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Pro-choice Groups Mobilize in Response to Anti-Choice Radicalism

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Uh, good?

The “it’s so distasteful to respond to political threats by raising money” argument becomes particularly bizarre when you have a long memory about High Contrarian Discourse about abortion. A few years ago, the hot HCD argument was that one reason that Roe was allegedly a disaster for the pro-choice cause is that it decreased activism on behalf of reproductive freedom. I think that the claim is often exaggerated — compared to other progressive movements during this period, I think the pro-choice movement held up quite well. But if it’s true, the argument is still illogical. There was undoubtedly substantial de-mobilization of civil rights activists after 1965, but that doesn’t mean that the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts were a bad thing. Political mobilization isn’t an end in itself; you’re trying to accomplish things. It would have increased the urgency of the situation had abortion remained illegal in 46 states, but that doesn’t make maintaining that status quo a good thing.

But, of course, pro-choice groups can never win with centrist pundits, because when they mobilize this is very troubling too. They might might make accurate claims about radical anti-choice legislation, which is bad for unpsecified reasons! They might alienate the mythical group of voters who will abandon their stated policy preferences if Democrats can say that abortion is icky with exactly the right magic words! My position is that pro-choice groups should feel free to engage in politics just like everyone else.

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