Both parties reach for center on abortion debate

August 16, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
As the presidential race heats up, so does the competition for centrist voters and both sides are taking note when it comes to abortion. The result is both parties have made intriguing nods to the political center on the emotional issue.

John McCain startled conservatives this week, and pleased some moderates, by suggesting he might pick a running mate who supports abortion rights.

And Democrats revising their party platform have strengthened language supporting abortion rights, but also on reducing the need for abortions.

Democratic officials also gave a convention speaking slot to Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, who opposes abortion rights.

The developments suggest that both parties sense that a large middle group of Americans would like to see abortion vanish, but not by legal decree. Polls tend to bear that out.