Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Latest Anti-Abortion Manifesto

You didn't ask me, but i was wondering how long it would take for the Repug anti-choice chattering class to weigh-in about the evils of our post-partisan political reality vis-a-vis Roe v Wade.

Well, it didn't take long.

On the Opinion page of today's The New York Times, one Ross Douthat issues the first shot across the bow of the new ship Change. And, I love that once again the clarion call comes from a man!

Why is it that men like Douthat are so fervent about denying women reproductive freedom?

Mr. Douthat (pronounced Dow-thut) comes from the hallowed halls of Harvard where he edited the Harvard Salient,
one of the oldest in a movement of conservative newspapers established in the Ivy League during the beginnings of the Reagan administration.

In a testament to both Mr. Dow-thut's religious fervor and precociousness, he converted to Pentecostalism and then Catholicism while in his teens.

In the book, "Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream." which he co-authored, Mr. Dow-thut blames the "disintegration" of white, working-class-Republican America on “crime, contraception, and growing economic inequality.”

Mr. Dow-thut is described as an American "new-generation conservative " (whatever the hell that is), American author and blogger. He is a senior editor at The Atlantic magazine.

But back to his Opinion article on abortion politics in today's Times...

I think there are weaknesses, obviously, to his academic argument...some are

-Dow-thut's "world of academia" approach significantly shelters him from seeing the reality of abortion protest at the health clinic level - there are continuing, and in some cases escalating, uses of low level violence employed by so-called side-walk counselors. That's why the New York City Council is considering passing a Clinic Access Bill.

- Dow-thut's piece not surprisingly reads like manifesto cum credo - a carefully constructed call for continued revolution by the social conservatives against a woman's inherent and moral right to decide when and whether to become a parent.

-Dow-thut's article completely ignores the purposeful war against women and reproductive health care waged by the GOP over the last 8 years - the latest volley about to be launched by the Bush Administration will allow health care workers to opt-out of providing basic care to women.

-Dow-thut ignores the scores of "serious legal restrictions on abortion" that have been imposed at state level that have seriously impaired access to abortion.

- Dow-thut disingenuously suggests that the Repugs should make the appearance of working for common ground while the "real work" should continue to be overturning Roe and Casey. Americans are tired of the polarization wars and raw partisanship of your Repug Party Mr Dow-thut. And really, do you honestly believe that your anti-abortion brethren have always sought common ground?

- And, importantly, Dow-thut misrepresents national polling. While majorities may be tolerant of some restrictions - the overwhelming attitude of Americans is ambivalence - they can and do hold different internal feelings about abortion - but the signature reaction is to not overturn Roe and to not criminalize abortion.

That's what I think really irks the Dow-thut's of the world - that Americans believe in Constitutional principles and that they are actually OK with the current constitutional protections offered women by Roe.

Nor can young Mr Dow-thut accept the opinions expressed by his fellow conservatives. The real wisdom is in
neoconservative writer Max Boot's remark “I don’t think Republicans need to panic, but one area where I do see some room for adjustment is on the issue of abortion,” and the right-wing humorist P. J. O’Rourke's blunt comment that pro-lifers should “give the issue a rest.”

No, Mr Dow-thut is bent on ignoring his more learned elders and on launching new attacks against women.

I think maybe, just maybe, Americans may also want Mr Dow-thut to give it a rest.