What I intended to say is that, as a Christian, I have a lot of humility about understanding when does the soul enter into... It's a pretty tough question. And so, all I meant to communicate was that I don't presume to be able to answer these kinds of theological questions[...] What I do know is that abortion is a moral issue, that it's one that families struggle with all the time. And that in wrestling with those issues, I don't think that the government criminalizing the choices that families make is the best answer for reducing abortions[...] I think the better answer - and this was reflected in the Democratic platform - is to figure out, how do we make sure the young mothers, or women who have a pregnancy that's unexpected or difficult, have the kind of support they need to make a whole range of choices, including adoption and keeping the child.
I am somebody who believes that Roe versus Wade was rightly decided. I think that abortion is a very difficult issue and it is a moral issue and one that I think good people on both sides can disagree on. But what ultimately I believe is that women in consultation with their families, their doctors, their religious advisers, are in the best position to make this decision.
As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right.
While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue -- no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant woman and mothers, reduce the need for abortion, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption. And as we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.
In 1996 Obama responded “No,” on a candidate questionnaire asking “Do you support parental consent/notification for minors seeking abortions?” As state senator Obama voted “present” in 2001 on two parental notification bills. As U.S. Senator Obama voted “No” in 2006 on a bill requiring parents to be notified before their minor daughter got an out-of-state abortion, and he voted “No” in 2008 on a bill prohibiting the trafficking of minors from states with parental involvement laws to states without them.
In 2001 when he was an Illinois state senator, Obama declined to take a position on two pieces of legislation that would have required parental notification for minors who have an abortion, voting "present" instead of "yes" or "no." But five years earlier, he had filled out an issues questionnaire for the influential Independent Voters of Illinois Independent Precinct Organization opposing such notifications. "Do you support parent consent/notification for minors seeking abortion?" the survey asked. "No," he wrote. Obama also answered that he supported Medicaid funding and state worker insurance coverage for abortion and that he didn't support "any other" restrictions on the procedure.
Days after his inauguration, Obama lifted the “Mexico City policy” that all Republican presidents since Ronald Reagan have implemented and all Democrats since that time have reversed. The policy prohibits federal money from being used to fund international family-planning clinics that promote abortion or provide counseling or referrals about abortion services.
“The Administration opposes gender discrimination in all forms, but the end result of this legislation would be to subject doctors to criminal prosecution if they fail to determine the motivations behind a very personal and private decision. The government should not intrude in medical decisions or private family matters in this way.”
The President has repeatedly stood behind a woman’s right to choose. He reversed the global gag rule, which banned the government from providing aid to international groups that provide abortion information. And he’s fought against Republican attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, one of the largest providers of women’s health services in the country.
Now, with respect to the abortion issue, I actually think -- I mean, there are laws both federal, state and constitutional that are in place. And I think that this is an area where I think Bill Clinton had the right formulation a couple of decades ago, which is abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. I think that it’s something that all of us should recognize is a difficult, sometimes -- oftentimes tragic situation that families are wrestling with.
I think the families and the women involved are the ones who should make the decision, not the government. But I do think actually that there are a whole host of laws on the books that after a certain period, the interests shift such that you can have some restrictions, for example, on late-term abortions, and appropriately so. So there is in fact a set of rules in place.
Today we recognize the 37th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which affirms every woman’s fundamental constitutional right to choose whether to have an abortion, as well as each American’s right to privacy from government intrusion. I have, and continue to, support these constitutional rights.
I also remain committed to working with people of good will to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and families, and strengthen the adoption system.