Dear Barack: Baby, Come Back

Illustration for article titled Dear Barack: Baby, Come Back

Hey, well, so, like, I know we haven't spoken in a long time. Frankly, your wife is so cool and I'm more than a little scared of her kicking my ass for maybe looking at you the wrong way, so it's really been me who's been out of touch. But, baby, seriously, it's warm here on the left and many of us love you and we sort of miss the Senator the National Journal dubbed "The Most Liberal Senator in 2007." I think we especially miss that guy after reading your comments to the Christian magazine Relevant that it's cool to limit when women can get late term abortions, not that we aren't worried that you were getting distant after your FISA position, and the faith-based initiatives flirtation and that Iraq withdrawal timetable thing last week. Sweetie, we miss you.

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Seriously, given that you got attacked from the left for appearing a little squishy on abortion during your time in the Illinois legislature and you've still got Hillary supporters to court, it probably wasn't the most prescient time to say this:

I have repeatedly said that I think it's entirely appropriate for states to restrict or even prohibit late-term abortions as long as there is a strict, well-defined exception for the health of the mother. Now, I don't think that "mental distress" qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term. Otherwise, as long as there is such a medical exception in place, I think we can prohibit late-term abortions.

Baby, that ain't what we need to hear. I miss the days when you used to whisper sweet nothings in my direction, things about that timely Iraq withdrawal and supporting a woman's right to choose. I'll admit my heart beat faster hearing you yell "Yes we can," and "We are the change that we have been waiting for." But, Barry, baby, "as long as there is such a medical exception in place, I think we can prohibit late-term abortions" is a total lady-bonerkiller.

And, honey, you totally put the kibosh on my mood with this little nugget:

I think we know that abortions rise when unwanted pregnancies rise. So, if we are continuing what has been a promising trend in the reduction of teen pregnancies, through education and abstinence education giving good information to teenagers. That is important-emphasizing the sacredness of sexual behavior to our children. I think that's something that we can encourage. I think encouraging adoptions in a significant way. I think the proper role of government. So there are ways that we can make a difference, and those are going to be things I focus on when I am president.

Barry, ignorance is not sexy. Abstinence education? Oh, Barry, we all know that's not effective even though the fundies love hearing about it. Whose love do you want? Ours or theirs?

Look, I'm not trying to be clingy here. I know that everyone needs friends in their life, and I'm all about you making new friends. Don't think this is about that. I'm trying really hard not to be worried about your fidelity or to how you'll live up to the promises you made, but you're not making it easy. You can't just whisper "January 2009" in my ear anymore and send tingles up my spine. You have to say things like "universal health coverage" and "your body, your choice" and "comprehensive sex education" and "complete withdrawal from Iraq" and you have to mean it if you want to get my juices flowing again. Just try it, you'll remember how damn good it feels, and so will I.

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- Me

Obama: Most Liberal Senator In 2007 [National Journal]

A Q&A With Barack Obama [Relevant]

Obama Supports FISA Legislation, Angering Left [Washington Post]

Bush's Faith-Based Programs Will Remain [San Francisco Chronicle]

Obama May Consider Slowing Iraq Withdrawal [Washington Post]

Abstinence-Only Education Ineffective In Preventing, Delaying Sex Among Teens, Study Says [Medical News Today]

DISCUSSION

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Regarding late term/"partial birth" abortions: I really wish people understood why both of these terms are problematic and, in many ways, propaganda from anti-choice groups.

Both are already only done in extreme cases. Statistically, I think "partial birth" abortions account for less than 1%. And I'm guessing "late term" ones are a fairly insignificant number as well, which is why they're mentioned so much. Because it's a far more emotionally triggering term.

These procedures are already done in cases of extreme defect or of the life of the mother is at stake. They are not common procedures, but the way they're discussed and termed they take attention away from the real issue, which is choice.

As a for instance, there are certain birth defects that only occur late in development or occasionally during or right before birth. There's one, for instance, that causes extreme and sudden growth of the skull of the fetus. This is a health threat for the mother and fatal to the fetus.

My concern is that using a term like "emotional distress" is extremely nebulous. Who gets to determine that? What are the guidelines? That's why the "partial birth abortion" ban is a problem. It's left up to the doctor to decide now and that's a decision the mother should make. It's painful and terrible but necessary. Because the second any part of the choice is eroded, it's just a matter of how slippery the slope is going to get.

Letting the discussion be about anything but the choice itself is the problem. You don't have to agree with the choice that's made to understand that it's not a choice anyone should make for anyone else in any circumstance. Period. The second we start saying that it's okay in one circumstance and not another is forgetting the point. You don't have to make that choice, because it's your choice. Just like it should be for anyone else.

All that said, I wish it didn't come down to having to vote for who wants to limit choice -less-...bu there we are. McCain is NOT a viable alternative for anyone who is Pro-Choice. Period.