Even as a contentious Supreme Court nomination deepens political rifts, Democrats seek to grab Republican House seats by playing to the center
When President Donald Trump announced Brett Kavanaugh as his U.S. Supreme Court justice nominee, liberals flung on sackcloth and wept publicly about the demise of women’s rights. Their jeremiad: The Supreme Court may one day overturn Roe v. Wade, and women will no longer be able to have abortions on demand.
“Can you imagine a world without Roe?” pro-abortion activists moaned and groaned. To hear them describe their imagined post-Roe world, it’ll look like the dystopia in Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale, in which fundamentalist Christians rule the United States with the (un-Biblical) belief that women are inferior to men in every way. Here, men with infertile wives legally rape other women to bear children, and women are forbidden to read, work, own property, or wear makeup.
“This is a new time,” declared Leslie McGorman, deputy policy director at NARAL Pro-Choice America. “This is certainly all hands on deck; this is certainly red alert. … Whatever phrasing for emergency you might come up with—we are in that state right now.”
The day before Kavanaugh’s nomination, comedian Michelle Wolf devoted a segment of her Netflix-run talk show to abortion. “Look, access to abortion is good and important,” she said. “Some people say abortion is ‘killing a baby.’ It’s not. It’s stopping a baby from happening. It’s like Back to the Future and abortion is the DeLorean.” She said pro-lifers weren’t really “pro-life” (she used air quotes for the term), but were “anti-abortion,” “anti-woman” folks who “just care about birth.”
One in 4 women have an abortion before age 45, Wolf noted: “Abortions are super common and the stigma is [obscenity].” She added, “And to be clear, this abortion fight isn’t for me. I have money. I’ll always be able to get an abortion.” She paused to allow her audience to laugh, then continued, “But abortion shouldn’t be a luxury. It shouldn’t be the new, ‘I summer in Montauk.’ It should be on the dollar menu at McDonald’s!”
Then to celebrate Independence Day, Wolf stomped out in a glittery red, white, and blue superhero suit with a marching stick wrapped with an American flag. As a marching band clashed cymbals and blew trumpets behind her, she grinned, saluted, and encouraged women to get abortions whenever they want. She concluded by proclaiming, “God bless abortions and God bless America!”
Liberal media licked it up. “This is why it’s so important to have women hosts in late-night television,” gushed a journalist at The Daily Beast. Huffington Post rehashed Wolf’s performance in an article titled, “Michelle Wolf Absolutely Nails Pro-Life Hypocrisy.” A writer for Slate wondered why more late-night talk show hosts “don’t produce segments defending abortion as a positive good.”
I used to think it was the right wing that had terrible PR. Now I think the left is taking the cake on this one—and smashing its face with buttercream, lit candles, and all. Liberals used to at least acknowledge that abortion isn’t something worth celebrating. Bill Clinton once said abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.” In 1996, the Democratic National Committee called for making abortion “less necessary” and “more rare.” The label “pro-choice” (rather than “pro-abortion”) seemed disingenuous to most pro-lifers, considering that unborn babies get no choice in the matter, but at least these old-school liberals refrained from brazenly praising abortion as “a positive good,” as something that should be as ho-hum as ordering a McChicken sandwich from the dollar menu.
Liberals used to at least acknowledge that abortion isn’t something worth celebrating.
Today, Democrats eagerly embrace the pro-abortion platform, entwining their campaign messages tighter with abortion rights advocacy groups such as Planned Parenthood, which spends millions of dollars to elect Democratic candidates to Congress. During the last presidential election, Hillary Clinton ran on a platform calling for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, a move that would have allowed federally funded abortions. Then in 2017 Rep. Ben Ray Luján, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman, received swift criticism for refusing to exclude pro-life Democratic candidates. Pro-abortion activists howled, demanding that all 2018 candidates profess support for abortion on demand. They don’t want abortion to simply be one of the party’s policy agendas: They want it to be a core value.
If Wolf’s vulgar shtick is any indication, abortion is less and less a taboo subject. Women openly share their abortion stories online without “sadness, shame, or regret” for the purpose of “destigmatization, normalization, and putting an end to shame.” More TV shows are making abortion jokes and allowing their characters to have abortions, with little controversy. Last week, Planned Parenthood of New York City released an explicit campaign video portraying NYC residents using the F-word in various creative ways. The video ends with a request for donations so that the organization can “protect our right to safely [obscenity] whoever the [obscenity] we want.”
At least pro-abortion activists no longer pretend abortion is just a regrettable necessity in the case of rape, incest, and other heart-wrenching situations. They’re openly declaring abortion as the freedom to have sex with whoever, whenever, without consequences—and saying a woman should be able to “stop a baby from happening” despite the science that shows a baby in the womb is already a viable, individual life. For some reason, these activists believe this sort of vulgar, devil-may-care message on abortion will reach the hearts and minds of the American people.
I remember meeting a TV writer. J is a bright, funny, warmhearted woman, rarely without a smile and a laugh until the night she told me that she’d had an abortion. She had gone on a date with a handsome, dashing young man, and had found him very attractive until he demanded sex with her and wouldn’t listen when she cried no. Months later, J realized she was pregnant. She said she went to see a doctor, who shamed J for getting herself into that situation in the first place.
As J told her story, which happened years before, she sobbed with fresh anger and pain. My heart broke for her. Then she said something that broke my heart further: “This is why I will always support abortion rights.”
One evil act begot another, and J found no healing or redemption, only continued pain. I saw in her story so many layers of emotions: guilt, rage, bitterness, and shame.
I wonder: When someone like J watches a comedian throw confetti into the air telling women to go get abortions, when she watches a Planned Parenthood video celebrating consequence-free sex, when she sees TV shows make flippant abortion jokes or treat abortions as no big deal, what does she feel?
There are many women like J. Yet Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America are instead focused on normalizing and protecting abortion. Today’s abortion apologists expect a good progressive woman like J to get an abortion, be glad for it, and continue celebrating it without acknowledging the traumas.
Liberals condemn pro-lifers for their hypocrisy, and some of their criticisms are warranted (think Republican Rep. Tim Murphy). But pro-abortion liberals roll in their own mud of hypocrisy. And they’re rolling full speed into the extremes of anti-woman barbarism.