As it has met with dozens of abortion-rights supporters and opponents in recent weeks to collect ideas for a "common ground" approach on abortion and related reproductive issues, the Obama administration has emphasized that it intends to avoid influencing women's decisions about whether or not to have an abortion.
According to the groups involved, the White House is looking for ways to help pregnant women who want to carry their pregnancies to term without pressuring women to make that choice.
This is what Obama aides mean when they insist that they're working to "reduce the need for abortion," as opposed to reducing abortions per se. The approach absolves the White House of having to make a judgment about the propriety of abortion. It leaves that decision to individual women.
But in articulating a goal of reducing the need for abortion, hasn't the White House already made a judgment about its undesirability? "Let us work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions,"
Obama said in his recent speech at the University of Notre Dame. Why reduce the number of women seeking abortions if there's nothing wrong with the procedure?