Clinton answered, “I believe the potential for life begins at conception. For me, it is also not only about a potential life. It is about the other lives involved. … I have concluded, after great, you know concern and searching my own mind and heart over many years … that individuals must be entrusted to make this profound decision, because the alternative would be such an intrusion of government authority that it would be very difficult to sustain in our kind of open society.”
While Clinton’s answer was a fairly polished standard Democratic response, Obama’s answer appeared to be a bit more personal. “This is something that I have not, I think, come to a firm resolution on. I think it’s very hard to know what that means, when life begins. Is it when a cell separates? Is it when the soul stirs? … What I know, as I’ve said before, is that there is something extraordinarily powerful about potential life and that that has a moral weight to it that we take into consideration when we’re having these debates,” Obama said.
Both answers were good. I agree with the second half of Clinton’s answer and the first part of Obama’s. The contradiction in the logic of many conservatives who say that they are opposed to big government, but are in favor of the government intervening in one of the most personal decisions that a woman and her partner could ever make, never ceases to amaze me. I don’t think Clinton or Obama won any anti-abortion votes tonight, but it was refreshing to see Democrats get a chance to talk about their faith.
Contrary to popular Republican stereotypes, Democrats aren’t faithless heathens, but most believe that faith should not be a political issue that gets manipulated by a political party every four years to get the vote out. In my opinion, Democrats tend to be more private about their faith and beliefs than Republicans.
I respect those who are anti-abortion for religious reasons, but I don’t believe that their religion gives them the right to dictate policy for everyone. It isn’t easy for Democratic candidates to talk about faith, because unlike the very white and Christian GOP, Democrats are a patchwork of different religious beliefs. I think both candidates did a good job tonight talking about a topic that can be difficult for Democrats to discuss.