Abortion right:

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton did two important things while speaking to about 1,000 abortion rights supporters in Albany in January. First, at a moment when women’s reproductive freedom is under severe assault, she restated her support for Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalised abortion nationwide. Without retreating on principle, she deftly shifted the focus of the abortion discussion to where there is the broadest agreement, and where President Bush’s policy failure is most apparent — namely, abortion prevention.

This is sensitive political terrain, and Clinton even offended some in her audience. Her critics argued that while the sentiment sounded fine, the reality is that most organised abortion opponents also oppose greater access to birth control. Even if that is true, it misses the point. The target of her argument is not anti-abortion activists, but the public.

The anti-abortion movement began gaining political traction most Americans find troubling — like parental notification and so-called partial-birth abortion. It shifted attention away from President Bush’s opposition to things that Americans almost universally favour and which are most critical for women trying to control their reproductive destiny, like ready access to birth control and comprehensive family planning. Mrs Clinton wisely seeks to turn the argument around. — The New York Times