Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Abortion, etc.

This is an excerpt from an old Chris Matthews' interview with Pat Toomey, the president of the Club for Growth, and, apparently, erstwhile Republican candidate for Senate from PA.

Ironically, abortion seems to be an issue towards which the majority of Americans take a "nuanced" approach; people have varying levels of comfort regarding the appropriateness of aborting fetuses during the first, second or third trimesters, but most don't really seem to consider abortion to be murder.

However, most pro-life Republican politicians take an allegedly "absolutist" stance, even though many would allow exceptions in the case of rape and incest--which, of course, makes no sense if you believe abortion is murder ("health of the mother" exceptions would strike me as at least morally murky). As is clear from the link I posted, even the most extreme of the mainstream abortion opponents can't bring themselves to advocate murder-appropriate penalties for doctors and women who "murder" babies. Again, What's the deal with only a five year prison term for abortionists in South Dakota, and no penalty for the mothers? That's as good as admitting you're full of shit if you call abortion murder, because you're acknowledging gradations of evil when it comes to killing an innocent American human being (funny how all kinds of justifications spring to mind if you just remove the second modifier from that clause), and that is the slipperiest of all slippery slopes for the Christian right.

I suppose it's possible that the pro-life lobby would let the Republican Party off with merely "highly restrictive" laws in the red states if Roe were overturned. After all, humans are pragmatic by nature, even if that pragmatism leads to the inescapable conclusion that the absolutist murder rhetoric was nothing more than a political tool. But that doesn't seem likely to me, given the fervor of the movement, and that's where the problems really begin for the mainstream right.

After the defeat of Roe, then what? Just let the degenerate blue staters kill millions of babies a year? Lots of Idahoans would probably find that to be even a desirable outcome, but I give the pro-life movement more moral credit than that. Would they lobby for a constitutional amendment that would certainly fail, and reinforce the fact the most Americans disagree with them? The Republican mainstream knows that walking the walk on abortion would immediately make them electorally radioactive throughout much of the country, so would they want to be defined by this issue in they way they could hardly avoid defining themselves in the midst of such a campaign for national prohibition?

All of these possibilities could easily be a long way off, but I'm sure they are inspiring some serious soul searching among insightful conservatives now that things seem to be going their way.


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