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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Happy to see this. Wish the dyed-in-the-wool opinionholders of opposite views (both quoted below) could let go of some of the anger/entrenchment and work together.

White House Begins Effort to Bridge the Divide on Abortion

By LAURA MECKLER
WASHINGTON -- The White House has begun bringing together a diverse group of abortion-rights supporters and opponents to help craft policies both sides can embrace: preventing unwanted pregnancies and reducing demand for abortion.

President Barack Obama appears to be trying to make good on his pledge to defuse tensions around polarizing issues.

The effort could also be in his political interests. While he may not win over abortion opponents on the issue, if he is seen as having a genuine interest in finding common ground, that could persuade some to judge him on other policies where they may agree with him, such as economics.

Interviews with several participants suggest there is some common ground, but plenty of disagreements remain. It will be challenging for the White House to settle on policies that reach across the spectrum.

Participants said that abortion opponents tended to focus on efforts to help pregnant women keep their babies, while the abortion-rights camp focused on preventing unwanted pregnancy.

Some in the antiabortion community, for instance, suggested more support for pregnancy "crisis centers," which discourage women from having abortions. But abortion-rights supporters say these centers give out inaccurate information. Abortion-rights supporters want more support for contraception, which some abortion opponents are unenthusiastic about.

"Not everyone may agree on every issue we discuss, but we think there is enough common ground and potential for common ground here that people can help us to move forward," said domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes, who is leading the initiative.

The meetings -- anywhere from a dozen to two dozen people at a time -- began about a month ago and are expected to continue for another six to eight weeks. The White House hopes to have a proposal formed by late summer, Ms. Barnes said.

At the end of the process, the White House doesn't plan to seek any official endorsement for its proposals from any of the participants, Ms. Barnes said. Staff will review the comments and materials provided and develop recommendations for the president.

Mr. Obama has made it clear that he supports legal abortion, and he has taken several steps already that are consistent with that view. He lifted rules that prevent U.S. funding for international family-planning organizations that promote or offer abortion. And he also is allowing much greater federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, which many abortion opponents decry. But in each case, the president emphasized that he hoped to find ways to bridge the divide over the issue.

"I would like to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies that result in women feeling compelled to get an abortion or at least considering getting an abortion," he said at a news conference last week.

At the start of the initiative, the White House took off the table any discussion of whether abortion should be legal.

Ms. Barnes told participants that the White House is interested in hearing ideas in several areas, among them: sex education; responsible use of contraception; maternal and child health; pregnancy discrimination in the workplace and elsewhere; and adoption.

Participants say that suggestions included: improving education about use of contraception; better access to emergency contraception (which can be used after sex); improving education about sex, relationships and the "sacredness of sex"; stamping out employment discrimination against pregnant women; improving family-leave policies; and encouraging adoption.

One suggestion was to set a concrete goal for abortion reduction, such as a 25% reduction in four years. The number of abortions peaked in 1990 at 1.6 million and has declined every year since then, reaching 1.2 million in 2005, the latest year for which data are available.

David Gushee, an abortion opponent and professor of Christian ethics at Mercer University in Atlanta who has participated in the talks, said the act of convening people is valuable. "When people get into a room working on a common problem it's harder to demonize them when they leave the room."

"If you hear all points of view it makes for better policy," said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, another participant in the discussions.

Another participant, Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, was skeptical that the effort could reduce tension around the abortion fight.

"There will still be women who need abortion and still groups trying very hard to prevent access to that right," she said. She is fine with the president reaching out to the other side, she said, as long as his policies continue to support the abortion-rights agenda.

At least one of the loudest voices in the abortion debate wasn't in the room. Douglas Johnson, legislative director of National Right to Life, said he wasn't invited to participate.

He said that Mr. Obama's policies on funding and other matters will inevitably lead to more abortions. "We think this is a political hoax mapped out by career pro-abortion activists and adopted by a politician with an abortion record far to the left of the mainstream."
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
An aborted read.

Heh.
 

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I can solve the whole thing. Total freedom first 5 months, no abortion the last 4. 5 months is plenty of time to make a decision about what you want to do, and we've still protected the viable fetus. No side gets everything they want but they both get the most important thing they care about.

This afternoon I shall be solving race relations in America. Tomorrow is the middle east.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Okay but answer me this: How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
 

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Pretty hard issue to find common ground....it ultimately comes down to......abort or not.

All the other stuff is just window dressing.
 

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I can solve the whole thing. Total freedom first 5 months, no abortion the last 4. 5 months is plenty of time to make a decision about what you want to do, and we've still protected the viable fetus. No side gets everything they want but they both get the most important thing they care about.

This afternoon I shall be solving race relations in America. Tomorrow is the middle east.

Sounds good to me!! If you bump up the middle east and handle that first, that would be great. We have the Taliban 60 miles from nuclear weapons. That is all I absorbed this morning from The Daily Show, I was too sleepy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
window dressing
Mayhaps.

But I do like the idea that EARLY INTERVENTION and EDUCATION can, perhaps, nullify the issue altogether. Pipe dream, perhaps, but a goal nonetheless. And ever more helpful than the yes/no, murder/rights, my body/my child, saint/sinner arguments of the past 30+ yrs.
 

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Mayhaps.

But I do like the idea that EARLY INTERVENTION and EDUCATION can, perhaps, nullify the issue altogether. Pipe dream, perhaps, but a goal nonetheless. And ever more helpful than the yes/no, murder/rights, my body/my child, saint/sinner arguments of the past 30+ yrs.
I'm not saying that any of those things are bad.......I just believe none of it will change the opposing sides from their belief.....and that's what drives it.

People against abortion are going to be against it even if there is just ONE........and people who are for it will not quit if only ONE is prevented from getting an abortion.

but hey....I guess it can't hurt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
zackly
 

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You would think everyone could agree that education that would result in a decrease in the demand for abortions would be a good thing. But I think a vocal minority on the anti abortion side are also very against sex education.
 

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Interesting. While I am a Pro-Choice supporter it's nice to see both sides. Do I agree with late term abortions? No. I think they should be limited to about the 5th month like Robin's suggestion.
 

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You would think everyone could agree that education that would result in a decrease in the demand for abortions would be a good thing. But I think a vocal minority on the anti abortion side are also very against sex education.
Yup. I don't think those families are generally the ones that are of most concern. JMO
 

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You would think everyone could agree that education that would result in a decrease in the demand for abortions would be a good thing. But I think a vocal minority on the anti abortion side are also very against sex education.
Didn't you hear? Abstinence is the only way to go. Even Sara Palin's daughter is preaching abstinence, yeah cause it worked so well for her. ;) Maybe this is another thread.
 

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You would think everyone could agree that education that would result in a decrease in the demand for abortions would be a good thing. But I think a vocal minority on the anti abortion side are also very against sex education.[/QUOTE]

The Catholic families or ones that are religous and do not believe this should be discussed in school. I could be mistaken. Maybe I am generalizing too much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Wow.

All the lefties jumping to their entrenched positions. Carping, generalizing, and mocking.

You'd think there'd be more patterening after the guy in 1600.

Guess not.
 

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You would think everyone could agree that education that would result in a decrease in the demand for abortions would be a good thing. But I think a vocal minority on the anti abortion side are also very against sex education.[/QUOTE]

The Catholic families or ones that are religous and do not believe this should be discussed in school. I could be mistaken. Maybe I am generalizing too much.
Could be, I am not sure. But I think that the minority that are against sex education are really vocal and have a big impact on how conservative members of congress vote.
 
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