Sunday, July 6, 2008

Is NARAL Pro-Choice America Embarrassed by Obama’s Flip-Flop on Abortion Rights?

It seems like yesterday when NARAL Pro-Choice America angered many of its state affiliates by endorsing Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee. Now the leading pro-choice organization, like so many other Obama backers, is finding itself betrayed by the onetime golden boy. And as Earl Ofari Hutchinson points out at the Huffington Post, NARAL is following other recently abandoned Obamaphiles by making a “tortured” defense of its idol.

Hutchinson wants an explanation from NARAL:

“NARAL has repeatedly gone to the political and legal barricades against Congress, the Supreme Court, state and federal courts and state legislatures to ensure that the crucial and medically sound mental health exception remain intact when a woman in late term pregnancy seeks an abortion. In fact, NARAL regards the mental health distress exception as an anchor protection of a woman's right to an abortion.

“Obama's position on the mental distress exception is the diametric opposite of NARAL's. As such, it also flies in the face of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe versus Wade ruling which held that states can ban late term abortions except when the pregnancy directly threatens a woman's physical and mental health. His position flies in the face of three decades of federal and state court rulings which have upheld mental distress as a legitimate reason for approving a late term abortion. Obama's reversal flies in the face of the Freedom of Choice Act that he himself has co-sponsored in Congress. The act unequivocally permits late term abortions when the physical and mental health of a woman is jeopardized.”

Pointing out that a year ago, Obama blasted the Supreme Court's decision upholding a federal court's ruling banning late term abortions, Hutchinson confronts NARAL:

“Please then tell me this. Why is it so difficult for NARAL to publicly express disappointment with Obama on the flip flop? Why is it so difficult to challenge him to rethink his position on late term abortions? Does NARAL believe that Obama is above criticism? Does NARAL think by stating its frank opposition to Obama's reversal that the organization risks dumping the election to McCain?

“Or, is it simply a case that NARAL fears shame and embarrassment in publicly admitting that Obama may not be the unrelenting vigorous and principled defender of a woman's right to choose in any and all circumstances that NARAL thought he was? Would that admission be too big a blow to NARAL's organizational ego?

“I await your answers.”

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