Sunday, April 29, 2007


Can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding

Digby has a fine post, as usual, on the anti-reality delusionals that comprise a non-negligible number of GOP elected officials in Texas. It turns out, abortion and Jews are the result and cause of evolution and child abuse. Or something, I can't quite grasp the subtlety of their logic. She goes on to critique the bizarre, infantilizing logic of the Supreme Court's recent decision in Carhart II, and a recent PR decision of pro-lifers to trumpet the regrets of some women who have had abortions.

But I want to focus on a phrase near the end of Digby's post, where she writes, "When Democratic politicians like Hillary Clinton call abortion a tragedy in order to make common cause with these people they are bringing the day closer when women will be crawling out of back alleys gushing blood again."

This is both unfair and incorrect.

It's unfair, because it adopts the mentality common among conservative "love-it-or-leave-it" types that any concession to the imperfection of our side is morally treasonable. Yes, there are idiots who are pro-life; but it is not the case that a pro-choice politician pointing out that abortion isn't fun means adopting the worst arguments of the most delusional folks on the other side.

Digby's statement is incorrect because, while I think it's fair to say that more Americans consider themselves pro-choice than pro-life, this is a divisive issue, with feelings both genuine and insincere on both sides. (Though I think the insincerity on the "conception-to-birth only" pro-life side outweighs it on our side).

Here's some polling on the issue. According to a February WaPo poll, 43 percent of those surveyed believe abortion should be illegal in some or all cases (versus 55 percent on the other side). And the bulk of views are in the middle, with onle 16 and 12 percent favoring abortion always be legal or illegal, respectively.

A pro-choice politician, such as Sen. Clinton, articulating the belief that abortion is not the greatest thing that happens in a woman's life is a reasonable, honest way to reach out to those many people in the middle.

[some typos fixed]

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