Wesley Clark on Abortion: Let Women Decide

Amy at The Fifty Minute Hour has written a very sensible post about Clark’s abortion position. Clark has been criticized for an “embarrassing lack of nuance” in his position.

McQuaid: Let’s take an issue. Abortion. Are there any limits on it in your mind?

Clark: I don’t think you should get the law involved in abortion—

McQuaid: At all?

Clark: Nope.

McQuaid: At all?

Clark: It’s between a woman, her doctor, her friends and her family.

McQuaid: Late term abortion? No limits?

Clark: Nope.

McQuaid: Anything up to delivery?

Clark: Nope, nope.

McQuaid: Anything up to the head coming out of the womb?

Clark: I say that it’s up to the woman and her doctor, her conscience, and law — not the law. You don’t put the law in there.

Amy argues:

…pretty much all we get are accusations that Clark wants to “murder a healthy baby a few moments before it’s born.” The entire point of Clark’s argument, however, is that he believes the government ought to trust women and their doctors to make good, responsible decisions without the intrusion of government into their care. He believes that we don’t need a law to prevent the overwhelming majority of mothers from aborting for no reason late in the pregnancy, and that if some woman is able to find a doctor who will abort her male fetus at 35 weeks so she can have a girl–a situation he doubts will occur–the harm is less than the harm of having the government impinge on the rights of millions of women to freely make one of the hardest decisions of their lives. Frankly, I think Clark’s statements on the subject are among the most sensible I’ve heard in a very, very long time.

Amy goes on to criticize “the pro-choice crowd” for not standing as firm as Clark does. She has a point, although I think that for many pro-choicers opposing late-term abortions may be more strategic than emotional. If so, then Clark, if elected president, may wind up changing his position in deference to that strategy. We’ll see.

By the way, I’m finding myself warming a bit to Clark as time goes on. His abortion position, like his position on tax policy, is attractive. Of course, I’d still prefer Kucinich, but of the folks who might actually win Clark’s looking good.

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11 Responses to Wesley Clark on Abortion: Let Women Decide

  1. 1
    Tor says:

    I like Clark, I used to like him better than Dean. But then I watched the footage from Meet the Press (I know, I know, Russert is a jerk) where, shortly after W’s election, he spoke at several different events praising W, Rummy and the rest of them to the skies. He’s on tape saying that W was doing the right thing by invading Iraq, and that he couldn’t think of better people to oversee the job, or words to that effect. Right there, if Clark were to win the nomination, is a good third of W’s campaign ads – his opponent praising him.

    Of course, he didn’t have all the info, W lied to America, no one knew…. blah blah blah. But those are all subtleties. How does Clark combat those ads? I have no idea, which is why I think Dean is more electible.

  2. 2
    EdgeWise says:

    What’s Clark’s healthcare plan? Universal coverage for all, Universal coverage for children, some additions, no change, or hasn’t made up his mind?

  3. 3
    EdgeWise says:

    Ah. I found it but haven’t found detailed analysis and comparison with Dean, or for that matter, the other candidates.

  4. 4
    neko says:

    How refreshing. I wish more pro-choice candidates would actually have the guts to say that.

  5. 5
    Brian K Miller says:

    Since I think a major (if not the #1) problem facing the Untied States, as we rapidly swell to 300 consumining millions, is population growth, I’m not sure that receiving an award for children should be a focus of the tax code.

    Sorry for sounding anti-kid, but…

  6. 6
    Khaki Snat says:

    Preserve us from nuance. The abortion debate is and ever will be ambiguous. Pro-Choice – Pro Life is a false dichotomy that offers no path to solution. I am delighted by Clark’s unequivocal position and hope that it prevails. It allows me and others to speak against abortion (Pro Choice is NOT pro abortion) while asserting the primacy of a woman’s right to determine what goes on in her body. At a personal level, I might well counsel my daughter against having an abortion in some circumstances but in the end I would write the check and drive her to the clinic. And weep, perhaps but love her no less.

    Abortion is an ugly thing that would not exist in the perfect world we will never see. But it is there, almost ubiquitous and socially divisive. In the circumstances, Clark’s position is the only one that respects human rights and honors constitutional/Bill of Rights guarantees.

    Screw nuance.

  7. 7
    John Isbell says:

    I OTOH prefer Kerry, but I too think Clark looks nice, and that I’d be happy if he were our prez. Kucinich I like too, I have the feeling he believes every word he says and I like that.

  8. 8
    Skinny says:

    So much for the “Clark is a stealth Republican” meme.

  9. 9
    tigmet says:

    A candidate who simply throws around “nope…nope…nope,” with no further nuance on the issue of abortion, is revealing himself to be almost breathtakingly shallow. He appears to have given as much thought to the issue as a series of “yes..yes…yes” if asked whether he’d spare the life of the annual national Thanksgiving turkey.
    Somebody who gives an answer like this can’t hide behind a bromide such as “It’s between a woman and her doctor.” He was given a very specific question, and I want to hear him say “I think a woman aborting a 7-month fetus is reprehensible, but I think it should be legal.” If that’s what he believes, say it.
    Also, he worships at the altar of Roe vs. Wade, but Roe v. Wade doesn’t say what he believes. It does pose limits on abortion after a certain point. So why make adherence to this decision a litmus test for your judicial decisions if you feel that Roe v. Wade is excessively restrictive?

  10. 10
    ginmar says:

    Because Roe Vs. Wade reveals, like rape, what people actually believe deep down about women. People who believe that women are shallow, careless sluts tend to also believe that those poor helpless little baybeez need to be protected from those evil sluts. And people who believe that women are sluts who deserve to be raped tend to believe also that women ask for it. Come to think about it, abortion foes very often think that a forced pregnancy is exactly what women are asking for. So the fact that the guy thinks that women ought to be allowed to privately make a private decision without a public pillorying shows how far ahead he actually is. I’m sick of politely pandering to the anti-choicers.

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