Just sit down and shut up, quit rocking the boat….Amy Sullivan sort of threatens women’s rights groups that if they don’t go along with the moderates in the party they won’t get their backing on supreme court nominees. But that is at the very end, where I shall put it.
How pro-choice groups are hurting the Democrats- — and their own cause
By Amy Sullivan | September 25, 2005
IT’S NOT EASY being pro-choice these days. The issue, for people like me, isn’t certitude–we don’t question that the decision to end a pregnancy should be left up to a woman and her doctor. And it isn’t that we represent a minority view–55 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances. No, the problem is abortion rights groups themselves, who can always be counted on to say or do something sufficiently extreme that it makes it just that much harder for the rest of us to defend our position out in the public square.
SIGNAL AND NOISE: Pro-choice protestors shout at anti-abortion protestors during a march for women’s rights in Washington, April 25, 2004. (Reuters Photo / John Pryke)
Before I posted this I did some back up reading on Amy Sullivan. Overall the article would have been pretty decent, but she blew it when she started in on NARAL. The tone was so much of a religiously oriented view, that I checked her bio. One of her many degrees is from Harvard Divinity School. Some of her articles I have liked, some I have not. I did not care for the tone of this one.
I saw in one article she is a “lapsed” Southern Baptist, and that I relate to very much. I tend to call myself a “recovering” Southern Baptist with a long way to go. I don’t care for this article, and I think it is rather a putdown (whether meant to be or not).
Just a few snips from it….I will highlight the closing paragraph.
The groups’ most common tactic is to label the pro-life position ”intolerant” and ”misogynistic” at best, and in cahoots with violent extremists at worst. And when they’re not demonizing their opponents, they’re busy mocking them. Although many religious Americans consider abstinence an acceptable moral and personal choice, in the rhetoric of abortion rights advocates it becomes prudish and unnecessary. Earlier this summer NARAL’s Washington affiliate held what was advertised as a ”Screw Abstinence Party”; last year, the Pennsylvania affiliate urged members to send ”chastity belts” to state legislators in protest of the state’s ”Chastity Awareness Week.”
In addition to alienating moderates, choice groups also make it hard for their friends to trust them by relying on misleading appeals and arguments. When the partial-birth abortion debate first emerged, they insisted that the procedure in question (dilation and extraction) was used only a few hundred times each year, and only in the most tragic of caseswhen a fetus had severe abnormalities that threatened its mother’s health. Democratic senators dutifully trotted out and repeated these arguments, only to learn several months later that the procedure is in fact used thousands of times each year (usually in the second trimester) and for any number of reasons. (Amy, you need to provide some research on this.)
But the final straw came when Senate Democrats acted on this advice and recruited pro-life Democrat Bob Casey to run against Rick Santorum for Pennsylvania’s Senate seat in 2006.
Pro-choice advocates lashed out. National Organization for Women president Kim Gandy called out Kerry and Dean by name, and declared: ”If that’s what it means to have a big tent, if it means abandoning the core principles of our party, if it means throwing women’s rights overboard like so much ballast…then I say let’s keep the skunk out of the tent.” The political director of Emily’s List, the fundraising group that has been one of the biggest sources of support for many Democratic candidates, complained, ”We fought like mad to beat back the Republicans. Little did we know that we would have just as much to fear from some within the Democratic Party.”
The word soon went out that Casey would get no support from women’s groups, and powerful donors were encouraged to refrain from giving to his campaign. The race appears to have become a test case for many in the pro-choice community. They would rather see Casey lose than defeat Santorum, perhaps the Senate’s most vociferous abortion opponent.”
And the last paragraph that really turned me off. Sounds like a veiled threat to me.
Amy Sullivan is an editor of The Washington Monthly.
But now that NARAL and even Planned Parenthood are toeing the line more, and not being too “pushy” (deals made?) I guess everything will be ok. The party will take care of us. And I guess Emily’s List is falling in line as well.
Oh, and a big PS to Amy. That protest you mention in the picture caption had about a million women there. Careful unless you have that many on your side.