Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, delivered a speech at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Denver on Monday afternoon, saying DNC delegates will nominate Sen. Barack Obama as the “next pro-choice president of the United States.” Warning supporters of abortion that “reproductive freedom is on the line,” she claimed a McCain presidency could endanger permissive abortion laws in the U.S.
Claiming the party is united behind the “core moral values” of supporting and defending “a woman’s right to choose safe, legal abortion,” she said the Democratic Party believes in doing more to prevent “unintended pregnancy” to reduce the need for abortion. She pressed for “honest, realistic sex education” while professing a shared stand in the “right to choose contraception.” She also said the party stands with women who choose adoption.
Arguing that the debate over “reproductive rights” has been “divisive” and dominated by black-and-white slogans that “fail to acknowledge the profound complexity most people feel on the issue of abortion, she asserted that such putatively complex opinions can be respected “while still protecting the fundamental values of freedom and privacy.”
Keenan attacked presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, arguing that he has voted to ban abortion without exceptions for victims of incest or rape. She also attacked what she said was his support for the Republican Party platform, which calls for outlawing abortion in all circumstances.
Noting the presidential election coincides with the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, she claimed “reproductive freedom is on the line.”
Characterizing U.S. Supreme Court’s status as at “an ideological tipping point,” she said Sen. McCain has pledged to appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade.
Keenan’s short speech tended to focus on McCain more than Obama. In her printed remarks, she mentions Sen. Obama’s name twice but Sen. McCain’s name five times.
She closed her speech by calling Sen. Obama “an effective and passionate leader who will protect a woman’s right to choose now and for future generations.”
According to the Keenan biography provided by the DNC, Keenan was “born into an Irish-Catholic family” in the state of Montana, for which she later served as a state legislator.