Thursday, October 16, 2008

Missed Opportunity On Abortion

In her column, "The Final Debate: Their Essential Selves," conservative columnist Kathleen Parker remarks upon the abortion issue discussed at the presidential debate on October 15. Parker notes

McCain should have taken Obama to the mat on abortion and Obama's vote as Illinois state senator against legislation to protect infants who survive abortion. Obama successfully deflected, first acknowledging that such a vote indeed would seem bizarre if not for the fact (his assertion) that existing law already required aid to such infants. Meanwhile, Obama used language beloved by conservatives, saying not only that we need to seek ways to reduce abortion, but asserting that “sexuality is sacred,” and that people shouldn’t engage in "cavalier activity." That sounds like the abstinence crowd talking, not the far left.

Obama did "successfully deflect" the McCain-Palin charge that Obama is nearly guilty of infanticide, assited by the latter's use of pro-life phraseology. And McCain probably erred in the manner in which he criticized his opponent's support for permitting late-term abortions if the health or the life of the mother is endangered. The Republican nominee, employing the hand-gesture which emphasized that he was using a quote, contended

He's (sic) health for the mother. You know, that's been stretched by the pro-abortion movement in America to mean almost anything.
That's the extreme pro-abortion position, quote, "health."

John McCain expressed a legitimate position, that an exception to the prohibition of late-term abortion because the health of the woman is claimed to be a risk can be abused. But he went too far, and probably struck some women as being contemptuous of their feelings, by emphasizing his opposition with a hand gesture. And it strengthened the impression of John McCain as an angry, bitter individual better suited to the arguments of the past than the challenges of the present and future.

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