Barack Obama Emphasizing Equal Pay Over Abortion to Attract Women Voters

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 15, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Barack Obama Emphasizing Equal Pay Over Abortion to Attract Women Voters

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 15
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Perhaps sensing that touting abortion has been a losing proposition for pro-abortion candidates in previous presidential elections, Barack Obama is using the issue of equal pay to attract women voters. The decision to de-emphasize abortion is meeting with surprising support from abortion activists.

Last month, Obama kicked off what he called a "discussion for working women" with a speech directed at the Ledbetter Supreme Court case focusing on pay discrimination.

Because Sen. John McCain, who favors equal pay, opposed a bill in the Senate that opens the doors for lawsuits and problems for employers, Obama is using that issue instead of abortion to reach out to independent and Republican women.

The shift became apparent when Obama spoke at a rally with his former rival Sen. Hillary Clinton last week.

“Usually, when we talk about the Court, it’s in the context of reproductive rights and Roe v. Wade,” he said. “But the Supreme Court also affects women’s lives in so many other ways" — mentioning the equal pay issue.

Anita Dunn, a senior adviser to the Obama campaign, explained the decision in comments to Politico.

“People in this country see [Roe] as settled law, so it doesn’t have the immediacy of the Ledbetter case because people, rightly or wrongly, don’t think its going to be overturned,” she said.

“Not to diminish choice, but the whole economic conversation is much more daily and much more primary to [women’s] lives," she added.

Surprisingly, top pro-abortion stalwarts are alright if Obama takes the focus off of abortion and puts it on equal pay to attract votes.

“It’s a healthy direction for the whole discussion to be moving,” a former legal director for NARAL, told Politico. “Women’s issues and families issues are not necessarily focused on abortion. … They experience the decision [of whether or not to have an abortion] in the context of their lives.”

Not everyone is pleased, however, as longtime Feminist Majority Foundation president Eleanor Smeal told the web site.

"For some reason, they don’t emphasize [abortion]. They emphasize other issues," Smeal complained.

“Everyone keeps talking about shaving margins by reaching out to evangelicals. What about the suburban women who do want for themselves and daughters this fundamental right?”

Though Obama and his campaign may focus on other issues, pro-life groups will assuredly keep the focus on abortion.

They won’t stop pointing out how Obama favors unlimited abortions funding with taxpayer dollars, opposes parental rights and voted repeatedly against a bill in the Illinois legislature to prevent the infanticide of babies who survive failed abortions.

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