Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Abortion- Or Gender- Politics

The House has approved its, albeit deeply flawed, version of health care legislation. Some blogs have been effectively pointing out (most recently inclusion of the Stupak anti-choice amendment) the various problems with the bill as passed in the lower chamber. There is, of course, Digby, as well as Susie Madrak of Crooks and Liars. And most prolific has been Firedoglake, where Jon Walker has repeatedly examined the amendment which apparently brought enough conservative Democrats to the (small “p”) party to ensure passage. And the site’s proprietor, Jane Hamsher, posted provocatively on this topic yesterday afternoon.

Hamsher notes- as she had previously- the failure of NARAL and Planned Parenthood to act aggressively to defend a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy in light of their desire to participate in President Emanuel’s inner circle and notes, somewhat sarcastically (emphasis hers)

Wait…Planned Parenthood and NARAL are scoring the bill, right?

Laurie Rubiner, Planned Parenthood’s vice president of public policy, declined to say whether her organization would consider a vote in favor of the bill as a vote against abortion rights on its congressional scorecard.

Evidently “the organization must tread carefully to promote reproductive rights without sabotaging a health care bill they would otherwise find generally beneficial.”

They may be able to sell that in the weekly Common Purpose veal-pen roundup, but I’m not sure it’s going to go over so well with women who just lost control of their uteruses to Bart Stupak.


“David NYC” makes a (or two) particularly interesting, and cogent, point on, ironically, the blog (Daily Kos) run by the reflexively pro-Obama Markos Moulitsas, when he notes of NARAL and another pro-choice organization:

Instead, we've seen NARAL waste money on hopeless Republicans like Dede Scozzafava just to preserve their "bipartisan" cred. They also infamously endorsed Joe "Short Ride" Lieberman over Ned Lamont. Meanwhile, EMILY's List supported a primary challenger last year named Nikki Tinker against a Congressman with a spotless pro-choice record, Rep. Steve Cohen. To give you a sense of how effective that challenge was, Tinker ran ads which were so offensive that EMILY wound up condemning its own candidate. Combined, Scozzafava and Tinker wound up with 24% of the vote. Simply put, the priorities of pro-choice organizations like this need to change.

What could Dede Scozzafava, running in upstate New York a campaign nearly hopeless from the start and Nikki Tinker (whose ad was properly condemned by Keith Olbermann and Barack Obama), campaigning down in Tennessee, possibly have in common?

Don’t think too hard- the answer is the first you came up with.

It’s a disease, figuratively speaking, afflicting some-some- elements of the progressive left (and not only women), as it has in the past afflicted the right.

While if insight and readability are the two most important criteria in the quality of the blog, there is none better than Digby, she demonstrated this tendency recently when unfortunately remarking:

I would have to guess that if more than 17% of the congress were women, there would be a little bit less likelihood that women's rights would be so often used as a handy tool to placate neanderthals. That's just a guess. Habits are hard to break.

Unless, of course, those additional women were Republicans, 17 of 17 of whom voted for the Stupak amendment in the House (which, admittedly, Digby pointed out). Sure, only two of the 56 Democratic women in the House voted for the measure; but fewer than one-third of the men did so. The problem, Digby, is not primarily one of gender.

And then you have MSNBC’s Nancy Snyderman, after making a few good points and before making another, inexpicably claiming

A white man deciding a woman's…… a woman's responsibility in her own procreation. I mean I ... I find it infuriating. I mean, I really think it doesn't matter what side of the abortion issue or pro-choice issue you're on, the fact that they are now making health care harder and harder for women to navigate the system. I think it's outrageous—just outrageous.

A white man? How did that get in there? The problem, Dr. Snyderman, is not primarily gender, nor race at all.

There still are elements of gender (see Limbaugh, Rush) and racial (see Limbaugh, Rush) bigotry on the Repub right. But that is not cause to over-emphasize the issue of gender, or to invoke the issue of race, in abortion politics. That is one, among many, traits of the Republican Party not to emulate.

No comments:

Shedding Tears Over the Death of Orenthal James Simpson

Orenthal James Simpson has died, and he leaves behind an impressive, in a manner of speaking, record of misbehavior. In 1964, Simpson as a...