My latest post, which diverges from fellow Her.Meneutics blogger and Wheaton professor Christine Gardner’s post on the same topic:
In 1993, when Christine Todd Whitman was the Republican candidate for the governor of New Jersey, her views on abortion were muted at best. I recall being cautiously optimistic as I voted for my state’s first and only female governor. By the time she ran for a second term, it was clear she had little use for us pro-lifers. In 2005, Whitman published a book called It’s My Party Too and became an outspoken critic of “social fundamentalists.”
I haven’t read Whitman’s book, but my guess is that she came to her convictions about “social fundamentalists” after losing significant battles as governor. In 1997, Whitman vetoed a ban on partial-birth abortion that was overturned by the state legislature. Then in 1999, avoiding another potential veto, she signed a parental notification bill into law. Pro-lifers, it would seem, could celebrate significant legal victories under an abortion rights governor. Not so. Both laws are permanently enjoined by court order. We won the political battle and nothing changed.
In 2008, Barack Obama ran on a platform of change. Change in tone, change in rhetoric, change in focus. When I was considering my vote, I wasn’t terribly bothered by his “above my pay grade” response to Rick Warren’s Saddleback Forum question about when a fetus is entitled to human rights. People of good faith disagree about when en-soulment happens. I understood his answer to be a nod to this reality. What did bother me, however, was a response he gave to an abortion question in western Pennsylvania a few months earlier. “Look,” he said, “I got two daughters — 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.” That is an astounding statement from the child of a teen mother. It is also one I take to have sprung from a place of deep personal pain. …