The headline of an October 18 New York Daily News piece caught my eye…

The relevant excerpt…

But increasingly, noisy factions on the party’s most liberal flank… who Obama courted last year – are incensed that their causes have taken a backseat to the White House’s all-out push on health care reform.
Case in point? Pro-choice activists, who right now are livid that the leading health care bills winding through Congress don’t include federal funding for poor women to get abortions.
“The advocates of choice are starting to get disillusioned with President Obama,” said UCLA law professor Adam Winkler.

health reform no abortion, Obama, NARAL, Planned Parenthood.jpg

Winkler was lobbying on Capitol Hill with Planned Parenthood recently and was dismayed to be told by a key Democratic congressman that the Obama White House isn’t pushing for abortion services in the bill. The reason? It would drive away prospective Republican and conservative Democratic votes.
For the pro-choice community, it’s going to be Barack Obama’s ‘no new taxes,'” Winkler predicted. Conservatives famously cried betrayal after President George H.W. Bush reneged on his 1988 read-my-lips campaign pledge not to raise taxes….

Valerie Jarrett at Naral Pro-Choice America event.jpg

White House special adviser Valerie Jarrett was dispatched to NY Wednesday to tell NARAL Pro-Choice America that the President remains committed to protecting women’s reproductive rights.
The well-heeled crowd inside applauded Jarrett politely. But outside, the highest-ranking woman in the White House was met by protesters chanting, “Valerie Jarrett, do your job! Defend abortion rights for all!”

Jarrett gave her speech at NARAL’s 18th annual National Power of Choice Luncheon, and here’s why NARAL got that 8-minute crumb, according to Ben Smith at Politico:

That’s a White House reward for, among other things, basically keeping their objections to possible abortion restrictions in health care legislation to themselves. As The Nation reported a while ago, abortion rights advocates – like foes – had some serious objections, and would have liked to see, for instance, public plan proposals explicitly include abortion funding.
But that was politically unrealistic, and the groups – like many other dogs that haven’t barked in this debate – have publicly fallen in line.

I found Jarrett’s speech verrrry interesting:

First I noted the crowd was way subdued in its response. And it seemed to me Jarrett was uncomfortable, hence her opening freudianeque comment that cracked me up: “And I’m delighted to have shown up here today.” “Shown up”? Haha. “Hey, at least I showed up.”
Then I thought this comment by Jarrett was odd, as in why the need to reassure?

President Obama has been pro-choice throughout his career. As a state senator, as a U.S. senator, and today as the president of the United States he remains firmly pro-choice.

What, in case anyone was worried?
Finally, when Jarrett broached the healthcare debate, she noticeably omitted mention of abortion coverage. In fact, she didn’t mention the A-word once – in a speech to the nation’s leading abortion advocacy organization. Here was Jarrett’s only mention:

Now I know that there have been questions about how the bill is working its way through Congress and what impact it will have on a woman’s right to choose. The answer is: Nothing in these bills, and nothing the president will sign, would change existing policies or – or – erode the choices that women have today.

In other words, the abortion industry is now concerned about more than ensconcing abortion in nationalized healthcare, it is now worried about losing ground.
The tone of Jarrett’s speech was a far cry from Obama’s 2007 speech to Planned Parenthood, when he said abortion coverage would be “at the center and at the heart” of nationalized healthcare:

Here was another interesting headline in an October 18 piece HuffPo piece recapping the NARAL luncheon:
huffington post, is the pro-choice movement losing steam, abortion, NARAL.jpg
From that article:

After the luncheon, I asked [NARAL president Nancy] Keenan whether she was worried. “The complacency concerns me,” she said. “It’s like, ‘Oh we’re safe. We can take a breather.’ The fact is the other side never takes a breather.”

Darn right.

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