Obama's Abortion Talk On Shaky "Common Ground"

Obama's Abortion Talk On Shaky "Common Ground"

Obama's Abortion Talk On Shaky "Common Ground"

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
May 18 2009 3:39 PM

Obama's Abortion Talk On Shaky "Common Ground"

Regarding President Obama’s commencement speech at Notre Dame, I pretty much agree with Hanna that he said all the right things about abortion . I especially related to his anecdote about the Christian doctor who wrote Obama to complain that his campaign Web site referred to all pro-lifers as right-wing idealogues. I’m about as pragmatic as you can get and still be a pro-lifer, so I’m right with the president on his call "to reduce the number of women seeking abortions … reduce unintended pregnancies" and make adoption easier.(Other pro-lifers are not swayed so easily , as 40 protesters were arrested trying to get onto Notre Dame’s campus Sunday.)

What I’m curious to see now is whether that talk turns out to be just that. Finding "common ground" means both sides have to give a little. Obama promised a "sensible conscience clause," but he has long supported the Freedom of Choice Act, which would toss out any limitations on abortion up to the time of viability and could even "invalidate the freedom-of-conscience laws on the books in 46 states," as Melinda Henneberger pointed out in Slate last fall. True, he did say recently that FOCA is not his "highest legislative priority." But one of his first acts in office was to restore funding to overseas family-planning groups that provide abortions, and he’s working to reverse the conscience clause that President Bush pushed through before leaving office. If it’s really common ground he’s looking for, he could impress a lot of us on the right by vocally dropping his support for FOCA.

Rachael Larimore is the online managing editor of the Weekly Standard and a former Slate senior editor.