Commentary on a New York Times Opinion Piece
Trading Women’s Rights for Political Power
By KATE MICHELMAN and FRANCES KISSLING
A grim reality sits behind the joyful press statements from Washington Democrats. [The health care bill passed. What is so grim?] To secure passage of health care legislation in the House, the party chose a course that risks the well-being of millions of women for generations to come. [Are women not being allowed to have health care coverage or something?]
House Democrats voted to expand the current ban on public financing for abortion and to effectively prohibit women who participate in the proposed health system from obtaining private insurance that covers the full range of reproductive health options. [Actually a woman buying insurance from a company participating in the exchange cannot purchase abortion coverage unless she pays for every penny of it with her own money. Let's not distort what the Stupak amendment actually says.] Political calculation aside, the House Democrats reinforced the principle that a minority view on the morality of abortion can determine reproductive health policy for American women. [A "minority view" on the morality of abortion? It is clear that prior to writing this piece neither author bothered to do any research on American opinion on abortion funding.]
Many House members who support abortion rights [how exactly do they support a “right” that doesn’t exist?] decided reluctantly to accept this ban, which is embodied in the Stupak-Pitts amendment. They say the tradeoff was necessary to advance the right to guaranteed health care. They say they will fight another day for a woman’s right to choose. [I don’t remember anyone saying that. Did you two miss the House members that opposed the amendment on the floor during the debate? Did you miss them whining about it after the fact? Did you miss the letter threatening to kill the health care bill if the Stupak isn't removed in the end? They fought all summer and throughout the fall against pro-life Democrats on this issue. The issue came up to a vote and they were defeated. Do either of you follow the news at all?]
Perhaps. But they can’t ignore the underlying shift that has taken place in recent years. The Democratic majority has abandoned its platform and subordinated women’s health to short-term political success. [Really now?] In doing so, these so-called friends of women’s rights [Precisely. These pseudo-feminists advocating abortion are out to subordinate women to men, make women objects, and maintain the status quo rather than elevate women to a status worthy of their dignity. I fully agree!] have arguably done more to undermine reproductive rights than some of abortion’s staunchest foes [say what?]. That Senate Democrats are poised to allow similar anti-abortion language in their bill simply underscores the degree of the damage that has been done. [There has been pro-abortion language in the Senate bill since the summer. You have 58 pro-choice Democratic votes...I do not understand the concern?]
Many women — ourselves included — warned the Democratic Party in 2004 that it was a mistake to build a Congressional majority by recruiting and electing candidates opposed to the party’s commitment to legal abortion and to public financing for the procedure [You mean the year that our party lost, again?]. Instead, the lust for power yielded to misguided, self-serving poll analysis by operatives with no experience in the fight for these principles. They mistakenly believed that giving leadership roles to a small minority of anti-abortion Democrats [What leadership roles? The party barely wants to fund their campaigns. Even worse instead of adding a link to one pro-life Democratic group on the DNC website, to maintain "fairness" the DNC removed every link to liberal Democratic groups to keep from promoting the pro-life cause. Yet you two think pro-life Democrats have leadership roles?...........Are you two delusional?] would solve the party’s image problems with “values voters” and answer critics who claimed Democrats were hostile to religion.
Democrats were told to stop talking about abortion as a moral and legal right [as if that has helped at all] and to focus instead on comforting [Comforting? Hardly. By the way, if abortion is a "right," it is a good thing. We don't have rights to bad things; we have rights to things that fulfill our human nature and leads to flourishing. If anything the Democratic spin is absurd – Democrats are basically saying they support women’s right to “choose” as long as they don’t exercise this “right” too much. How are pro-lifers comforted by this terrible logic?] language about reducing the number of abortions. In this regard, President Obama was right on message when he declared in his health care speech to Congress in September that “under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions” — as if this happened to be a good and moral thing [Come again? How is it not a good and moral thing?]. (The tone of his statement made the point even more sharply than his words.)
The party has distanced itself from the abortion-rights movement in other ways [Good God, you women are crazy! The Democratic Party has distanced itself from the pro-abortion movement? In what parallel universe?] . It has taken to calling Democrats who oppose a woman’s right to choose “pro-life” (and not “anti-choice”) [You are anti-choice. Choice indicates more than a single option; what you two are advocating is fascism in the form of coercing everyone into choosing only abortion]. The group Democrats for Life of America, whose Congressional members ultimately led the battle to exclude private insurance companies that cover abortions from health insurance exchanges, was invited to hold a press conference in Democratic Party offices [This group was launched in 1999 and has been shunned by the party from its genesis until now. Not to mention this group is so insignificant in party influence; DFLA has one of the smallest, saddest political budgets (six figures) in Washington which is practically nil compared to the likes of pro-abortion groups. This warrants sounding off the alarm?]. The party has promoted “pro-life progressives” like Sojourners, Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, organizations whose leaders have stated that abortions should be made “more difficult to get.” [You mean groups that the party uses to get more Democrats elected but then proceeds to neglect its promises of "common ground" and inclusiveness, even after these groups go to great lengths to perform intellectual gymnastics to put up smoke-screens for the party on certain divisive, moral issues?]
This, then, is where we stand as party leaders celebrate passage of the House bill. [I am not sure if many are standing with you…] When it comes to abortion, they seem to think all positions are of equal value so long as the party maintains a majority. [So you admit that not all issues are of equal importance. By what standard do you make this judgment I wonder? Better yet, do you not insist to pro-life Americans that they should not base their political decisions on just one issue? Why should you be allowed to do it?] But the party will eventually reap what it has sown. If Democrats do not commit themselves to defeating the amendment, then they will face an uncompromising effort by Democratic women to defeat them [I really doubt it], regardless of the cost to the party’s precious majority [Who cares? Maybe a pro-life Democrat will win in the primary if all the pseudo-feminists stay home].
In the meantime, the victims of their folly will be the millions of women[because somehow the Stupak amendment has overturned Roe and for some inexplicable reason all women facing unplanned pregnancy will migrate in large masses to their local back alley, the sure place for an illegal abortion -- right?] who once could count on the Democratic Party to protect them [From what? Love and support?] from those who would sacrifice their rights for political gains. [Would their sacrifices make abortion illegal? I don't think I'd care...silly pro-abortion pseudo-feminists. Get a hobby, or maybe even a decent IQ.]
Kate Michelman is the former president of Naral Pro-Choice America, a pseudofeminist organization committed to the perpetual subordination of women. Frances Kissling is the former president of Catholics for Choice, an organization of pro-abortion advocates who are wolves in sheep skin trying to convince Catholics of their intellectually schizophrenic position.