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Tuesday, March 23, 2010  

Abortion Politics Flashback

The debate over the abortion provisions of the health care bill is, now that I think of it, a farcical repetition of the debate over anti-abortion supporters of Obama in 2008. Right now it is very important that conservative Christians convince themselves, despite all evidence, that the bill allows federal funding for abortions because they have no coherent critique of the underlying bill. Back in 2008, the contours of the "sanctity of life" issue were more legitimately complicated. But not, I thought, complicated enough in the writing of Ross Douthat, who scalded Doug Kmiec for making a pro-life case for Obama: "I can't begin to fathom why the GOP should consider taking any advice whatsoever from a "pro-lifer" who has spent the past year serving as an increasingly embarrassing shill for the opposition party's objectively pro-abortion nominee." I think my response holds up pretty well today:

I guess this makes sense. Though it prompts me to ask why anyone should take guidance from the party of endless, pointless war and unrestricted torture on something that it dares to call "the sanctity of life." Indeed, the objectively (and subjectively) pro-torture and pro-aggression GOP congressional caucus and conservative movement, whose meetings feature "I'd Rather be Waterboarding" t-shirts flying off the whited sepulchers, can hardly count "life issues" among its top bazillion concerns.

This is not to say that one position (legal abortion) magically cancels out another (killing 300,000 Iraqis for no obvious reason), but only that so-called pro-lifers who have been good soldiers for the war criminals who run our country need to shut the hell up when someone makes a radically different argument for a political approach to abortion. I don't know what we should do about the laws governing abortion, but I do know that I have a lot more sympathy for the 16 -year-old girl afraid of her father, or the mother of three worried about making ends meet (those Sam's Club Republicans who have to breed and scrounge and be miserable until Ross and Reihan ride along with their "lower-middle reformism"), or the drug addict who doesn't want to bring another life into her world than I do for oily monsters like Donald Rumsfeld (who, be it remembered, publicly outed the Abu Ghraib whistle-blower, now in hiding). There is no conceivable countervailing interest to the survival of an Iraqi civilian; abortion only ever happens because there is a serious countervailing interest to the survival of the fetus.

So yes, let's go after the shills among us. But hereafter, be damned careful who you shill for.

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posted by Benjamin Dueholm | 10:22 AM
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