By Fr. George Welzbacher
May 25, 2008
No introductory comment this week, just the reporting of a fact.
NARAL Picks Obama, and Uproar Breaks Out
By Katharine Q. Seelye in the
New York Times, May 15, 2008
The decision by a major abortion-rights group to endorse Senator Barack Obama has created an uproar among some of its affiliates and other abortion-rights advocates. Many said that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton had as good a record on reproductive rights as Mr. Obama and that there was no need to take sides in the Democratic primary.
The endorsement by the group, NARAL [rhymes with SNARL] Pro-Choice America, which was announced Wednesday, came as a blow to the Clinton campaign. Mrs. Clinton, who had the support of the group throughout her political career, told NBC News on Wednesday that not getting the NARAL nod was a disappointment.
Clinton supporters in the blogosphere said they perceived it as a badly timed gratuitous slap at Mrs. Clinton as she grapples with the likely end of her quest for the presidency....
In making the NARAL announcement, Nancy Keenan, president, said Mr. Obama, who leads in the delegate count and could claim the nomination as early as Tuesday, was the more viable candidate. Ms. Keenan said it was important to make the announcement now because Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, who opposes abortion rights, was getting a "free ride."
The nine members of the board of NARAL'S political action committee were almost evenly divided, said Elizabeth Schipp, political director of NARAL. After a spirited conference call last Friday, they voted unanimously to endorse Mr. Obama but to wait until after the West Virginia primary on Tuesday to announce their decision....
The affiliates protesting the decision included those in New York, Mrs. Clinton's home state, and Missouri, Oregon, which holds its primary next week, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington. Some said they saw no need to turn their backs on Mrs. Clinton now.
Some abortion rights advocates in Missouri were so angered by the decision that the state affiliate made 8,500 automated calls declaring its neutrality, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
"In our membership demographic a lot of longtime women's rights supporters are strong supporters of Hillary Clinton," Pamela Sumners, the executive director of the Missouri affiliate, told the newspaper. "If we had been consulted, we would have said, 'Let this play out.'"
The endorsement also drew a rebuke from Emily's List, which endorses only women who support abortion rights and which has endorsed Mrs. Clinton. Ellen R. Malcolm, the president, said in a statement that it was "tremendously disrespectful" of NARAL not to give Mrs. Clinton "the courtesy to finish the final three weeks of the primary process."
Ms. Schipp of NARAL said that some members had quit the organization because of the endorsement but that others had joined because of it.
"People are very much invested in this," she said, "and when they hear from a political organization like ours that we believe that the tide has turned and it's in favor of one particular candidate, that breaks some hearts."
* * * * *Ms. Schipp should know. Breaking hearts-one way or another-is what NARAL is in business to do.
* * * * *There's an old proverb: "Serve the devil with all your might! Then watch the devil double-cross YOU!"
* * * * *NARAL'S decision to endorse Mr. Obama makes sense in view of his recent pledge at a national gathering of Planned Parenthood's leaders that "the first thing I'd do as President is, is sign the Freedom of Choice Act." According to Doug Johnson, National Right to Life Legislative Director, this Act (FOCA) would strike down "all of the major types of pro-life laws that the Supreme Court has said are permissible under Roe v. Wade, including the ban on partial-birth abortion and laws on government funding of abortion. "