On abortion, Obama's views are rather cut and dry. He believes that abortion is a women's right anytime during her pregnancy, and any ruling curbing it is a "slippery slope". Here is how he remarked about it. (this is in response to last year's ruling outlawing partial birth abortions)
I strongly disagree with today’s Supreme Court ruling, which dramatically departs from previous precedents safeguarding the health of pregnant women. As Justice Ginsburg emphasized in her dissenting opinion, this ruling signals an alarming willingness on the part of the conservative majority to disregard its prior rulings respecting a woman’s medical concerns and the very personal decisions between a doctor and patient. I am extremely concerned that this ruling will embolden state legislatures to enact further measures to restrict a woman's right to choose, and that the conservative Supreme Court justices will look for other opportunities to erode Roe v. Wade, which is established federal law and a matter of equal rights for women.
So, clearly, even the third trimester practice of partially removing the baby and sucking out its brain should be legal, in the view of Obama, because curbing it would lead to the proverbial "slippery slope".
the conservative Supreme Court justices will look for other opportunities to erode Roe v. Wade
In fact, as Amanda Carpenter points out, Obama even voted in favor of a bill to kill the baby after failed abortions. (long time readers are likely sick of my broken record reference to this piece) Thus, in Obama's view a woman has a right to choose even beyond the pregnancy. The crux of his position seems to be again the proverbial "slippery slope."
Now, contrast that to his view of the second amendment. Obama has said that he believes the second amendment protects an individual's right to own a firearm, however he also believes in "common sense" curbs to the second amendment. He has even pointed to the D.C. gun ban as one he supports.
Now, on any reasonable or logical level, no politician could hold these divergent views. As Obama pointed out, abortion is only legal because of a Supreme Court ruling, Roe V. Wade. The 2nd amendment is found in the constitution. He has absolutely no problem traveling down the perverbial "slippery slope" when it applies to the 2nd amendment of the CONSTUTION. On the other hand, any curb to a right created by the Supreme Court would walk us down the perverbial "slippery slope". To me, this is totally hypocritical and nonsensical. If any right deserves protection from the perverbial "slippery slope", it would first be the one in the constitution, not one created by the Supreme Court.
It is rather interesting then that Obama fancies himself a Constitutional scholar, because one would think that such a scholar would try and protect rights spelled out in the Constitution much more furiously than he would rights granted to us by a Supreme Court ruling. Obama sees the ones granted by a Supreme Court ruling as more sacrosanct the ones the Constitution granted us. In Obama's view there are no "common sense" curbs on abortion. Any restriction is in his view a "slippery slope". The only reasonable restrictions he sees are to the second amendment. Somehow he sees a right granted by the Constitution as one open to "common sense" curbs, but one created by the Supreme Court can't be curbed at all or it is a "slippery slope".
Of course, since no one has ever challenged Obama on these two matters, we don't know why he thinks as such. If I had to guess, he arrives at these duel positions not based on any Constitutional arguement, but rather on a purely partisan and ideological one. Abortion is a liberal issue. The 2nd amendment is a conservative one. If that is his belief, that is fine, however it is then totally disingenuous to proclaim himself post partisan.