OBAMA AND ABORTION….Dana Goldstein is unhappy that Barack Obama isn’t talking more about abortion rights in his stump speech:
It’s fantastic that Obama is talking about pay equality and the disproportionate way in which poverty and inequality affect women. And if elected, he’ll make Supreme Court appointments that will limit the further erosion of abortion rights at the federal level. But Obama is just not using his progressive reproductive justice platform as a talking point, which does raise questions about how he will prioritize those issues if elected.
I don’t really get this. Does anyone seriously think that Obama is anything other than solidly pro-choice and will continue to promote strong reproductive health policies once he’s in office? His voting record is essentially perfect, he has good stands on all the issues that matter to the largest number of women (Plan B, abstinence-only education, contraception, parental notification, foreign aid, etc. etc.), and there’s little question that he’ll nominate Supreme Court justices who support Roe v. Wade.
I know that Obama is under the abortion microscope right now thanks to his “mental distress” comment last week, but if anything, this episode demonstrates that there’s really no percentage for him in making abortion central to his campaign: the downside from even small divergences from pro-choice orthodoxy is huge, while the upside from loudly confirming his pro-choice bona fides is small. Like it or not, it’s politically very savvy to make equal pay his signature gender issue while simultaneously trying to keep a lid on culture war stuff.