On abortion, both sides agree: Tickets offer stark choice

  • Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks Oct. 23, 2012, during a campaign event at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Golden, Colo. (Associated Press)Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks Oct. 23, 2012, during a campaign event at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Golden, Colo. (Associated Press)
  • President Obama greets supporters as he arrives at a campaign stop in Delray Beach, Fla., on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, the day after the last presidential debate against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)President Obama greets supporters as he arrives at a campaign stop in Delray Beach, Fla., on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, the day after the last presidential debate against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
  • Police officers applaud as they are greeted by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (with his back to the camera) before he boarded his campaign plane in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, en route to Nevada for a campaign stop, after last night's final presidential debate against President Obama. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Police officers applaud as they are greeted by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (with his back to the camera) before he boarded his campaign plane in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, en route to Nevada for a campaign stop, after last night's final presidential debate against President Obama. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • ** FILE ** President Obama waves as he takes the stage at a campaign event at Delray Beach Tennis Center on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Delray Beach, Fla., a day after the final presidential debate against Republican rival Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)** FILE ** President Obama waves as he takes the stage at a campaign event at Delray Beach Tennis Center on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Delray Beach, Fla., a day after the final presidential debate against Republican rival Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney pauses as the crowd reacts while speaking to supporters during a rally, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Henderson, Nev. Fresh off the presidential debate in Florida, Romney and running mate Paul Ryan were making their first joint appearance in Nevada before heading to another campaign stop in Denver. (Associated Press)Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney pauses as the crowd reacts while speaking to supporters during a rally, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Henderson, Nev. Fresh off the presidential debate in Florida, Romney and running mate Paul Ryan were making their first joint appearance in Nevada before heading to another campaign stop in Denver. (Associated Press)
  • Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney boards his campaign plane in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, en route to a campaign stop in Nevada, after the final presidential debate Monday night with President Obama. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney boards his campaign plane in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, en route to a campaign stop in Nevada, after the final presidential debate Monday night with President Obama. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, speaks at a campaign event Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, speaks at a campaign event Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • A silhouetted President Obama gestures while speaking at a campaign event at the Delray Beach Tennis Center on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Delray Beach, Fla. The president is making campaign stops in Florida and Ohio today. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)A silhouetted President Obama gestures while speaking at a campaign event at the Delray Beach Tennis Center on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Delray Beach, Fla. The president is making campaign stops in Florida and Ohio today. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, and  his vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., takes the stage at a campaign event Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, and his vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., takes the stage at a campaign event Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney exits his vehicle before boarding his campaign plane in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, en route to Nevada for a campaign stop, after the previous evening's final presidential debate with President Obama. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney exits his vehicle before boarding his campaign plane in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, en route to Nevada for a campaign stop, after the previous evening's final presidential debate with President Obama. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • A supporter for Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney waves to friends while waiting for his arrival at a rally, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)A supporter for Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney waves to friends while waiting for his arrival at a rally, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
  • President Obama holds up a copy of his jobs and economic reform plan during a campaign event at the Delray Beach Tennis Center in Delray Beach, Fla., on Oct. 23, 2012, the day after the final presidential debate against Republican candidate Mitt Romney. (Associated Press)President Obama holds up a copy of his jobs and economic reform plan during a campaign event at the Delray Beach Tennis Center in Delray Beach, Fla., on Oct. 23, 2012, the day after the final presidential debate against Republican candidate Mitt Romney. (Associated Press)
  • Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney waves as he speaks to the crowd during a campaign event Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney waves as he speaks to the crowd during a campaign event Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • President Obama carries a baby as he prepares to leave a campaign stop in Delray Beach, Fla., on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, a day after the last presidential debate with Republican candidate Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)President Obama carries a baby as he prepares to leave a campaign stop in Delray Beach, Fla., on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, a day after the last presidential debate with Republican candidate Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
  • Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks to a crowd of supporters during a rally, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Henderson, Nev. Fresh off the presidential debate in Florida, Romney and running mate Paul Ryan were making their first joint appearance in Nevada before heading to another campaign stop in Denver.  (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks to a crowd of supporters during a rally, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Henderson, Nev. Fresh off the presidential debate in Florida, Romney and running mate Paul Ryan were making their first joint appearance in Nevada before heading to another campaign stop in Denver. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
  • Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, and his vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., talk aboard their campaign plane en route from Las Vegas to a campaign event in Denver, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, and his vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., talk aboard their campaign plane en route from Las Vegas to a campaign event in Denver, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • President Barack Obama speaks at a joint campaign rally with Vice President Joe Biden, left,  Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, at Triangle Park in Dayton. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)President Barack Obama speaks at a joint campaign rally with Vice President Joe Biden, left, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, at Triangle Park in Dayton. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
  • A supporter for Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney reacts during his speech during a campaign rally, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)A supporter for Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney reacts during his speech during a campaign rally, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
  • President Barack Obama walks across the South Lawn to the White House from Marine One, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)President Barack Obama walks across the South Lawn to the White House from Marine One, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
  • A young boy points to the name Mitt painted on his forehead while waiting for the arrival of Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at a campaign rally, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, at Henderson Pavilion in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)A young boy points to the name Mitt painted on his forehead while waiting for the arrival of Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at a campaign rally, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, at Henderson Pavilion in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
  • Supporters hold banners and a doll as President Barack Obama shakes hands with supporters during a campaign event at Triangle Park in Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, the day after the last presidential debate against Republican Presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)Supporters hold banners and a doll as President Barack Obama shakes hands with supporters during a campaign event at Triangle Park in Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, the day after the last presidential debate against Republican Presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • President Barack Obama stops to waves to supporters as he takes the stage during a campaign event at Triangle Park in Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, the day after the last presidential debate against Republican Presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)President Barack Obama stops to waves to supporters as he takes the stage during a campaign event at Triangle Park in Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, the day after the last presidential debate against Republican Presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • Bruce Springsteen ralliesw support for President Barack Obama during a free concert held Tuesday afternoon Oct. 23, 2012 at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion in Charlottesville, Va. (AP Photo/The Daily Progress/Andrew Shurtleff)Bruce Springsteen ralliesw support for President Barack Obama during a free concert held Tuesday afternoon Oct. 23, 2012 at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion in Charlottesville, Va. (AP Photo/The Daily Progress/Andrew Shurtleff)
  • Vice President Joe Biden stops to be photographed with a supporter during a campaign event with President Barack Obama at Triangle Park in Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, the day after the last presidential debate against Republican Presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)Vice President Joe Biden stops to be photographed with a supporter during a campaign event with President Barack Obama at Triangle Park in Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, the day after the last presidential debate against Republican Presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • President Barack Obama is embraced by a unidentified supporter during a campaign event at Triangle Park in Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, the day after the last presidential debate against Republican Presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)President Barack Obama is embraced by a unidentified supporter during a campaign event at Triangle Park in Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, the day after the last presidential debate against Republican Presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Obama wants to highlight the issue, and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would rather not talk about it — but abortion and birth control are potent issues in the 2012 campaign.

Meanwhile, despite having a staunchly pro-choice president in the White House, pro-life forces have scored a string of victories at the state level and are hoping to add at least a few more wins in November.

“We are seeing tremendous momentum gathering out there,” said Charmaine Yoest, president and chief executive of Americans United for Life Action. More people are saying, “OK, we may not be able to reverse [Roe v. Wade] today, but there is work we can do today [on a state level] that can make a difference.”

Nationally, the stakes are especially high: The next president will likely have the chance to make one or more Supreme Court appointments and will maintain or repeal the new health-care law, which requires insurance companies to provide birth-control products for free.

“Obamacare” is praised by pro-choice groups for reinforcing women’s fundamental rights to make their own decisions about their reproductive health. Pro-life groups denounce it because it “smuggles” abortion and abortifacients into the nation’s health care, resulting in “the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade.”

Both presidential candidates are angling to win women’s votes, and abortion is “the most important issue for women,” according to a recent Gallup Poll of registered female voters in 12 swing states. As a result, pro-choice advocacy groups have launched campaigns focusing on what they call Republicans’ “war on women.”

At the Center for Reproductive Rights, for instance, the “Draw the Line” campaign features iconic actress Meryl Streep, who says she’s signing the center’s “Bill of Reproductive Rights” and pointedly asks viewers, “What are you waiting for?”

Elsewhere, an eye-catching video called “My Country, My Choice,” shows 28 presumably naked women covering themselves with signs that ask, “If you don’t trust me with my body, why should I trust you with my country?”

Pro-life forces are busy, too, passing around materials listing “75 of the most egregious acts” by the Obama administration and a point-by-point comparison of the candidates’ quotes on life issues.

They’ve got videos, too: A new spot from Americans United for Life Action and Let Freedom Ring uses footage from Mr. Obama’s 2009 Notre Dame speech, where he said, “Let us work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions.”

“President Obama has not fulfilled his promise to work with people about keeping the abortions down I feel that [speech] was just a political ploy,” replies a disappointed woman who identifies herself as a pro-life Democrat.

Another video, created by Women Speak Out PAC, a group started by the Susan B. Anthony List to speak for pro-life women, is called “Barack Obama: Abortion Radical.”

In campaign appearances, Mr. Romney has said, “I’ll be a pro-life president,” and that he opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest and danger to the life of the mother. He has also said he supports reversing Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s 1973 law legalizing abortion in the United States, “because it is bad law and bad medicine,” and he promises — on his first day in office — to start the process of repealing Mr. Obama’s health-care reform law.

The Obama campaign has touted his strong support for abortion rights. A full roster of speakers at the Democratic National Convention, including newly famous birth-control advocate Sandra Fluke, pushed abortion issues. And at the Oct. 16 debate, the president talked four times about federal funding for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation’s leading abortion provider.

This brought him kudos from Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, who said Mr. Obama “accurately stated” that birth control and health care “is an economic issue for millions of women.”

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein

Cheryl Wetzstein

Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.

Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...

Latest Stories

Latest Blog Entries

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks