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Tilting at Windmills

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February 26, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

PRO-CHOICE....Via Atrios, I see that the once popular sport of Amy Sullivan bashing is back in vogue. Here's Amy, in an interview with Salon about her new book, The Party Faithful:

You're pro-choice. Does that interfere with being an evangelical?

Well, I don't like the [pro-choice] label. I guess the reason I wrote about abortion the way I did in the book is because I have serious moral concerns about abortion, but I don't believe that it should be illegal. And that puts me in the vast majority of Americans. But unfortunately, there's no label for us.

Amanda Marcotte responds:

Yes, there is. If you think abortion and other forms of contraceptive birth control should be legal — i.e. that women should have the legal right to decide when they have children — you are pro-choice. Even if you still reserve the right to judge them for it. This entire interview with Amy Sullivan, like all her talk on getting the evangelical vote, makes me tired. She appears to have a definition problem, basically, characterizing evangelicals as if they are all Bible-believing Christians, when most self-identified evangelicals are patriarchy proponents with a thin veneer of Christianity over everything as a moral justification.

Actually, I think Amy's point is precisely the opposite. In the rest of the interview, she basically suggests that about 60% of the evangelical community is politically conservative and won't ever vote for a Democrat. But the other 40% will, and those 40% are worth trying to appeal to. And one way to appeal to them is to acknowledge their moral qualms about abortion even if you don't happen to share them yourself. Like this guy:

I think that the American people struggle with two principles: There's the principle that a fetus is not just an appendage, it's potential life. I think people recognize that there's a moral element to that. They also believe that women should have some control over their bodies and themselves and there is a privacy element to making those decisions.

I don't think people take the issue lightly. A lot of people have arrived in the view that I've arrived at, which is that there is a moral implication to these issues, but that the women involved are in the best position to make that determination. And I don't think they make it lightly.

That's Barack Obama, likely the next Democratic candidate for the presidency. All he's doing is acknowledging the moral dimension of abortion, while remaining solidly in favor of abortion choice, reducing unwanted pregnancies, and encouraging responsible sexual behavior.

Now, I don't know why Amy rejects the "pro-choice" label, and it's pretty likely that I don't agree with her reasons — largely because I don't have any moral qualms about early and mid-term abortion in the first place. But then, I'm not an evangelical, am I? In any case, I've invited her to come by in a couple of weeks and guest blog about her book, so we'll all have a chance to rip into her about it then. In the meantime, keep things civil in comments, OK?

(And, of course, click the link to read the whole interview. Most of it isn't about abortion at all.)

Kevin Drum 1:14 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (126)

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Comments

Omigod, I can't believe Amy Sullivan is throwing herself to the wolves once again!

Posted by: Lucy on February 26, 2008 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like Safe, Legal and Rare to me.

Oh my, who could have said that?

Posted by: TonyC on February 26, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

As usual, Kevin is showing his hatred of Obama. Just look when he states...well...OK, then there is...errrr...acknowledging...mmmm...Anyways, it is clear he loves Clinton and wants her to win.

Posted by: Obama-centric on February 26, 2008 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Good post.

Labels certainly have political importance, and I'm assuming that's why some people don't like the label "pro-choice." It's not the content of their beliefs, it's that the label has taken on a meaning substantially different from that content. Like "liberal," for example.

That said, I generally think labels are a waste of time to talk about. It's like arguing over semantics. Let's spend time doing more useful things.

Posted by: bleh on February 26, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Pro-choice doesn't mean approval. I support people having the choice of using drugs personally (so long as they aren't drugged up while driving or operating any kind of heavy equipment). That doesn't mean I *want* people on heroin, I just support them having the choice.

Hence Amy's protest makes no sense.

Posted by: Tlaloc on February 26, 2008 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

The real problem with discussing whatever it is Amy Sullivan's on about this time isn't that I or anyone else disagree with her on this or that. It's that she's a fundamentally dishonest player in these discussions. As noted above, "safe, legal and rare" has been the Democratic position for *at least 16 years*. And yet, "Democrats never want to talk about reducing the abortion rate?" Please. Until she can quit being such a hack, she's simply not worth talking about, or to.

Posted by: Aaron S. Veenstra on February 26, 2008 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin quotes Amy Sullivan: "I have serious moral concerns about abortion, but I don't believe that it should be illegal."

That's a clear and concise statement of the pro-choice position.

Kevin quotes Obama: "A lot of people have arrived in the view that I've arrived at, which is that there is a moral implication to these issues, but that the women involved are in the best position to make that determination."

That's another clear and concise statement of the pro-choice position.

The question is not whether Amy Sullivan, or Barack Obama, or you or I, have or don't have "moral concerns" about abortion.

The question is simply who gets to decide whether or not a pregnant woman can have an abortion. If you believe that the woman experiencing an unwanted pregnancy, who does not want to bear a child, should get to make that decision, then you are pro-choice.

And that's exactly the position that Sullivan and Obama have both clearly stated.

If Amy Sullivan doesn't like being "labeled" pro-choice when she states clearly and concisely that she is, in fact, pro-choice, then that's her problem. And I agree with Amanda Marcotte that it's pretty tiresome.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 26, 2008 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Acknowledging their moral qualms" is, in no way, incompatible with "pro-choice."

Amy Sullivan is subject to the same criticism as Hillary Clinton-- they're so used to being clobbered by the right, that they are afraid of admitting that they believe in anything.

"Pro-choice" is only something to be embarrassed about, if you don't think the state should ban abortion, if you are allowing opponents to caricature your views. And Amy Sullivan's whole schtick is that she's afraid of the caricatures.

Her whole routine about how Democrats fear and loathe religion is maddening. I can't imagine any Democratic candidate for anything ever even dreaming of saying something negative about religion. She's got a point about Terry McAuliffe not knowing who Rick Warren is, but she goes way too far with it all.

Posted by: Elvis Elvisberg on February 26, 2008 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Abortion needs an advocate. The debate is too one sided about the morality of eliminating the replicating cells in a woman's womb. Ending an unwanted pregnancy with aboriton is a greater moral good than letting the pregnancy become an unwanted child or an orphan to be adopted by unknown strangers.

Abortion is good for society. Abortion should be celebrated and encouraged. Abortion should also be rewarded fiscally so that more women will choose it if they have an unwanted pregnancy.

Posted by: e7 on February 26, 2008 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see how you can follow the teachings of Jesus where a rich man will have a hard time getting into the kingdom of heaven and still be a Republican.

I can find hundreds of passages in the Bible that would support the Democratic platform and very few that would support the Republican platform.

Look, even Huckabee had to change his views because many of his Christian views disagreed with the Republican view of the world.

Posted by: neil wilson on February 26, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Amy Sullivan wants us to reject the "pro-choice" label. We've already been asked to reject "liberal", and now that Goldberg and others are demonizing "progressive", I suppose we should reject that too. She also wants us to distance ourselves from non-believers and use God-talk at every opportunity. She thinks that it's a winning strategy to say "We're evangelical/fundamentalist too, only more moderate".

Not only is that incredibly offensive to those of us who aren't evangelical Christians, it is a losing strategy. She basically wants us to concede that being liberal is wrong, that being pro-choice is wrong (unless we adopt language that acknowledges how vile it is, and say that abortion is only OK if we feel really, really bad and guilty about it), that being non-Christian is wrong. And somehow this is supposed to pick up a few votes.

Forget it. If you refuse to defend labels, you concede that the labeled object is bad or wrong.

Posted by: Joe Buck on February 26, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin quotes Amanda Marcotte: "This entire interview with Amy Sullivan, like all her talk on getting the evangelical vote, makes me tired."

I certainly haven't read everything that Amy Sullivan has ever written on this subject, although I have read the articles that she has contributed to Political Animal.

In my opinion, Amy Sullivan has never made a convincing argument as to why the Democratic Party should care about getting the evangelical vote, other than that Amy Sullivan wants the Democratic Party to care about it.

The importance of the evangelical vote is greatly overstated. For example, in the 2004 election, the impact of the Republican Party's nationwide crime spree of stealing elections through voter disenfranchisement and fraud far exceeded the impact of the evangelical vote.

The Democratic Party would serve itself much better by addressing the problem of Republican theft of elections than by going after the evangelical vote.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 26, 2008 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

uh-oh, you acknowledged that there are people who are not opposed to legal abortion but have moral qualms. you're on the atrios shitlist now, man. prepare to have your name turned into a nasty shorthand.

Posted by: yug on February 26, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

yug wrote: "you acknowledged that there are people who are not opposed to legal abortion but have moral qualms".

Yep, they're called "Democrats." See "safe, legal, and rare," circa 1992. It's not controversial. Stop fantasizing that it is.

Posted by: Elvis Elvisberg on February 26, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

When it comes to morality liberals can be just as doctrinaire & uncompromising as conservatives, if not more so.

Doctrinaire conservatives call doctrinaire liberals "elitists." Doctrinaire liberals call doctrinaire conservatives "the hard right." Not much room for middle ground here, which describes well where national politics has been since Reagan & the Republican Revolution.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on February 26, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's statment may be wise politically, I dunno--and may sound reasonable--but doesn't mean much. What does that really mean, that there's moral "element" and "implication" to it?

If Obama is saying that some people are opposed to abortion on moral grounds, then he's stating the painfully obvious. If he saying he has moral problems with abortion, then he should say so. If he's saying that all people have moral problems with abortion, then he's wrong.

For many, if not, most women it's not a moral decision in any meaningful sense. Or if it is, their sense of morality tells them that there's absolutely nothing immoral in what they're doing, so it's a moral question in the sense that, oh, speaking out against war is immoral. Some people think wartime dissent is immoral, some people don't, and there's a moral element to it: big deal.

Posted by: david mizner on February 26, 2008 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a liberal Democrat but have always found Amy's work to be interesting and informative. I've never really understood the need to attack her. Thanks for inviting her over Kevin

Posted by: Steve Balboni on February 26, 2008 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Reading Obama's take is inspiring. Yes, women make the decision. Yes, they do not in the main situation make the decision lightly.

There is a degree of moral seriousness about him. He's a good guy, and will be a good president.

Hillary also holds these beliefs. Today, the only idiots are the Repukeliscum. They believe that women are flightly, morally unserious people who just do things on whims. This is a despicable notion of women.

Posted by: POed Lib on February 26, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

If "Pro-Choice" means keeping abortion rights legal and "Pro-Life" means treasuring the life of babies in the womb (and to the Pope, all life), one can be both Pro-Choice and Pro-Life.

But, of course, that's not how the argument is set up. Those two things are mutually exclusive in American discourse.

So cut Amy some slack. All she's doing is recognizing this.

(Marcotte might argue that the Right to Lifers co-opted and ruined the "Pro-Choice" label, but that train has left the harbor. Welcome to closely controlled, politically advantageous rhetoric.)

Posted by: Daniel on February 26, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

This, like the progressive vs. liberal debate, is another example of liberal moderates grappling with marketing tactics. It shows an inherent lack-of-spine to counter RW fear tactics that the term "pro-choice" refers to drop-in late late-term abortions. Fight for the principle of choice or for the term liberal and explain your position clearly instead of running away from the fight! Moderates will be convinced by sound arguments, even if (God forbid!) they are made forcefully.

Posted by: Andrew on February 26, 2008 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Clearly Mr. Obama is a hate monger, who rudely attacks Republicans at every opportunity. Why else would he be so crass as to be "encouraging responsible sexual behavior?" This is simply beyond the pale.

Posted by: Trypticon on February 26, 2008 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

There's the principle that a fetus is not just an appendage, it's potential life.

Legally we need to someday define the difference between 'potential life' and 'life'. The whole abortion question hinges on it.

Posted by: dennisBoz on February 26, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with e7 above. I am myself pro-abortion. In many cases, abortion is a great idea, and a great choice. We are overpopulated, and without abortion, it would be much much worse.

When I travel to work, I sometimes see young women with 1 child on the hand, another running around, and one being carried. She has no ring. It would be far far better for that young woman to abort those children. The failure of the pro-abortion lobby means another failed generation in the schools.

Many complain about the schools. I complain about the parent. Most failing kids in school have 1 failed parent. That's the problem with today's schools.

And, yep, 70 % or so of black families are single-parent. Cosby is right.

Posted by: POed Lib on February 26, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

if i wanna send in my absentee ballot for 100 years more war and preserving life before donning two wet suits, a butt plug, and hogtying myself, Obama is absolutely disgusting for disparaging me.

Posted by: Trypticon on February 26, 2008 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans talk about 'getting government off your back' and then argue with Conservative Evangelicals to put government on your back.

Does that make any sense at all? Nope.

Libertarians have been most insistent on small fiscally responsible government.

Republicans argue for that and then spend us wildly into 9 Trillion dollars of debt.

Does that make any sense at all? Nope.

Why do Libertarians vote Republican? If we Democrats can be fiscally responsible, then we should win at least half of the Libertarian vote.

Starting with the radical idea of fixing the health care system should stop some of the bleeding. I know 'small government' types won't like the method, but fiscal responsibility requires some action. Is there such a thing as a Progressive Libertarian? Hmmm.

Abortion is similar in that the Republicans argue for freedom and liberty, but then say they want to decide for you whether you can have an abortion. I like the Democratic position better: decide for yourself with your doctor's help.

Posted by: MarkH on February 26, 2008 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

criminalize abortion! then establish capital punishment as the mandatory sentencing guideline! 1 strike and yer out!

Death for Life!

Posted by: Trypticon on February 26, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

And one way to appeal to them is to acknowledge their moral qualms about abortion

Sorry, Kevin, I know you're a fan of Amy's, but I do not believe this has anything to do with "acknowledging the moral qualms" of others. It's about Amy (and her ilk) demanding acknowledgment of the her superior moral character. She's in favor of legalized abortion, but she's all torn up about it, see? That puts her way above those of us morally bankrupt cretins who think that the only proper issue is: legal, or not? and that her demons are really none of the polity's concern. And of course, her moral qualms come from God, too, so for shitty little atheists like me, well, we could only be so fortunate as to be allowed to gaze on her countenance.

All I ask is that you please don't bring her back on a Friday, as I'd hate to have to skip seeing Inkblot and Domino just to avoid her pious bloviating.

Posted by: Glenn on February 26, 2008 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

I'm gonna get flamed, but what the hell.

If we admit the legitimacy of the Obama-Sullivan position that abortion has a moral content (as Kevin does), and admit that morality has some role in legislation (as we must), then we have admitted our way into a pickle. If legislatures can distinguish between murder and manslaughter based on the moral element of intent, why can't they legislate abortion?

I think that this question does have answers that justify Roe v Wade. However, a woman's right to control her body is not an answer. Nobody thinks that a woman has a right to "control" her body if the relevant part controlled is a trigger-finger, pointed at a muggee. The good arguments are hard ones to understand and to sell:

1. Justice Harlan's conception of ordered liberty, implicit in Griswold. Any serious attempt to enforce antiabortion law would give the cops too much power to intrude on people's lives. This has obvious implications for the War on Drugs(TM); implications I rather like.

2. Most antiabortionists are not concerned with fetal life; they are mostly interested in enforcing patriarchy. (If they were mostly interested in fetal life, they would agitate for putting contraceptives in the drinking water.) Unfortunately, this is not the kind of argument that a court likes, because it involves staring into legislatures' motives. They have done this, however, in the evolution cases.

Hence, I understand why many supporters of Roe want to deny that there is any moral component to abortion. If they concede this point, their arguments--although still in my opinion quite sound--become much more difficult to make in the court of public opinion.

Posted by: Joe S. on February 26, 2008 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

I've heard repeatedly from Amy Sullivan about how I need to change to appeal to evangelicals, but I have yet to hear from her how evangelicals need to change to appeal to me.

Posted by: Mornington Crescent on February 26, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Neil is on the right track.

I AM an evangelical Christian, and I find no way that I can follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and support the republicans at the same time. On the political continuum, Jesus lies far to the left of Ted Kennedy, or any other Democratic standard bearer.

The so called conservative "Christians" have done nothing to promote the teachings of Christ, and everything to drive people from religion. While it is generally considered bad form to question one's faith, I have no choice but to question whether these conservatives have any faith in
God at all.

Posted by: Dave Brown on February 26, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Joe S.

Of course we can make laws concerning abortion.

How many people don't have a moral problem with carrying a baby to term and then, because the pain is too great, abort the 'fetus' a few minutes before its expected birth/

If the C-section is planned for 9PM can I decide at 8:55 to get an abortion? Should anyone have a moral problem with that?

can I yell theater in a crowded fire?

Posted by: neil wilson on February 26, 2008 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Nobody thinks that a woman has a right to "control" her body if the relevant part controlled is a trigger-finger, pointed at a muggee."

But if it's pointed at a mugger with his penis ripping the woman's vagina apart, almost everybody agrees that the woman has a right to blow the fucker away.

It's called self-defense. Look it up. Applies to men being attacked as well.

Posted by: You're An Idiot on February 26, 2008 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Was Sulliva-bashing ever out of style, Kevin? I have found her, not commentary about her, tiresome in the past. On this issue, I think you're an atheist squish as well as a liberal squish.

Daniel, so, you're content to let wingers be the Humpty Dumptys of political discourse and keep redefining words and phrases as they want? Not me.

MarkH, you've been smoking WAYYY too much of Kos' crack cocaine on the "sure, we can get libertarians to vote Democratic" theme. Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on February 26, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

"If the C-section is planned for 9PM can I decide at 8:55 to get an abortion? Should anyone have a moral problem with that?"

In fact, that's illegal.

It's also irrelevant to the dumbass "point" Amy Sullivan was trying to make.

Posted by: Amy Sullivan is An Idiot on February 26, 2008 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Death to mothers seeking abortion!

Armand said it best in the Birdcage (best if read in tipsy queen voice):

"Oh, I know what you're going to say. "If you kill the mother, the fetus dies too." But the fetus is going to be aborted anyway, so why not let it go down with the ship?"
---

Amen, Dave Brown.

Posted by: Trypticon on February 26, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Glenn at 2:13 -- you nailed it.

Posted by: Glenn is Not An Idiot on February 26, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the thing, though, Kevin. The guy you quote doesn't just "acknowledge their moral qualms". He actually shares them, even though he allows that women's autonomy overrides those qualms: "A lot of people have arrived in the view that I've arrived at, which is that there is a moral implication to these issues..."

I'm like you, Kevin. I have no moral qualms whatsoever about early-term abortion. How, without being intellectually dishonest, am I supposed to "acknowledge" the qualms of those that have them?

I acknowledge that they have qualms. But I believe that they are mistaken.

I just don't understand what Amy Sullivan wants me to do, that doesn't involve either (a) changing my opinion about the morality of abortion, or (b) pretending I've changed my opinion.

"Agree to disagree"? Sure, I'll do that. But in doing so I'm not giving up my disagreement.

Posted by: Brock on February 26, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Pro-choice is not a curse and no one should have to defend themselves cuz they believe in choosing contraception or an early term abortion.

HRC has ALWAYS soken eloquently and classy about a this very sensitive issue. She has never waivered and spoke out years and years before Obama even had his first date or sniffed his coke. Do not for a minute think Obama talks with any classiness on this issue.

Amy Sullivan is a nut case that can't figure out how to say she agrees with a Democrat's view on an issue. Too paranoid and just a jerk....

Posted by: abc55 on February 26, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Say what you will about the anti-abortionists, they are great sloganeers and labelists. "Pro-Life" is a masterpiece, and "Pro-Choice" only partially offsets it. I think "Pro-Choice" vs. "Anti-Abortion" is fair, and I would recommmend it. However, the latter doesn't fit in headlines easily, and that makes a huge difference.

Posted by: kendo on February 26, 2008 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

The real problem is defining this as moral in the first place--it's not a moral issue at all but one of rights and autonomy and women not being property or beholden to others about their own control of their own bodies.

Obama and this woman sadly don't realize that, and perpetuate the false and rightwing notion that this is in any way a religious or moral issue --we have a secular government--and they need to remember that on this and many other "hot-button", "controversial", "difficult" issues.

Posted by: amberglow on February 26, 2008 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Just spitballin' here, but do you think people pile on Amy Sullivan so often if her first name was Mike or Sam?

Posted by: Kenji on February 26, 2008 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist,

The answer to your comment that Amy has never made a credible case as to why progressives should try to get the evangelical vote is 60/40. Forty percent of the evangelicals think just like Amy and Barack Obama. Each of their votes counts just as much as yours. The number of people who think like Barach and Amy is very, very large.

Most progressives don't believe in the kind of intellectual purity you demand and would rather not piss on a whole bunch of people who have come to the same conclusions as Amy and Barack.

Posted by: corpus juris on February 26, 2008 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Just spitballin' here, but do you think people pile on Amy Sullivan so often if her first name was Mike or Sam?

Yes. See Sullivan, Andrew (although we pile on him for other reasons besides his sanctimonious anti-abortion blather)

Posted by: drjimcooper on February 26, 2008 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

I wasn't following Sullivan's career here when she went down in flames. Am sympathetic, however, to general efforts to get seculars and progressive Christians to speak to each other.

Regarding the tussle over the term "pro-choice," am I right to recall Steven Pinker's use of the term euphemism treadmill, to describe the pejoration process whereby lame > crippled > handicapped > disabled.

To the extent that prochoice is a euphemism for abortion and therefore steps on the ol' euphemism treadmill, it too takes on, for some, linguistic and political baggage. It may be that Sullivan was searching for a successor term.

Am not sure that insisting on terminological purity from Sullivan is the way to go here. She supports abortion rights, right?

Posted by: paxr55 on February 26, 2008 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Most progressives don't believe in the kind of intellectual purity you demand and would rather not piss on a whole bunch of people who have come to the same conclusions as Amy and Barack.

I disagree, corpus juris. The reason I am not a fan of Amy Sullivan is that she furthers the myth that Democrats don't like religion.

She wrote in Time that the Democratic party has had a "traditional fight- or-flight reaction to religion." That is 100% false. No Democratic candidate for anything ever would say that religion is bad, or should be fought. In that same column, she spent the bulk of her time bashing the Kerry campaign. That's some cutting edge stuff, right there.
http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1713269,00.html

People who say false, damaging things are, as we liberals say, part of the problem.

Posted by: Elvis Elvisberg on February 26, 2008 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

It takes 18 to 20 years to make a human being--nine months is just the beginning. Babies are the personification of need and it takes someone, specifically someone female, to love, feed, clothe, clean, educate, and educate, and educate a child to point of being human (longer for boys). In the nature v. nurture argument, I'm on the side of nurture and the person who does the nurturing. They damn well should have the right to choose how they're going to spend the next 20 years.

Posted by: strait woman on February 26, 2008 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

"And one way to appeal to them is to acknowledge their moral qualms about abortion even if you don't happen to share them yourself."

Oh, so serious evangelicals, I hereby acknowledge your very serious, and very moral qualms about abortion, and I, in fact, share said qualms. I have qualms, I do. I think it should stay legal, but, oh, how I share those qualms. We're all very serious here. And nobody wants to see more dead fetuses.

Have you been sufficiently pandered to, very serious evangelicals, that you might vote for a heathen liberal? (Even if said liberal doesn't share your desire to incinerate Arabs over insignificant threats, or want to redistribute your blessed earthly possessions? Really?)

WTF. Is the assumption that pro-choice people like abortions, desire more abortions?

What crap.

This is just like the concern trolls who say that Democrats must "take seriously" the threat from blah blah blah.

Just please, shut the fuck up.

Posted by: luci on February 26, 2008 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

I think the label problem is relatively minor on the pro-choice side, but perhaps she falls into it.

The arch-typical pro-choice activist is very much about women controlling their own bodies, civil rights issue, etc. However I suspect that a fair number of people have a slightly more subtle "abortion is bad, but illegal abortion is worse" attitude. Which means they may oppose abortion morally to some degree, but have a bigger problem with the consequences of making abortion illegal.

It is possible for a person to be both anti-abortion and pro-choice. Such a person would want to minimize abortions, but not make them illegal. They might strongly support birth control, sex education, adoption support, etc along with legal abortion. It is entirely possible that their policy choices are more anti-abortion than abortion illegality would be, in the sense that fewer abortions might happen under them.

On the other side we have people who claim abortion is the most important issue to them period, but who oppose various effective methods for reducing abortions which clash with other moral beliefs they have. Youngsters having sex is worse than abortions so sex education and birth control (which they think encourage youngsters to have sex) are to be opposed along with legal abortion.

So a longer discussion might be necessary than a simple "pick one of the two highly loaded labels".

Posted by: jefff on February 26, 2008 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

I think it’s unfair to say that Sullivan is afraid of standing up for her beliefs, or that she wants to reject the label "pro-choice." I think she wants to expand the conversation beyond the question of choice, not eliminate it. For example, she says this:

None of these candidates suddenly start hiding the fact that they're pro-choice. No one who voted in Michigan was confused as to whether Jennifer Granholm supported a woman's right to have an abortion. ... There's really no argument about whether it would be a good thing to reduce the abortion rate. That's been something that's been standard policy with the choice groups in addition to everyone else for decades. The problem is, I've been talking to [liberal Democrats] for a long, long time, and they say, "Of course we want to reduce abortion! Don't people know that?" And I say, "No, they don't know that. And you don't get any credit for it if people only hear you talking about a right to choose."

She notes that even where people have truly unreconcilable differences on abortion they may meet on other issues, including the environment, poverty, and AIDS. And she argues that gay issues are rapidly becoming less controversial among evangelical Christians as older evangelicals die off and younger ones come into the voting populace.

I agree that she somewhat overstates the hostility – real or apparent – of liberal Democrats to religion. A lot of the hostility evangelicals feel is really the result of Republican spin. But you counter that by going out and talking to evangelicals face-to-face. And you don’t have to hide your light under a basket to do that.

Posted by: AndrewBW on February 26, 2008 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Whatever class Hill has on the issue, you detract from by smearing a fellow Dem, and increasingly, the likely nominee, abc55.

The point I've been trying to make, through comedy, is that a solid and persistent majority of the country supports the right to abortion when forced to consider what the penalties would be for violating restrictions or bans on the procedure. A woman gets an abortion because she couldn't feed the child. What are you going to do, put her in jail? Fine her? A rural doc essential to the health of a community performs an abortion. What are you gonna do, pull his license? Jail him? The point is punishment cannot be rationalized. Democrats could resonate with the pro-choice majority more effectively with moral reality testing along these lines than by getting into the holier than thou wars which they will loose with evangelicals while alienating many Dems.

Focusing on punishment goes to the crux of conservative hypocrisy on this issue, and generally-- retribution trumping mercy. Huckabee encapsulated the notion succinctly when asked to reconcile his pro-life and pro-capital punishment views: "Jesus did not ask for clemency on the cross." I think this makes Dave Brown's point nicely. American Christianity is profoundly sick.

So, you value life over everything? Why? Mercy! We value innocent life uber alles!

A 15 year girl is repeatedly raped by her preacher father. He gets drunk and goes for it again. She takes his shotgun, loads it, aims it, pulls the trigger. Nothing happens. He's predicted she'd do this and took the firing pins out of the gun. He beats her senseless. She runs away. Lives in a library, then a parking garage when she's caught. She turns to drugs. All true.

She gets pregnant. She has the sense to know she can't be an effective mom. She's young, homeless, has problems. What does she do? Who is innocent here? If she gets an abortion, does she deserve retribution? Christians go the way of Satan when they say yes. Those who drown the banner of the Prince of Peace in the blood of war and murder, who champion retribution and injustice, should not be catered to.

Posted by: Trypticon on February 26, 2008 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Elvis, I think we are in agreement. The problem is that I have read SecularAnimist's take and it is damn close to what Amy wrote about in the Times. SecularAnimist doesn't think that secular progressives need to give an inch to evangelical progressives. As I recall his argument all evangelicals believe in God, people who believe in God are stupid, progressives should never consider the opinions of stupid people. ergo progressives should never take the moral concerns of pro-choice evangelicals into account.

Animist, Is my understanding of your argument accurate?

Posted by: corpus juris on February 26, 2008 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

I think the "privacy v. life" meme about abortion is not doing enough for us. I think we have to start seeing an anti-abortion regime as a bulwark against our society's proper devleopment. It's going to inevitably cause social problems and lead to women not being able to live equal to men. In order for our civilization to develop, women need to be able to be equal to men in a meaningful sense. In order for women to be able to be equal to men in a meaningful sense, women need to be able to have abortions available as more than just a rarely-allowed exception to a regime of default forced pregnancies. So people need to grow to see abortion as a necessary element of our society, even if it's still something we find distasteful, especially later on in the pregnancy, and something we try to avoid, especially because womens' avoiding unwanted pregnancies goes hand in hand with living a responsible, self-respecting sexual life.

It's just one of these big things I think we've got to face and overcome for our civilization to continue to develeop. Another is the whole facing-Islamic-terrorism thing. Liberals need to get the rational to overcome their traditional broad cultural relativism. Until they do, they're not going to talk about their boundaries against alllowing Islamic terrorists in a clear, confidence-inspiring way, and specifically they're not going to talk about Muslims not embodying their views in violence in a morally proscriptive way. Until the population gets these better rationales to view the abortion and terrorism issues, a lot of money and ink and effort are going to be wasted on fighting those debates, and we are not going to be able to bring our society to the next level. More concretely, people are going to have trouble electing Democrats (and liberals abroad) all the time, and this is going to keep the smart people who really care and who have all the good ideas from getting a meaningful chance at bat.

Posted by: Swan on February 26, 2008 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Why? Why is Amy Sullivan coming back here? I swear to god, I thought after the 2006 midterms, we weren't going to have to hear any more about how the Dems couldn't possibly win any elections unless they went around calling women sluts and atheists immoral. I wanted so badly for that to be the case. . . .

Posted by: Scott E. on February 26, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

amberglow wrote: "The real problem is defining this as moral in the first place ..."

Actually, the real problem is using the word "moral" without actually defining it at all. If someone tells you they have "moral qualms" about abortion, what exactly have they told you about the substantive content of their "qualms"? Exactly nothing.

Most of the time, "moral" is a noise word, used because it produces an emotional affect, without the user having to commit to any specific content.

As an experiment, try having this same discussion about abortion without using the word "moral". If you have "qualms" about abortion, then be specific about exactly what "qualms" you have, and why.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 26, 2008 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

'rational' should be 'rationale.' Sorry.

Just to make my complaint about liberals and Islamic terrorism a little clearer, I think liberals were hesitant to take the lead against terrorism the way they should have is because liberals who do not really reflect as much as they should kind of have a belief that everybody is more or less right, and that the most dramatic demonstration of this is across different cultures- but for liberals who held this belief which stems from not enough reflection, the belief went too far and they were not prepared to see something like a post-9/11 were clearly enough or to react to it quickly enough. For those who don't know me and may be confused, I'm not saying we should have pulled a Lieberman and acquiesced to everything the Republicans wanted more heartily; I'm just stating that we have some beliefs and behaviors that are wrong, and holding those beliefs, even if we think we didn't express them that openly, probably contributed to Republicans' successfully portraying us as not able to properly respond to Al Qaeda with some people.

Posted by: Swan on February 26, 2008 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Off topic, regarding language treadmills, it appears David Shuster was a victim of a lesser-known phenomenon, the dysphemism treadmill, whereby the exceedlingly pejorative term, "pimp," becomes more mainstream and unmoored from its original meaning.

Those paying attention (the young) can hear (and use) "pimp" in a general way. Those who are not paying attention recall only the 19th-century dictionary definition and therefore can profess outrage when the term "pimp" is employed by 21st-century 30-somethings like Shuster.

Posted by: paxr55 on February 26, 2008 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

'post-9/11 world' not 'post-9/11 were'

Posted by: Swan on February 26, 2008 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

"A lot of the hostility evangelicals feel is really the result of Republican spin."

And a good deal of it is because many of them are unpleasant people to be around. Some asshat calling themselves a 'christian' just to deflect criticism for their judgmental and antisocial behavior doesn't deserve respect.
\

Posted by: Joshua Norton on February 26, 2008 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist at 1:35 PM: "If Amy Sullivan doesn't like being "labeled" pro-choice when she states clearly and concisely that she is, in fact, pro-choice, then that's her problem. And I agree with Amanda Marcotte that it's pretty tiresome."

This neatly elides the heavy and cumbersome weight that the label "pro-choice" brings to the discussion, not least it being a call to arms for an army of "pro-life"/anti-choice soldiers. More importantly, whether unfairly or fairly the term “pro-choice” carries a certain anxiety-ridden mindset and stressful, combative emotionality. I have read of, talked to, and anecdotally tracked reports of folks who express views congruent with Obama's position on this issue, and it crosses over most if not all existing political boundaries. This is one of the clearest examples of where the left can gain permanent traction with previously unreachable constituencies, without in any way compromising its core ideals.
I think that the fight for women's rights has been so hard and gone on so long that an understandable knee-jerk reaction has replaced a more nuanced and accessible approach to an otherwise intractable problem. At the core of this issue is this: a simple acknowledgement of the deeply affective moral dilemma which abortion presents to tens, if not hundreds of millions of Americans. A hard-line, take-no-prisoners response to said dilemma which mischaracterizes, disrespects, and overdetermines a person's deeply thoughtful, deeply felt, and multi-dimensional moral struggle, which insultingly simplifies said struggle, elides its inherent subtlety, and peremptorily reassigns it to one pole of an antithetical Manichean Weltanschauung has an unpleasantly familiar ring to it, reminiscent of a political mindset currently driving this country into the ground.

Posted by: Conrad's Ghost on February 26, 2008 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

c.j., I think I read part of your comment, without recognizing the context of your back-and-forth with SecularAnimist. Yeah, I guess we are pretty much in agreement.

But, you wrote, "As I recall his argument all evangelicals believe in God, people who believe in God are stupid, progressives should never consider the opinions of stupid people."

Well, maybe, but no one like that is anywhere near the levers of power in the Democratic Party. Doesn't mean it's inherently a waste of time to debate someone who does advance that view, but it's just not worth getting too upset about as far as its influence in the wider world.

Posted by: Elvis Elvisberg on February 26, 2008 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

corpus juris wrote: "The problem is that I have read SecularAnimist's take and it is damn close to what Amy wrote about in the Times. SecularAnimist doesn't think that secular progressives need to give an inch to evangelical progressives. As I recall his argument all evangelicals believe in God, people who believe in God are stupid, progressives should never consider the opinions of stupid people."

That's not my argument at all. In fact I said nothing at all about evangelicals believing in God or being stupid.

My argument is simple:

Amy Sullivan argues that the Democratic Party should try to win more votes from evangelicals so that Democrats will win elections.

I argue that the evangelical vote is far less significant to the outcome of elections than Amy Sullivan contends. The number of votes involved is, for example, far less of a factor in the outcome of elections than Republican theft of elections through voter disenfranchisement, intimidation and fraud -- which were determining factors in both the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, as well as the 2002 mid-term elections.

Therefore, Democrats would serve their electoral interests much more effectively by working to ensure that we have clean elections, for example, than by agonizing over how to fine-tune the language they use regarding abortion so as to win a few more evangelical votes.

And as numerous other commenters have noted, Amy Sullivan's contention that Democratic and/or liberal politicians are hostile to religion, or even remotely appear to be hostile to religion, is absurd. American politicians of both major parties fall over themselves to profess and proclaim their "faith" at every opportunity. American political discourse is absolutely dominated by politicians proclaiming their "faith" at every turn.

The supposed hostility of Democratic and/or liberal politicians to religion is a fake, phony, focus-group-tested, corporate-sponsored, right-wing myth preached by professional liars like Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. The real question is why Amy Sullivan works so hard to perpetuate this lie.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 26, 2008 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

supporters of Roe

Roe vs. Wade protects all women's reproductive rights. Women who do not want abortions cannot be forced into aborting a pregnancy and women who do want abortions cannot be forced into giving birth.

Abortion is not the moral issue. The moral issue is reproductive rights. Women in America have their reproductive rights protected. They can have as many children or abortions as they choose. Remind evangelicals Roe vs. Wade would protect Chinese women from mandatory abortions, just like it protects American women from mandatory pregnancy.

Posted by: Brojo on February 26, 2008 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

I've got to say, I mostly agree with Obama on this one, though I'm not sure I feel quite the moral qualms about abortion he seems to.

I think the obvious point is that there's a continuum of degrees of "moral uneasiness" one might have about abortion. Relatively few people think that terminating, say, a three month old fetus is the exact moral equivalent of removing a cyst -- which is to say, no moral issue at all. I think it's more of a moral "problem" than that myself, though to be honest I don't even have a good sense of how much more of a problem I believe it is. It's something more than terminating a cyst, and something less than terminating a full grown pet, perhaps.

But at bare minimum Obama's right that the vast majority of people believe there's some moral issue involved, and that that difficult moral question must absolutely by rights be left to the woman.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 26, 2008 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

This is so tiresome... I feel like I am witnessing the birth of Barack W Obama... anything he says is somehow enlightened .. even if it has been many times before and as or more effectively. I remember how this worked last time...

Hillary and Bill have had a nuanced approach to abortion...

Let this end... please

Posted by: MyComment on February 26, 2008 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

What Amy Sullivan overlooks is that most of the antichoice crowd opposes contraception, or any form of birth control other than abstinence. The primary goal of the antiabortion crowd has proven over the years to be, not reducing the number of abortions, but punishing people (primarily women) for having sex by forcing to endure 18 years of child-rearing. Therefore, trying to persuade them to reduce the number of abortions by increasing use of birth control is a non-starter, not that it hasn't been repeatedly tried by the Democrats.

That Ms. Sullivan fails to recognize that her preferred strategy, (1) doesn't work, and (2) has been repeatedly tried, doesn't speak well of her knowledge or judgment.

Posted by: rea on February 26, 2008 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with My Comment that's it's hardly as if there's something original in Obama's observation here. I think that the same moral/political argument typically underpins the "safe, legal, and rare" approach.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 26, 2008 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK
Kevin quotes Amy Sullivan: "I have serious moral concerns about abortion, but I don't believe that it should be illegal."

That's a clear and concise statement of the pro-choice position.

No, its not. It may be a clear and concise statement of a position that happens to share a legislative conclusion with the pro-choice one, and it may even be viewed as a clear and concise statement of a pro-choice position, but pro-choice does not inherently involve any moral qualms about abortion and many pro-choicers (like Kevin) have no substantial moral issues with abortion in general, and some reject both the idea that abortion could have a moral dimension and the idea that morality is a proper basis for legislation (rejection of that last is usually only stated but not really consistently applied, but its sometimes part of the position, however much verbal gymnastics are necessary to make it seem consistent with other positions held by the same person.)

And the thing is, those ideas are much more closely associated with the pro-choice label in the public consciousness than views like Amy's. So it makes sense that Amy rejects a label that means something very different to most people than what she believes, even if she happens to agree with the major policy goal of those who embrace the label, either because they agree with the things it is popularly associated with or because they think that the policy goal is the important meaning of the label whatever the popular association.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 26, 2008 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Amy Sullivan is the reason I let my subscription to the monthly lapse....She's boring and slightly annoying.

Posted by: Charles Strickland on February 26, 2008 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist, I'm with you. And with Elvis in his original statement. It's part of why, Kevin, I found Amy so tiresome two years ago. And, as much as you tout her, given your metaphysical background, it's why I find you an atheist squish. I'm not asking you to become Hitchens, Dawkins or Sam Harris, Kevin, but, stop bending over backwards for a ditherer like Amy Sullivan.

Is that too much to ask? It probably is, but I'm asking you anyway.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on February 26, 2008 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

franklyO wrote: "I think the obvious point is that there's a continuum of degrees of 'moral uneasiness' one might have about abortion."

With all due respect and intending no criticism, I think your comment is a good example of the word "moral" adding nothing but emotional affect to the discussion. Take a look at your own comment -- remove all occurences of the word "moral", and consider what effect that has on the point you are making.

There is not only a "continuum of degrees of 'uneasiness' one might have about abortion", there are entirely different kinds of uneasiness one might have.

For example, some people are "uneasy" about abortion because they believe that "all human life is sacred" and they regard even a newly fertilized egg as a "human life". Such people are even "uneasy" about certain types of contraceptives that theoretically terminate a newly fertilized egg that has not even begun cell division, because they regard such an egg as a "human life". It's hard to see how this "uneasiness" can be addressed, other than by prohibiting abortion.

Others -- and I include myself in this category -- might have some "uneasiness" about aborting a fetus that has developed to the point where it may be sentient and capable of suffering, capable of experiencing pain, as the result of an abortion procedure. In this case the concern is not based on the abstract categorization of the fetus as "human" or "a person", or even on "taking a life"; it is based on the desire to protect sentient beings from suffering. Whether the fetus is "human" or "a person" doesn't matter; what matters is whether it is sentient and has the capacity to suffer. And this concern could be addressed by ensuring that methods of abortion used to terminate a sentient fetus are humane, quick and painless -- similar to the standard that applies to euthanizing terminally ill companion animals. And of course in this case, there is little or no reason for "unease" about the abortion of early fetuses who clearly have not developed the physiological capacity to experience pain.

And again, most importantly, the "pro-choice" position is simply that while anyone who gives thought to the matter may or may not have "uneasiness" about abortion for whatever reasons, it is and should be, always, up to the pregnant woman to decide whether or not to terminate her pregnancy, based on whatever "uneasiness" she may or may not have.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 26, 2008 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Is the assumption that pro-choice people like abortions, desire more abortions?

I'm reminded of Sarah Silverman's joke: "I want to have an abortion....but I'm really having trouble getting pregnant."

Posted by: Stefan on February 26, 2008 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

strait woman: ....it takes someone, specifically someone female, to love, feed, clothe, clean, educate, and educate, and educate a child to point of being human...

You're not saying that a man (or two men) can't raise a child are you?

Posted by: on February 26, 2008 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Animist, I stand corrected and apologize.

I disagree on one point. There are a lot of progressive evangelical Christians. Voting as a block they could swing any election which is why every professional politician actively solicits their attention.

Conservatives try to insist that that all evangelicals are conservatives and a lot of progressive pundits have fallen for their mis-information.

Posted by: corpus juris on February 26, 2008 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely wrote: "No, its not. It may be a clear and concise statement of a position that happens to share a legislative conclusion with the pro-choice one ..."

The entire content of the pro-choice position is the legislative conclusion: that abortion should be legal.

Whether you have "serious moral concerns about abortion" as Amy Sullivan says she does, or whether you have no concerns whatsoever about abortion, if you believe that abortion should be a legal option available to a woman who chooses it, then you are pro-choice. That is the definition of pro-choice.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 26, 2008 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Rea is confusing Catholics and evangelicals (who usually don't oppose contraception -- at least for married people)

Posted by: Rea is Wrong on February 26, 2008 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK
The entire content of the pro-choice position is the legislative conclusion

Even if that is the case (and it is certainly not the case that every person who labels them self pro-choice believes that), not every conceivable position that happens to share that conclusion can be "the pro-choice position". It can be a position that agrees with the pro-choice position, it can be a pro-choice position, but when it includes content which a sizable fraction, perhaps even a majority, of the pro-choice movement would disagree with (as Amy's does), it is complete nonsense to describe a statement of the position as a concise statement of the pro-choice position.

Why so many people feel the need to get people not only to agree with them on policy, but to adopt their preferred tribal label, to the point that they will fight hard enough to alienate people who don't disagree with them on policy because they don't want to adopt the tribal label, is beyond me.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 26, 2008 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

The real question is what should we call people who think Amy Sullivan is a toxic moron? Should we call them pro-intelligence? Pro-thoughtful? Anti-moron? Or what?

Posted by: May Lullisan on February 26, 2008 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

corpus juris wrote: "There are a lot of progressive evangelical Christians ... Conservatives try to insist that that all evangelicals are conservatives and a lot of progressive pundits have fallen for their mis-information."

I recently had occasion to become acquainted with the progressive Christian organization Sojourners. Their chief executive officer and editor in chief of their magazine (also called Sojourners), Jim Wallis, has a book out entitled The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith And Politics In A Post-Religious Right America.

To some extent, Wallis seems to present the opposite side of Amy Sullivan's argument. Rather than lecturing Democrats and "liberals" that they should change their positions, or at least their language, regarding the right-wing agenda on abortion, gay marriage, and so on, he challenges evangelical Christians to embrace traditional "liberal" values of peace, social justice, and environmental protection, which he sees as essential Christian values:

What would it take to end extreme poverty, to address climate change, to create peace? For too long, a narrow religious agenda has been used like a wedge to divide people. But a wider and deeper vision of faith and values is emerging. It's a renewal of faith – a great awakening – that combines personal faith with social justice. A new social movement is on the rise. The Great Awakening is upon us.

Wallis also writes on a blog called "God's Politics", that's a joint project of Sojourners and BeliefNet, and his writing is in my opinion considerably more interesting and inspiring than Amy Sullivan's.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 26, 2008 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

It takes 18 to 20 years to make a human being--nine months is just the beginning. Babies are the personification of need and it takes someone, specifically someone female, to love, feed, clothe, clean, educate, and educate, and educate a child to point of being human (longer for boys).

Wow. What a stupid and sexist comment.

Posted by: jerry on February 26, 2008 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

I have qualms about people who don't adequately wipe their butts. I mean, some people only wipe a few times, until the stain left on the paper is small but not ENTIRELY gone (or better yet: clean except for a little blood).

Should we pass legislation that makes it illegal to wipe in the United States using any less than two passes with the toilet paper?

Regardless of where you stand on the legislation, surely you must agree that there is nothing at all desirable about an unwiped asshole. Who shares my qualms? What label shall we call ourselves?

Posted by: Lay Vulvisan on February 26, 2008 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Absolutely in favor of two men being parents or more accurately providing a home and family for kids. Nurturing isn't just for women, it's just that women are mainly the ones who do it. I'm talking numbers here. Thank you for responding.

Posted by: strait woman on February 26, 2008 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

If Amy wants to say she is both Pro-Choice and Pro-Life, than that's fine. But instead she has to say she isn't Pro-Choice because it doesn't give a complete description of her. Pro-Choice has a very simple definition: The decision to have an abortion should be up to the woman carrying the baby. Apparently she agrees with that, so what's her problem?

Oh, yeah, it's those dirty hippies. I forgot.

Posted by: DR on February 26, 2008 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely, I don't know about "tribal labels", but if your views on abortion, whatever they may be, lead you to conclude that abortion should be a legal option available to women who choose it, then you are pro-choice. That's the simple, plain and self-evident meaning of "pro-choice".

Being pro-choice says nothing about what beliefs, values or reasoning lead you to the conclusion that abortion should be legally available to women who choose it. It only describes that conclusion.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 26, 2008 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist,

For the life of me I don't see what you are getting at by saying that the use of "moral" in "moral uneasiness" is vacuous.

Apparently, you yourself are claiming "uneasiness" about terminating the life of a sentient being who might experience pain in the procedure. I can't imagine why you think that preventing pain under those circumstances isn't a "moral" issue. I can think of very few issues more obviously "moral" than the prevention of suffering in beings who can experience it.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 26, 2008 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

So, a Catholic priest, an Episcopal rector, and a rabbi were talking--arguing even--about Amy Sullivan's moral qualms.

So when does life begin? The rector asked the priest, who replied to no one's surprise that life began with conception, meaning prior to implantation blah, blah, blah.

When do you believe life starts? the priest wondered aloud to the rabbi and the rector. The science is unclear, intoned the Episcopalian--thougthfully, I might add--and with medical advances, the viability of the fetus . . . blah blah blah.

No, no. Life begins, explained the rabbi, patiently (as though to morons), when the last kid leaves home and the family dog dies. That's when life begins.

Posted by: paxr55 on February 26, 2008 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Rea is confusing Catholics and evangelicals (who usually don't oppose contraception -- at least for married people)

Well, you haven't been paying much attention to what the evangelical right has been saying. Name me one evangelical, prominent enough that people have heard of him, who supports birth control as a means of reducing abortions

Posted by: rea on February 26, 2008 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

franklyO wrote: "For the life of me I don't see what you are getting at by saying that the use of 'moral' in 'moral uneasiness' is vacuous. Apparently, you yourself are claiming 'uneasiness' about terminating the life of a sentient being who might experience pain in the procedure. I can't imagine why you think that preventing pain under those circumstances isn't a 'moral' issue."

The difference is that I stated specifically what my concerns were and how they could be addressed: that aborting a late-stage fetus that has developed the capacity to experience pain could in fact cause that fetus to suffer, and that this could be prevented or mitigated by using appropriate abortion procedures that eliminate or minimize any such suffering.

I found no need to use the word "moral" to express this, nor would the use of "moral" have added anything of substance to my point.

What the use of the word "moral" would have done is (1) add some emotional affect, and (2) suggest that there is some independent, objective "moral" standard that justifies my concerns such that anyone who wishes to think of themselves as "moral" should share my concerns.

I don't feel the need to introduce extraneous emotional affect. And my concerns are merely the concerns that I happen to have. I fully understand that someone else may not care at all about the potential suffering of a late-term fetus. That doesn't make them "immoral". It just means that they don't care about what I care about.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 26, 2008 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

paxr55 wrote: "So when does life begin?"

According to our best current scientific understanding, life begins several billion years ago -- on Earth, anyway.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 26, 2008 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Rea:

Huckabee is not opposed to contraception. Neither is James Dobson. Neither was Jerry Falwell. Most evangelicals are not opposed to the use of BC by married couples. Catholics are different.

Posted by: Rea is Wrong on February 26, 2008 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

I think that instead of "pro-life," we should call anti-aborionists "pro-forced birth," or "pro-forced pregnancy." It wouldn't be exactly correct, but it is as close as "pro-life" when applied to someone who is anti abortion but pro death penalty or war.

Posted by: anandine on February 26, 2008 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

I dont think morality should have anything to do with law at all. Laws should be based on 1) whats in the best interest of the country, 2) as long as the law doesnt infringe on someones rights. Making abortion illegal fails both those tests. Its not in the best interest of the coutnry to make abortion illegal (more unwanted babies, welfare, crime, etc...), and it obviously is a infringement of someones rights.

All this other crap people argue about (when does life begin, etc..) is irrelevant. Thats for theologians and philosophers... not politicians.

Posted by: Jonesy on February 26, 2008 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Rea is wrong--I have to say Rea makes a better point than you, to this extent--BFD that Dobson et al don't stridently oppose birth control for married couples. They oppose, generally and often specifically, efforts to make birth control available to those most in need--such as those who have just been raped, those in high school, the unmarried, etc. If they were sincere about believing abortion to be murder, they would at least advocate for policies that would reduce the number of abortions through birth control. That would be their number one issue item, in fact, if they accurately assessed that the American public was not going to outlaw abortion any time soon.
It makes one wonder--perhaps, just perhaps, they (the leadership) are either not sincere about abortion OR they also dislike birth control but realize that it polls badly to say so. I'm going with the latter for most of them...

Posted by: rea is kinda right on February 26, 2008 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

by and large, evangelicals aren't producing big Irish style families. neither is their leadership. why? cause Baptists and most other traditional evangelical groups don't oppose contraception.

They oppose extramarital sex just like they oppose abortion (they see them both as moral evils). But they simply are not intrinsically anti-contraception. Conservative Catholics are doctrinally opposed to contraception because they believe all sex must be open to procreation. Most evangelicals do not believe in this Augustinian doctrine.

This is really basic religious knowledge.

Posted by: Rea is kinda Wrong on February 26, 2008 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "Most of it isn't about abortion at all."

As well it shouldn't be.

Better get ready, gang. Much closer scrutiny is forthcoming:

The Times | London, England (February 26, 2008)
Mansion "Mistake" Piles the Pressure on Barack Obama - "A British-Iraqi billionaire lent millions of dollars to Barack Obama's fundraiser just weeks before an imprudent land deal that has returned to haunt the presidential contender, an investigation by The Times discloses. The money transfer raises the question of whether funds from Nadhmi Auchi, one of Britain’s wealthiest men, helped Mr Obama buy his mock Georgian mansion in Chicago. A company related to Mr Auchi, who has a conviction for corruption in France, registered the loan to Mr Obama's bagman Antoin 'Tony' Rezko on May 23 2005. Mr Auchi says the loan, through the Panamanian company Fintrade Services SA, was for $3.5 million."

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 26, 2008 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

anandine wrote: "I think that instead of 'pro-life,' we should call anti-abortionists 'pro-forced birth, or 'pro-forced pregnancy.'"

Or, more simply, point out that forcing a woman to bear a child against her will is rape.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 26, 2008 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Amy Robinson is a concern troll who primarily argues that, in order to win elections, Democrats must turn into the Chritian Coalition lite. Her primary tool is to misstate Democratic positions through distortion, omission, and outright lying. (I only wish that Democrats were one tenth as hostile to public religiosity as she contends.) She gives Boy George a run for his money in habitually arguing against dishonest strawmen and sundry RNC-generated Democratic urban myths. Moreover, I don't think I have ever read a piece by her that did not, at some point, get in nasty digs against liberal Democrats, in general or particular. We'd all be better off if Amy Robinson would quit trying to push the Democratic party to the right and go try and pull the Republicans to the left. And please, Kevin, no guest trolling from poor "misunderstood" Amy.

Posted by: Marlowe on February 26, 2008 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

I finally read that interview. I'm an atheist, and I have no problem with Amy Sullivan's contention that Democrats should welcome evangelicals looking for a political home. That's what Obama's campaign is all about, as far as I'm concerned: building a working majority so Democrats can put an end to the radical Republican regime and its 7 years of unbridled theft and destruction, and start again.

The Democratic leadership has been pretty demonstrative about their faith, but Sullivan's right, nobody really buys it! So it seems Sullivan is mainly concerned with rhetoric and outreach. If she doesn't want to be called "pro-choice", fine. I'm completely OK with the term, but if she gains traction with a third-way identifier, more power to her. In the interview she mentions a Kerry field director who said, "We don't do white churches." Why not?

[aborting a three-month old fetus] is something more than terminating a cyst, and something less than terminating a full grown pet, perhaps.

Hmm. I've never had an abortion, but I have been three months pregnant, so let's just say nice try but no cigar.

Posted by: Lucy on February 26, 2008 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK


What is the matter with you people? You ignore my comment and my qualms. It's almost as if you approve of people not wiping their butts. It's almost as if you could care less whether someone's asscrack is filled with poo.

Have you no qualms? Is everyone here agnostic when it comes to a clean anus? I am deeply concerned.

Posted by: Lay Vulvisan on February 26, 2008 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

The culture of rape best describes the culture of rape.

Posted by: Brojo on February 26, 2008 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Hey--my point was not that there is no doctrinal distinction between evangelicals and Catholics on birth control. But thanks for the patronizing tone. My point was different, and were I as patronizing and pedantic as you, I might insinuate about why you missed it. Essentially--it doesn't MATTER that they might not oppose birth control for married folks, and gleefully use condoms at home. What matters is that when liberals try to reach out hands to them and say "hey, let's use birth control to reduce unwanted pregnancy" they say...uh, sorry, we don't believe in extramarital sex. The fact that this is slightly different from what the Opus Dei Catholics say, and has a different doctrinal root, is utterly irrelevant to whether there is much possibility to building up a coalition to make abortion safe, rare, and legal with sizable numbers of evangelicals.

Yes?

Posted by: rea is kinda right in effect on February 26, 2008 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno. It seems like anytime faith is mentioned around here, everyone goes balistic. It's like the topic is off-limits. I think we can pick off the younger evangelicals, FWIW.

Posted by: kgb on February 26, 2008 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

Conrad's Ghost:

If we keep running away from words because the right wing tells us to, what does that make us?

People respect us when we stand behind words, not run from them like little cowards.

Posted by: Phoenix Woman on February 26, 2008 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'd be a lot less sour about Ms. Sullivan and her moral qualms if I hadn't just read her talking about the Democratic party's "traditional fight-or-flight reaction to religion."

What bull hockey.

Posted by: kc on February 26, 2008 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

anandine wrote: "I think that instead of 'pro-life,' we should call anti-abortionists 'pro-forced birth, or 'pro-forced pregnancy.'"

A more descriptive term would be "aborticentric," that is, a fixation on abortion which is so strong as to handicap one's ability to care for human life.

The so-called "pro-life" movement is actually a dysfunctional twelve-step program for people who are deeply worried about their mortality and the significance of their life. Because they are so psychologically fragile, they cannot afford to meet the needs of society on its terms, so they adopt a concept-- the totally innocent human being-- as a cause and exert themselves in its behalf only to the extent that they want to.

The goal of the so-called "pro-lifer" is not to really save human life, since that would mean raising child upon child, but to get society to agree with his view of fetal life.

Society has largely agreed to argue the issue according to their terms, which is why Amy Sullivan's stand has prompted most of these comments. Were we to view the so-called "pro-lifer" as what he is at bottom, aborticentric, Sullivan wouldn't have any traction to speak of with a "dilemma."


Posted by: rrtl on February 26, 2008 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

What Amy seems to be saying is that thanks to the Republican mischaracterization of the abortion debate over the years, people with moral qualms about abortion believe the pro-choice position equals legal abortions for women who abort a 9-month pregnancy because it's interfering with their bikini wax. Obviously that is not even remotely the true pro-choice position, but if people believe it is, the damage is done. The whole debate has been poisoned by this kind of rhetoric and it's killing abortion rights in this country.

What Democrats need to do is spell out the pro-choice position in a way that's more flattering to these people with moral qualms who are not so well-informed. But the question is, how exactly to do this? In today's soundbite TV culture, no one is going to listen to a rational discussion of legal rights while in the background some right-wing nut is screaming about killing babies.

My problem with Amy is that she has never once tried to answer her own question. What does she want to see the Democrats do, exactly?

Posted by: sophronia on February 26, 2008 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

The issues the Religious Right have about abortion were beautifully displayed in their true form here in Colorado several years ago. The legislature passed a safe haven law that allows a mother to relinquish her baby within several days of birth, without any sort of reprisal as long as she turns over the infant at a hospital, fire station or police station.

Well! The indignation! One Rocky Mountain News columnist was all in a doodah because the mother was going to "get away scot free." Apparently being 16, carrying a pregnancy to term in secret and then giving birth in some seedy motel with the help of your terrified 18 year old boyfriend isn't punishment enough. A scarlet letter or time in the stocks is called for.

Even conservative scold Mona Charen balked at that and wrote a column asking for some teensy little bit of charity and common sense.

Posted by: Mandy Cat on February 26, 2008 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK
The goal of the so-called "pro-lifer" is not to really save human life, since that would mean raising child upon child, but to get society to agree with his view of fetal life.

More often, I think the goal (of course, not the conscious goal) is to fail to do that, and thereby justify the activist's self-image as a martyr, a victim of an uncaring society.

The point isn't to change the world, but to rage ineffectually against it (or to show oneself as dedicated and unchanging in the face of the world.)

Posted by: cmdicely on February 26, 2008 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

I miss Amy Sullivan's blog. During the 2004 campaign I read it on an almost daily basis. I am thrilled to see that she'll be back here guest blogging soon. It would be great to read regularly her unique and wonderful insights into the general campaing this year. Thanks for bringing her book to my attention. I can't believe I missed it.

Posted by: Galois on February 26, 2008 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Abortion is not the moral issue. The moral issue is reproductive rights.

Yes, I have serious moral qualms about people who would take these rights away. Why can't anti-choice evangelicals try to understand my qualms?

Posted by: AnotherBruce on February 26, 2008 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

Phoenix Woman at 6:40

"If we keep running away from words because the right wing tells us to, what does that make us?

People respect us when we stand behind words, not run from them like little cowards."

That's not what I'm saying. What I'm pointing at is the insistence that a fairly subtle position is being re-positioned as congruent with one pole of a simple, my-way-or-the-highway dichotomy. Myself, I've been militantly pro-life since I can remember. A society that does not guarantee full and equal access to any and all needed forms of reproductive health care, including all methods of contraception and abortion, to every one of its female citizens is pre-enlightenment and will never advance to more sophisticated levels of functioning. Hence, I'm pro-life. Yet I see clearly, and identify with, the moral and ethical quandary faced by any woman who has to decide whether or not she has the resources to bring a child into the world. And I also recognize the struggle that so many people engage in when they try to work through what is in reality a very complex situation. Like it or not, folks who don't see this issue in starkly black and white terms WILL have a say as to whether non-wealthy women actually have functional access to full reproductive health care, and it's not selling one's ideals or sucking up to recognize that many, many people struggle with this issue, and in fact there could be no better way of ensuring that such folks bring their weight to bear for full reproductive rights than to openly and respectfully recognize their position. It's not about giving up, or selling out; it's about mutual respect and consideration.

Posted by: Conrad's Ghost on February 26, 2008 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Re: rrtl at 6:58 PM

Holy crap, Batman. Spot on. Got any more of that?

Posted by: Conrad's Ghost on February 26, 2008 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Although you seem to be saying you disagree with Marcotte, I don't see any (stated) disagreement at all. Marcotte's main problem with Sullivan is that sullivan pretends that she is proposing a new tack for Democrats or pro-choicers when she is suggesting we just keep on saying what we have been saying. I agree with you and Marcotte.

Sullivan repeatedly declares a great new day in which Democrats reach out to "Christians" (she uses the word as evangelicals do to refer to evangelicals). In fact, she is praising the same old same old respect for religious feeling that the Democratic party has always shown (partly because the vast majority of its leaders are religious). Thus she accepts the absurd claim of the Christian right that Democrats have, in the past, not reached out to Christians including evangelicals (like Jimmy Carter).

She simply refuses to understand that the approach she favors has been attempted since 1808 at the latest (OK I admit Jefferson did not reach out to Christians but that was a while ago). I hope it will finally start working, but she shouldn't deny centuries of history to pretend that she has a new idea.

Now, you don't mention this, but Marcotte miss-uses the word evangelical. It refers, among other things, to all adherents of the evangelical denominations (which now out number "main stream" Protestants). They aren't all misogynists. Marcotte means to refer to the Christian right. Accepting its claim to represent all Evangelicals is the sort of silly mistake that Sullivan warns against. However, Marcotte has not been losing elections for Democrats, because the party does not agree with her.

Now I am an atheist. If I were the candidate, I would lose for that reason alone (and for many other much better reasons). I'm not the problem, because, first I don't go around insulting the religious and second I stress the fact that I am part of the tiny minority of atheists inside the Democratic party.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on February 26, 2008 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

So all the major candidates acknowledge that abortion is a moral quandary for some people, and that's evidence that the Democrats aren't doing enough? Amy's off the mark, sorry. If the evangelicals want Democrats to wring their hands over abortion and call themselves Christians to come over, they would have come over already because the Democrats are already doing that. Her argument is close to saying, "If only Democrats would call themselves Democrats, evangelicals would vote for them."

Posted by: Amanda Marcotte on February 26, 2008 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

What Mandy Cat said. A lot of commenters in this thread have taken the anti-abortionists claim to respect of human life seriously. Why? They don't respect human life, mostly. As Barney Frank put it: "The 'right to life' begins at conception and ends at birth." The anti-abortion movement is mostly about subordination of women. Human life is a rhetorical smokescreen on their part. There are some exceptions to the rule. But not many.

This being said, it is still possible to believe:
-that the anti-abortionists are generally a pack of misogynistic liars AND
-that abortion does pose some genuine moral issues.

Posted by: Joe S. on February 26, 2008 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

There's two points here: This is like the 'But I'm not a Feminist' and 'I'm not pro-choice'... That means they also won't stand in the way of someone taking your rights away. They don't have the guts to be 'pro-choice' because they don't want to stand up to their anti-choice, pro-slavery friends.

Of course I don't support their reasoning.

Is there a moral quandary? Maybe for some people. But there isn't for me, because I'm not them.

Politicians saying there's moral issues here? The only moral issue for a politician is if they're willing to make women into their slaves.

Posted by: Crissa on February 26, 2008 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

With regards to contraception and Dobson, here is what it says about him in wikipedia:

"he would oppose any method of birth control that acts after fertilization and terminates a conceived human life by preventing its implantation in the womb"

Posted by: DR on February 26, 2008 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

If being pro-choice is really what keeps the Democrats from attracting the Fundies, why is it that churched black people vote Democratic?

Face it, Ms. Sullivan: It's not the gays and the legendary hairy-legged feminist straw women that are keeping the white evangelicals out of the Democratic Party. It's the Southern Strategy. (Which also can be called the Exurb Strategy, in honor of the Republicans' other post-1960s stronghold.) The ONLY way the white evangelicals leave the GOP for the Dems is if the Dems forsake the black people. Period.

Posted by: Phoenix Woman on February 26, 2008 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Amy Sullivan is a fundamentally dishonest writer, and I for one am not interested in listening to whatever she may have to say.

Posted by: Pocket Rocket on February 26, 2008 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

Amy Sullivan has cultivated a shtick that will allow her to get a publishing contract and sell books.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 27, 2008 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

I miss Amy Sullivan's blog. During the 2004 campaign I read it on an almost daily basis. I am thrilled to see that she'll be back here guest blogging soon. It would be great to read regularly her unique and wonderful insights into the general campaing this year. Thanks for bringing her book to my attention. I can't believe I missed it.
Posted by: Galois on February 26, 2008 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Amy? Amy Sullivan? Is that you, Amy?

Posted by: Stefan on February 27, 2008 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

"There's the principle that a fetus is not just an appendage, it's potential life.

Legally we need to someday define the difference between 'potential life' and 'life'. The whole abortion question hinges on it. "

A sperm and an egg by themselves represent potential life. I'm sure anti-abortionists don't mean to imply, like in the Monty Python movie, that "every sperm is sacred" and must grow into a child.

Yikes!

Posted by: pj in jesusland on February 27, 2008 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

I'm afraid I'm underwhelmed with Obama's qualms about abortion. Senator Clinton has qualms too. So does my best friend and many women I know who've had to decide between pregnancy and abortion. We already know it's difficult decision. We already know a fetus is a potential life. We're tired of folks talking to us as though we don't know these things. To be fair to Obama, his campaign released a statement on the Roe anniversary that framed reproductive choice as a matter of privacy and freedom, and for me that's the only right way to think about it. What struck me in the remark that Kevin quotes, however, was something other than his commitment to choice: "They believe that women should have some control over their bodies and themselves..." "[S]ome." This is the tipping point of the moralistic argument. Those with "moral qualms" want us to have "some" control, but they also want to be able so say when we should be giving up control, what we 'should' be doing. Many, many good progressives express feeling that are very similar. But if we don't have that zone of basic privacy in our physical selves, what other human rights can we have? Integrity in our bodies is one of those inalienable rights that are simply too obvious to mention. Amy Sullivan, William Saletan, Senator Obama and others have public platforms that allow them to broadcast their views very widely; to discuss their moral qualms and offer their judgments. But most of the women who are making decisions about birth control, pregancy, abortion, don't have any public forum; they're in private life, in unique circumstances, making profoundly important decisions for themselves and their families. They need access to the health care appropriate to the choices they make, not judgments from strangers about choices they might be making.

Posted by: mavis on February 27, 2008 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Law like writing should maketh the precise thinker. But Roe v. Wade if anything illustrated that even prochoice's best writers (its "pioneering" Supreme Court justices) could not formulate an even logical-sounding defense of abortion rights:

Roe v. Wade's fundamental liberty of bodily privacy (men's and women's) needed to take one more step to turn into abortion rights, per se: the state's interest in unborn life in the opposite balance needed to turn out less than compelling (the so called "compelling interest test").

Substantive balancing is properly left to legislatures -- and as long as the outcome is at least arguably reasonable. But the Roe Court did the dirty -- or so conservatives have always complained -- and made the substantive "compelling interest" judgment by its own lights.

Or did it? Even the possibility that human life may have begun seems compelling, ipso facto (possible at any developmental stage -- as Roe's inability to choose from a list of conception-to-birth theories of life freely concedes). Which inescapable substantive situation may have made the compelling test not the choice path to constitutional abortion rights, after all.

In the end, the Roe Court (of necessity?) seems to have skipped over the compelling interest test in favor of imposing an unprecedented constitutional burden on respect-for-unborn life legislation: "In view of all this we do not agree, that just by adopting one theory of life, Texas may override the rights of the pregnant woman that are at stake." (my italics) Which constitutional change of direction I can only label a "consensus test."

"In view of" five -- what soon to be president of Stanford Law, Prof. John Hart Ely described as -- Roe's "unnecessary surveys": the whole history of abortion ethics dating from antiquity, state and federal precedent leaning towards abortion rights, leaning against, places in the Constitution where the word "person" does not refer to the unborn and, finally, Roe's list of not very current theories of life. (Ely's Yale law review was titled: "The Wages of Crying Wolf" -- explaining that the Warren Court was often unfairly blamed for just ignoring the Constitution and doing whatever it wanted to -- that the Roe Court felt it could actually do so this once without anybody knowing the difference.)

Laurence Tribe, most quoted liberal law professor in America, wrote in the Harvard Law review: "One of the most curious things about Roe is that, behind its own verbal smoke screen, the substantive judgment [the weight of the fetus] on which it rests is nowhere to be found." (HLR, Vol. 87:1, p.7 -- read p.4 on viability's similar non-rationale.)

Posted by: Denis Drew on February 27, 2008 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Amy Sullivan's objectively pro-choice and ashamed of it for some reason. Not my problem, thankfully.

Posted by: David W. on February 28, 2008 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

You want to know what a womens body is her own fucking business let her be and no one not even the all might god can have a say in a womans personal views so dont preassure or taunt those people who have it hard you have no fucking room to talk because no one walks in another persons shoes and fucking leave it at that

Posted by: Shane on March 12, 2008 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

You want to know what a womans body is her own fucking business let her be and no one not even the all might god can have a say in a womans personal views so dont preassure or taunt those people who have it hard

Posted by: Shane on March 12, 2008 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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