Obama’s Softer Rhetoric

When President Obama softened his rhetoric on abortion at his April 29 press conference, pro-lifers braced for the age-old provocations.

No matter what he says, it will never be enough for you. Why are you so extremist and uncompromising? Why won’t you give even an inch?

Instead of taking the bait and arguing on pro-abortionists’ terms, defenders of life should notice that Obama’s very change in language shows that holding fast is working.

Some people don’t understand pro-lifers’ passion for the right to life. To them, abortion doesn’t seem like that big a deal.

Those who are passively “pro-choice,” for example, may understand the issue intellectually. But their comprehension doesn’t make an impact on them emotionally.

To help others understand our zeal for the right to life, try this experiment. Substitute “racial discrimination” for the word “abortion” in Obama’s April 29 words and imagine a white man saying them.

Then show your pro-choice acquaintances the results:

“The reason I’m [pro-choice on discrimination against blacks] is because I don’t think women take that position casually. I think that they struggle with these decisions [over whether or not to discriminate] each and every day, and I think they are in a better position to make these decisions ultimately than members of Congress or a president of the United States — in consultation with their families, with their doctors, with their clergy.”

Or, as we wrote at NCRegister.com, try using his reasoning to advocate child abuse:

“Now, the freedom of choice [of severe discipline] act [, FOSDA,] is not my highest legislative priority. I believe that women should have the right to choose [to abuse their children], but I think that the most important thing we can do to tamp down some of the anger surrounding this issue is to focus on those areas that we can agree on. And that’s where I’m going to focus.”

With one difference — killing is far worse than discrimination or abuse — that is precisely what we pro-lifers heard when Obama said what he said.

We can’t pretend that unborn children don’t count because they’re in the womb, unseen and unheard; we can’t pretend that abortion doesn’t count because the mother, and not someone else, decides.

The real horror of abortion is that the experiment above isn’t all that far-fetched.

It is precisely because pro-lifers have kept their principles clear that we are making headway against abortion.

One sign of this is Obama’s very rhetoric. He wouldn’t be speaking this way if the old language of abortion without compromise were popular.

It is becoming less popular all the time.

A new study from Pew Charitable Trusts bears this out. The poll found:

Overall support for legal abortion is down 8%.

The proportion of Americans saying abortion should be legal in all or most cases declined from 54% last August to 46% this month.

Support for abortion declined by 24% among moderate and liberal Republicans.

Pew also reported that, in August 2008, 67% of liberal and moderate Republicans said abortion should be legal. In this month’s survey, that number had fallen to only 43%.

Support for abortion declined by 11% among independents. The center reported that, in August 2008, 55% of independents said abortion should be legal. In this month’s survey, that number had fallen to 44%.

The voters who are “in the middle” — the ones who decide elections — are slowly but surely trending more pro-life.

That’s because too many of them have seen sonograms or known people hurt by abortion, and they can no longer believe the lie that abortion just doesn’t matter.

You can hear it in Obama’s new choices of words. He now says there are “other considerations” beyond just a woman’s choice.

If we were talking about racial discrimination, the “other consideration” would be the humanity and equality of the person being discriminated against. The only way to account for that other consideration would be to stop discriminating.

If we were talking about child abuse, the “other consideration” would be the child’s health and well-being. The way to take that into account would be to stop the abuse.

But when you’re talking about killing, and not just abusing, then what? If some consideration aside from a woman’s freedom is at issue, what could it be? It must be the child’s life.

Once you admit that the child’s life should be considered, what can you do? The only consideration you can give the child’s life is to allow the child to live. The right to life is paramount.

And that is why we pro-lifers are such annoying “extremists.”

It’s also why we’re winning.