Leaping Lizards! Hillary is reading the Cracker Squire. Welcome aboard, but we can't support you in '08. - Clinton Seeks Shared Ground Over Abortions.
Clinton Seeking Shared Ground Over Abortions
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Monday that the opposing sides in the divisive debate over abortion should find "common ground" to prevent unwanted pregnancies and ultimately reduce abortions, which she called a "sad, even tragic choice to many, many women."
In a speech to about 1,000 abortion rights supporters near the New York State Capitol, Mrs. Clinton firmly restated her support for the Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide in 1973. But then she quickly shifted gears, offering warm words to opponents of legalized abortion and praising the influence of "religious and moral values" on delaying teenage girls from becoming sexually active.
"There is an opportunity for people of good faith to find common ground in this debate - we should be able to agree that we want every child born in this country to be wanted, cherished and loved," Mrs. Clinton said.
Mrs. Clinton's remarks were generally well received, though the audience was silent during most of her overtures to anti-abortion groups. Afterward, leaders of those groups were skeptical, given Mrs. Clinton's outspoken support for abortion rights over the years.
Mrs. Clinton, widely seen as a possible candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2008, appeared to be reaching out beyond traditional core Democrats who support abortion rights. She did so not by changing her political stands, but by underscoring her views in preventing unplanned pregnancies, promoting adoption, recognizing the influence of religion in abstinence and championing what she has long called "teenage celibacy."
She called on abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion campaigners to form a broad alliance to support sexual education - including abstinence counseling - family planning, and morning-after emergency contraception for victims of sexual assault as ways to reduce unintended pregnancies.
Mrs. Clinton's address came as the Democratic Party itself engages in its own re-examination of its handling of the issue in the wake of Senator John Kerry's loss in the presidential race.
Democratic senators such as Harry Reid of Nevada and Dianne Feinstein of California have also pressed for a greater focus on reducing unintended pregnancies, and some Democratic consultants have urged that party leaders mint new language to reach voters who identified moral values as a top issue for them in last November's election.
Before the election, Mrs. Clinton was a visible and public defender of abortion rights, appearing at a huge rally in Washington last spring and denouncing what she called Republican efforts to demonize the abortion rights movement.
And in her remarks, she seemed to acknowledge that this image of her was well known by anti-abortion campaigners while adding that, to her, it did not tell the full story about her views. "Yes, we do have deeply held differences of opinion about the issue of abortion and I, for one, respect those who believe with all their hearts and conscience that there are no circumstances under which any abortion should ever be available," Mrs. Clinton said, going on to assert that even some critics still support abortions in some cases, such as when the life of the mother is at risk.
The senator also made a nod to the values issue on Monday in praising faith-based and religious organizations for promoting abstinence.
"Research shows that the primary reason teenage girls abstain from early sexual activity is because of their religious and moral values," Mrs. Clinton said.
Several audience members inhaled sharply, for instance, when Mrs. Clinton said that 7 percent of American women who do not use contraception make up 53 percent of all unintended pregnancies. She also cited research estimating that 15,000 abortions a year are by women who have been sexually assaulted, one of several reasons, she said, that morning-after emergency contraception should be made available over the counter.
Leaping lizards! Has Hillary been reading my blog? In my 12-06-04 post I wrote:
"As we reach out to religious voters, we should quit arguing the legality of abortion, and rather shift the theme to abortion should be 'safe, legal and rare.' And just as we want to see fewer abortions, we want our children to learn good values -- at home, in school, at Sunday school and at church with their parents.
"(Come on now, suck it up a little; the rules of engagement changed on Nov. 2.)
"Good values, health care, jobs and sex education can reduce the number of abortion procedures, and who can be opposed to that."
And in my 12-27-04 post I wrote:
"I am pro-choice, not because I am a Democrat, but because I think it should be a woman's choice, and definitely not mine unless it happened to be my wife or daughter.
"But what if someone has religious convictions and moral beliefs that are different from mine; do we not have room in the party for such person?"
The Senator sure has a point when she says: "I, for one, respect those who believe with all their hearts and conscience that there are no circumstances under which any abortion should ever be available."