We haven't been that impressed with efforts to find "common ground" on abortion — and, funnily enough, neither is Focus on the Family president Jim Daly, who doesn't think Obama is doing nearly enough to deprive women of their choices.
In guest post on US News & World Report's God & Country blog, titled "Obama Not Working to Make Abortion Rare," Daly says he likes the idea of compromise, he really does. He writes,
On one hand, how could anyone with a love for life turn down an opportunity to discuss ways to save innocent babies from being killed in the womb? When it comes to the idea of sitting down with people with whom I disagree, but who could make a difference in a subject I care deeply about, I'm reminded of what John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, once said. "If I was drowning, I would rather be seen by a burglar who can swim than a bishop who can't."
In the case of abortion, though, he doesn't think the burglars can swim. Burglar #1, Barack Obama, said in his speech at Notre Dame, "let's work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions," but he also reversed the global gag rule (Daly prefers "Mexico City policy"), and chose "radical abortion advocate" Kathleen Sebelius as his Secretary of Health and Human Services. He also says Obama "shouldn't be forcing Americans to subsidize it as part of his healthcare reform package," even though Sebelius herself is now backing away from the very public plan anti-choicers were worried about.
What kind of abortion reduction would suit Daly? The kind that makes parental consent "the law of the land." And the kind requires all women be shown a fetal ultrasound before having an abortion, because "our research indicates that of those women still at risk for abortion after counseling, 65 percent expressed their intent to carry their baby to term after viewing the ultrasound image." Daly calls this policy "informed consent," implying that the "risk of abortion" is something women just don't know enough about, or they would never have one.
For a nuanced view on the abortion debate, Daly quotes Pastor Rick Warren:
It is kind of a charade in that people say, 'We believe abortions should be safe and rare.' Don't tell me it should be rare. That's like saying on the Holocaust, 'Well, maybe we could save 20 percent of the Jewish people in Poland and Germany and get them out, and we should be satisfied with that. I'm not satisfied with that. I want the Holocaust ended.
Here Warren handily equates pro-choicers with anti-Semites, and implies that ending all abortion is as obvious as a moral good as ending the Holocaust. It isn't. And it's pretty impossible to imagine establishing common ground with someone who thinks you're like a Nazi. Clearly, though, Daly doesn't really want common ground. He wants Obama to push through a series of policies that deny women both information (in the case of the global gag rule) and autonomy, and that insult their intelligence. Of course, I'm not particularly happy with the term "common ground" either, especially when it means explicitly excluding abortion from any government-subsidized healthcare, when no other medical procedure is explicitly excluded. So maybe abortion is one area where compromise just leaves everyone unsatisfied.
Focus on the Family: Obama Not Working To Make Abortion Rare [US News & World Report]