This weekend is the anti-abortionists's Woodstock, the anarchists's Annual World Bank meeting--the National Right to Life March in/on Washington, commemorating the now 33rd year since the arguing of Roe V. Wade.
The Senator is a pro-choicer of long-standing. He got his political start escorting female patients safely to clinic entries on Saturday mornings and working against his local, anti-abortionist blowhard congressman. But he recognizes the problem many well-meaning, thoughtful people have regarding the practice. The availability of ultrasound technology makes clear that even at very early stages in the fetus' life, that there is in fact, a life there. So regardless of how hypocritical the Senator believes the anti-abortion movement is, he concedes that abortion is and will remain a troubling issue of public policy, the flashpoint in the continual tiring culture war, for valid reasons. I know my feminist web-pals like Lauren at Feministe and Amanda at Pandagon hate liberal ambivalence like this, but the matter is what it is.
So if there's a life there, why isn't the Senator anti-abortion?
Because life's complicated.
For one thing, how do we agree about what constitutes the start of this life? At the point of sex, where the male sperm enters the woman's vagina? Um, no. Most if not all anti-abortion groups, especially those taking the Roman Vatican's position, are against the use of contraception, not just abortion. So the so-called "morning after" pills, which prevent ovulation or fertilization, are out, even though they don't come close to mimicking the destruction of the embryo as happens in abortions. No infant being stuck with scissors at birth here. So the anti-abortionists are not consistent or sensible on this point. Anybody ready to eliminate the use of contraception? So most anti-abortionists are really against sex, not abortion.
The Senator is also aware that the anti-abortionists, most of the prominent ones anyway, don't care about the "life of the unborn child". If they did, they'd care about people who are, you know, actually alive. I realize that those anti-abortionists who kill doctors and or patients represent a fringe component of all anti-abortionists. Nonetheless, anti-abortion killers have a lot of sympathy in the anti abortion movement. And its plain that from most of their public stances, leading anti-abortionists are more than willing to let the rest of the world burn from America's shocking and aweful war machine, having no objection to the taking of thousands of civilian lives for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. When was the last time you heard James Dobson condemn America's "War on Terror", prisoner torture, and the "collateral damage" from our air raids, like the one last weekend against Pakistan? And as for Americans outside the womb, many anti-abortionists are decidedly in the anti-gay following. If the idea is to be pro-life, why not celebrate these lives as well? If there's no good reason to be against gay people, and I've not heard a good reason, than why not apply the same if not greater value to the lives of gay Americans who are actually alive, outside the womb? We could go on here, death penalty (which the Senator supports), welfare reform, Medicare-Medicaid spending, etc. The fact is, the anti-abortionists's pseudo concern for the "culture of life" is bupkis, a smokescreen designed to obscure their real ambition, the roll-back of women's rights (and everyone else's).
Finally, perhaps the most severe and illogical implication of making abortion illegal concerns the treatment of women who undergo the procedure. What do the anti-abortionists want to do with them? Well, many anti-abortionists, at least publicly, take a benign stance to these women, preferring to label them as fellow victims in the relativistic left's "culture of death". But this won't wash. Anti-abortionists can't simultaneously claim, as one anti-abortion marcher today did on one of the national networks, that they opposed abortion because of its effects on the women getting them, while also claiming that abortion is "murder" and calling the number of abortions obtained since 1973 a "holocaust". If abortion is murder, than women getting abortions are murderers. There can't be a middle ground here. Women getting abortions would be subject to the same criminal charges as any other killer. I'm sure many anti-abortionists haven't thought this through to its logical conclusion. Maybe they imagine that if abortion was made illegal, that no attempts would be made to obtain one. The "problem" of abortion would then "go away".
I doubt it.
The Senator thinks that if abortion is finally made illegal, at either the state or federal level, that the stated concern so many anti-abortionist spokespeople now make on behalf of women who've had an abortion would evaporate as fast as you could say Phyllis Shlafly. Women who've had abortions, or who have been caught planning to have them, would be paraded across Faux Noose as betrayers of their sex and their nation. Wouldn't be long before they'd join the ranks of death row inmates awaiting execution.
Or maybe they'd be hung in public on the streets of Gilead.
So, in short, the Senator is pro-choice but wishes the practice would be "safe but rare".
As for the so-called "moralists" among the religious elite, hey, when you apologize completely for burning people at the stake for "heresy", when you confess you were wrong to support slavery, wrong to oppose the right to vote for women, African Americans, and working slobs who didn't own property, that you are and were wrong to oppose allowing workers to unionize, that you were wrong to oppose Martin Luther King Jr and desegregation, that you were wrong to oppose the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Acts of 1964-1965 (hey, Jerry Falwell, I'm talking to you), that you were wrong to oppose the New Deal, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, then maybe the "secular relativistic left" will give you and your ideas a hearing.
Until then, take your moral absolution and shove it.