by Steven Ertelt
March 8, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life advocates aren’t the only ones trying to figure out which of the presidential candidates would best serve their cause in the White House. Leaders of the abortion advocacy movement are sparring over whether Senator Hillary Clinton or former Senator John Edwards would promote abortion the most as president.
Earlier this week, Hillary Clinton touted her endorsement from Emily’s List, the nation’s largest political action committee, and said she would work with the group to recruit women to promote her candidacy.
She said they would be attracted to her status as the only women seeking the nomination of either political party.
But, former NARAL president Kate Michelman, one of the top pro-abortion leaders of the last 20 years, has jumped on Edwards’ bandwagon.
As some touted ex-President Bill Clinton as the "first black president," because of his advocacy of issues supported by the African-American community, Michelman told a rally near the University of California, Berkeley campus this week that Edwards could be the "first woman president."
That’s despite Hillary Clinton’s presence in the race and the fact that Edwards is a man.
"I’ve gotten to know a lot of political leaders over the years that I’ve been an advocate for women’s rights," Michelman told the rally participants, according to a New York Sun report. "I know the difference between those who advocate as a political position and those who understand the reality of women’s lives."
"As a lawyer, as a senator, as a husband, as a father of two daughters, he understands the reality of women’s lives," she said. "He understands the centrality of women’s lives and experience to the health and well-being of society as a whole. … He understands that on an extremely personal level."
Asked by a Sun reporter after the rally, Michelman declined to say that she thought Edwards would be "better" than Clinton in promoting abortion.
Kelli Conlin, the head of NARAL’s New York chapter, spoke with the Sun about Michelman’s comments and "chuckled" in response.
"I would argue that Hillary has a really good sensibility, as well, of what it’s like to be a woman," she said.
But Ellen Malcolm, the head of Emily’s List, had harsher words for her pro-abortion colleague.
"Every once in a while we get in a primary race where a man says he’s the best woman in the race. I’ve never seen a candidate win with that argument yet. It’s just ridiculous," she told the newspaper.
One advisor who is close to Hillary Clinton summarized the debate by telling the Sun she thinks Michelman, who has had an abortion, is upset by a Clinton quote in a 2005 speech in which she tried to downplay her extreme pro-abortion position.
Clinton called abortion "a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women" and said the number of abortions should be reduced.
"I think Kate will never forgive Hillary for suggesting abortion should be rare," the advisor said.
Ironically, the comments mirror those from Michelman to the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper years prior when she told a reporter abortion is a "bad thing." Michelman disputed the quote even though the reporter had a copy of it on tape.