May 9, 2007

Giuliani will come out in favor of abortion rights.

It seems that the revelations about his giving money to Planned Parenthood are forcing him in this direction, but most people suspected he was pro-choice anyway, and it was hard to explain the middle position he was trying to take.

59 comments:

Zeb Quinn said...

It doesn't matter. Guliani won't win or lose on the abortion issue. I'm 100% pro life and I'd vote for Rudy in a New York nanosecond. There are things he could say, positions he could take, that would change that, but being a pro-aborter isn't one of them.

hdhouse said...

well - never accuse Rudy of not knowing which way the wind is blowing. It's just such a shame that the rightwing has so much gas coming from so many different directions.

hmmm doesn't believe in right to life and does believe in evolution....i guess that just about dooms him with the base.

Fred Soto said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fred Soto said...

Rudy may as well quit while he's ahead. This is going to sink his reputation among conservatives and make it very difficult to get past the primaries.

On the other hand, if he can get past the primaries and face off against Hillary or Obama,.. then he is probably the only person with a chance to defeat one of the Hollywood Democrat's rising stars. In 2008 the center will be a critical base to target, more so than ever before.

Both sides have grown so far apart that a lot of people are left stranded somewhere in the middle without a good feel for either party. (even the 'blogosphere' is now filled with "Independent" publishers... pretty sad state of politics."

Daryl said...

The only reason I think Rudy has credibility on this issue is his pro-life efforts in NYC. And I mean pro-life, not anti-choice, because he was encouraging women to give their children up for adoption as an alternative to abortion. He actually got the abortion rate to go down.

(I'm relying on what he said at the Republican debate--if anyone wants to fact-check that and tell me he's lying, I'm listening)

I think pro-lifers tend to be pro-war, and they understand the concept of long-term struggles, and that we need Rudy in the WH come 2009.

Back in 2000 and especially in 2004, the socially liberal/libertarian parts of the GOP were told to suck it up because we needed Bush to beat Kerry. If Rudy (or another social moderate) gets the GOP nod, I expect the social cons to return the favor. I don't think they'll be happy about it, but it's their turn (and if they can win the primary, we'll suck it up again)

This election has to be about winning the war in Iraq, not about defining the future of the Republican party.

Beth said...

Hard for observers to explain? Not at all. Hard for him to explain? Well, sure. He was incoherent, in fact.

But as right now, he was still for civil unions before he was against them. Or something like that.

Once he gets all that sorted he can go back to running as the strong, resolute, decisive man of action candidate.

hdhouse said...

Dressing up the abortion, evolution, and civil unions issues is the lipstick on this pig. His fiscal mismanagement of New York City was horrific. The purposeful hurdles he set in front of the least among us - in particular for poor women seeking help for their kids - was so utterly shameful that even conservatives in the city screamed foul.

There was nothing spectacular about his running the city until 9-11 and as much good as he did there he set up a ton of bad to happen. We haven't even started on his business partner Bernard Kerick.

Plenty in Rudy's closet to provide for a good roasting. (oh...and by the way he was getting thumped by Hillary before he withdrew from the senate race)

ricpic said...

If Rudy comes out in favor of abortion he's dead dead deader than an aborted baby with the 'Pubbie base.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I'm so tired of hearing about abortion. I mean if we didn't have other pressing issues like terrorism, Social Security going down the tubes, an exploding deficit, massive illegal immigration it would be nice to get so worked up over individuals who aren't smart enough to buy birth control.

EnigmatiCore said...

I lost a little bit of respect for him in the way he handled this. If this is his real position, why was he muddying the picture for months on end, unless for pure political expedience?

That makes me trust him less. I think I still am backing him, but am much less sure than I was a few weeks ago.

Too many jims said...

I think pro-lifers tend to be pro-war

This clause makes a lot of sense in the current context. One may be even able to reconcile it intellectually (just as it would be possible for Giuliani to intellectually reconcile his various positions on abortion). That said, it is an odd juxtaposition of words. Pro-life = Pro-war!

Mark Daniels said...

I agree with Chris Matthews when he says that the idea that pro-life voters are just discovering that Rudy Giuliani is pro-choice is absurd. (I also agree with Matthews that this idea reflects the media elite's disdain of the intelligence of conservatives generally and of pro-lifers specifically.)

These voters have known that Giuliani is pro-choice all along and many have supported him anyway. That's because most of them aren't single issue voters and because there are gradations of opinion within the pro-life camp, just as there are among other categories of voters.

This shouldn't shock anybody: Even Sam Brownback, arguably the most pro-life and the one most connected to the Religious Right in the current GOP presidential field, said last week that he would support a pro-choice Republican nominee for President.

Mark Daniels

George said...

Abortion, schmabortion....

A Republican from New York carrying the South?

When it snows in Mississippi in July.

The Emperor said...

I'm not sure why this is such a big deal. As the article later states, "In a New York Times/CBS News poll in March, 41 percent of Republicans thought abortions should be prohibited ... ." Presumably, then, 59 percent of Republicans would allow at least some abortions. As the only pro-choice Republican candidate, Giuliani might actually be in a pretty good position.

Sloanasaurus said...

I agree with Mark. Conservatives already know that Rudy is pro-choice. This "discovery" by the media is a shell game. The media is scared that Rudy will get the nomination because in the end most Americans in the middle will vote for leadership over policy. The media is actively working against Rudy.

Besides, any serious pro-lifer knows that what the President personally believes regarding abortion matters very little. What really matters is what kind of judges/justices he appoints. Rudy has already said he will appoint judges in the mold of Alito and Roberts. He would be wise to stick to that.

This truth is more evident than ever with Harry Reid. Reid says he is pro-life, but opposes all the law-abiding judges. Thus, in the end, actions by Reid do more for the pro-choice cause than anything.

Sloanasaurus. Read more at John Adams Blog.

TMink said...

Turn out the lights, that party is over. Hdhouse wrote: "well - never accuse Rudy of not knowing which way the wind is blowing."

Well and accurately said.

Bye Rudie, we just got to know ye.

Trey

Fen said...

I don't care about his position on abortion - I've switched back and forth on the issue so many times already. Weighing the liberty of the mother against the life of a child is difficult. And even the majority of conservatives against abortion would still allow it in cases of rape or incest. But the "pro-choice" argument is false: we know that birth-control is not 100% effective, yet we choose to take that risk anyway.

How does Rudy plan to fight radical Islam? What will he do re Iraq? Those are my litmus issues.

Simon said...

"Mr. Giuliani hinted at what aides said would be his uncompromising position on abortion rights yesterday in Huntsville, Ala., where he was besieged with questions about abortion and his donations to Planned Parenthood. 'Ultimately, there has to be a right to choose,' he said. Asked if Republicans would accept that, he said, 'I guess we are going to find out.'"

If by that he means that he strongly supports keeping abortion legal, I most likely have no argument with that. If, on the other hand, by "there has to be a right to choose" he means "there has to be a right to choose and that means Roe has to stay," then I'm not okay with that.

It's not a question of conditioning a nomination on a commitment to overruling a single case. Rather, a nominee's view on Roe says a lot about their views on law more generally. It's "a very good litmus test for a judicial nominee[,] [because] [a]sking about Roe will at once provide a candidate with an opportunity to discuss two matters which ... [are particuarly] important to textualists: their view on substantive due process (or, indeed, any other grounds they feel they might rest unenumerated ... [rights] upon), and their views on stare decisis, and when (or if) it might protect a decision that was wrongly decided as an original matter." That case is so plainly wrongly-decided, such a corrupting influence on surrounding law, and fosters no reliance interests (in my view, at least: the reliance interest usually held out is on legal abortion, not Roe. Overruling Roe will not ipso facto result in any change in substantive law at all, which I regard as a threshold question for reliance interests) that it's hard to imagine a nominee - I guess there are a couple of exceptions to that rule - who I'd be happy with who had a view of law in which Roe-Casey could be sustained.

Simon said...

Clarification: I mean judicial nominees in that last comment, not presidential nominees.

Fen said...

I think pro-lifers tend to be pro-war

And the pro-choice crowd is anti-war? Fits the historical pattern: africans are subhuman so enslaving them is justified, fetuses are sub-human so killing them justified, arabs are subhuman so abandoning them to the tyranny of a Caliphate is no biggie.

"There is some justice in one charge that is frequently leveled against the United States, and more generally against the West: Middle Easterners frequently complain that the West judges them by different and lower standards than it does Europeans and Americans, both in what is expected of them and what they may expect, in terms of their economic well-being and their political freedom. They assert that Western spokesmen repeatedly overlook or even defend actions and support rulers that they would not tolerate in their own countries.

...there is nevertheless a widespread [Western] perception that there are significant differences between the advanced Western world and the rest, notably the peoples of Islam, and that these latter are in some ways different, with the tacit assumption that they are inferior. The most flagrant violations of civil rights, political freedom, and even human decency are disregarded or glossed over, and crimes against humanity, which in a European or American country would evoke a storm of outrage, are seen as normal and even acceptable.

...The underlying assumption in all this is that these people are incapable of running a democratic society and have neither concern nor capacity for human decency."

The Crisis of Islam, Bernard Lewis, p104

Simon said...

Hoosier Daddy said...
"I'm so tired of hearing about abortion. I mean if we didn't have other pressing issues ... it would be nice to get so worked up over individuals who aren't smart enough to buy birth control.

A statement that apparently assumes lock, stock, and barrel that abortion is about nothing more than reproductive rights and post-facto contraception. Which is certainly the pro-choice framing of the issue, but it isn't the length and breadth of it.

I'm "tired of hearing about abortion," too - so I guess that means you're ready to just give in and let me pass all the restrictive laws I'd like to, then? No? Then I guess you're just as invested in the culture wars as everyone else. There's something patently disingenuous (or self-deluding) about declarations that abortion is a stale issue. When people say they're tired of it and they'd like to move past it, what they usually mean is that they want the other side to stop struggling. It's a controversial issue, and whichever side you're on, it ought to be an important issue, too. At stake is either women's freedom or mass slaughter depending on how you look at it - issues, surely, that any person should be deeply interested in.

Too many jims said...

Fen,

That is a bit of an odd rant coming from someone who in the same thread said: "Weighing the liberty of the mother against the life of a child is difficult." There are some who are pro-choice not because they view fetuses (or Africans or Arabs) as subhuman but because they feel impinging "the liberty of the mother" in this manner takes away from her personhood.

Galvanized said...

Why can't politicians step off this abortion platform altogether? One can be a conservative and totally opposed to abortion (as am I) but agree that 1)the mother has the ultimate say and 2)it's a highly personal issue that should never have found its way to the forefront in politics? It's been nothing but a distraction for years in the political arena. It's a matter that should be left, for the most part, between a woman and her doctor. Public funding for such is the only real political part of the abortion issue, not personal views.

Tim said...

Abortion, abortion rights, abortion law, and abortion funding are not the only thing about which conservative Republicans, whether they be in the South or elsewhere, care.

It's a nice, easily understood cartoon for our ever-so-intellectual liberals, but it's a facile understanding, at best, of Republican primary voters. Giuliani's prospects depend upon much more than simply the array of issues concerning abortion.

Simon said...

Galvanized:
"Why can't politicians step off this abortion platform altogether? One can be a conservative and totally opposed to abortion ... but agree that ... the mother has the ultimate say .... It's a matter that should be left, for the most part, between a woman and her doctor."

Your own comment demonstrates why they can't "step off the platform." Your position isn't "step[ping] off the platform," it's the pro-choice position prevailing. Abortion is always going to be a contentious issue involving profound and difficult moral questions. The choice is between having it be contentious and corrupting at the federal level or contentious and corrupting and the state level. If you want to take abortion out of Presidential politics, you should agree to take the courts out of the abortion umpiring business.

Indeed, I would have thought that for that very reason, quite aside from the formalist reasons for so ding that I usually advance, there is overwhelming normative appeal to overruling Roe, even to pro-choicers and liberals.

If you want federal politicians to step off the platform, if you want to remove the distraction, and more to the point, "if you want it gone from the national political stage, you must agree to overturn Roe-Casey. There is no other way. While that framework stands, abortion will remain a paramount national issue, continuing to distort Senatorial and Presidential elections and appointments to the courts. Overturn it, return the issue to the states, and persuade your fellow citizens" that they should not by law restrict a woman's right to choose.

Zeb Quinn said...

This is not a presidential deal-killer for Rudy. I said that already. Here's why. It's not exactly news that he's pro-choice. That's a position that he has been occupying for his entire political life. So how could that jack come popping out of the box now as a big terrifying surprise? Only people who want to kill his candidacy are desperately cranking the crank, hoping against hope that it pops out that way. That is, mainly Democrats, probably the Hillary crowd, ironically bigtime pro-aborters themselves. But listen to what Rudy says, and remember what his real and only power as president to influence the abortion issue would be. He says he personally supports a woman's right to choose. But he then goes on to say that as a constitutional scholar he supports strict-constructionist judges, and he has vowed to nominate such for appointment to the court. That means judges who don't discover unenumerated and previously unknown rights in the shadows of the constitution What he's saying is that as chief executive his desire for those kind of judges trumps his personal pro-choice sentiments. And stepping back and taking in the entirety of this man, the things he has done, the way he ran New York as mayor, I believe him.

Sloanasaurus said...

As Zeb says, its the judges that really matter, not whether Rudy is pro-choice. The Dems and the media know this.. they are scared to death of a rudy candidacy. It is hard to imagine idependents voting for Hillary or Obama over Rudy...

Fen said...

That is a bit of an odd rant coming from someone who in the same thread said: "Weighing the liberty of the mother against the life of a child is difficult."

Yah, but like I said, I've been arguing both sides of the issue for some time now.

For today, I believe the life of the child trumps the liberty of the mother. Most abortions today are because of threats to lifestyle. The sad fact is that most of us want sex so bad, we are willing to kill for it.

There are some who are pro-choice not because they view fetuses (or Africans or Arabs) as subhuman but because they feel impinging "the liberty of the mother" in this manner takes away from her personhood.

I know, but that position is not much different than those who claimed the abolitionists [pesky christians and their morality again] were impinging on property rights.

Fen said...

[sigh] I'm taking the thread off-track.

As so many others have pointed out - POTUS has no power to affect abortion: what the President personally believes regarding abortion matters very little. What really matters is what kind of judges/justices he appoints.

/sorry for the hijack

Fitz said...

It will be McCain. He has the voting record and the experience behind it.

Conservatives rankle because he is to close to the eastern establishment and inside the beltway clique. Now that he is (suddenly) no longer the medias darling the parties base will warm up to him. That and the natural conservative instinct to nominate “the next in line” candidate.

He’s to the right of Giuliani and Romney on both the war & abortion. People overemphasize conservative distaste for McCain. The animosity is just not there. I think you’re responding to the conservative medias attempts to “bring him in line” and the republican insiders distrust of him – more than rank and file beliefs.

Too many jims ( said in response to fen)

”There are some who are pro-choice not because they view fetuses (or Africans or Arabs) as subhuman but because they feel impinging "the liberty of the mother" in this manner takes away from her personhood.

I don’t think your use of “personhood” in this sentence is accidental. Traditionally people have never evoked such nomenclature in reference to moral issues concerning humans.
The more normative phrase is “humanity.”

I believe this to be a calculated rhetorical effort to circumvent the truth evident in the humanity of gestating children.

Simon said...

Sloan and Zeb, I agree, but my point would be that I think there's a certain amount of ambiguity in his comments - as reported here, at the Presidential debate, and come to think of it, Ann has previously construed his comments to suggest that he might not be as solid on judges as he would need to be. I don't like the term "strict constructionist," I don't like that it has one meaning in political discourse and one meaning in legal discourse, but it seems to me that it's a reach under either meaning to say that a strict constructionist might uphold Roe. What I want to hear from Guiliani is a fairly unambiguous declaration of what I had believed his position was: he supports a woman's right to choose, but he does not believe the Federal Constitution protects that right (there being many rights that the Constitution of the United States does not protect), he does not agree with Roe v. Wade as an initial matter, and even if he will veto laws banning abortion and will use the bully pulpit to urge states to keep abortion legal and restriction free, he will appoint judges who will overrule the illegitimate decisions requiring those states to do so.

Legal abortion and abortion's status as a Constitutional right are separate issues; it is the big lie that they are one and the same. Thus, Guiliani can be pro-choice and I can still support him. But he can't be pro-Roe and expect me to go along, at least in the primary.

Simon said...

"People overemphasize conservative distaste for McCain."

I'm not sure that's possible, but I guess my open question is this: can someone who would never vote for McCain solely because of McCain-Feingold also support Fred Thompson, who supported (and still supports) McCain-Feingold?

By the way, I'm not certain McCain is as good on Judges as one might imagine, overall. My concern isn't just that a judge he would nominate would likely take a Breyer-esque view of the First Amendment - and that's a view that permeates into surrounding jurisprudence. What really troubles me is his expressed desire to reach beyond the academy and the appellate court bench for a nominee.

At first blush, that seems a reasonable enough proposition. If you want to nominate a judge who approaches the job like Justice O'Connor -- one who believes in balancing tests and compromises, one who is very much concerned with the consequences of a decision, and might come out a different way if the text demands an unpalatable result -- then it makes a lot of sense to seek a nominee with "real life experience." But the problem with McCain's desire for "real life experience" is that what you'll get is a bench stacked with legal realists. And I want legal formalists on the bench. While I think there are cases where all other sources of law run out and leave a naked choice of outcomes, in the main, I believe that a judge should give the text the most natural reading in view of its ordinary meaning at the time it was adopted, and if that's the way you're approaching judging, it doesn't matter if you've spent your career in the ivory tower or on the bench, on the one hand, or if you've had a more diverse background, as McCain would like. Perhaps the best litmus test of all is not to ask a nominee (Presidential or Supreme Court) about Roe, but to ask about their view of Maryland v. Craig.

Sloanasaurus said...

Thus, Guiliani can be pro-choice and I can still support him. But he can't be pro-Roe and expect me to go along, at least in the primary.

I think he can do that by saying he will appoint judges in the mold of Roberts and Alito - judges who were approved by a significant amounts of democrats.

Simon said...

Sloan,
There's a line about Justice Hugo Black that I heard on the recent PBS show about the court: "if the text was his mandate, it was also his limit." I love that line, because it so perfectly encapsulates what I regard as the ideal for a Supreme Court Justice. The text should be a judge's limit, and they should honor its boundaries - but the text should also be their mandate, and they should be fearless in following it even to a result they do not agree with. A judge in the mold of Scalia is a judge who will vote for Danny Kyllo even though s/he'd personally like to clap them in irons, someone who will vote for a liberal result when that's what the text mandates.

To be sure, Roberts is a perfect choice for Chief Justice, and Alito is also very good, but I have significant disagreements with them both. They're good judges, I'm glad to have them on the Supreme Court and I think they're generally doing a great job even if I don't agree with everything they've done there, but I just don't see them a fulfillment of the campaign promise to nominate Justices in the mold of Scalia or Thomas. They are conservative judges, and that's good, but what I really want are legal formalists. I want someone who's a textualist and an originalist first, and a conservative second in those rare cases when you do need a tiebreaker.

So Alito's position in a case like Cunningham v. California worries me, but his opinion in Zedner (and the citation to Garcia in his United Haulers Assn., Inc. v. Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority dissent that Ann flagged the other week worries me even more than my disagreement with his opinion in that case) scares the hell out of me. It may seem de minimis to say "well, I don't agree with Alito about using legislative history," that may seem to elevate form over substance, but as I see it, that goes to the deeper underlying question of what a judge thinks law is, and how they see the role of the judge. I'm willing to meet reality and compromise, but I'd rather have someone like Frank Easterbrook, Diane Sykes or Steve Calabresi as the nominee.

Fitz said...

As a (fellow?) attorney I concur.

“Legal abortion and abortion's status as a Constitutional right are separate issues;”

At the time of oral arguments in Roe, it is said that the SCOTUS clerks were laughing at the sketchy reasoning being invoked by the pro-abortionists.

“it is the big lie that they are one and the same.”

And is a lie that serves pro-abortion movement inasmuch as they can (and do) wrap themselves in the constitution and defend “fundamental liberties & rights.”

Perhaps the most succinct & informative article Roe has perverted our constitutional adjudication is this.
http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/?p=707

Thanks for the FYI about McCain’s remarks on picking judges. He is a Maverick and could easily screw things up with his ego.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I'm "tired of hearing about abortion," too - so I guess that means you're ready to just give in and let me pass all the restrictive laws I'd like to, then? No? Then I guess you're just as invested in the culture wars as everyone else

Ok let me then just say that its an issue that I could really care less about. I don't plan on having an abortion and I guess based upon that selfish attitude, I tend to place more emphasis on other issues that tend to weigh a bit more heavily on my shoulders.

There's something patently disingenuous (or self-deluding) about declarations that abortion is a stale issue. When people say they're tired of it and they'd like to move past it, what they usually mean is that they want the other side to stop struggling.

In your opinion perhaps. Personally I think abortion is wrong but in the grand scheme of things and issues facing this nation, I'm simply tired of this being the litmus test of presidential qualifications.

At stake is either women's freedom or mass slaughter depending on how you look at it - issues, surely, that any person should be deeply interested in.

I guess in a moralistic sense I should be deeply interested but it doesn't last. I find it hard to get too worked up over an issue that simply has no effect on my life. I never had an abortion, don't plan on getting one (physically impossible for me anyway) and honestly don't know a single person who ever had one. Rather than try and legislate this, perhaps shaming people into taking responsibility for thier actions rather than taking the easy way out would be the more effective method of ending abortion. To me the saddest travesty of the whole abortion debate is how pro-choice types hold it as a badge of honor instead of a social stain. Changing that kind of attitude would benefit society much more.

Thorley Winston said...

I think pro-lifers tend to be pro-war, and they understand the concept of long-term struggles, and that we need Rudy in the WH come 2009.

I wouldn’t be so sure about that. There’s been another “long-term struggle” in America by social conservatives when it comes to judicial nominees. A lot of social conservatives were willing to support Giuliani because they thought he would appoint judges that they agreed with and return abortion to the State legislatures. However after promising to appoint “strict constructionists” and then revealing during the first debate that in his mind a “strict constructionist” could just as easily uphold Roe v Wade as overturn it, a lot of them may be coming to the realization that he may not have “promised” what they had hoped he was promising.

Thorley Winston said...

I'm not sure that's possible, but I guess my open question is this: can someone who would never vote for McCain solely because of McCain-Feingold also support Fred Thompson, who supported (and still supports) McCain-Feingold?

I think a better question might be – if you won’t vote for McCain solely on the basis of McCain-Feingold – how could you have voted for Bush in 2004 after he signed it into law after promising to veto it?

IMO it’s a done deal unless you really think someone is going to spend precious political capital trying to repeal it. In which case we ought to focus on issues like the War, entitlement reform, reigning in spending, health care reform etc. which a future president may actually do something about.

Simon said...

"[I]ts an issue that I could really care less about."

I just don't buy that. Are you willing to accept a legal regime in which abortion is illegal in all circumstances, at any time after conception, with no exceptions at all? I find it hard to believe that you would be. (To be clear, that isn't a regime I'd like to see either.) There's an old joke, a man dies, and on arrival in heaven, asks God why he allowed so much evil and suffering to go on in the world when he could have done something about it. God looks him straight in the eye and says "why did you?" Do you think a fœtus in utero is a human child? If not, how can you possibly not be moved to take action against a draconian and completely unjustifiable threat to women's freedom? If so, how can you justify standing by in the face of mass slaughter?


"Personally I think abortion is wrong but in the grand scheme of things and issues facing this nation, I'm simply tired of this being the litmus test of presidential qualifications."

See my 10:47 reply to Galvanized, above.

As to whether abortion's place in the grand scheme of challenges facing America: To put it glibly and provocatively, Harry Blackmun lit a fire that has consumed our national politics and bitterly divided our society for nearly four decades, whose smoke has obscured and distorted Presidential elections and nominations to the Supreme Court, and at the cost the lives of upwards of forty million Americans. Osama Bin Laden scarcely has the imagination to dream of doing the kind of damage to America that Roe and its progeny have inflicted.

I realize that overstates the case and glosses over some important distinctions, but it hopefully conveys the point. The war on terror is important, but so is the war against a woman's right to control her own body, if that's how one conceptualizes the abortion debate, or mass slaughter, in the other view of it.


"I find it hard to get too worked up over an issue that simply has no effect on my life."

That calls to mind Reagan's observation that all the people who are for abortion have been born.

It's always best to end on a note of agreement, and I do certainly agree that there are important cultural changes that can and should be made regardless of what changes are made in the law that discourage abortion and provide women with better options. That's basically what I understand by the term "the culture of life" - I readily agree that sub-legal discouragement is better than legal coercion, And I readily agree that society should do everything possible to discourage abortion and provide women (and children) with better options. The disagreement between us seems to be about what happens next when that approach fails in particular cases.

Revenant said...

This is probably a smart move on Rudy's part. His attempt to position himself as pro-life wasn't really working very well.

Revenant said...

if you won’t vote for McCain solely on the basis of McCain-Feingold – how could you have voted for Bush in 2004 after he signed it into law after promising to veto it?

I believe that Bush thought the Supreme Court would throw out the law (certainly they *should* have thrown it out). The key difference between the two is that McCain is genuinely hostile to freedom of speech, while Bush was just trying to score some consequence-free (he thought) points with the ignorant voting public.

Plus, of course, McCain doesn't think his law was enough. He wants even MORE restrictions.

Eli Blake said...

Although I will probably vote for a Democrat, it does give me a reason to root for someone to win the GOP primary (since Hagel apparently isn't in the picture). If a pro-choice candidate wins the Republican nomination, I think we can safely assume that the stranglehold that the extremists had on the Republican party (and by extension over judicial appointments, etc.) will be broken.

That said, I'd like to point out that contrary to what a lot of people believe, and though abortion may well be the most polarizing issue in America today, there is a middle ground.

Bill Clinton once said he would like to see abortion 'safe, legal and rare.' And he is right. It is possible to support keeping it legal while still acknowleging that an abortion represents a failure (whether a failure of birth control, of planning or of education, it is still a failure). No one has sex with the goal of they or their partner going to an abortion clinic.

Or conversely, it is possible to be against something but oppose it by means other than banning it. I'm against smoking, because of the endless death, misery, grief and poverty that it causes for millions of Americans (including many nonsmokers) but that doesn't mean I'd support a ban on tobacco. We've cut the smoking rate just about in half by various combinations of limiting (but not outright barring) the use of tobacco, taxing the hell out of it, using those taxes to subsidize the alternative (quitting), educating our young people about the reasons to avoid tobacco, and making it socially less desirable than it once was.

It seems to me that, especially with the advent of the 'morning after pill,' we may be ready to move the abortion debate in a similar direction-- in which we come to a national consensus that it should be legal, but we tax it, spend money to educate our young people about birth control and alternatives to abortion (in fact, this is already happening and the abortion rate has declined by about a third since the early 1990's), subsidize pregnancy and childbirth costs when necessary and via all of these methods we reduce the abortion rate to the point that abortion clinics will be rarer and hence less accessible.

Revenant said...

That said, I'd like to point out that contrary to what a lot of people believe, and though abortion may well be the most polarizing issue in America today, there is a middle ground.

Unsurprisingly, it turns out that this alleged "middle ground" between the liberal and conservative positions is... the liberal position. It's like the old joke: I wanted to go to Vegas, my wife wanted to go to Disneyland, so we compromised -- we're going to Disneyland.

No one has sex with the goal of they or their partner going to an abortion clinic.

First of all, lots of people have unprotected sex because the fear of being stuck with an unwanted child isn't there anymore. That's why both the pregnancy AND abortion rates shot up post-"Roe".

Secondly, anyone who repeats the "safe, legal and rare" platitude has flunked basic economics. When you make something safe and legal, you get more of it than you would if it was unsafe and/or illegal. This same economic law explains why you get more unwanted pregnancies when abortion is legal -- the "cost" of unprotected sex, both in money and in physical safety, is reduced, which means more people "buy" it.

Finally, "safe, legal, and rare" is an argument that only makes sense if you're already pro-choice. If you believe abortion is morally very wrong, like pro-lifers do, then Clinton's famous phrase sounds as appealing as "I believe rape should be safe, legal, and rare". Would women's rights advocates -- or any decent human being, for that matter -- accept that as a "middle ground"?

we may be ready to move the abortion debate in a similar direction-- in which we come to a national consensus that it should be legal

You must be joking.

Here are polling numbers on public attitudes towards abortion over the last couple of decades. The numbers aren't trending in any particular direction -- a little under two-thirds of Americans want tighter restrictions on abortion, while just under half want it either banned outright or banned in all but the rape/incest/mothers-life scenarios.

So no, there is no imminent "national consensus that it should be legal". There is a narrow majority belief that it should be legal, with only minority support for the proposition that it should be as freely available as it is today. Most significantly, the majority believes that it should not be legal to use abortion as a birth control technique -- which is, of course, the reason for the overwhelming majority of abortions today.

Thorley Winston said...

"If a pro-life candidate wins the Democrat nomination, I think we can safely assume that the stranglehold that the extremists had on the Democrat party (and by extension over judicial appointments, etc.) will be broken."

Fixed it for you.

Chris Zorn said...

"If a pro-life candidate wins the Democratic nomination, I think we can safely assume that the stranglehold that the extremists had on the Democratic party (and by extension over judicial appointments, etc.) will be broken."

Fixed it for you.

Eli Blake said...

That's why both the pregnancy AND abortion rates shot up post-"Roe

Baloney. Even if you count all the abortions, the fertility rate of non-Hispanic American females has declined precipitously over the past few decades. It is now 1.9 (which if you count the fact that about 25% of pregnancies result in abortions adjusts to about 2.6); As recently as the 1950's, the fertility rate of American females was over 3.

So you are saying that people don't mind going to an abortion clinic? I'd beg to differ-- it's surgery and not pleasant at that. But even if there is no other incentive, compare the cost of a 75 cent condom with the cost of a $500 abortion. Clearly no one wants an unwanted pregancy (and as I said, I have no problem with taxing abortions, which would make them more expensive-- and then spend the taxes collected to make childbirth (presently $2500 or more, if there are no complications, for an uninsured mother) cheaper.

When you make something safe and legal, you get more of it than you would if it was unsafe and/or illegal.

Yeah. That sure explains why marijuana has been illegal since the 1940's so obviously hardly anybody uses it.

'imminent national consensus.' Re-read my post then. If it stayed legal (as opposed to illegal) then according to the numbers you linked to that would still be a majority consensus. And in my post I proposed some concrete steps towards making it rare. Further, the 'morning after pill' is on the market and is moving towards being available over the counter-- so the whole argument is likely to be moot in at least 90% of abortions; they will simply be 'nonpregancies' and no one will even have any idea how many there may have been.

Thorley Winston:

The difference of course is, that there is zero chance that the Democrats are going to nominate a pro-life candidate next year (none are runnning, and if one did they wouldn't get nominated) while the pro-choice Republican is leading for the GOP nomination. And as I said, now that he has taken this position I hope he gets the GOP nomination for precisely this reason. It in effect will move the debate over abortion from between Democrats and Republicans, to a local spat within the GOP. Then Democrats will be happy to work with Giuliani and other like-minded Republicans (and there are others, people like Schwarzeneggar and Spectre) to move forward on a future in which the right of a woman to control her body is thoroughly woven into the fabric of American society and so abortions is no longer much of an issue. As I said a moment ago, selling the 'morning after pill' OTC will be a huge step in this direction.

Eli Blake said...

Hmmm. Obviously thorley winston = chris zorn.

Fix your name.

TMink said...

So some of you think that anti- abortion = extremist?

Trey

J. said...

the right of a woman to control her body is thoroughly woven into the fabric of American society and so abortions is no longer much of an issue

1. Standard claptrap about a "woman's right to control her body" or "medical care" -- these platitudes always ignore that (a) there's another body at stake; and (b) that medical care is conducted under ethical guidelines, and a woman does not have a right to do whatever she wishes with "her body."

2. Again, the bizarro idea that if something becomes increasingly legal it will go down in number.

Simon said...

Eli:
"[T]hough abortion may well be the most polarizing issue in America today, there is a middle ground. Bill Clinton once said he would like to see abortion 'safe, legal and rare.'"

That isn't a middle ground, it's a slogan. What does "safe, legal and rare" mean in practical terms? Does it mean no legal restrictions? How is that different to the pro-choice position? Or does it mean only certain kinds of restrictions? Which ones? Is FPBAA an acceptable kind of restriction within the rubric of "safe legal and rare," in that it only prohibits one kind of procedure leaving other options open?

Moreover, to the extent the phrase isn't entirely empty, it is plainly designed to frame the issue in the terms preferred by one side of the controversy (a point that I take it is not lost on anyone here after Ann's recent BHTV controversy; "safe, legal and rare" is no less pointedly-loaded a term than is "Jessica Valenti breast controversy"). As I pointed out in my Carhart article, "all invocations of 'safety' in the context of abortion beg the question: 'safe[] for whom?' If one believes the unborn child to be a human life, abortion is fatal in 100% of successful procedures. It’s a clever piece of framing - see George Lakoff, MORAL POLITICS (2002) - on the part of pro-choicers."

Revenant said...
"I believe that Bush thought the Supreme Court would throw out the law (certainly they *should* have thrown it out). The key difference between the two is that McCain is genuinely hostile to freedom of speech, while Bush was just trying to score some consequence-free (he thought) points with the ignorant voting public."

As I think you've said before (and certainly I've agreed) that was a violation of his oath and an impeachable offense. In some ways, Bush's behavior WRT McCain-Feingold is even more egregious than McCain's: McCain at least supported the legislation in the sincere (if IMO misguided) belief that it was Constititional. Bush signed it notwithstanding his expressed belief that it was unconstitutional.

Revenant said...

Bush's behavior WRT McCain-Feingold is even more egregious than McCain's: McCain at least supported the legislation in the sincere (if IMO misguided) belief that it was Constititional. Bush signed it notwithstanding his expressed belief that it was unconstitutional.

I find a President who sometimes does the wrong thing preferable to a person who can't tell the difference between right and wrong.

The fact that McCain thinks he has a legitimate right to do what he's done is far, far worse than Bush chickening out and caving in to popular pressure. At least I can be reasonably certain that a Bush type will do the right thing if it is in his interests to. With McCain I don't have that reassurance.

AlphaLiberal said...

Did you hear about the outrageous Democratic candidate who planned a campaign event at an Iowa farmstead? The farm family was excited and the wife, disabled, did lots of work planning.

Then this Democratic campaign cancelled the event because the farm family weren't millionaires! Outrageous! This will be all over the news!!

Except it was Giulani. And it's not getting covered.

Revenant said...

That's why both the pregnancy AND abortion rates shot up post-"Roe

Baloney.

I'm sorry that you're ignorant of reality, but it is a plain fact that both pregnancy and abortion rates shot up post-Roe -- which is exactly what any economist would predict. Yes, birth and pregnancy rates have dropped since then -- but they've done that everywhere in the West, even in nations where abortion is illegal.

So you are saying that people don't mind going to an abortion clinic?

I can see why a sufficiently stupid person might misread my statement like that, but no, that is not what I said.

For the woman the question isn't whether she minds going to the clinic -- the question is whether she's willing to RISK going to the clinic, versus whether she's willing to RISK suffering through nine months of misery, hours of agonizing pain, and decades of endless bills and responsibility. Anyone who isn't a complete fucking idiot immediately catches on to the obvious fact that a lot more women looking for non-procreative sex will risk a visit to the clinic than will risk all the costs of motherhood. On top of that, the *men* aren't going to the clinic at all. An abortion costs the man a couple of hundred bucks, versus tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars plus two decades of lost freedom for an unwanted child.

So obviously if you make abortions readily availble, you will get a lot more abortion and a lot more unsafe sex -- which, in fact, we did.

Yeah. That sure explains why marijuana has been illegal since the 1940's so obviously hardly anybody uses it.

First of all, marijuana use has declined as laws against it grew harsher -- which is exactly what we'd expect to happen.

Secondly, unless you are arguing that marijuana use *wouldn't* increase if pot was legal and safe to use, your snarky comment is completely irrelevant. Yes, people use pot -- and more would use it if it was legal. Alcohol consumption increased after Prohibition ended, contraceptive use increased after Griswold, etc. Make something legal and safe and more people do it.

Re-read my post then. If it stayed legal (as opposed to illegal) then according to the numbers you linked to that would still be a majority consensus.

Ah, you meant "consensus" in the "majority" sense, not the "general agreement" sense. Ok, yes -- there is a "majority consensus" that abortion should be legal for cases rape, incest, health necessity, and severe birth defects, and illegal for the 93% of abortions that are performed simply because the mother got knocked up and doesn't want the kid. For the median American, "I was raped" and "the child will be born mentally retarded" are legitimate reasons, but "my boyfriend's condom broke" is not.

I would also add that if you want to call a narrow majority a "national consensus", then we have a national consensus that gay marriage should be banned, the death penalty should be used (and used more often), that race should play no role in school admittance or hiring for jobs, that taxes are too high and need to be cut, that the estate tax should be eliminated, and that the theory of evolution is wrong.

So if there's a national consensus... how come we're still spending so much effort arguing about these things? Answer: because the term "consensus" usually refers to general agreement, not to the opinions of 50% of the population -- and while more than 50% of Americans support all of the above things, a clear consensus has yet to emerge.

the whole argument is likely to be moot in at least 90% of abortions; they will simply be 'nonpregancies' and no one will even have any idea how many there may have been.

There's no rational basis for that belief. Around half of abortions are for cases where neither partner bothered using any birth control. It is unlikely that 90% of those morons are going to think to rush out and buy the morning-after pill the next day. The half who *use* birth control will commonly not realize it has failed until it is too late for the morning-after pill.

The pill isn't going to cut abortion rates by 90%. I'd be surprised if cut them by 5%.

J. said...

If you're expecting the liberal media to take down a liberal Republican who's leading the race for the nomination, I suggest you get comfy and expect to wait around awhile.

Revenant said...

Then this Democratic campaign cancelled the event because the farm family weren't millionaires! Outrageous! This will be all over the news!!

So the Giuliani campaign said they'd visit a farm... and then didn't.

Dang. How could that NOT become a national scandal? Presidential candidates, canceling campaign stops? Good god, they'll be strangling puppies next!

Too many jims said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Too many jims said...

Fitz said...
Too many jims ( said in response to fen)

”There are some who are pro-choice not because they view fetuses (or Africans or Arabs) as subhuman but because they feel impinging "the liberty of the mother" in this manner takes away from her personhood.”

I don’t think your use of “personhood” in this sentence is accidental. Traditionally people have never evoked such nomenclature in reference to moral issues concerning humans.
The more normative phrase is “humanity.”

I believe this to be a calculated rhetorical effort to circumvent the truth evident in the humanity of gestating children.


Two points. First, I think it is pretty clear from what I wrote that when I used the term "personhood" I was referring to the "personhood" of the mother not the fetus/unborn child.

Second, you wrote: "Traditionally people have never evoked such nomenclature in reference to moral issues concerning humans." I am not going to suggest that this was a "calculated rhetorical effort" but I will suggest that this statement is wrong. People do use such terminology to discuss moral issues concerning humans. Use of the terminology is particularly pervasive in connection with the abortion issue (e.g. We call for legal and social protection of the personhood of the unborn. and the well-being and the future of our country, demand that protection of the innocents must be guaranteed and that the personhood of the unborn be declared and defended throughout our land.) But again, I was talking about the "personhood" of the mother.

Fen said...

Chris Zorn: Fixed it for you.

"If a pro-life candidate wins the Democrat nomination..."

Fixed it back for you.

...“Democrat Party,” hoping to imply that Democrats are not truly democratic. They succeed only in making themselves sound ignorant, and so will you if you imitate them. The name is “Democratic Party.”

You can call yourselves whatever you want, but you're hardly democratic. I prefer the term Democrat because with the other, you are claiming laurels you haven't earned.

Thorley Winston said...

You can call yourselves whatever you want, but you're hardly democratic. I prefer the term Democrat because with the other, you are claiming laurels you haven't earned.

Agreed it’s particularly appropriate in this context since the issue was whether the issue of abortion will be decided by the democratically-elected legislatures of the 50 States or by judicial fiat.