President Obama delved into the abortion debate in a controversial Notre Dame commencement address Sunday, calling for a search for common ground on one of the most divisive issues in American politics.Barry wants "common ground" on abortion, but a recent Gallup poll found that 51% of Americans are now calling themselves "pro-life", while 42% are "pro-choice"--the first time that's happened since Gallup started polling. According to Gallup fewer Americans believe abortion should be legal under any circumstances--that's sure to be a blow to Planned Parenthood;s bottom line for 2009. Barry may want to take all that under heavy consideration, esp. when he picks his first Supreme Court nominee soon.
Addressing a sharply divided audience at the storied Catholic university, Obama conceded that no matter how much Americans "may want to fudge it ... at some level the views of the two camps are irreconcilable."
"Each side will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction," he said. "But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature."
The commencement ceremony was boycotted by a number of graduates dismayed by the university's decision both to tap Obama as its commencement speaker and to give him an honorary degree. The president is a supporter of abortion rights and federally-funded embryonic stem-cell research -- positions that are anathema to traditional Catholic teachings.
Some graduates attended the ceremony, but expressed their disapproval by donning mortarboards marked with a cross and the outline of an infant's footprints. Others countered by wearing mortarboards adorned with an Obama campaign symbol.Protests by abortion rights opponents before Obama's speech led to 27 arrests, St. Joseph County sheriff's deputy Rachel Zawistowski told CNN. One of those arrested was Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff identified as "Roe" in the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that struck down state laws banning abortion.