Brooks latest column (which I am not linking to, because goddamn fuck the NY Times) is all about the poe-faced insipid Staunch Republican giving advice to the Democrats on abortion, because gosh, we’re not building a winning coalition by allying with hypocrites and religious zealots, like the Republicans have done. First, why should we heed the advice of a right-wing goon who wants nothing less than the destruction of the liberal party, or better yet, their assimilation into the soul-sucking void of the rich people’s greed party (which seems to be happening already, unfortunately)? Secondly, whatever happened to the illusion that a political party ought to stand for some kind of social ideals? I know the Republicans abandoned that pretense long ago, but the Democrats sometimes still hang on to the tattered shreds of a belief in equality, opportunity, social justice, and the rights of the working person (although, honestly, that last one hasn’t been mentioned in a long, long time). When the Democratic party fuses with the Republicans to champion the Dow Jones, Nasdaq, and S&P 500, and nothing else, then I’ll totally abandon them, too.
But never mind me, go read Robyn Pennacchia, who points out that many of Brooks’ ‘facts’ are not. The idea that the Republican coalition with the Religious Right is a direct consequence of Roe v. Wade is flaming nonsense — it emerged with the Southern Strategy and opposition to racial equality. The one thing you can trust about Republicans is that they’ll oppose rights for Women and Negroes with the same vehemence they use to support tax cuts for the wealthiest kleptocrats in the nation.
Or read The Rude Pundit, who is surprisingly not rude today — he just flips the tables on Brooks. What if he wrote the same column to give advice to Republicans?
Reading either of them is better than reading the NY Times, anyway.
I’d read that Brooks caller himself an imaginary Democratic consultant. Does that put him 90° from a real Democratic consultant?
I’m so going to steal Pennachia’s “pro-fetus”. I think that captures the anti-choice position much better than “pro-life” because pro-lifers regularly advocate things that result in death.
Marcus Ranum says
the destruction of the liberal party
We have a liberal party?
Pierce R. Butler says
It’s been months since the liberal web burst out in David Brooks Is Wrong stories – do his intervening columns show any improvement?
Marcus Ranum @ #3 — Why yes, yes we do…the Liberal Party of New York. However, they endorsed a Republican candidate in 2011.
Here’s another reason. (Fair warning – it links to the NYT.)
Matt Cramp says
Fred Clark, who blogs as the Slacktivist, and is an ex-evangelical but still Christian, connects the abortion strategy specifically to the racism of evangelism. His argument is that evangelicals have a need to be moral guardians, and they opposed Martin Luther King in the 60s and thoroughly lost. They lost in a way that obliterated their ability to credibly claim the moral high ground, so they needed a new moral high ground, one where they couldn’t be shoved off quite so easily.
Abortion was what they chose. It came with allies, even thought they were the hated Catholics, and something of an existing political movement. If you claim life begins at conception (junking decades of evangelical teaching otherwise in the process), people can’t really prove you wrong or say you’re unjust for thinking that. And it means you get to feel morally superior to desperate women and say you’re trying to prevent genocides. It was perfect!
(Pro-life movements in other countries tend not to be as militant: there’s significant factions who work to provide alternatives to abortion, because their goal is to reduce the number of abortions and not feel morally superior to desperate women.)
Clark has written a lot about this, and has citations, including a digitised copy of evangelical texts from the 70s arguing for abortion as a social good.
If evangelicals really cared about the unborn, they would support a broader social safety net for pregnant women and single mothers. There is cold, hard statistical data that one of the leading reasons why women have abortions is that they don’t think they can financially take care of a child. Yet many (not all) evangelical congress critters consistently vote against such a social safety net.
Calling David Brooks a right wing goon is giving him too much credit. I actually prefer it when a right wing goon fills in for him on ATC on Fridays, because at least there’s some honesty in their motivations.
Brooks is more accurately described as a cowardly opportunist who attempts to place himself around the middle of the Overton Window while tut-tutting everyone else and clamping tight to his privilege with what little strength he does have.
Danny Husar says
Brooks has a point. Almost all developed nations (and certainly all European nations) have some restrictions on late-term abortions. In Europe (as exemplified by France and German) abortion is disallowed after 12 weeks unless there’s a threat to the mother’s health. Prior to that, there may be some light regulation (for example, a small waiting period). But that kind of compromise is typical in Europe – find a reasonable middle ground and don’t make it a highly charged ideological issue.
In America things are different… Issues are highly polarized and devolve into ‘all-or-nothing’/’don’t-give-an-inch’ approach. You see that with gun regulation where one side has batshit insane objections to even the tiniest common-sense solutions . Abortion is another. One side is willing to (literally) sacrifice the life of the mother at the altar of a fertilized zygote and another sees it as an inalienable right to terminate a pregnancy for any reason, at any point during the entire 9-months of gestation. I think Europe is correct here.
 The last episode of ‘This American Life’ profiled a very pro-gun Republican state representative getting raked over the coals by her party’s base because she dared to introduce legislation to ban imitation (!!!!) guns from schools.
Danny Husar, #10
This is an interesting sneaky tactic of the anti-choice crowd to misrepresent the pro-choice argument.
How many cases do you think there are of a person choosing to get pregnant because they want a child, continuing to be happy about the pregnancy for 8.75 months and then saying they want to abort? What do you think the vast majority of abortions are about? The way you say “terminate a pregnancy for any reason, at any point during the entire 9-months of gestation” is not only extremely insulting to women/pregnant people but also quiet misleading.
Here in Canada, a very interesting experiment has been going on with regards to abortion (well, I see it as an experiment). The DOOMSDAY scenario for Republicans has been law in Canada for decades – NO restrictions on abortion whatsoever (we are the only Western country to have this policy). Practically speaking, if you want a 35-week abortion, any doctor you see will just deliver the baby (barring fetal abnormalities, disease, health of the mother, etc.), but in removing basically all barriers to abortion (I say “basically” because there are some provinces in which abortion providers are few and far between, so that’s a barrier) what has happened? Do people with normal, healthy pregnancies get 25 or 30-week abortions?
Obviously the answer is no. Because abortion is available and easy to access for the vast majority of Canadian women, it is only the abnormal pregnancies that are terminated in the late second and third trimesters. Terminations by people who don’t actually want a baby (as opposed to those by people who want a baby, but not a baby with a debilitating disease who will suffer and die quickly) typically happen within a few weeks of the discovery of pregnancy. For example, 2015 statistics list (this data is for hospital-provided abortions only; data excludes Quebec):
– 31.1% of abortions happen at 9 weeks or less*
– 36.9% happen between 9-12 weeks
– 29.5% happen between 12-21 weeks
– 2.5% happen from 21 weeks and up
Data for clinics skews much more to the earlier terminations, so much so that it is estimated that in total, just 1 in ~170 abortions (0.59%) in Canada is performed after 21 weeks**.
So abortion is accessible, free (well, if you live a long way from a clinic or hospital, your travel costs might add up), and without barriers (like unnecessary ultrasounds, speeches from doctors on “alternatives” and risks that aren’t actually scientifically valid, waiting periods in case you change your mind). Not only that, but sex ed is generally pretty comprehensive in Canada (though Alberta law permits a parent to prevent their child from learning sex ed if they want…Alberta – Canada’s Texas) so people know about condoms and other birth control, which lowers the chance of pregnancy in the first place. And a new development – certain provinces have made Myfegymiso (abortion pill) available for free, reducing the number of hospital and clinic abortions (these pills are only safe and effective up to 10 weeks or so, though some people have used it later than that with success). Therefore so-called late-term abortions are almost unheard of (and when they do happen, it’s for a good reason).
The experiment has produced results that I think David Brooks should pay attention to (considering he’s Canadian, he should know this shit already!). By making abortion easy to access, you don’t NEED to ban it in the second and third trimester. Nobody decides to have such a procedure unless there is a medical reason – ease of access means that anyone who wants an abortion can have one MUCH earlier.
*Gestational ages based on last menstrual period (LMP)
Right – only enslave women at a certain point in their pregnancy, not right from the start. That’s certainly reasonable.
Danny Husar says
>Right – only enslave women at a certain point in their pregnancy, not right from the start. That’s certainly reasonable.
You sound like libertarians and anarcho-capitalists who interpret taxes as slavery. To them a 50% income tax-rate means you’re enslaved for half the year. Do do they have a point? Or are they missing something?
The point is the pregnant person gets to decide what they want to do with their pregnancy and the safe and effective medical route should be the one suggested and taken by the healthcare provider. The government stays out of it (except for the financial aspect, of course).
What you’re suggesting is a false middle ground fallacy. There is no middle ground when it comes to an individuals bodily autonomy and healthcare decisions. It’s 100% what they want, and 0% what anybody else wants.
Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says
You sound like an ignorant misogynist who doesn’t/can’t see half the population as your equal with full bodily autonomy. You don’t get to tell them what to do. What an asshole response, because the ideologies you claim we hold aren’t always held in high esteem around here. Full human rights, including bodily autonomy, is held in high esteem.