President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden talk before having lunch on the patio outside the Oval Office, Aug. 30, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

REPUBLICANS ARE CLAIMING that “‘rare’ is now too much for the Democrats’ platform committee.” They forget that Pres. Obama made free contraception available for all women, which actually legislates and codifies “rare” in public policy. This is the seminal misunderstanding Republicans have about government power. They want to use state and federal power to force women to give birth, while Democrats under Pres. Obama want to utilize policy to make unwanted pregnancy not only rare, but obsolete.

If you know nothing else about the abortion debate, this is the most important thing to memorize.

It’s the fundamental difference between Republican faith-based policy where women’s freedoms are concerned and Democratic public policy in action. Democrats empower women through free contraception to be able to curtail any pregnancy for which they are unprepared. Republicans want women to pay for it personally and financially, regardless of the circumstances.

The AP story about the Democratic Party Platform versus what Republicans are taking away is illustrative of priorities.

The AP headline: Democratic platform focuses on fixing the economy.

Buzzfeed lays out the top subjects highlighted. 1. Middle Class: 42; 2. Bin Laden: 4; 3. Unemployment: 3; 4. President Obama: 111; 5. Jobs: 77; 6. Climate Change: 18; 7. Debt: 5; 8. Biden: 1; 9. Romney: 22; 10. Medicare: 15; 11. Auto: 15.

However, Republicans and so-called conservatives, who believe the state and/or federal government have a right to force women to give birth against their will, grabbed on the abortion text.

In 1992, then-Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton tried to soften the party’s image on abortion by expressing his desire to make abortion “safe, legal, and rare.” Although the Democratic party platforms in 2000 and 2004 stated the party’s goal is to make abortion “rare,” the 2012 platform makes no such claim. “In 2000, the Democratic platform said the party’s goal was ‘to make abortion less necessary and more rare,’ Jeff Jacoby wrote in the Boston Globe last week. “The 2004 platform declared, ‘Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.’ But even calling for abortion to be ‘rare’ is now too much for the Democrats’ platform committee, which deleted the word in 2008.” The word “rare” did not make a comeback in 2012. – Democratic Platform Endorses Taxpayer-Funded Abortions

This is the actual platform language:

Protecting A Woman’s Right to Choose. The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way. We also recognize that health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions. We strongly and unequivocally support a woman’s decision to have a child by providing affordable health care and ensuring the availability of and access to programs that help women during pregnancy and after the birth of a child, including caring adoption programs.

[...] President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to supporting family planning around the globe to help women care for their families, support their communities, and lead their countries to be healthier and more productive. That’s why, in his first month in office, President Obama overturned the “global gag rule,” a ban on federal funds to foreign family planning organizations that provided information about, counseling on, or offered abortions. And that is why the administration has supported lifesaving family planning health information and services.

Republicans ignore that policy disputes aren’t settled through government, but instead are adjudicated in our courts. Roe v. Wade cements the responsibility of each woman, which is added to her own moral code and what she will live with the rest of her life.

The “regardless of ability to pay” language is a passage moored in basic civil and human rights that the poor will have access to equal reproductive coverage. The poor are not considered in libertarian or Republican philosophy, which they leave to private and church groups, so their outrage at access for poor women aligns with their bootstraps philosophy.

Pres. Obama also takes Secy. Clnton’s “women’s rights are human rights,” instituting it in U.S. foreign policy. Obama understands that developing nations are only as strong as the women in it, which depends on their participation in government. All of this starts with a woman planning her family, a task that is respected as not only an emotional and physical element of her life, but an economic hurdle that can ripple into an obstacle to stabilizing the country itself. The “global gag rule” remains a political football that only hurts our own efforts abroad where women don’t have access to basic reproductive health care, which must include contraception to be effective.

Where self-determination is concerned, an issue that used to be a conservative trumpet regardless of gender, for Republicans religion now trumps individual rights if you’re a woman. Thank Ronald Reagan for introducing Jerry Falwell’s Immoral Minority into the American bloodstream.