Pennsylvania Sen. Robert Casey Jr. is one of the staunchest abortion foes in the Democratic Party. Barack Obama has never supported a measure curtailing access to abortion. So who is Casey backing in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination? Obama.
"He has the unique skills to try to lower the temperature and foster a sense of common ground, and try to figure out ways that people can agree," said Casey, who is helping Obama campaign for the April 22 primary in Pennsylvania.
Obama has voted against parental notification laws. When the Supreme Court voted last year to uphold a 2003 ban on so-called "partial-birth" abortions, he said the decision represented "an alarming willingness on the part of the conservative majority to disregard its prior rulings respecting a woman's medical concerns and the very personal decisions between a doctor and patient,” The Washington Post reported.
On the other hand, Obama supports legislation that promotes abstinence education and favors increasing federal support for women who opt to proceed with unplanned pregnancies.
And speaking last week in Indiana, which holds its primary on May 6, he stated that “abortions are never a good thing.”
"The mistake pro-choice forces have sometimes made in the past, and this is a generalization … has been to not acknowledge the wrenching moral issues involved," he said.
“Most Americans, I think, recognize that what we want to do is avoid, or help people avoid, making this difficult choice. That nobody is pro-abortion -- abortions are never a good thing."
More recently in Pennsylvania, he told a gathering there will always be irreconcilable differences between opponents and supporters of abortion rights, but added that "we can take some of the edge off the debate."
Sen. Casey was among those in the crowd.
At the 1992 Democratic National Convention, Casey’s late father, former Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey Sr., was barred from a speaking slot for refusing to endorse Bill Clinton due to his support of abortion rights, the Post noted.
Maria Vitale, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, told the Post that the younger Casey’s endorsement of Obama is “going to cause more confusion than influence,” adding that “a lot of people aren’t aware of Barack Obama’s position on abortion.”
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