EJ Dionne Goes Off the Rails a Bit

EJ Dionne threw a wankerific curveball yesterday:

I have more sympathy than most liberals with the right-to-life movement because I believe most right-to-lifers are animated not by sexism or some punitive attitude toward sexuality but by a genuine desire to defend the defenseless.


What about this?

Feminism is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians. --Pat Robertson

Or this?

The long term goal [is] the execution of abortionists and parents who hire them. If we argue that abortion is murder, then we must call for the death penalty. --Gary Demar, American Vision

Or this?

Abortion, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide -- all these grow out of this new vision that sex and procreation are divided. -- Dr. Eugene Edward Veith, in American Family
Assocation Journal

Dionne, who I like and respect, is in this case quite wankerific.  To repeat for the thousandth time, pro-choice advocates are not for abortion.  And anti-choice leaders are not against abortion.  There's a very simple way of reducing abortion, which is to provide economic assistance to low income women and increase the amount of sex education available.  The pro-life movement in general is hostile to this solution, though specific advocates are not.  But Dionne didn't write that.  He wrote that there's some breakthrough (which sounds suspiciously like 'safe, legal, and rare') in the public debate, which there isn't.  There's a politician for the eight hundredth time proposing a reasonable solution on abortion, which pro-life forces are hostile to.

Dionne might want to write that, instead of casting saying that NARAL and people who call for the assassination of doctors and parents are equivalent.

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How Progressives Talk about Abortion (?)

I took this from a website and I am interested in your thoughts.

1.  Resolve never to be afraid to ask for help when you need help.
   2. Resolve never to be a customer at an abortion clinic.
   3. Memorize the following words, and live by them, starting today:
          * Female sexuality is one of the most powerful forces in this world (the only one God uses to create life).
          * It is a privilege that a man must earn by promising his life to her.
          * She has lost something if she does not demand a commitment first.
          * The measure of a man is how much he willingly gives of himself. (Our troops are an example of that.) A good man pays this price willingly, by putting a ring on her finger first--whether she demands it or not.
          * Every day is a new opportunity to live up to this ideal.
   4. Display the symbol, most importantly on your person. Other suggestions include on your car, from a flag flying in front of your home, a sign posted on your lawn, t-shirts, etc.
   5. Spread the word! Tell your friends and other people you know about the movement and tell them about the website.
   6. Familiarize yourself with local resources so you will know who to talk to in case someone who is in need approaches you. Your role is one of emotional support for your friends and a conduit to those resources. Please make sure that you involve older adults and professionals as soon as possible. It is not wise to handle a situation like this without their involvement. I say this as a former teenager who tried to handle an unplanned pregnancy among other teenagers and blew it.
   7. Resolve never to be afraid to ask for help when you need help. (For example, if number 3 doesn�t work out exactly perfectly, and you find yourself pregnant. We know this is a repeat, but it is one worth repeating.)
   8. Do not judge.

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How Progressives Talk about Abortion

Bumped b/c this is an important discussion - Matt

I'm posting this here rather than (shameless plug) my own site because I have found MyDD to be the home to some sensible progressive folks interested in seeking real solutions. Something I read today makes me wonder if some Washington writers are more interested in being clever than in moving the football down the field.

What I'm talking about is this. As you may know, over at Slate Katha Pollitt and William Saletan are debating abortion under the banner of "Is Abortion Bad?" A great exchange and worth reading. What got my goat was a posting in response this morning by Sam Rosenfeld over at Tapped in which he favorably quotes Barbara Ehrenreich -- she of Nickeled and Dimed fame -- saying that the only thing that she regretted about her abortions was how much they cost.  Rosenfeld says: "intellectually, Ehrenreich's position made sense" (emphasis in the original) and praised Ehrenreich for not being "squishy" on the issue like some Democrats. While I do appreciate the nice rhetorical touch in "intellectually," that statement still managed to make the skin crawl up on the back of my neck. Rosenfeld's implication is that abortion is entirely neutral -- morally, ethically, emotionally a wash -- except sometimes you get a bill when it's all over. It's telling that that he wonders how Saleten can believe that abortion is "morally wrong" and yet still distinguish it from murder.

To my mind, Rosenfeld gets at the crux of the issue for many Democrats -- if we don't think that abortion is a neutral, neither here nor there, how can we be so damn supportive of something that we believe to be a bad thing? It's a great question, I think. I'll answer for myself. As I see it now, the choice to terminate a pregnancies is a right endowed upon us by our creator (nature, higher power, whatever) to determine our own destinies. It's a survival mechanism that carries both great power and, as the ending of a potential life, a great responsibility.

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NARAL flub on Alito filibuster?

There's been a whole bunch of criticism that the Democratic leadership, in the Senate and the party as a whole, failed to provide the leadership and organize the campaign of voter persuasion necessary to sustain an effective vote against Alito.

Pretty much all of it justified, that I can see. (Whether this was fear, incompetence, running to lose or what, I don't know.)

But what about the outside groups?

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Is Sotomayor Catholic? And What About Roe v. Wade?

'Is Sotomayor Catholic?' was the headline I read first today.  And I have to say that it's a fair question.  If she's appointed she'll be the 6th Catholic sitting on a 9 person Court.  The question being ignited now is how will her religion affect her stance on abortion and in particular Roe v. Wade.

Research into her decisions has not shown whether she'll support the precedent of Roe v. Wade or not.  While I'm inclined to think that President Obama would have asked these questions ahead of nominating her given his track record on nominations I'm not convinced that he did get the right assurances.  Although, if things follow precedent we need only worry about whether she paid her taxes or not.

USA Today questions Catholic support of Sotomayor saying:

"Next up: Expect her nomination to re-ignite the ongoing Catholic blogosphere wars over who is Catholic enough. If confirmed, Sotomayor, who grew up in Catholic schools in the Bronx, would be the sixth Catholic on the high court. It may be that her life experiences will align her with the social justice issues pushed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on race, poverty, immigration and economic issues. But for some outspoken Catholics, the 'life' issues -- abortion, family planning, so-called 'conscience clauses' for health workers, embryonic stem cell research and end-of-life choices -- are the litmus test."

The central question of the Sotomayor confirmation debate will not be framed by President Obama and his advisors but has already been framed by the media: What is Sotomayor's position on Roe v. Wade and are we going to have a SCOTUS 'wafer watch'?  We have no idea from her record where Sotomayor falls on the abortion issue.

How serious is the debate going to be over Sotomayor's position on abortion?  The New York Times reports:"In a letter, Nancy Keenan, president of Naral Pro-Choice America, urged supporters to press senators to demand that Judge Sotomayor reveal her views on privacy rights before any confirmation vote." Further, Robert Gibbs' response was worrisome yesterday when asked about Obama discussing abortion with Sotomayor.  Gibbs said Obama "did not ask that specifically," meaning Obama may not know Sotomayor's opinion on abortion.

Ironically, "as president, Mr. Obama has sought to avoid being drawn into the culture wars of the last several decades and has encouraged each side in the abortion debate to be respectful of the other's opinions. " Unfortunately for President Obama nominating Sotomayor opened this, the most divisive issue in American politics, and, if he doesn't handle it carefully it'll severely taint his Presidency.

The thing I find most ironic about this debate is that if it is revealed that Sotomayor will follow in the traditional Catholic path (pro-choice without exception) then her confirmation will, undoubtedly, be reversed, with many Democrats against her and many Republicans for her. 

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