Today I appeal to Mr. Obama to consider the viewpoint of his pro-life supporters--and of those who would love to support him but can't get past his pro-choice record. I am not asking him to change his position, but only to speak forthrightly to this issue and, I hope, to show his own respect for human life.
Here is the speech I wish Mr. Obama would make.
Today I want to speak to people who grieve for the children lost to abortion in the United States—over 40 million since the Roe v Wade decision, over a million last year.
As you all well know, I believe every woman has the right to choose whether or not to bear a child. I have consistently supported laws and decisions that preserve a woman's right to choose, and I have consistently worked against laws that would put that decision in someone else’s hands. I will not win your vote if you require me to outlaw or restrict abortion rights, because I will not do that.
And yet I grieve with you over the tragic loss of lives and potential lives to abortion.
I grieve for women who get abortions because they already have more children than they can feed. Many of these women don’t need abortions, they need health care, jobs, and access to family planning.
I grieve for women who get abortions because they are abused by the men in their lives. Many of these women don’t need abortions, they need financial support, shelter, and a way to create an independent life for themselves and their children.
I grieve for women who get abortions because they have no way of continuing their education and their pregnancy. Many of these women don’t need abortions, they need child care, jobs, and tuition assistance.
I grieve for women and girls who are pressured or even forced to have abortions by their boyfriends, fathers, and husbands. Many of these women don’t need abortions, they need support in taking care of their children and acknowledgment of their own worth and strength.
And yes, I grieve for the never-born children who would have had life and love if their mothers had thought they had any choice at all.
I am pro-choice because I recognize women’s strength and worth and dignity. I believe I am also pro-life, because I am devoting my life to giving women a real choice--
- by giving low-income families an economic boost through tax relief, tax credits, raising the minimum wage, protecting home ownership, and making college more affordable
- by offering affordable, comprehensive, and portable health care to every American, including home visits by registered nurses to low-income pregnant women
- by helping parents manage family and work reponsibilities through expanding early childhood education, paid sick days, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the child and dependent care tax credit, flexible work arrangements, and after-school programs
- by supporting programs that foster responsible fatherhood
It is disrespectful to tell these women they must bear children even though they have no way of caring for them. It is equally disrespectful to offer them one choice only—abortion. If we respect a woman's right to choose, we must make sure that real choice is possible.
I have pledged to work with you to improve health care, create jobs, support education, and offer the kinds of resources that make true choice possible. I believe that if we work together to offer real choices--not only to rich and educated and powerful Americans, but also to young, poor, and discouraged Americans--many women will choose life. Can my opponent say the same?