Thursday, August 28, 2008


For some reason there are always some folks who seem to think they should be able to tell other folks what they should do and not do in their personal lives.

Chief among those are personal medical decisions, such as whether people should be able to end their own life, or refuse life sustaining medical treatment beyond a certain time, such as after higher brain function has ceased as it had in the famous Karen Anne Quinlan situation. I find this same willingness to interfere in others lives to be at the root of some of our more divisive social issues, such as the misnamed "prolife" movement.

The pro-life movement is actually simply the anti-abortion movement, or the anti "Roe v. Wade" movement, and is mostly driven by certain religious opportunists who gain self importance by attempting to force their opinions and views upon others. Their announced goal is to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that regulated the state's ability to intrude on a woman's right to make her own medical decisions and not have those decisions made by her government. Contrary to what the Pro-life folks will tell you, Roe v. Wade was not a decision directly about abortion. It was a decision affirming a woman's right to privacy. It is one of the greatest and wisest decisions ever handed down by the Supreme Court and the majority of Americans support it and want it upheld. This is a problem for right wing evangelicals and others who want the power of control over women's personal medical decisions.

But, for politicians, there is a problem with being direct and honest with anti-abortionists...Even though they are a small number of voters(roughly 13-17%), they vote as a mindless one issue block. The Republican party, starting with Ronald Reagan, has pandered to this group who were somehow able to delude themselves and accept that pro-war, pro rich, pro multinational corporation, pro gun, anti-middle class, and anti working class, ideologies somehow went along with the anti constitutional, anti privacy, ideology that overturning Roe v. Wade would actually represent. To think that these various ideologies support each other is nuts. Absolutely institutionally asylum lock up batshit crazy. But for conservatives it works.

Is it worth noting that pro-life voters are the most pro-war constituency in America? Does that make sense?

I'm sticking with nuts.

Anyway, 13% is a big enough number that Democrats feel like they have to do what can be done to neutralize this voting block without actually giving in...OK, maybe pandering to them but in such a way as to not compromise the vast majority of Democrats who understand and support the idea that abortion should be available under the just restrictions of Roe v. Wade and remain "Safe, Legal, and Rare!"

A meeting was arranged:

"In 2004, we couldn't get a word in. This time, they reached out to us," says Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life, a six-year-old advocacy organization that sponsored a convention gathering that featured antiabortion Democratic Rep. Lincoln Davis of Tennessee. "The big tent is opening up."

The platform states that the party "strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade," the 1973 Supreme Court decision affirming abortion rights, "and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion." But it asserts that the party "also strongly supports access to comprehensive affordable family planning services and age-appropriate sex education" that "help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions."

You should read the entire piece. In some ways it worries me. I see this as a very smart strategic move, but if anyone thinks they are going to reason with conservatives they are wrong.

Negotiate, yes...Reason? Hasn't happened yet and no evidence abounds to make me think it ever will.

Wall Street Journal



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