consistently supported laws and decisions that preserve a woman's right to choose, and I have consistently worked against laws that would put that decision in someone else’s hands. I will not win your vote if you require me to outlaw or restrict abortion rights, because I will not do that.

And yet I grieve with you over the tragic loss of lives and potential lives to abortion.

I grieve for women who get abortions because they already have more children than they can feed. Many of these women don’t need abortions, they need health care, jobs, and access to family planning.

I grieve for women who get abortions because they are abused by the men in their lives. Many of these women don’t need abortions, they need financial support, shelter, and a way to create an independent life for themselves and their children.

I grieve for women who get abortions because they have no way of continuing their education and their pregnancy. Many of these women don’t need abortions, they need child care, jobs, and tuition assistance.

I grieve for women and girls who are pressured or even forced to have abortions by their boyfriends, fathers, and husbands. Many of these women don’t need abortions, they need support in taking care of their children and acknowledgment of their own worth and strength.

And yes, I grieve for the never-born children who would have had life and love if their mothers had thought they had any choice at all.

I am pro-choice because I recognize women’s strength and worth and dignity. I believe I am also pro-life, because I am devoting my life to giving women a real choice--
  • by giving low-income families an economic boost through tax relief, tax credits, raising the minimum wage, protecting home ownership, and making college more affordable
  • by offering affordable, comprehensive, and portable health care to every American, including home visits by registered nurses to low-income pregnant women
  • by helping parents manage family and work reponsibilities through expanding early childhood education, paid sick days, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the child and dependent care tax credit, flexible work arrangements, and after-school programs
  • by supporting programs that foster responsible fatherhood
Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. Choice requires alternatives. If a woman is free to choose an abortion, she should also be free to choose to give birth. Too many women do not feel that freedom, because they don’t have the financial, educational, medical, or personal resources to choose to keep the children they have conceived and already love.

It is disrespectful to tell these women they must bear children even though they have no way of caring for them. It is equally disrespectful to offer them one choice only—abortion. If we respect a woman's right to choose, we must make sure that real choice is possible.

I have pledged to work with you to improve health care, create jobs, support education, and offer the kinds of resources that make true choice possible. I believe that if we work together to offer real choices--not only to rich and educated and powerful Americans, but also to young, poor, and discouraged Americans--many women will choose life. Can my opponent say the same?


Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear that speech, too, but I wonder if a man who talks about his daughters being "punished" with a pregnancy, could even consider making such statements.

There's one pro-life ticket in this campaign, and it's not Obama/Biden.

Anonymous said...

Sen. Obama cannot say this because he does not believe it, or, if he does, he is beholden to the secular Left that controls his party. He has a consistent record on this issue: He opposes laws restricting partial-birth abortion and protecting infants born alive after a botched abortion. His ideological commitment to the proposition that all humans are NOT created equal is seen in his choice of the word "punished" when referring to the possibility that his daughters might get pregnant.

He would have the opportunity as president to set the course of the Supreme Court for decades to come. This election is much too important to vote for Obama based on the HOPE that he will rise above everything he apparently stands for concerning abortion.

Yes, Obama seems like someone we pro-lifers can work with. But why can't we take the same tack with Sen. McCain, if we really believe that addressing some of the underlying poverty issues will lower the abortion rate? It seems to me as if he would be easier to convince on this issue than Obama would.

Sadly, as appealing a candidate as Mr. Obama is, a vote for him would still turn out to be a vote to strengthen the hold of abortion in this country. We simply can't rationalize this away.

Thanks for listening.

Anonymous said...

Even if this speech were given I doubt that most pro-life listeners would in fact listen. Pro-listening may be more of the issue. Many who I have had conversations with (on both sides of the issue) are not only unwilling to listen past their cherished thought patterns, but more importantly seem unwilling to listen to themselves.

In this case, for example, try listening to the term pro-life. It sounds so good. Except many of the same people are more than willing to be anti-life. They seem very willing to take the life of an unwanted baby,turned drug addict, turned adult capital criminal. It somehow seems so justified to send them to death row. These are also many of the same people who are hawkish when it comes to war. Kill in the name of God. God Bless America!

I am suspicious that one reason many people are so fearful about pro-choice is because they have given away their own choice. Really listening to ourselves is hard work.

Others at least appear to be confused as to the meaning of life itself. Life is much more than just biology --of breathing. I wonder how many of pro-lifers are single welfare moms left with numerous children; whose children are themselves on their way to perpetuating the same sad cycle. That is life?

I like your speech.

benintn said...

Thanks, Lavonne! Sen. Obama has said that we forgot that abortion is a moral issue with moral consequences. He also said in his acceptance speech last week that no matter which side of the abortion debate we're on, we can all agree that there are too many unplanned pregnancies and unwanted pregnancies.

These other anonymous people can post their tripe, but I'll tell you that they're wrong. I'm Ben Vos, and I approve this message.

Anonymous said...

A combined 7.5% of abortions occur in cases of rape/incest (0.5%), mother's health (4%) and baby's health (3%). I think what frustrates so many pro-lifers is that 92.5% of abortions could be avoided outright with a little personally responsibility in using some sort of brith control.

Instead of spending billions of dollars on program after program, wouldn't it be cheaper to just give free condoms to everyone?

I hope everyone does agree that a world where most abortions aren't necessary b/c people are responsible is a good thing.

tdadpete said...

I don't know if your anonymous naysayers are all the same person, but let me say first that Senator Obama's mention of his daughters had nothing to do with abortion. He was saying that he teaches his girls values and when appropriate intends to teach them about birth control, so that if they choose to ignore his values they are not "punished" with a baby. Abortion was not the issue.

But Lavonne, this is a brilliantly-worded speech, which I believe DOES reflect Senator Obama's views (as well as his voice). How can we get this to him?

Cindi said...

This is a touching speech that I believe rings true to Mr. Obama's heart on this issue. I appreciated the comments of tdadpete and the comment including pro-listening. Thank you to all.

Patty said...

When McCain chose Sarah Palin and her nomination was approved last week, this election, unfortunately, returned AGAIN to a one-issue election. Forget the war, forget the economy, forget the unitary executive abuses our country has suffered under Bush and his administration. Make no mistake. McCain knew EXACTLY what he was doing in picking an inexperienced pro-life candidate for his VP, following in the footsteps of his predecessor Bush who won his two elections solely on this one issue of abortion. It's sad that this has come to the same state of affairs as in 2000 and 2004 with so many other important issues which will continue to plague us taking back-burner to an issue which McCain, like Bush, will do nothing about anyway. I still wish I knew the answer to the question, "How can one be pro-life and also be pro-gun and pro-war?"

Shane Vander Hart said...

Making that speech won't help. It isn't that we just disagree on the means, but also the end. He's had a chance to vote for pro-life legislation that should have bipartisan support.

But he hasn't.

He talks about being bipartisan, but what has he done to do that? I mean really? He has no record of reaching across the aisle in the Illinois Senate or in the U.S. Senate.

The only change he'll bring is making next administration a liberal one.

Anonymous said...

I think this would be a great speech, but a very dangerous speech. We should not be comparing adults, who have free-will and make decisions every day about how they are going to live their lives, with completely innocent, unborn babies. Even the prisoners IN prison would agree that anyone who hurts a child/baby should be dealt with accordingly, because they realize there is no way anyone could rationalize hurting a child/baby. Why do you think prisoners who hurt children are put in solitary confinement? Because if they are not put in solitary they will be hurt or even killed.

As far as comparing the war in Iraq to abortion when it comes to pro-life issues, it's comparing apples and oranges. Anyone who would compare babies in the womb with men who have chosen to enlist and who believe in the war they are fighting just plain doesn't get it.