For those of you eager to hear something encouraging about the U.S. presidential campaign: A post at the Corner about Joe Biden’s stance on abortion, which appears slightly less extreme than that of Barack Obama.
For pro-lifers, there is one tiny hopeful sign in the Biden pick. For a long time now, the top ranks of the Democratic party have embraced an orthodoxy on abortion policy that includes support for taxpayer funding of it and for keeping partial-birth abortion legal. The Democratic platform supports taxpayer funding. The three top contenders in this year’s Democratic presidential primaries—Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards—support both taxpayer funding and partial-birth abortion.
Since partial-birth abortion became a political issue during Bill Clinton’s first term in office, every Democratic presidential and vice-presidential nominee has supported keeping it legal (or making it illegal in name with loopholes to keep it legal in practice). When Gore considered running with Evan Bayh in 2000, feminist leaders told reporters that he was unacceptable because he had voted against partial-birth abortion.
This time the feminists said very little as Obama considered Bayh and Biden. For the first time in many years, the Democrats have a candidate for national office who opposes taxpayer funding of abortion. For the first time since partial-birth abortion became an issue, they have a candidate who opposes it, too. It is a less important development, I think, than the fact that their presidential nominee believes that some forms of infanticide should be legal. But it strikes me nonetheless as progress, however painfully limited.