We do get hammered on this issue by pro-lifers. On the flip side, pro-choicers have become one of the pillars of our party. However, we have the chance to reach out to pro-life voters more than Republicans have the chance to reach out to pro-choicers.
I think Clinton did it fairly well. I'm echoing the Tribune's editorial from a week ago or so, but we would be wise to frame out goal for abortion as "safe, legal *and rare*"
That rare part is a bit contentious for pro-choice advocates, but I think that's the better framing for Democrats.
Pro-choice advocates don't want to introduce the concept of a restricted right that ought be exercised rarely. Hence, the T-shirt that reads "I had an abortion" which sends the message that there is nothing shameful about an abortion. Because life begins sometime after the abortion, there is nothing to mourn over from a first-term abortion. Just as we aren't ashamed or sad about getting tonsils removed, so too (the pro-choice advocates argue) there is nothing sad or shameful or even ambivalent about an abortion.
That's a minority opinion, I'd suggest.
You could feel some momentum drip out of Kerry during the town hall debate when the younger white woman said something like "I'm pro-life. Senator Kerry, what would you tell someone who is thinking of voting for you, but has a moral obligation to protect life?" and Kerry basically said "I can't tell you how much I respect your opinion. . . . . I'm Catholic. . . I was an altar boy. . .but I'm for abotion. Sorry! But I really respect your faith."
Which clearly doesn't cut it.
What we should be saying is: if you vote for a Democratic government, there will be fewer abortions performed than if you vote for a Republican government.
Here's my source for that claim. If anyone's got better data, please send it my way.
So if it is true that Democratic governments end up with fewer abortions than Republican governments, then I'd suggest we Democrats should be happy with calling for abortions to be rare, as it's hard to make a pro-life argument for voting for the party that produces more abortions.
We need more pro-life votes. And if that data is true, then we deserve them.