Saturday, December 16, 2023

GOP Profiles in Cowardice



Texas law bans abortion after detection of fetal cardiac activity, generally around the sixth week of pregnancy. Katie Cox, suffering from the deadly genetic condition Trisomy 18 ("Edwards Syndrome"), which "her doctors say threatens" her future fertility and even her life. Cox had filed a lawsuit to end the pregnancy and left the state. It was a good move because the Texas Supreme Court, siding with Attorney General Ken Paxton, ruled against her.  

The case has produced a display of cowardice, and something beyond cowardice. First up: cowardice:

Next up: cowardice that exceeds all cowardice.


 


Haley is contending

We have to humanize the situation and deal with it with compassion. I think that Texas should go back and have their medical board deal with this and say how should we deal with this. I think every state should do this.

Even Chris Christie (Chris Christie!) was having none of this, remarking

“I think it’s really, really difficult for me to understand why Gov. Haley won’t answer that question, why she says things like, ‘We should be compassionate,’” he told reporters Wednesday. “What the hell does that mean? Are you for it or against it?”

Christie said it’s “not pro-life to prevent a woman from ending a pregnancy which is doomed to end in death of her child and may risk her own health.” He emphasized that he would not enact a federal abortion ban and would instead leave it to voters in the states.

It's difficult to make the failed former governor of New Jersey appear bold but we live in an age in which the leading advocate for democracy among politicians is- wait for it- the daughter of Dick Cheney.

Of course, Christie is wrong about leaving reproductive freedom up to the states. Legislation is needed to codify Roe v. Wade or to establish a national right to terminate pregnancy through the first two trimesters without exception. Nonetheless, he was right to call out Haley.

But Democrats had a responsibility to their voters and to the country to respond aggressively on this situation.  In the wake of the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision, the right to choose is popular among the American people, who have a compassionate side. Even heartless Haley invoked the need to be compassionate while nonetheless refusing to defend a pregnant woman whose health was endangered by continuation of an unwanted pregnancy.

Less cowardly than unimaginative was President Biden, who should have sent Air Force One to Texas to pick up Katie Cox and fly her to state in which she could have safely procured an abortion without controversy. That simultaneously would have put the Administration on the side of reproductive freedom, women, compassion, and strength of conviction. 

It would have elevated a winning issue for Democrats and, if they were lucky, Republicans would have engaged on the issue and raised the stakes. Instead, individuals such as Ted Cruz can avoid the issue entirely while opportunists such as presidential candidate Nikki Haley can grandstand as "compassionate conservatives" while cruelly denying agency to women.


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