Political Animal


April 03, 2013 4:54 PM Infanticide! Infanticide!

By Ed Kilgore

Having just counseled against despair about the emptiness of so much conservative policy offerings and rhetoric, sometimes you really do just need to hoot and point. A fine example is RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’ bizarre effort at RedState today to deal with the controversy over the endless cascade of Republican legislators trying to ban virtually all abortions and several birth control measures as well by finding some obscure exchange in Florida involving a Planned Parenthood lobbyist being asked about the law that would govern a botched late-term abortion, and then accusing the entire Democratic Party of favoring infanticide.

Charles Pierce, who is on quite a roll today, captured it all perfectly:

What you have is a bunch of Republican goobers throwing hypotheticals at a Planned Parenthood lobbyist. Does anyone — except Crazy Uncle Doctor Liberty (!) who claims actually to have seen it happen — believe that a doctor would leave a gasping, dying infant alone to expire on the table in front of him? This was a transparent attempt to get the lobbyist to say “right to life” because then we would have hootin’ and hollerin’ and spikin’ the ball in the end zone. They didn’t get it, so they gin up the word “infanticide” and hand it to the Obvious Anagram to promote. Women, of course, are presumed to be too dim and too delicate to see through this obvious charade. Pro tip, Reince — they’re not.

Yeah, we should laugh, but there is a serious point about Republican duplicity in this incident. According to the official ideology of the Republican Party and nearly all of its elected officials these days, all abortion is infanticide, using an IUD is infanticide, using Plan B is infanticide. A not-inconsiderable segment of the GOP base believes “the pill” is infanticide.

So why amidst efforts to halt the American Holocaust do Republicans keep squawking about the tiny, tiny percentage of these acts of “infanticide” that involve late-term abortions? Because they know that outside the antichoice movement and the politicians beholden to it most Americans think their views are a mite crazy. So they constantly, constantly try to change the subject from birth control and early-term abortions to every rare and troubling example of a botched abortion or “partial-birth abortion” they can find. And throughout all this hypocrisy and bad faith and crocodile tears for the late-term fetus, the one consistent point in Republican abortion policy is that there is never a moment in the reproductive process where the women involved are given a say. As Pierce says, all the devious messaging on earth can’t quite disguise that.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • kindness on April 03, 2013 5:06 PM:

    Well yea that plus it seems Republicans really like to lie about Deomcrats. And the media gives them plenty of cover when doing so.

  • c u n d gulag on April 03, 2013 5:14 PM:

    Uhm... "Infanticide?"
    As Mark Sanford just proved, like David Vitter did before him, there is no penalty for a Republican politician whose d*ck wandered into unfamiliar vagina's.

    But, woe unto any "chick" who decided to have sexual intercourse with any stray d*ck, and gets pregnant!

    And, if "Infanticide" included... uhm... jerkin'-the-gherkin," then I'm one of the greatest mass-murderers of all time.
    But I'm also pretty sure, that there are Republican politicians who would make me look like a closely guarded Cub Scoutn - except, that they could feck any, and every, thing thet wanted, with no repurcussions.

  • emjayay on April 03, 2013 6:46 PM:

    Also, no spilling your seed on the ground, or a Kleenex.

  • Gorilla Meek on April 03, 2013 9:27 PM:

  • Caddy on April 04, 2013 5:34 AM:

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on April 04, 2013 9:03 AM:

    Well, according to the GoOPers, everybody is as obliviously ignorant of women's reproductive cycles as they are.

    I really just want to slap each and every one of them with a biology textbook... Or better yet sit on their faces to give them an up close and personal anatomy lesson. (Yeah, I'm a rude bitch.)

  • Peter C on April 04, 2013 9:44 AM:

    We can debate about whether abortion is murder, but it is not infanticide. When you changed your 3-month-old's diapers, did you use the extra-small pampers? Not if you are counting from conception. You don't speak of your 'negative six-month-old'. An infant has been born.

    It is not 'sloppy thinking' to call abortion 'infanticide'; it is calculated deceit. The issue is complicated and fraught enough without deliberate misrepresentation intended to foster acrimony. When one side starts using 'fighting words' they are no longer trying to find a concensus solution; they've chosen to fight and walked out of the negotiations.

  • boatboy_srq on April 04, 2013 9:59 AM:

    According to the official ideology of the Republican Party and nearly all of its elected officials these days, all abortion is infanticide, using an IUD is infanticide, using Plan B is infanticide. A not-inconsiderable segment of the GOP base believes “the pill” is infanticide.

    There are days I think the anti-choice volk are convinced that a freshly-fertilized zygote is just milliseconds away from spring out of its mother and launching right into a Vaudeville song-and-dance routine. Those nine months of gestation? Unnecessary dawdling by all those Sovereign Citizens who should be out there obtaining skills so they can find jobs.

    Are they going to start suggesting that “birthdate” is an inappropriate identifier, since “birth” is irrelevant to “conception” (which incidentally is irrelevant to “fertilization”)? Will where you were [ahem] merged matter more than where you were born? [Actually on that last one I don't know what to hope for: I was born in the US but conceived in what's now EU territory, and dual citizenship based on that would be fun].

  • lb 22 on April 04, 2013 10:57 AM:

    "all abortion is infanticide, using an IUD is infanticide, using Plan B ..."

    These days they consider preventing rape to be infanticide.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on April 04, 2013 11:16 AM:

    I'll add to Peter C's comment that contraception as infanticide is a tough claim to prove.

    Some uses of contraception (especially emergency types like Plan B) may not even be needed to prevent a pregnancy. As inexact as women's reproductive systems are, no woman definitely knows that she has an egg available to be fertilized. Since ovulation only happens in a 24-48 period, obviously women don't have eggs waiting to be joined in holy union with sperm throughout the majority of their approximate 28-day cycles.

    Which makes the claim that using the pill and Plan B is "infanticide" highly suspect. The general idea about Plan B is that if a woman has unprotected sex, she should take Plan B within so many hours to prevent pregnancy. If, unbeknownst to her, she's already beyond ovulation there was no egg to kill to begin with!!!! Yes, it's better safe than sorry (lifespan of sperm and such), but you can't claim someone was killed if that someone wasn't really available to be killed in the first place. Corpus delicti???

    Not to mention the likelihood that some women who are on the pill may not even know that they're actually infertile anyways. Taking birth-control preemptively has a way of masking infertility like that. Barring a previously known condition, most infertile women typically learn that they're infertile only after they've tried unsuccessfully to get pregnant.

    But this is all science, and we know how the Right feels about "facts".

  • JoyousMN on April 04, 2013 1:51 PM:

    And there off! One day later this is now on Fox News.

    Perhaps it didn't even take a day, but I just walked through the lunchroom and Fox was showing the PP clip and then on to a discussion of Infanticide!