by Steven Ertelt
March 31, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Barack Obama is drawing gasps from pro-life advocates today over comments he made during a campaign stop in Pennsylvania over the weekend. The leading Democratic presidential candidate appeared to back a potential decision by his daughters to seek an abortion saying he wouldn’t "punish" them with a baby.
Obama’s comments came in the context of off-the-cuff remarks addressing the issue of AIDS. (see them here)
The candidate indicated he favored teaching both abstinence education as well as sexual education and he appeared to be hard-pressed to come up with something else to say when he brought up his daughters.
"When it comes specifically to HIV/AIDS, the most important prevention is education, which should include — which should include abstinence education and teaching the children — teaching children, you know, that sex is not something casual," he said.
"But it should also include — it should also include other, you know, information about contraception because, look, I’ve got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old," he added.
"I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby," Obama said.
David Brody, a correspondent for CBN News, noted the comments and said he was surprised by Obama’s candor.
"I understand Obama was talking off the cuff and these were not prepared remarks. I also know that when you’re on the campaign trail 20 hours a day you will say something you wish you hadn’t," Brody wrote on his blog.
"But still. ‘Punished with a baby?’ That just doesn’t sound right," he added.
"Why use the word punished? I would think that word would be alarming to people and possibly offensive to those who have had babies out of wedlock," he wrote.
Brody said Obama brought up abortion again later on in the speech and referred to his daughters as "miracles."
"This is a very difficult issue, and I understand sort of the passions on both sides of the issue. I have two precious daughters – they are miracles," Obama said.
Brody contacted the Obama campaign for a response and heard back from Bill Burton, his national spokesman.
Burton largely ignored the "punishment" remark and merely said Obama favored reducing teen pregnancies and abortions and restated Obama’s comments about his daughters.
"What Senator Obama said and what he believes is clear — children are ‘miracles,’ but we have a problem when so many children are having children," Burton said.
"As Senator Obama said on Saturday — and on many other occasions — parents have a responsibility to teach their children about values and morals to help make sure they are not treating sex casually," Burton told CBN News.
Obama’s remarks are likely to add another reason to the list pro-life advocates are developing as to why he won’t get their vote this November.
They appear to align him squarely with abortion advocates who view laws protecting unborn children as "punishing" pregnant women by forcing them to give birth to the baby instead of taking the child’s life through abortion.