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The Unbearable Illogic of the "Pro-Lifer"

[ 0 ] July 27, 2005 |

I wish that I disagreed with e-Robin’s argument that the Dems will not make sufficient hay out of Milt Romney’s veto of legislation that would increase access to morning-after contraception, but alas I fear she’s right. Democrats should be tying Roe to Griswold and making the broader Republican agenda against reproductive rights clear, but for the time being the idea that Democrats should run trembling from all “cultural issues” no matter how overwhelming the majority the Democratic position commands seems to be deeply ingrained.

It is worth noting, however, how incoherent and unprincipled Romney’s position is:

Though described by its sponsors as a measure relating to contraception, there is more to it than that. The bill does not involve only the prevention of conception: The drug it authorizes would also terminate life after conception. Signing such a measure into law would violate the promise I made to the citizens of Massachusetts when I ran for governor. I pledged that I would not change our abortion laws either to restrict abortion or to facilitate it.

Now, I’m not sure what medical experts he was talking to–David Hager, maybe? But say, entirely for the sake of argument, let’s say that in rare circumstances EC can act as an abortifacient. Would restricting access to EC reduce the net number of abortions? Of course not–it is virtually certain that more women denied EC will get abortions than women using EC will have “abortions.” And that’s not the worst of it: there’s also the stem-cell problem. If EC causes the death of what Romney considers to be a human being, then shouldn’t it be, you know, banned? Instead, Romney argues that it should be legal, but available only through a prescription. Obviously, this doesn’t make any sense; I don’t think most murder laws permit you to get a state license that makes it OK. And, in addition, the effect of making EC prescription-only is to severely restrict EC along class lines, an inevitable feature of all Republican reproductive policies. Unless someone can explain how fetuses stop being “babies” when they are in the bodies of rich women, these policies remain uniformly indefensible.

At the end of the op-ed, Romney also essays the “everything would be easy without Roe” argument (“A federalist approach would allow such disputes to be settled by the citizens and elected representatives of each state, and appropriately defer to democratic governance.”) A useful reminder that progressives who go along with this faulty argument are the useful idiots of opponents of abortion rights.

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