January 13, 2005

Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others 

posted by Paul Smith @ 8:36 PM
Dan's right that the position that there should be nothing shameful about abortion is not a very popular one, but it's hard to defend a practice if you're conceding that you, too, believe it is distateful, somehow "wrong," should be rare, etc. You've already given up a good bit of moral ground to your opponent. I think there is room to manuever here, in the demystification arena, especially around first-term abortions. T-shirts aren't going to get you anywhere, but a first-term abortion -- so I'm told by my feminist activist friends -- is quick, non-surgical, pain-free, apart from the discomfort. Obviously, there is an emotional component which varies wildly and is attendent both in the abstract and in first-hand experience, but if the actual medical procedure was less of thing only talked about in hushed tones if at all, well, I'll just say that people tend to be less racist when they've seen and known actual other races. On the other hand, I don't know how one would go about demystifying abortions …

Now, this is not to say that the party should go and start being all out and abortion-positive. Politically, it's a landmine where the media is not on our side and which animates the opposition. And I certainly think it's not inconsistent to woo moderates who find abortion morally suspect but aren't single-issue (single-issuers are going GOP every time, anyway, and are thankfully an extremely small group). But I think the advocacy groups that compose the party can try to take some of the taboo out of it, while the party basically stands pat on its current position. As Kevin Drum has pointed out, of all the social policies Democrats might want to bring under the microscope and have a heart-to-heart re-evaluation about, why are we so quick to tinker with the one core pillar that also happens to be the majority position?

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