Conceding That Abortion Is Icky -- Not An Effective Strategy

>> Monday, November 16, 2009

Lizardbreath is 100% right about this:

I can't help thinking of the Stupak amendment, prohibiting abortion coverage in any health insurance plan that's paid for in part by federal subsidies under the House health reform bill, as the payoff from all that talk about how pro-choice voters should be more respectful of pro-lifers' beliefs. If we just acknowledged that abortion was always tragic, and always kind of wrong somehow, and that prolifers' total opposition to anyone being able to get an abortion ever was a deeply held moral belief that pro-choice voters shouldn't hold against them, then they'd respect us more in return and abortion would stop being such a hotly contested political issue.

Turns out, no. What happens when you treat pro-life views with solicitous respect and make sure pro-life politicians feel completely welcomed in your big tent party is that sixty-four House Democrats vote for poor women to be unable to get abortions or, most likely, to in at least some cases get late-term rather than early abortions because they can't get the money together in time. Solicitious respect isn't just interpersonal decency that will make political conflict over abortion less intense, it's unilateral political disarmament, and it has real policy consequences.

The logic that by which "emphasizing that abortion is gross and women who get abortions are immoral" actually benefits the pro-choice position has never made any sense, and surely the Stupak amendment settles the question. The idea that anti-choicers don't actually want to legally restrict abortion for poor people but just want Democratic politicians to give them a pat on the head makes no sense in theory and is pretty clearly wrong in practice.


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