Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Melinda Henneberger: Why Pro-Choice Is a Bad Choice for Democrats
Op-ed contributor Melinda Henneberger wrote in the New York Times last week (6/22):
I keep reading about a universe in which social conservatives are warming to Rudy Giuliani. But this would have to be a place where his estranged children and three wives and multiple appearances in fishnets were irrelevant to the Republican base. Where the nice gay couple he moved in with between marriages would be asked to appear in the film montage at the nominating convention in St. Paul.
Even in the real world, a pro-choice Republican nominee would be a gift to the Democrats, because the Republican Party wins over so many swing voters on abortion alone. Which is why Fred Thompson, who is against abortion rights, is getting so much grateful attention from his party now. And why, despite wide opposition to the war in Iraq, Democrats must still win back such voters to take the White House next year.
Over 18 months, I traveled to 20 states listening to women of all ages, races, tax brackets and points of view speak at length on the issues they care about heading into 08. They convinced me that the conventional wisdom was wrong about the last presidential contest, that Democrats did not lose support among women because security moms saw President Bush as the better protector against terrorism. What first-time defectors mentioned most often was abortion.
NYT subscribers can read the letters responding to her piece here.
Here's an excerpt from one letter:
I've found that many women who have abortions presume that while they have a good reason for making this choice, other women have only bad reasons.
The law, however, will not in practice recognize this dubious distinction. Abortion is never an easy option, but it is an option that must remain available.
To moderate voters who disagree with me, this is my charge: Talk to your colleagues, friends, sisters, mothers and daughters. Someone you know has had an abortion. And she had a good reason for it.
(Elizabeth Janiak, Cambridge, Mass.)
And Lynn Paltrow (Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women), objecting to Henneberg's slavery analogy, points out:
Sixty-one percent of women who have abortions are already mothers, and another 24 percent will go on to become mothers. Eighty-five percent of all women bring life into this world and provide the majority of care for the lives of those around them. Individual pregnant women, whether seeking to end a pregnancy or to go to term, are certainly not the same as governments that use state power to enslave particular groups of people.