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Read This!

The Anchoress directs us to Alicia Colon's column in the New York Sun, in which she discusses the reasons behind the Republicans' midterm losses. Please read it. It's brilliant in its directness.

This is the part of her piece that really spoke to me, but read all of Alicia's piece:

I happen to hold the same values as our president, but perhaps I am a little more cynical in that I don't believe many of those on the religious right should have had so much influence on the political scene. As much as I am anti-abortion, I also realize that many Americans do not have the strength of character to recognize the humanity of the unborn when it is inconvenient. Demanding litmus tests of potential candidates is self-defeating, and may explain why Republicans come up with so many weak performers on the campaign trail. This is not to suggest that the GOP recruit more moderates. The fact is that Republican moderates are simply liberal Democrats who don't want their taxes raised.


I'm saying that until we work at changing the hearts and minds of people by helping the women in crisis pregnancies ourselves, expending so much energy on effecting legislative change is a waste of valuable time. The most dangerous place for a child in America is indeed in its mother's womb, but most people don't care.

Also, most Americans don't want politicians to tell them how to live their lives. They have their rabbis, priests, and ministers to help guide them.

Sadly, I'm realizing more and more that Alicia is absolutely right about the American people's view of unborn babies. It appears that even most of those who call themselves Republicans just don't care that much about them, unless it's their own unborn baby, of course. Then they care.

Update: Adam at Adam's Blog admonishes those of us who are pro-life to keep our chins up and to not become discouraged:

While it's natural to be depressed, this isn't logical. I think many Republicans feign concern like Democrats feign caring about a woman's right to choose, but I've been involved this abortion issue for 15 years and since Roe, America has never been more pro-life. We're winning hearts and minds and we'll continue to as long as we don't give up and listen to defeatists.

I did get a bit wobbly there, didn't I, Adam? Thank you for the reminder that the pro-life community is succeeding in its goals.


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Comments (37)

....unless it's their own u... (Below threshold)
muirgeo:

....unless it's their own unborn baby, of course. Then they care.

By: Kim Priestap


Yes...exactly. Worry about your own unborn baby and stop worrying about others. A mothers unborn baby is of her business and hers alone. Offer her help and guidance but don't force laws and your views on her. This shouldn't be that hard.

If you feel you know the mind of God and his intent on the issue let Him decide on judgement day on you and on other mothers.

This seems to be the genera... (Below threshold)

This seems to be the general tone of advice from many quarters: the religious right needs to be, you know, less religious.
Bad advice from a spiritual standpoint, great advice if one wants to blend with the world.
We already have enough politicians claiming to have faith, but living like they do not, in my humble opinion.

Great logic muirgeo. Don't... (Below threshold)

Great logic muirgeo. Don't stop there, go ahead and get rid of Children's Services while you're at it. After all, a mother's kids are her business and hers alone.

Better yet, let's just go ahead and pardon all the parents who've murdered their children. After all, it's their business and theirs alone.

Oh, what the heck. Let's not force society's laws and views of murder on anybody. After all, the reasons that let up to their choice was their decision.

What's that you say? They're already out of the womb? We're all humans, pal.

The fact is the reason the ... (Below threshold)
Anon:

The fact is the reason the Democrats won was because of a broad dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq. This is pointed out in the New York Times, via Steve Benen. Even after Foley and Haggard, Christians voted only 1% less Republican.

As a non-religious Republic... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:

As a non-religious Republican, I still feel abortion is reprehensible. I am not an atheist, and I do feel death is not the end of complete consciousness.

If you are an atheist, then the conclusion is we are here by cosmic accident and at death; it's lights out, end of it. That also means there are no consequences for things we do to enhance our brief time on earth while we have it.

But some of those things are done out of complete selfishness, i.e. abortion.

If we are a cosmic accident, then the odds of your creation from the blackness of space is billions against billions of trillions of odds. But you would kick that person off the lifeboat just to enhance your life and for your own selfish convenience.

An analogy being, if a ship that went down and you had a lifeboat to share with others, would you share it or beat the people back with an oar that beat the odds of the sinking ship. If you didn't want to share your food and water, let them die so you can better enjoy your own roominess in the boat. I feel this about people who choose abortion as a means of birth control.

And as far as the viability of the embryo verses fetus debate I would be interested in exactly when that precise moment is.

Also consider this as you are thinking about that, if a child is pulled out feet first with it's head still inside, why is it still abortion when killed in this state, and murder if the head slips out?

Anyway, that's part of my personal argument. Without looking it up, I do believe Americans are "baby stepping" towards someday ending this culture of death.

Abortion "rights" is one of... (Below threshold)
John S:

Abortion "rights" is one of those things that will cure itself in time. (Sort of like slavery, which the Dems also defended for 40 years, and tried to extend with Jim Crow laws for another 90 years.) Of the 50 million babies killed since Roe v. Wade, perhaps 40 million would have grown up to be liberal Democrats. Today the so-called Democratic House is dominated by newly elected conservative and moderate Democrats, and a suprising number of those are pro-life. I can't see any reason to restrict abortions in the U.S. while liberal Democrats willingly slaughter their own children.

You would see much more pol... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

You would see much more political interest in the welfare of the unborn when pregnant women are allowed to cast two votes in an election.

I am like Ms. Colon in that I also believe that my values are similar to the President's on many moral issues. I see that as a personal issue. I also think religious leaders have every right to preach the sanctity of life - even that prior to birth. That is a fundamental credo of several religions. However, much like muirgeo, I think guidance should be available to those making decisions but it is THEIR decision. I do not appreciate fundamentalists who are less forgiving of their fellow man than Jesus himself has been recorded to be. I do not think this "guidance" should include a public program of funding abortions. And I do not think government should be an agent to support religious dogma. However, the fact that our republican type of government is devoted to protecting individual rights suggests the individual is important so it should be of no surprise to anyone that the stances on the sanctity of life in the eyes of our government and the Judeo-Christian tradition will overlap. What is an intellectual copout are people who feel it should NOT be talked about because it is a theological question and, you know, the separation between church and state and yada, yada, yada, ......

One of my disappointments with the Republican Party under Bush - for whose candidates I vote much more than Democrats - is this preoccupation with constitutional amendments: flag-burning, gay marriage, abortion. To me the Constitution is a document based on limiting the rights of the elected government, not the people who elected that government.

As a democrat, I'd like to ... (Below threshold)
jpe:

As a democrat, I'd like to encourage yall to push the party even further into the arms of the religious right. By all means, strengthen the wing of the party that brought us such gems as the Schiavo Federal Power Consolidation Act.

As a democrat, I'... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
As a democrat, I'd like to encourage yall to push the party even further into the arms of the religious right

I like the way you threw in the "y'all" so you could come down to our redneck level.

So I'll try to come "up" to yours by speaking "truth to power" in a nuance "shades of gray" in tune kind of way.

It is like the slavery issue. It was those that were extremely religious that paved the way to the ending of slavery. Lefties like to call it a "progressive" movement, so they were really liberals.

They were progressive, and religious, and they prevailed and nobody questions "was it right or wrong". Unquestionably they were right.

Someday compassion will prevail as it did then, I just hope it doesn't take 400 years to do it.

anon-the idiot-lets just le... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

anon-the idiot-lets just let all who don't want their baby to shoot herself in tht stomach the day it was to be born and then set her free like the recent case. Sheeeze.

"I also realize that many A... (Below threshold)
semanticleo:

"I also realize that many Americans do not have the strength of character to recognize"

Uh, THAT is exactly the position of the Religious Right. Self- righteous and intolerant doctrinists are what we are fighting in the world of Jihadists.
Isn't that true?

Sorry, I'll agree with "Als... (Below threshold)
dawnsblood:

Sorry, I'll agree with "Also, most Americans don't want politicians to tell them how to live their lives. They have their rabbis, priests, and ministers to help guide them." the moment people agree not to make it illegal to commit other forms of murder, rape ect... The Government exists to protect us when we can not protect ourselves, whether it is jihadists, criminals or Planned Parenthood.

How we feel about children ... (Below threshold)

How we feel about children *matters* to our society.

Quite frankly, a whole lot of people see children, even the born ones (or especially the born ones) as consumers, takers, living and breathing depts to society, a blight to gaia.

That *attitude* affects how we view the unborn, as a trial and a burden to their mothers, as an event that will destroy careers and opportunities and weigh a woman down.

The attitude about the unborn is absolutely the attitude about children. The bumper stickers "Pro-choice is Pro-child" and "every child a wanted child" basically say this... having children stinks. The default is "unwanted." The natural way to feel is that the pregnancy is "unwanted". So pregnancies should be freely, and guiltlessly, terminated at will... so that the only people who have children are those odd few who want them, who want only the child who comes in season and never the inconvenient or unexpected child. "I didn't want to be fat in the summer..."

Do people really think that born children are so old, so removed from the womb, that they don't understand their value in the eyes of society?

"Uh, THAT is exactly the po... (Below threshold)

"Uh, THAT is exactly the position of the Religious Right. Self- righteous and intolerant doctrinists are what we are fighting in the world of Jihadists.
Isn't that true?"

Congratulations. In your twisted world, you somehow managed to form this equation:

protecting innocent life = destroying innocent life.

debtsdang it... (Below threshold)

debts

dang it

Wow, between quoting someon... (Below threshold)
andy:

Wow, between quoting someone else saying I have no strength of character and jumpinjoe's fourth grade understanding of moral development (somewhere between C.S. Lewis and a rock), that's one fine way to ensure that independents like myself, despite having voted for Republicans in 2000/2004, will repeat 2006 and vote for the Dems in 2008.

Someone please explain the ... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Someone please explain the difference in partial birth abortion (a living breathing baby) and a mother that lets the baby be born, decides she doesn't want it (happens all over the country) and throws it in the garbage. If one is murder, the other is murder, if one is legal then the other is legal. The 'throw away' and the aborted all end up in the landfill. What's the difference, other than an excuse?

jumpinjoe's fourt... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
jumpinjoe's fourth grade understanding of moral development

Well don't leave me hanging here.

I've actually been standing by for some explanations on which is more progressive, abortion or the ending of it and why.

Some of you people debate like the kids that stick a bumper sticker on your car and run away.

Seriously, I will listen and tell you what I think.

This is your put up or shut up challenge.

I like the way you... (Below threshold)
jpe:
I like the way you threw in the "y'all" so you could come down to our redneck level.

Actually, I use yall cuz English lacks another second person plural. And keep up that righteous anger!

Well it seems the independe... (Below threshold)
Big Al:

Well it seems the independents now feel secure. And the Bush National Security message has been lost. And since Bush does not listen or learn until hit on the head. And he is the great muddier of terror. And the Republican party let him take them over a cliff. And corruption continued with an entrenched party. So the people spoke and now "let the party begin".

Someone please explain t... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Someone please explain the difference...

I don't think you're really that stupid, but I'll bite. The question is when does a life begin. The intersection of two cells? The point of viability? The birth? Reasonable people can disagree. Even people without the requisite subjective "strength of character".

As a point of reference, the government believes, through its various social, tax, and educational programs, that life begins at birth.

Actually, I use y... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
Actually, I use yall cuz English lacks another second person plural. And keep up that righteous anger

When I greet people in groups I use the term "folks". How are you folks doing? What you folks fail to realize is that abortion is progressive...blah, blah, blah.

And that righteous anger thing, I only respond in kind, otherwise I'm usually kicking with some groovy vibes. Ya dig?

The flaw I have always foun... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

The flaw I have always found in the my body my choice argument is that there are clear limits in what the law allows people to do with their bodies.
Among them you cannot sell your organs or prostitute yourself (excluding Nevada where prostitution is legal in some counties).

The argument that a fetus is not a living person is no more valid than stating a kidney is not a viable living person, it is irrelevant to the point that the State cannot limit a woman's choice on what she does with her body. Either she has a free and complete control over her body or she does not. If she does not have complete freedom over her body, either to sell her kidneys or prostitute herself among other choices due to the concept of a compelling State reason, then how can abortion be construed as an unfettered right?

If on the other hand she has a complete and unfettered dominion over body should not the have the right to sell her organs, herself into slavery or to prostitute herself?

Jumpinjoe - I wasn... (Below threshold)
andy:

Jumpinjoe -

I wasn't referring specifically to the abortion issue, but to your comment about atheists being ok with throwing people out of the lifeboat. I mentioned C.S. Lewis because his "Mere Christianity" falls on its face in Book One in which he is unable to show that a source outside of man is needed for morality.

The short story is that invoking gods doesn't solve the issue of morality; the long story is that evolution does a sufficient job of explaining the rise of basic moral codes (see Matthew Ridley's books, which are far too long to reprint here).

As for abortion, I fully understand why those who believe in god(s) would be against it, but without any evidence for their god(s) I see little reason to take their position seriously (reason over revelation, let's say) aside from their power as a voting bloc.

While I've met an atheist here and there who is against abortion, it tends to be from some argument from potentiality, which I don't find convincing (e.g. because each sperm and egg is a mass of potential too).

My position falls more in line with the late Carl Sagan's (Google for "Sagan abortion" and his essay should show up), which would allow for abortion up to a certain point (i.e. 20-22 weeks), and then ban it except in the most dire of circumstances, all predicated on attempting to define what makes us functionally human (in this case, the rise of certain higher brain structures).

As Brian indicates, it's not a question of when does "life" begin, but when does "a life" begin. For some folks they may be one and the same; for others, they are not.

The status of the unborn wi... (Below threshold)
Richard:

The status of the unborn with beating hearts and their own DNA is a subject I have spent a lot of time thinking about. Are they people?

My wife and I have experienced one live birth and 5 miscarriages (she has done the physical part but the emotional part is a shared experience). Our daughter born alive died after 11 hours. We have a birth certificate and death certificate for her, and we took an extra tax deduction that year. We held a funeral and our friends attended. Our society recognizes that our daughter was a human being.

For the five miscarriages there is no recognition by the government, the church, or really any part of society that a person lived and died. Only the network of women who also experienced a miscarriage really reached out to us with a sense of our loss.

Here is a test--what would you expect as an answer from met to the question, "How many children do you have?" Would you expect me to answer none, one, or six?

Interesting arguement Andy.... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Interesting arguement Andy. So, you give greater weight to your stance on abortion because it comes neatly rationalized in an essay by Carl Sagan than those stances arising from a religious basis because, well, you can't prove there is a "god(s)" anyway? Or perhaps you took a stand prior to reading Sagan and Sagan was later found to articulate your reasoning quite nicely and so it provides a helpful source of support?

My position falls... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
My position falls more in line with the late Carl Sagan's

First, dittos what Dave wrote.

Secondly I love the re-runs of "Cosmos" with Carl Sagan. When I was a teenager before joining the Army I smoke a bunch of pot. I was thinking the other day how cool it would be to watch Carl stoned.

He is deep and interesting and as a teacher I'm sure he leaves his class on the edges of their seats.

But a theory is a theory and it's comfortable and interesting to listen to Sagan. But I'm not dismissive of the religious either. Understand that Christians do what they do for compassionate reasons, a human trait; found in nature, that Sagan could explain to us and he could make it interesting and soothing too.


Or perhaps you took a st... (Below threshold)
andy:

Or perhaps you took a stand prior to reading Sagan and Sagan was later found to articulate your reasoning quite nicely and so it provides a helpful source of support?

This would be the correct choice, although not a perfect fit, as I think I would err even a little further on the side of "safety" than Sagan did.

However, as for whether I would favor an argument from reason over one based on "my god says so," well, yeah. Guilty.

As I said, though, I fully understand why the religious pro-life crowd is pro-life. I can follow their arguments, but disagree on the initial premise (rather like, as I said, since Lewis's argument doesn't demonstrate the existence of morality as a construct outside of the mind, the rest of the book is not convincing to me).

If it helps, though, I find those who think abortion up to the point of full-term birth is acceptable are just batshit kooky, with a premise that is quickly reduced to the absurd.

I don't get the point.... (Below threshold)

I don't get the point.

We lost more "pro-choice" Republicans in this midterm, and the "pro-life" ones who lost were most often beaten by "pro-life" Democrats.

If there was a single House or Senate race in which abortion was a major issue, I must have missed it.

The issue is, I think, how ... (Below threshold)
true:

The issue is, I think, how we can come together in the context of a representative form of government to elect representatives.

I grew up near the Amish. That is one response to the conflict of one's religious beliefs with those of many others -- withdraw into an enclave.

It's a respectable approach to preserving one's sense of integrity. It's not a way to influence who is elected, if your beliefs are not those of the majority of other citizens.

For the last 10 years or so it has consistently been the case that when asked, a majority of Americans of voting age have said that while they have reservations about abortion they do not want it to be forbidden to women with earlier stage pregnancies who do not share that belief.

My own approach would be -- and is, on many issues -- to do what I can to influence the beliefs of those around me, by explaining my position respectfully and as compellingly as I am able. But then also to vote for the candidates that best match my views overall.

If you cannot in good conscience do that, I understand. But I also understand that you are unlikely then to be in a position to influence our government as a whole.

The Terri Schiavo mess very nearly caused me to fail to support any Republican last week. The abortion issue falls in the same category for me. I dislike easy abortion in later months, I am opposed to its availability in general for young teens without parental involvement. But it is not the only issue I am deeply concerned about and I am leery of those who would legislate their religious convictions by force where the majority of citizens do not agree willingly.

My opinion runs pretty clos... (Below threshold)

My opinion runs pretty close to Andy's. And I too would err more on the side of caution. Although I don't subscribe to the argument that it's because there is no proof of a God. Conversely, there is no proof that there isn't. But then some of us have different notions of what/who God is and whether he/it exists. It would take too long to describe why I come to my conclusions on the issue.

I speak from a position of some knowledge though because I had the opportunity to have an abortion with my second child and I was quite distressed to find I was pregnant again with a five month old child already, even though I was married. There were family members who tried to coax me in that direction, but I just couldn't do it. Oddly enough, it was not due to religious upbringing that I made my choice to not do it. I had none.

It was partly accepting personal responsibility and erring on the side of caution.

I try very hard not to judge those who go that route even though I think it's wrong, but I firmly belive that if abortion is a reality we must contend with, there should be firm limits.

Many people cite democracy and constitutional rights to justify abortion at any point in a pregnancy, but I'm reminded of these words by Cardinal George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, and although he is a religious man, these would be valid important questions asked by anyone:

Does democracy need a burgeoning billion-dollar pornography industry to be truly democratic? Does it need an abortion rate in the tens of millions? Does it need high levels of marriage breakdown, with the growing rates of family dysfunction that come with them? Does democracy (as in Holland's case) need legalised euthanasia, extending to children under the age of 12? Does democracy need assisted reproductive technology (such as IVF) and embryonic stem cell research? Does democracy really need these things? What would democracy look like if you took some of these things out of the picture? Would it cease to be democracy?

Here's a simple reason : in... (Below threshold)
gattsuru:

Here's a simple reason : in no other circumstance do we deem mere convenience to triumph human life. Even if the chance of damage to human life is minor or even marginal, we are not allowed to speed just because we're in a hurry to make the 10:45 showing of Larry Sotter and the Kidney Stone. Nor will you get away with leaving a gun somewhere unsafe simply because you needed to take a leak. If there is a chance - even one in a million, even one in a trillion - of the group of cells counting as human, there's no moral possibility but to consider it worth protecting compared to the simple convenience of the mother.

Here's a harder one, and it'll make the typically happy right-wingers a little more troubled by their slow, pondering opposition. Abortion is the perfect genocide. Look at Down Syndrome, a condition with some minor physiological differences, and some moderate learning disabilities. Originally called "mongolian idiocy", those who suffered form it were deemed doomed to institutions and a death before their late twenties. 33 of the 48 states during the popular Eugenics movement of the first half of the 1900s required that Down Syndromers be sterilized. Aktion T4 under Hitler's command did the same. Down Syndrome survived those attacks. Today we realize that those with Down Syndrome can continue to live fufilling lives with only moderate treatment and therapy.
But with a prenatal test and legal abortions, less than 7% of those tested positive survive to be born. Numbers of new Down Syndromers drop year by year, and it didn't cost the State a dime to run this effective a system of eugenics and genocide.

And now the eugenics program fanatics have moved their sites to focus on autism, a condition where two thirds of those 'suffering' live normal if surprising lives, and possible 'sufferers' included Einstein. They already torture children with these attributes - the infamous "Judge Rotenberg Center" starves them, and then straps electrodes to them and pushes up the voltage - it's no surprise what the next step in this "War" will involve.

Stop saying Never Again. Start saying Never.

The flaw I have always f... (Below threshold)
Brian:

The flaw I have always found in the my body my choice argument is that there are clear limits in what the law allows people to do with their bodies. Among them you cannot sell your organs or prostitute yourself

OK, so let's apply your argument to abortion. The limits that you cite all involve commerce (selling a kidney, selling sex, etc.). The government can prevent the sale of such things, so they can prevent you from selling an aborted fetus. That's fine.

But the government cannot prevent you from freely donating your kidney to your brother, nor from freely giving sex to anyone you want. So therefore, they should not prevent you from having an abortion.

Interesting argument.

"But the government cannot ... (Below threshold)

"But the government cannot prevent you from freely donating your kidney to your brother, nor from freely giving sex to anyone you want. So therefore, they should not prevent you from having an abortion."

The key words were "freely giving". You're not "giving" a baby away to save someone's life; as with giving kidneys or other body parts away (without killing the donor, hopefully).

With every abortion, you are ending (taking, not giving) an innocent life.

...and...I don't t... (Below threshold)

...and...

I don't think you can compare a baby to an organ or a simple pleasure.

Wrong interpretation Brian.... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

Wrong interpretation Brian. The State can prevent you from from certain behaviors or actions if it deems it a compelling State reason. The point is that the State can impose limits on individual choices if it can find a compelling State reason to do so.
To use your example there are limits to whom you can give or have sex with. Incest for one.
If you only have one kidney you can't donate it to your brother.
So therefore logically at some point Roe vs Wade will be overturned as it is illogical. As long the concept of compelling State reason is accepted there is no logical reason why there cannot be limits on abortion.

I believe there hasn't been... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

I believe there hasn't been enough consideration that the Republican loss was more due to actual execution than Conservative or Republican principles.

First their spending was out of control and the Medicare Prescription Drug program was one of the biggest programs in history. So except for the token Terri Schiavo or Flag Burning debate, they didn't seem to have Conservative objectives on the main issues. They tried passing an amnesty first, security second program again.

Second, Hastert's protection of Jefferson and initial absence after the break of the the Foley issue, problems passing judges despite have the majority, and the lack of the appearance of victory or progress in Iraq, showed major execution problems on the part of Republicans.

This election was not a battle of Conservative philosophy vs. Liberal philosophy. They were barely conservatives in the first place. In the Second place, they were lousy in what they did try to do.




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