I found this debate to be really insightful. Both of them are Pro-Life Catholics: Arkes is a political philosophy professor at Amherst who helped draft the Born Alive Act while Doug Kmiec worked in the Reagan and Bush I administrations.
Kmiec is an 'Obamacon' who believes the President's argument that improving the economic conditions will decrease the # of abortions since the indigent have a greater likelihood to make such choices. This is a clever argument because it has a pro-life ring behind it. Like the Pro-Lifer, the Obamacon wants to see the number of abortions go DOWN. Like the Pro-Lifer, the Obamacon sees the choice of abortion as 'tragic.'
The argument would be compelling if the President had not reversed the Mexico City Policy a week into office. By doing that, federal tax dollars are going to pay for abortion overseas. How are we going to get the number of abortions down by paying for them? Moreover, if abortion is a private choice then why are public funds being used for it anyway? But I digress.