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Whither "Reducing Abortion"?

11:17 AM, Sep 3, 2008 • By TERRY EASTLAND
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Politico reports that Barack Obama has a new radio ad challenging John McCain on abortion that's running in at least seven states-Florida, Virginia, Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Colorado. I've not heard it, as I'm not in any of those states. But here's the ad as Politico has it:

"Let me tell you: If Roe vs. Wade is overturned, the lives and health of women will be put at risk. That's why this election is so important," says the nurse-practitioner who narrates Obama's ad. "John McCain's out of touch with women today. McCain wants to take away our right to choose. That's what women need to understand. That's how high the stakes are."

An announcer then claims that "as president, John McCain will make abortion illegal," before playing an exchange on "Meet the Press" in which McCain told moderator Tim Russert that he favors "a constitutional amendment to ban all abortions."

"We can't let John McCain take away our right to choose. We can't let him take us back," says the ad.

As Politico notes, McCain actually supports a ban on abortion except in cases of rape and incest and when the mother's life is threatened. But those are details. The bottom line is that Obama is for the abortion right and McCain is mostly against it. Or, to put it from the McCain perspective, Obama is in no case pro-life, while McCain would have the law protect life in all but those so-called "hard cases."

The ad, made and distributed before the Democrats concluded their convention last week, and thus before McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate, indicates the rising importance of abortion as the campaign intensifies. And you'll notice that the ad is clearly pitched to women who support abortion rights. All that talk in Denver about "reducing abortion"--that point isn't in this ad.