by Steven Ertelt
April 13, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The two pro-abortion Democratic candidates sparred at a forum on faith issues at Messiah College in the battleground state of Pennsylvania. During the discussion, Barack Obama admitted he didn’t understand the biological fact that human life begins at conception and Hillary Clinton restated her pro-abortion views.
Obama largely avoided a question about when human life begins but appeared to be unfamiliar with the notion of the union of sperm and egg at conception conferring the life of a new, unique human being.
"This is something that I have not, I think, come to a firm resolution on," Obama said in the forum. "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?"
Obama added: "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."
Clinton appeared more confident in her response, but still couched it in terms of "potential" life – a term abortion advocates frequently use to get around the idea of abortion taking a human life.
"I believe the potential for life begins at conception," Clinton said.
"For me, it is also not only about a potential life. It is about the other lives involved," Clinton added in a subtle reference to supporting abortion.
Then, Clinton made her position in favor of legalized abortion more readily clear.
"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."
"I think abortion should remain legal," she added.
Later, Clinton said she sought wisdom from God about tough moral questions like abortion, but admitted she didn’t know if she had the right answers.
"I don’t pretend to even believe that I know the answers to a lot of these questions," Clinton said. "I don’t."
Obama stressed that "adoption is an option," but remained firmly committed to supporting another 35 years of legal abortions, which have produced more than 50 million deaths and injured millions of women in the process.
"Those of us, like myself, who believe that in this difficult situation it is a woman’s responsibility and choice to make in consultation with her doctor and her pastor and her family," he said.
"I think we will continue to suggest that that’s the right legal framework to deal with the issue," he added.
While that view seems incompatible with the majority of Americans who take a pro-life view on abortion, Obama tried to downplay his pro-abortion position saying, I absolutely think we can find common ground" and "we can take some of the edge off the debate."
Obama said that "people of good will can exist on both sides," but he’s not likely to find many takers for his candidacy from those who believe abortion kills children and injures women.
Like Obama, Clinton also hoped to move away from her extreme position — with both candidates opposing limits on taxpayer funded abortions, opposing parental involvement, and opposing a ban on partial-birth abortions.
"I will continue to do what I can to reduce the number" of abortions," Clinton said during the forum.