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January 22, 2007


Kevin Drum asks:

"AT ARMS LENGTH....I'm always amused at this annual ritual:

''Our challenge is to make sure that science serves the cause of humanity instead of the other way around,'' the president said in a telephone call piped over loudspeakers to a Washington rally of opponents of abortion rights.

....Bush calls the rally each year, usually from distant locations. This year, he extended his weekend stay at the Camp David presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains to phone the participants from there.

Reagan did the same thing, didn't he? These guys are so terrified of having their picture taken in the actual presence of people they supposedly support that they extend their vacations in order to generate some marginally plausible excuse for not showing up in person. Or is it something else they're terrified of? I've never been quite sure."


Does anyone know if President Clinton showed up at the abortion-choice rally that took place during his presidency?

Bush,Bush and Reagan are and were creatures, in part, of the "pro-life" movement. President Clinton wasn't. I think you missed Kevin's point.


Thirty four years after the Supreme Court created a legal precedent for it, unborn children are still being killed.

If there really is no question here, if this is a no-brainer, why has the debate gone on for 34 years? Why a pro-abortion rally in Washington on the anniversary of Roe vs Wade and a corresponding anti-abortion rally?
Why do local groups take out full page ads in the paper remembering the historic precedent of Roe vs Wade?

I agree with what Greg Koukl and Scott Klusendorf have written, that "if the unborn is not a human person, no justification for abortion is necessary. However, if the unborn is a human person, no justification for abortion is adequate".

You didn't answer my question. Did Clinton show up at abortion-choice rallies? Seems the sword you draw cuts both ways.

Sigh, Contentedwife, let me try again. Clinton's base would not have been happy, had he shown up and said pleasing things to the folks there. Had he shown up and said what he believes - that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare - it would have been pitching fire for no reason.

On the other hand, those folks are an important part of the base of the Republican Party and yet, Republican Presidents seem to find it convenient not to show up.

What you seem to see as a great moral statement is, in reality, a de facto partisan political rally and you folks are being dissed.

Surely, you must see the difference, please?

The old and tired, “safe, legal, and rare” sound byte strikes again. What a shame that this still being used today. Why rare?

Abortion on demand; without apology; with no restrictions—oh yeah, and rare.

What a sick joke

Abortions did drop under Clinton.

Ah…but why is that a good thing?

It’s such a shame that the pro-choice movement has now moved on to what is convenient or not. First, the baby was inconvenient and disposable. No worries; we can abort. Now, the abortion procedure itself is inconvenient. Thus the need for rarity.

It seems that the only reason the pro-choice movement would logically hope to make abortions rare is that they are just plain inconvenient, impeding sexual liberty and freedom. What dread the human body offers us.


Kevin, I have no problem with a moral case against abortion. As with many moral issues the trick is the if and how of translating them into public policy.

Hanging ones opposition to abortion on the notion of a person from conception seems to be an obstacle to the generation of policy that might actually reduce abortions.

Ideology and theological dogma usually result in poor public policy. Don't make too much of the "why" here; it isn't an opening to conversion.

Opening to conversion?

Alan, I’m simply posting; as are you. It’s obvious that you have a point of view. This is a public forum. You’re putting your ideas out there and I am too.

Perhaps I am misreading you. Otherwise I suggest you add a disclaimer to your posts that reads:

“The above posts are my opinions only; I am not open to any sort of conversion or deviations from the above posted. If you feel you disagree with this post please do not respond but contact Alan Aronson to return this opinion.”

Hi Alan,

You wrote: "Hanging ones opposition to abortion on the notion of a person from conception seems to be an obstacle to the generation of policy that might actually reduce abortions."

Good, then I shouldn't have a problem, since I don't hang my opposition to abortion on that particular nail. I go from the other end and ask how the pro-abortionist distinguishes from a post-birth human and a pre-birth human in a morally-significant way, that would justify strict protection for the one and indifference toward the other. In other words, our system of law already recognizes the need to protect post-birth humans (and actually also pre-birth humans, except in the case of abortion), so what is the moral distinction between the two that makes one of them a candidate for extermination at will.

"Ideology and theological dogma usually result in poor public policy."

Except when you agree with the ideology, right? Is it part of your ideology that women should have a right to an abortion? I'll say it again: ALL laws (public policies) enforce *someone's* ideology. When a society enacts a law that prohibits murder, nobody complains, even if that law was motivated by theistic beliefs.

There are many things that can be difficult to implement as public policy but should that really dissuade the attempt when a public policy provides for the common good?


I mean, what's a society going to do?...give everyone that runs a red light a ticket?

Alan, you cannot be serious. Pro-abortion choicers not part of the Democrat base? Clinton didn't show up because he didn't want to offend the mushy middle. I'll even grant you that Bush is doing the same thing with his absence.

But let's not pretend Clinton's absence from the pro-abort rally was somehow different, in some meaningful way, form Bush's absence at the pro-life one.

Last try, contentedwife, as far as I can tell you seem to believe that the gathering is of a group of otherwise disinterested citizens who just happen to get together around the Supreme count on a random date in January. Not, they are part of the Republican base and why would a Democratic President appear at a gathering of the most loyal part of the opposition party's base? Clinton was ignoring them; Reagan, Bush and Bush were dissing them. Try and see the difference.

You missed my point entirely and ignored your initital one as well.

The question is NOT why didn't Clinton show up at the pro-life rally, but why didn't he show up at the pro-abort one?

You seem to want to dis Bush for playing pro-lifers for fools. Well, maybe he is and maybe he isn't. But if not showing up at a rally FOR YOUR SIDE of the issue means you are dissing your base (which you seemed to be saying in your first post), then Clinton is as guilty as Bush.

Sorry, the reason I missed your point is probably because the counter demonstrations aren't as big a deal to pro choice folks and the I imagine reason Clinton didn't show up is that the counter demonstration, not being a big deal, isn't worth the time. Also your use of the term pro abort migh be another reason. It takes the willingness to recognize that nuance sometimes has a point but few, if any, folks are pro abortion in the sense that the pro-life folks are anti abortion. Choice really does mean choice to just about everyone who is pro choice.

I think it is clear that Alan's intent was to cast Bush in a bad light. This all revolves around readings of Bush and Clinton's personal motivations.

The "nuance" here though is important: "but few, if any, folks are pro abortion in the sense that the pro-life folks are anti abortion".

This brings us back to the real issue (which is not the personal motivations of Bush or Clinton).

"if the unborn is not a human person, no justification for abortion is necessary. However, if the unborn is a human person, no justification for abortion is adequate". We have to work out the nuances of the value of human persons.

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