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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Sunday, February 02, 2003


Howard Dean speech at NARAL

posted by B at Sunday, February 02, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Thank you. I saw Reverend Sharpton in a restaurant in NY the other day and I was very pleased. He offered me a vice presidential spot on his ticket and I really appreciate it Reverend very, very much.

You know, we all have our reasons for running. I'm running because I don't like extremism, and I think extremism has taken over our country. I'm going to talk to you as a governor and as a doctor tonight, but I was thinking, as I was listening to the four speakers, how much is at stake. It's not just abortion rights or reproductive freedoms. Title IX is under attack by this administration, and I think if one of us doesn't win, next thing girls won't be able to go to school in America, you watch.

Now, Vermont is the promised land for you folks. I'm the governor--I was the governor until last week. I served on the board of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England for five years. When I became governor, I had to resign because we contract all our family planning services through Planned Parenthood in Vermont. We do not harken to the term "Partial Birth Abortion" in my state because partial birth abortion is like the word "quota". The president used it six times last night--it's a code word--it's designed to appeal to people's fears, to divisiveness. Partial birth abortion is the same thing. The truth is: I went and checked and tried to figure out--because I running against a conservative person the last two times I ran--I checked because I knew this would come up. How many late, third trimester abortions had been done in the State of Vermont in the last four years. The number This is an issue about nothing--it's an issue about extremism, it's an issue about appealing to people's fears, it is the wrong thing to do, and people who use the term "partial birth abortion" are leading America into a bad place, they are trying to divide us, people of conscience. It is a wrong thing to do. It is no more honorable than the President of the United States using the word "quota" because he knows that it divides us by race, and using the word "partial birth abortion" divides us by conscience.

There are many good people, who on moral grounds, are opposed to abortion. I respect them. I do not respect the people who defend the throwing of bombs and murders of doctors, however. And some of those exist in our very administration. People who have not stood up against violence--they thought it would be better for their political careers if they didn't say too much about it. The chairman of the judiciary committee, last year who refused to allow the banking bill to go through because it outlawed terrorism at abortion clinics--that is a shameful act, and the American people ought to be ashamed of that.

Let me tell you a story. As many of you know, I'm a doctor, I'm an internist, and I take care of all ages, pretty much--from five to a hundred and five. And one time I was sitting in my office and it was not unusual for young kids to come and talk to me because I knew the whole family. And one time a young lady came into my office, who was twelve years old, and she thought she might be pregnant. And we did the test, and we did the exam, and she was pregnant. And she didn't know what to do. And after I had talked to her for a while, I came to the conclusion that the likely father of her child was her own father. You explain that to the American people who think that parental notification is a good idea--I will veto parental notification. In Vermont we don't have parental notification bills, but you know what? 85% of all minors that seek an abortion bring their parent with them voluntarily. It is the right thing to do. When I was practicing medicine, if a young lady came to me, and she was pregnant, I'd sit with her in my office and the first thing I'd do is try to convince her she ought to tell her folks, because I knew her folks, I usually treated them too. And sometimes she'd even say, "I don't dare, I don't dare--my father will kill me". In a small percentage of cases--that's true. And that's why we don't want the government telling us how to practice medicine.

Abortion is connected to civil rights. Because this government is so impressed with itself, in promoting individual freedom, they can't wait to get into your bedroom and tell you how to behave. And I don't think, as a physician--people ask me "What's your position on abortion?", it's very simple. It's a single sentence: The practice of medicine is none of the government's business and they ought have stay out of it. This is a private relationship, this is a private relationship between the physician, the patient and whoever the patient chooses to involve in that position. If you become pregnant, unexpectedly, and it's an unwanted pregnancy, you have three choices, and you have to live with those choices for the rest of your life. You can give that baby up for adoption, and you can talk to women who have done that, and they wonder for the rest of their lives--where that child might be and what might have become of that child. You can have the baby and keep that child. Sometimes that works out. Sometimes with fourteen and fifteen year olds, it doesn't work out very well. A teenager who has a child, below the age of eighteen, has an 80% chance of being on welfare for the foreseeable future, we can do better than that. And the last choice is to have an abortion. And for those who've had abortions, that is also a very difficult decision, and also a decision that you will wonder about for the rest of your life. This is an extraordinarily difficult decision. It's certainly a decision that has to be lived with by the patient for the rest of your life--and what in the world could the government be thinking about, and the President of the United States and nine old folks on the supreme court, five of whom are so far to the right that we can't see them anymore. What in the world, what in the world could they be thinking that they have the right to decide the life of a young woman who has the choice of adopting, keeping, or aborting. They have to live with that decision for the rest of their life. President Bush can go cut brush on his ranch in Crawford and not give it a second thought. We can do better. We can do better. We can do better!


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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.