(A Few) Candidates on Choice

RH Reality check recently sent out a detailed and comprehensive questionnaire to all presidential candidates about their views on reproductive rights, from abortion to contraception and the right to parent. Only Senator Edwards and Senator Obama filled out the questionnaire, and Senator Dodd issued a statement (a mix-up meant that Kucinich did not receive the questionnaire until recently, and they are awaiting his responses).

Personally, I found it to be very informative. I thought that Edwards’ answers were great, very powerfully pro-choice, and I greatly appreciated his taking the time to make remarks about the importance of providing support and assistance to mothers. Dodd seems to have a pretty good record, but I didn’t find his statement to be incredibly informative or impressive. As for Obama’s answers, I was very pleasantly surprised to learn just how strong Obama’s record on reproductive rights and women’s health is. I found myself feeling very impressed, and thinking that he might indeed be the most pro-choice candidate in the field. Then, alas, I read this:

Does Sen. Obama support any restrictions on abortion, or does he believe it should be entirely up to women?

Obama supports those restrictions that are consistent with the legal framework outlined by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade.

Sigh. This seems to be a theme with Obama; every time he impresses me, he almost immediately ends up letting me down. Though, to be fair, I had to cringe a little at the end of Edwards’ answer to the same question, when he added that he opposed the federal abortion ban (“partial-birth” abortion ban) because it didn’t provide an adequate exception for women’s health. In any case, read through the statements — and let me know what you think. Personally, I walked away believing that either Edwards or Obama would do a fine job of protecting and increasing women’s right to reproductive health care.

0 thoughts on “(A Few) Candidates on Choice

  1. Tali

    Thanks for the link, Cara, some of the responses were really interesting, and it was great to have a more in-depth look at what is not a very talked about issue. For those of us who are not as knowledgeable about Roe v. Wade as we should be, could you outline the restrictions on abortion outlined in Roe v. Wade (that Obama supports)?

  2. Cara Post author

    It’s 10 a.m. two days before Xmas, so I’m a little too lazy to look up the details. But the Roe v. Wade ruling includes provisions saying that the government can restrict access to second trimester abortions and very strongly restrict rights to third trimester abortions except for issues of “maternal health.” As we know, what is considered “maternal health” is highly subjective and has been very strongly abused. It also says that the government has an interest in preserving “potential human life.” I believe that Roe was and is a great thing. But it’s hardly without its flaws. I think that celebrating it is proper and deserved, but worshiping it as the answer to all “choice” issues is very misguided.

  3. Kate

    It was really inspiring to read some of the responses. I too was surprised about how strong Obama was on reproductive issues. For once I’ve read something that gives me hope for the future of women as this current backlash approaches 30-some-odd years.


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