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Douthat's Disingenuous Anti-Choice Blatherings

Ross Douthat is right that the Republican Party did not, strictly speaking, get wiped out because of their anti-choice stance. That is just a constant albatross around GOP necks with women voters. And of course the reactionary image the Republicans have earned is a part of the overall image problem that it has. But that does not explain the 2008 election - 8 years of the George W. Bush Presidency explains it. But when Douthat decided to discuss privacy/choice jurisprudence (Roe and Casey, he seems to have no awareness of Carhart), he began the familiar nonsense:

So the question isnít whether the anti-abortion movement can change, adapt and compromise. Itís already done that. The question is whether it can afford to compromise on the national issue that keeps serious pro-lifers in the Republican fold, and requires an abortion litmus test for Republican presidential nominees ó namely, the composition of the courts. And here the pro-life movement is essentially trapped ó not by its own inflexibility, but by the inflexibility of the Supreme Courtís abortion jurisprudence.
You see Mr. Douthat's idea of compromise is overturning the constitutional right to choose. And he considers himself a moderate on the issue. This is the trick that Ed Whelan tried before. Just remember what Douthat means by moderate - overturning constitutional protections for the right to choose. It will explain his strange construct:

In theory, there are many middle grounds imaginable in Americaís abortion wars, from bans that make exceptions for rape and fetal deformities to legal systems modeled on the French system, in which abortion is available but discouraged in the first 10 weeks and sharply restricted thereafter.

There are many compromises imaginable - but of course the person who thinks abortion is murder will seek to ban them all. Roe and Casey allow for state restrictions on abortion in the 3rd trimester - heck Carhart was upheld a just such a permitted restriction (one would think Douthat would be celebrating this embrace of "compromise" by the Court.) Douthat seems unaware of it. But that will be the game. Because the goal, and believe me, I respect their right to aim for it - is to end the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy. ALL choice. As they should given their views. But Douthat is filled with disingenuousness, hell, dishonesty, here. There is no "compromise" available with anti-choicers and he knows this.

Douthat is not telling the truth about the anti-choice view:

The public is amenable to compromise: majorities support keeping abortion legal in some cases, but polling by CBS News and The Times during the presidential campaign showed that more Americans supported new restrictions on abortion than said it should be available on demand. And while some pro-lifers would reject any bargain, many more would be delighted to strike a deal that extends legal protection to more of the unborn, even if it stopped short of achieving the movementís ultimate goals.

I really despise this type of dishonest crap. Roe allow for restriction in the 3rd trimester. Carhart upheld a third trimester restriction. Democrats have offered abortion prevention legislation (by use of contraceptives and family planning) only to be rebuffed by Douthat's anti-choice friends. He should know all this.

Douthat is just being dishonest in this piece. Sure, some anti-choicers would welcome gaining ground on the issue on the way to their goal of a total ban on abortion. Stop the game playing. Be for what you are for. Fight for it. But tell the truth about it. Douthat does not.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Douthat is about using the anti choicers (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:38:12 AM EST
    in such a way that doesn't lose them as a voting base and stops making women feel so threatened.  I remember when I thought that compassionate conservative Bush would be okay too......I was lulled into believing that when push came to shove women were safe but then 3rd world countries couldn't receive funding from us if they dispensed birth control and Supreme Court Justices were put into place.  I will never be lulled again.

    In the Name of Compromise (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by MsAmericanPie on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:28:38 AM EST
    It seems that every American generation has to learn that the prolifers aren't about compromise.  They are the Taliban of American politics.  I do not use that term loosely. Of course they aren't all so miltatnt, but their movement lets its militants play point guard.  

    Douthat is just doing for the right what many in the left blogosphere prescribe for the Pro-choice movement.  Indeed it's not even the usual centrist democrats suggesting the left needs to appear reasonable on this subject (to whom has never been clear to me). Obama criticizes the pro-choice and the pro-life movement equally for their intrangience.  But it's the pro-lifers who won't denounce the assassins murdering clinic providers.  Every Republican administration since Reagan has announced a Mexico City Policy of denying birth control to non profits in third world countries that allow abortion (under the guise of saying the non profit itself performs abortions.  

    In the same way that the Republican Party has actually refined the center rightward and we are trying to drag it back, they are now going to use the idea of "compromise" to keep moving abortion policy rightward.  Roe was a compromise, Casey was a compromise.  We're done.

    Parent

    Well, if they actually were adamant (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by ThatOneVoter on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:54:32 AM EST
    about having an abortion ban now, they would have to discuss penalties. Would the El Salvador model work? Surely any "reasonable" leglislation which defines abortion as murder would impose long sentences on women.
    One of the reasons I know that people like Douthat don't believe pro-life nonsense is that most of them refuse to take their belief that abortion is murder to tthe logical conclusion.
    It's all a game to them---the game of male domination of women.

    In my view, you sure (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by KeysDan on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 02:38:20 PM EST
    have that one right. In keeping with their idea of murder, it always puzzled me that the focus of the penalty was just on the medical personnel. Why wouldn't they advocate, as a part of their anti-abortion crusade, for the death penalty for the woman who contracted for the abortion as well as the conspiratorial husband/boyfried?   I assume the Vatican would disagree somewhat and settle for a long prison sentence, since it is opposed to the death penalty.  I was tempted to skip this article in my morning read and save my eyes, but the headline piqued my curiosity; the overall text was dishonest and the notion of willingness to compromise was insulting based on their record.

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    Does he think that Republicans (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by andgarden on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 11:07:25 AM EST
    wouldn't be doing better in places like New Jersey and Connecticut, if the Republican party weren't known as the anti-choice party?

    Democrats are hurt electorally by being the pro-choice party in some places (parts of Ohio, western Pennsylvania, and Louisiana), but the bottom line is that this is a pro-choice country.

    The problem with the Republican culture war is that, on many of the issues they want to fight about, they're in the minority. Lyons and Conason made this point very well in The Hunting of the President.

    They can't win much though (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 12:48:52 PM EST
    using the party's currently existing platforms when applied to the issues of the day.  The only way they can win is by using the culture wars they create.

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    On the contrary (none / 0) (#6)
    by andgarden on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 01:02:17 PM EST
    The culture wars hurt them.

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    I think they worked out okay for them (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 01:15:30 PM EST
    eight years ago but this cycle it was revealed how meddlesome and nonfunctional they are when facing real problems.  When the country was mostly stable, they preyed on the silly fears of people.  Things are falling apart now but their loyal base that they created by using the culture wars mostly wanted to talk about and hear about gay marriage, being quitters in Iraq, and abortion.  These were not issues that mattered that much to most Americans as things caught on fire and began burning down around them.  If the election were held today McCain would do even worse than he ended up doing I think.

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    conservatives are psycopaths. (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by cpinva on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 01:46:24 PM EST
    they have no shame or guilt, when it comes to sentencing a woman to death, because the life of a zygot is more important to them than the life of a living, breathing, conscious human being.

    to even attempt to argue otherwise is to display one's ignorance for all to see.

    More wingnut BS (none / 0) (#10)
    by piniella on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 02:50:24 PM EST
    Douhat writes " polling by CBS News and The Times during the presidential campaign showed that more Americans supported new restrictions on abortion than said it should be available on demand."

    The Fundies try to make us think that Roe v. Wade already allows "abortion on demand."

    these are the same people (none / 0) (#11)
    by cpinva on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 04:50:03 PM EST
    The Fundies try to make us think that Roe v. Wade already allows "abortion on demand."

    who claim that obama is the anti-christ. they will lie, cheat and steal to get what they want, their policies made into laws that hurt the entire country.

    it's what they do.

    Parent