Obama and Abortion

Ross Douthat writes:

But Warren, to his credit, didn’t pose a metaphysical question, or a biological one. He asked a legal question: “At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?” Obama tried to dodge by saying that from a “theological perspective” or a “scientific perspective” the issue is “above his pay grade.” But Warren asked a more narrow question, and one that any politician who votes on abortion laws should be able to answer. And of course, as a supporter of Roe and Casey, Obama does have an answer: He thinks that a baby acquires rights when it’s born – well, perhaps depending on how and why it happens to be born – and lacks them at every juncture before birth. He just didn’t want to come out and say it.

There’s two pieces in here. 1)The charge of the dodge and 2)The infanticide charge which Douthat I think being too cute by half references but throws in a perhaps to cover himself.

On the first, I actually think Douthat is (more or less) right that Obama dodged the question. One could argue I suppose that the distinction between a theological/scientific answer regarding status of a fetus and a legal one is without any real difference–i.e. the Warren legal route is simply a back door way of asking the same question. Because who is going to believe a fetus has rights and not believe from a philosophical and/or religious point of view its a full human being. But that aside, I think Douthat’s interpretation that Obama believes the individual has rights at birth is correct.

On the second, I find Douthat’s surfacing of what was originally a fringe-smear depressing (and beneath the quality of his blog, which I think is otherwise high). (more…)

Published in: on August 18, 2008 at 5:20 pm  Comments (1)  
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