Pro-life Obama supporters: please join!

I recently posted the following to the Pro-Life for Obama group, and there’s been some good discussion. If you’re a pro-lifer who’s planning to vote for Obama, please join the group and help us figure out the best ways to promote the cause of progressing beyond abortion.


I would like to know what other people think about what our role should be as pro-life supporters of Barack Obama. I’m voting for him and planning to help him get elected, but at the same time I think it would be wrong not to challenge his stance on abortion. I’ve written him a letter based on my blog post here, asking him to consider whether support for abortion and some of his other policies are really consistent with the message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But a letter’s not going to change anything.

I think that we should act as a community to encourage Obama to continue talking with pro-lifers and to adopt policies that would reduce abortion, while at the same time challenging him to show the same respect and compassion for unborn humans that he promotes for everyone else.

Possible goals include:

* Trying to get platform language adopted that stresses the importance of preventing abortion not only through preventing unintended pregnancy, but by removing the barriers to women choosing life;

* Making the above official policy of the Obama administration, with appropriate action taken by the Department of Health and Human Services, the White House Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach (which I’m guessing Obama would probably restore) and other relevant agencies;

* Promoting adult and induced pluripotent stem-cell research instead of embryo-destructive research;

* Having a pro-life, preferably consistent-life-ethic, speaker at the Democratic National Convention;

* Keeping the ban on funding of elective abortions with public money, though allowing funding to groups such as UNFPA (which has not been found to support forced abortion in China, contrary to what some people say) and anti-AIDS programs.

Any other ideas?

Does anyone here have any contacts with Bob Casey Jr., Tim Roemer, or James Oberstar? Those are pro-life names I recognize from Obama’s “Catholic Advisory Council” (full list here). Or, for that matter, are there any other pro-lifers working with the Obama campaign that he might listen to?

Have others here contacted the Obama campaign with your pro-life concerns?

25 thoughts on “Pro-life Obama supporters: please join!

  1. Although the pro-life philosopy is to big for just one party…Obama and all the other national dems just don’t care about your ideas so don’t vote for them. Please continue to work within all parties to spread the pro-life way of life.

  2. Maybe encouraging the Democratic Party to stop giving Democrats for Life of America the cold shoulder (is DFLA still unable to get a link from the DNC website?).

    I hope that Obama wins the election, but I wouldn’t be the right person to talk to their campaign. I’m an independent and I’m planning to vote for Joe Schriner myself (being in California, I think I can do that without risking handing the election over to the forces of “stay-the-course”).

  3. Of course we don’t want to “stay-the-course” on something like the war…which has gotten over 4000 Americans killed in battle over the last 5 years. Not to mention all the other anguish it has caused.

    But let’s look the other way and “stay-the-course” on something like the abortion in America…which has gotten over 4000 Americans killed every day for the last 35 years. Not to mention all the other anguish it has caused.

    Try putting a little realistic perspective on what it means to be pro-life:

    Gods love for a solider = Gods love for an unborn child

    Let’s save them all. (or at least as many as we can)

    It seems to me that the republican leadership is far more interested in ending the war (in a way that has a chance at a peaceful resolution) than the national democrat leadership is in making abortion “rare”. (Of course, recognizing the God given personhood of the unborn is not even on the table.)

  4. Senator Obama talks a lot about “change” and “social justice”. Except for his brutal pro-abortion policies that most Americans find appalling.

    Senator Obama wants to expand the abortion industry:

    * While a state senator in Illinois, Senator Obama opposed legislation which would prevent the killing of infants that survived late-term abortions. (active infanticide)

    * Senator Obama opposed the ban on partial-birth abortions, which the Supreme Court found to be constitutional. (also infanticide)

    * Obama has said one of the first things he would do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act which would radically expand abortion, make legal abortions federal law, and overturn pro-life state laws nationwide. (thus making it LESS rare.)

    * Senator Obama would make Catholics and evangelicals pay for abortions through his health care plan. (whatever happened to “choice”.)

    * Obama recently said after speculating if one of his daughters became pregnant that, “…if they made a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.” (just plain stupid.)

  5. Tom: so you won’t be joining, then?

    LAmom: I think the DNC website just stopped linking to other groups altogether, rather than put up a link to DFLA.

    DFLA will probably be having a meeting of some kind at the convention — they did four years ago — but as they’re not supporting the nominee, I don’t know what kind of influence they can really expect to have.

  6. Jen,

    Post an apology of repentance for your part in supporting the people who help enable the killing of 40 million Americans and I will take you seriously as a pro-lifer. Until then you’re just another group of lost sheep who cares more about other things.

    +Tom

  7. There are ways to be pro-life besides voting for the same old failed political strategy and the same old destructive Republican candidates. I’m not asking for your blessing, and I don’t take orders from you.

  8. No one is pro-life because they say they are. A person is what they are because of their own actions. If one does not actually do pro-life stuff (like not voting for pro-death candidates…among other things) they are not seriously pro-life. Or at least it is not a central identifier to who they really are. Sort of like someone who says they are an “environmentalist” but drives a Hummer and never recycles. Or the “good Christian girl” who sneaks off to get her unplanned pregnancy “taken care of”. Publicly she calls herself pro-life too. Voting for Obama kinda puts you in a category like that.

    Get serious girl or stop calling yourself pro-life…you will just embarrass yourself. It also spreads a poor reflecton on the rest of us.

  9. I’m a grown woman. Please do not call me girl, unless of course you want to come off as patronizing and sexist. Your call.

    Now, do you have anything to contribute on the topic of this thread? I’d welcome suggestions on good ways to advocate for life within the Democratic Party in general and the Obama campaign/administration in particular. I wouldn’t particularly welcome more attempts to make all pro-lifers conform to a single (and not terribly effective) way of being pro-life.

  10. Jen, I apologize if I come off as a bit condescending. The truth is I think you are a good person—just politically naive. And I am very glad you are pro-life. Although he will never say it out loud…Obama’s contempt for you and I as pro-lifers is 10,000 times what you may be getting off of anything I might actually say directly. The proposals outlined in the article have zero chance of affecting anything. Please keep working within every organization to further the pro-life way of life. However, actually voting for or supporting Obama will not help women in crisis at all. Not even in even a small way. And that is really quite sad.

    +Tom

  11. Okay, let’s talk about the effectiveness of pro-life tactics over the years. In the mid 1970’s opinion poles put the pro-lifers at about 20-25% of the American populace. Hard core pro-choicers about the same and the middle 50-60% were pro-choice by default. (They just thought people ought to be free to do whatever.) In the mid 1980’s it was about 35% pro-life and 25% pro-choice. In the mid 1990’s it was about 45% pro-life and 25% pro-choice. In the mid 2000’s it is about 55% pro-life and 25% pro-choice. That is a consistent 1% per year gain in pro-lifers and the pro-choice crowd—nada. And it hasn’t been because they weren’t trying or didn’t have the funding. Now, the best predictor of the future is the past. In the middle of the next decade pro-lifers will hit the wall at about 65% pro-life and in some states even more. Do you call that ineffective, old, and tired?

    We now have four life-friendly Supreme Court justices (five if you count Kennedy). The next president will likely appoint two new justices (the two oldest being life-unfriendly). An Obama presidency will put off any overturn of Roe another 10-15 years. This in a country with a majority pro-life populace. Not good. Roe-Wade needs to go so the people can vote.

    Meanwhile, who is helping women in crisis? Tired, old, ineffective pro-lifers…that’s who doing it. It isn’t Obama. He is to busy bending over for all the money the abortion industry is throwing at him because THEY KNOW how important he is to keep the money flowing into the abortion centers. When you come up with millions of dollars for Obama maybe he will invite you to some convention or something. Good luck with that.

    PS: Obama does not want you hanging around, but he will take your vote.

  12. Jen, one more thing.

    There are thousands of pro-life organizations in this country. Lots and lots and lots of differences. Check out the current feud between the NRTL and ARTL. Over 2000 crisis pregnancy centers, political groups, advertising groups, social groups, prayer groups, research groups, teaching groups, direct action groups…zillions! It is huge and growing all the time. The existence of this group “Pro-lifers for Obama” is proof that there is no lack of crazy ideas. It is one of the really great (and fun) things about being a pro-lifer.

    The fact that you somehow got the idea that there is one monolithic pro-life style that begs for liberation shows your limited view of reality. I am not trying to make you into a republican…I just want to help people to stop the killing. This is a big goal and ultimately will take everyone working together. Let’s pull the plow, together, side by side, but in roughly the same direction.

    +Tom

  13. Did you ever stop to think why it is that most pro-lifers these days are confined to the slums of the Republican Party? It did not start out that way. Pre-1970’s most pro-lifers were democrats. That is a fact. It REALLY is the natural home of pro-life philosophy. I remember because I was there…I grew-up in it.

    Here is the reason pro-lifers are not made to feel welcome in the Democratic Party: we got kicked out. Quietly, the Dems changes political aliances in the mid 70’s. They didn’t see us as relevant to the future. Figured we would fade into the past like flat-earthers so they wouldn’t be needing our votes anymore. Boy, were they ever wrong.

    Well, I am tired and my wife is calling…more later if you care to hear it.

  14. A few points before I go to bed: I don’t know what polls you’re looking at. The Gallup poll that they’ve done consistently since 1975 shows very little change — around 20-25% saying abortion should always be legal, around 15-20% saying it should never be legal, and the rest saying it should be legal in some circumstances.

    I don’t think I am politically naive, though I am an optimist in my own odd way. I have been working on reaching Democrats, Greens, feminists, and non-believers with the consistent-life-ethic message for going on twenty years — and in my optimism, I believe they can be reached. Pro-lifers like me share most of the values of Obama supporters, and are thus in the best position to reach them. I’m not saying it’ll happen overnight, but it has to happen, or at best we’ll just keep fighting over the same political ground forever. At worst, we’ll lose outright as the pro-life movement becomes more identified with a rejected right-wing ideology.

    Overturning Roe v. Wade on any grounds other than the humanity of the unborn is a red herring. Getting the Supreme Court to declare that there is no Constitutional right to privacy, and therefore states can vote on abortion, is not akin to achieving legal personhood for the unborn. But everybody seems to have given up on that (except ARTL, and they’re horrifying in other ways).

    What will voting for McCain do for women in crisis? How will voting for Obama stop pro-lifers from helping them?

    I agree that pro-lifers are a diverse lot, but as far as the groups that have power and influence, there’s little to no representation for the many of us who aren’t conservative, Christian, anti-contraception, and anti-privacy.

  15. Here is the reason pro-lifers are not made to feel welcome in the Democratic Party: we got kicked out. Quietly, the Dems changes political aliances in the mid 70’s.

    Well, that’s part of the reason, but I think that the religious right basically taking over the movement had a lot to do with the polarization as well.

    I’m tired too. :)

  16. Jen I admire what you are doing, but I don’t think I could identify myself as “for Obama.” He isn’t just nominally pro-choice. He got a 100 grade from NARAL. I read Obama’s book and I really admire the man and think he would make a great president were it not for this blind spot in his otherwise compassionate views.

    I think that he will be the next president regardless of how we small group of “consistent Pro-Lifers” vote. So we should try to get our voice heard by him and show him how inconsistent his abortion views are with the rest of his values. I did it through writing him a letter and posting it on my blog. Your “pro-life for Obama” group may also get us a seat at the table. But I feel too morally responsible for my vote to participate in giving Obama the opportunity to fund more abortion. My wife does plan to vote for Obama so I will definitely give her the link.

    Unfortunately I think the group will likely go unnoticed, and pro-lifers voting for Obama will be assumed to be supporting all of his policies. Of course, I feel a lot of ambivalence about voting for McCain because of his support for the war. I think the way that those of us who espouse Consistent-Life Ethics to get noticed is to throw our voting weight behind a Third-Party candidate rather than getting statistically lost as we divide our votes between Republicans and Democrats.

    I’m personally glad I found Joe Schriner on this post. I’ve been looking for a Consistent-Life third party candidate. I think I’ll invest my vote with him–despite the dark horse status and cheesy “Average Joe” label, reading his views impressed me.

    -Jonathan

    PS: Thanks Jen for the congrats on the baby. He is a great newborn. I hope all we do will make this nation better for his generation.

  17. Yeah, I get that. I would rather it were called “Obama voters for life”, since I think that puts the emphasis in a more appropriate place, but I didn’t start it.

    I used to vote third-party, but I’m not convinced it can help unless we get some kind of IRV or proportional representation system. For now, I’ve decided to try to work within one of the existing big parties; and for me it’s a much more natural fit to try to convince Democrats to support the CLE than Republicans. (I also think it’s more likely to work; that said, I definitely honor those who are trying to change the Republicans from the inside.)

    I did see your letter, and I like it a lot.

    May your son and my daughter, and all their generation, inherit a decent world from us.

  18. Jen,

    Well, we have more in common than I thought. I agree with you about ARTL including some horrifying parts. Personhood is the right way to go though. Truth is we really got to take what we can get…you know McCain was not the first choice for the conservatives. You gotta take what you can get. McCain is consistently, but not perfectly, pro-life. If Roe falls for any reason it would really help. Did you notice the list of supporters on the ARTL web site? Dobson and all the rest… Chances are you would not be pro-life if it weren’t for the likes of them. Oh yeah and the pope too. Horrifying. Show a little gratitude. In politics you got to look past the warts to shake hands.

    Perhaps kicked out of the dem party was a poor choice of words on my part. They did not get kicked out. After the McGovern failure the party went in search of a way to win and decided to go with the feminist crowd (which was the height of fashion at the time…NOW and all that.) This was done at the expense of religious peoples. Most of whom happen to be pro-life. The repubs took them in and created a special little slum just for them and they have lived there ever since. One can get a lot done in a slum if you work at it. i.e.: the religious right take over of the 80’s and 90’s.

    Religious people are not made to feel welcome in the dem party either. That’s another core problem. America is really quite religious.

    Okay about polls. Stop reading the propaganda. There are lots of polls ands most are a bunch of carp. I won’t sight one because it is a waste of time unless you’re doing a Masters thesis. But in general what I said is more or less accurate. Let me highlight a main difference. There are 2 kinds of pro-choicer. The philosophically committed abortionist and those who don’t really know much or care about the issue. The latter are simply pro-choice by default. They just want people to be free to do what they feel is best for them. They may even say they are personally opposed or something like that. Pro-lifers have been working on this group and convert about 3 million a year to self describe as some form of pro-life. The former group is the one that has never gotten traction among the American people. They will likely always be there at around 25%. Obama is in this group. (Or at least as long as the money keeps coming in.)

    Now listen here, you are incredibly politically naive if you think you are going to do any good for women in crisis or their children by supporting Obama. (note my previous post) He may use you to create an air of inclusion except that you are never going to be included. Sure, continue to work on your Greener friends and what not…I am sure there is lots of room for success there. But trying to get people who are already pro-life to support Obama is not the way to go about things. You are mis-representing who and what he is. This is not even fair to him.

    One pro-life party is not enough, but Obama is not the ticket to that kind of future. Continue as a pro-life dem if that is who you are, but voting for him? Really? Not if you put life above party or any other issue.

    Here is the ticket to dems going pro-life. Stop the flow of money from the abortion industry into the party. Until that happens the peoples voice will not be heard. Because money is the language of politics.

    +Tom

  19. Dobson and all the rest… Chances are you would not be pro-life if it weren’t for the likes of them.

    Don’t know why you’d think that. I don’t find that Dobson and company make a particularly attractive or compelling pro-life case.

    But trying to get people who are already pro-life to support Obama is not the way to go about things.

    Actually, what I’m trying to do is get pro-life people who have already decided to vote for Obama to get together and challenge him and his supporters on life issues.

    The flow of money — now that’s one thing you and I can agree on 100%.

  20. Here’s from another longtime prolifer who intends to vote for Obama.

    In voting, an important consideration for me in bringing about a prolife society in regard to abortion is this: does this candidate seriously, substantively advocate for measures that will actually alleviate women’s perceived need for abortions?

    After all, even if abortion is illegal, women will still be driven to have abortions, as they will be unless and until this society gets very, very serious about freedom of choice in contraception, sex education, policies that make parenthood or adoption feasible.

    Read Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope. He not only recognizes that opposition to abortion can have humane motives, he is serious about cooperative action to reduce abortion.

    I’ll take that any day over any conservative Republican who inveighs “prolife” but,in addition to prolonging the war and supporting the death penalty, is actively hostile to the human rights of nonprocreative sexual expression, pregnancy prevention,and public commitment to real social and economic support policies for parenthood.

    And nobody here better accuse me of having innocent unborn blood on my hands. I have been working for over 20 years in a variety of ways to create a society where women have other and better alternatives, and I have faced the ultimate test of prolife myself, namely bearing an unplanned child in extremely difficult circumstances, thank you very much.

  21. Tom, I just re-read your comment, and I think I misunderstood the Dobson remark. I gather it was directed at ARTL, and not me?

  22. As a Catholic and a pro-life proponent, I would never allow myself to be ‘sucked in’ by the left wing, say anything to win candidate.

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