Barack Obama is 100% Pro-Choice. Period.

PunditMom is considering NOT voting, Cynematic has warning bells blazing, Gloria Feldt is closing her wallet, and AnnRose is recounting her days at a hospital specializing in late abortion.

This is too big.

This has too many women wondering.

I am not comfortable wondering, and I have no intention of wondering my way to November.

I’m taking action.

I talked with Pam Sutherland today, President and CEO of the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council.

We each had one thing on our minds and we both understood it’s importance. There was no small talk. There was no chit-chat.

This conversation was arranged knowing what was at stake. She knew what she needed to say, and I knew what I hoped to hear.

And now I get to tell you.

Pam Sutherland does NOT have ONE doubt in her mind that Senator Barack Obama is anything but 100% pro-choice.

And she should know.

“I have worked with Barack Obama for 12 years. And in that 12 years he has never voted wrong on any (women’s reproductive) issue. It’s just that simple.”

It’s just that simple.

I happened to be talking to Pam as I watched Senator John McCain seemingly writhe in pain when asked his position on forcing health insurance companies to cover birth control.

Then we have Senator Obama, speaking DIRECTLY to BlogHer on the issue

Did you catch the difference there? McCain entirely uncomfy on YouTube, Obama talking TO US.

I also talked with the Obama campaign, hoping to clarify the Senator’s remarks that had pro-choice women wringing their hands.

The official statement?

“Senator Obama has always fought for a woman’s right to choose and has consistently opposed efforts to pass measures lacking a health exception. Senator Obama also recognizes that some people view these health exceptions not as exceptions, but as a way around these restrictions. Senator Obama believes that while “mental distress” should not be covered by a health exception, there will be cases where carrying to term a pregnancy may seriously damage a woman’s mental health and those cases should be covered. He believes that we can craft well-defined health exceptions – as pro-choice legislators have tried in Congress and in state legislatures – that address those concerns and fully protect women’s health.”- Shannon Gilson

That didn’t clear things up for me. I continued my call with Pam and really tried to get to the heart of this.

Point blank I asked her, “Pam, do you worry at all about what he said, his remarks, are you worried?”

“No, Erin. I don’t worry at all…He’s made it perfectly clear he supports the tenets of Roe…and I have a 12-year experience with someone who is 100% Pro-Choice.”

For good measure-

Senator John McCain has received a 0% pro-choice rating from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Senator Obama received a 100% pro-choice vote rating from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Not 75%. Not 99%.


Can I also point out McCain co-sponsored and voted for the Federal Abortion Ban? Yea, he did.

Want something even scarier?

Senator McCain voted against legislation that established criminal and civil penalties for those who use threats and violence to keep women from gaining access to reproductive health facilities.

The record by both candidates goes on and on and on. It’s not even a contest.

Liza at Culture Kitchen even has a graphic demonstrating the difference.

If Planned Parenthood and NARAL are confident in Senator Obama, why aren’t you?

Pam Sutherland isn’t worried, and I’m not either.

Cross Posted at

Going to the Chapel

I’m not going to lie.

My brain still fuzzy after the 4th’s fireworks and libations, I had to rub my eyes and go get my glasses upon reading this morning’s headlines.

Obama: Mental distress can’t justify late abortion

My heart sank.

Then I had to clear the cobwebs from my brain and process what was being said before I cried into my Women for Obama t-shirt.

Here is the short version, and what went on in my head as I read:

Senator Obama did an interview with some Christian magazine and said

Obama said prohibitions on late-term abortions must contain “a strict, well defined exception for the health of the mother.”

Obama then added: “Now, I don’t think that ‘mental distress’ qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term.”

In my head:

oh holy hell, is he pandering to the right with this crap? are you kidding me? why would he even talk about limits and and definitions when the women’s vote is being so heavily courted by Senator McCain…is he talking about limits on just late term or could this carry over into ‘mental distress’ in any termination of pregnancy and what exactly qualifies as ‘mental distress’ and who gets to decide and why is the government even INVOLVED in this and why on earth wold he say some like that to a Christian magazine and would he have said the same to planned parenthood and what in the hell is going on with my candidate because I realize this whole ‘move to the center’ thing is really just people educating themselves on where he has ALWAYS stood but has he always stood against mental distress/late term abortion stuff….crap I need coffee.

I then hinted to fellow Huffington Post contributor Lee Stranahan that he was welcome to drive the extra 20 minutes to deliver me a latte, since he was already out getting one for his wife. Lee politely mentioned something about gas prices and I begrudgingly made myself a pot.

I’m now two cups in and ready to break this down a bit so no one gets hysterical and suffers the same caffeine-free heart failure I did a few hours ago.

NARAL endorsed Obama. They believe “A health exception must also account for the mental health problems that may occur in pregnancy. Severe fetal anomalies, for example, can exact a tremendous emotional toll on a pregnant woman and her family.”

If Obama acts on his position, he’d be going against NARAL and other pro-choice entities.

However, Obama spokespeople stress “Obviously, as he stated in the interview, he has consistently believed those exceptions should be clear and limited enough to ensure that they don’t undermine the prohibition on late-term abortions.”

Which I HOPE means he’s not going to push that provision because it would undermine.

We will need clarification on that before we all go crazy here.

I’ll be the first to admit late-term abortion is where my very staunch support of all reproductive rights gets clouded. It’s uncomfortable to think about, to grapple with, to imagine. However I always default to the position of NOT knowing every woman’s situation.

We also know our right to control our own reproduction is constantly under attack. The anti-choice movement takes every inch they can get on any issue on the table to tries and ‘undermine’ current laws and legislation.

The issues are varied and the debate is large and overwhelming.

Even in my own family, the discussion and debate causes problems. My husband and I disagree over parental consent and continue to go around-and-around on the topic.

I respect my husband’s opinion, but I think he’s wrong.

I respect Senator Obama’s opinion, but I think he’s wrong.

I still married my husband, and we continue to debate the issue.

I’m still voting for Obama, and expect we will continue to debate the issue.

Maybe voting is a bit like marriage.

My husband has core values that I agree with and we compromise and fight and respect each other on some of the details.

Senator Obama has a core values that I agree with…I’m guessing between FISA and this, the compromise and fight and respect on those details will also emerge.

So long as those core values remain, I’m guessing we can stay out of divorce proceedings.

So long as those core values remain, I’m guessing we can stay out of third-party candidate, write-in vote proceedings.

The Senator, like my husband, remains the best person for the job.

Although I wish they were both a bit more like Mrs. Stranahan’s husband and would bring me some coffee.

Erin Kotecki Vest is Political Director at and thinks she’s Queen of the World on her own blog Queen of Spain blog. She also contributes over at MOMocrats where even her non-coffee bringing husband has guest posted so the entire family can Rage Against the McCain.