Obama’s Election and the Abortion Debate

Especially now that Barack Obama has been elected president, some abortion foes are shifting their focus from banning to reducing the number of abortions in the country, according to the Washington Post.

Some of the activists are actually working with abortion rights advocates to push for legislation in Congress that would provide pregnant women with health care, child care and money for education — services that could encourage them to continue their pregnancies.

Their efforts, they said, reflect the political reality that legal challenges to abortion rights will not be successful, especially after Barack Obama’s victory this month in the presidential election and the defeat of several ballot measures that would have restricted access to abortions. Although the activists insist that they are not retreating from their belief that abortion is immoral and should be outlawed, they argue that a more practical alternative is to try to reduce abortions through other means.

A study sponsored by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good cited recent research showing that abortions among women living below the poverty line are more than four times that of women above 300 percent of the poverty level. The authors of the study found that social services like benefits for pregnant women and mothers and cash assistance to low-income families helped significantly reduce abortions in the United States the past two decades.

Still, the most virulent abortion foes say nothing less than a ban is acceptable to them. But the more practical and mixed coalition of abortion rights activists and foes have kept it together by focusing on the socioeconomic issues rather than hot-button topics like contraception and sex education.

9 thoughts on “Obama’s Election and the Abortion Debate

  1. how about services like family planning?

    Honestly, when the anti-choicers get into a coalition to increase funding for Title X, then I’ll listen.

  2. The pro-choice vs. pro-life movements

    I took a social movements class a couple years ago and we had a big discussion about whether something like this would ever happen (even though it seems like stuff like this would be to many people’s benefit) because each side was so polarized – so virulent – that it was unclear whether this would be seen as “weak” and therefore no one would try to go there.  It’s interesting that just the election of Obama has already resulted in these kinds of activities and I am hopeful for what this brings next.

    • It’s been about 30 years coming.

      It’s not just the election of Obama. I think it’s kind of the opposite. Sort of. Not that Obama’s election resulted in this but the fact that their candidate lost allowed other voices to be heard.

      The fact that the anti-choice crowd were seen as so important in tipping the vote towards the Republicans has given them a lot of power over the last few decades. Even when politicians weren’t willing to go whole hog and implement a lot of what they wanted, they still paid enough lip service and allowed things to head back in that direction as far as the rest of us would let them.

      There have been pro-life groups working to actually help women for a long time. They were just over shadowed by the loud anti-choice groups. What this election did was show that that loud minority is just that and the rest of us citizens aren’t as willing to be divided. They’re no longer the deciding group. As the more belligerent of the group lose power, others are stepping in with more helpful ideas.

      I’d be happier if there were more of a push towards education and contraception. But seeing so many from both sides finally noticing the common ground we’ve had all along is a blessing. It’s a start.

    • Thanks for the background

      Interesting to see how the framing is vs the history…  I really love to see how different things are talked about and framed given current events.

  3. I was happy to hear Obama talk about this

    During the debates he made some really good points about this issue — the first time I’d heard a politician say something smart about it. I really hope that people who are passionate about this issue can try to work together to keep abortion safe, yet get it to the point where it is rare due to an increase in education, health care and resources for women.

  4. One of the good things about having a pro choice

    administration is we can now actually work to reduce the number of abortions.  For the last eight years we have spent every legislative hour in every state fighting laws that made abortion just so much harder.  Now we can put more resources towards education and prevention.

    • it’ll be nice to have an administration

      that isn’t actively trying to make birth control illegal, too! How can we encourage prevention when the Bushies have been working to classify the Pill as an abortificant because it could prevent implantation?

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