January 27, 2020

March For Life

Editor's note: We couldn’t be more proud of one of our teammates, Isaac Rose-Berman, who penned his first op-ed this week in USA Today: “How college students can bridge American divides: 'Study abroad' in Alabama or New York.” Please give it a read, and share far and wide!

“Donald Trump became the first U.S. president to attend the annual March for Life in Washington on Friday... the event [is] held annually around the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion and legalized the procedure nationwide.” Reuters

See past issues

From the Left

The left is critical of the pro-life movement’s embrace of Trump and opposed to further restrictions on abortion.

“Just inside the security barricades, several groups of clipboard-toting campaign workers beseeched attendees to sign up for Trump’s mailing list. The Trump campaign also distributed signs to marchers that read ‘TEXT ‘LIFE’ TO 88022’; when I texted the number, the automated reply made no mention of abortion or ‘life,’ but asked me to ‘stand with President Trump against the FAKE NEWS!’…

“For Trump, the demonstration functioned as a built-in rally—a captive audience of some of his most fervent, unconditional supporters just a few blocks from his house. It’s not hard to imagine why, in the middle of his impeachment trial, he’d want to spend a morning looking out on a beaming crowd of people in MAGA hats clutching posters with his face on them… It was hard to tell whether Trump or his fans got more out of his appearance on Friday.”
Christina Cauterucci, Slate

“The president has been claiming for some time that Democrats want to allow abortion ‘until the moment of birth.’ Trump also began claiming that Democrats want to legalize the killing of infants after they’re born, following confusing comments made by Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia that some took as an endorsement of infanticide. In reality, no law in Virginia or anywhere else allows killing babies after they are born. No Democratic legislators support this. Doctors, meanwhile, say that patients do not request abortions during delivery or at ‘the moment of birth,’ nor do providers perform them.”
Anna North, Vox

“The moral message of [the pro-life movement] is simple and powerful: The fetus is a member of the human species from the time of conception; all members of the human species, no matter how small, weak, or dependent, possess innate dignity and hence a right to life… But a pro-life movement whose greatest political champion is Donald Trump has no hope for maintaining such a high-minded construal of its motives and priorities… [This is] a serial adulterer who's repeatedly been accused of rape, who cheated on his wife with a porn star shortly after the birth of their son, and who has been caught on tape bragging about his facility at sexual assault…

“[As we've] seen with shifts in public opinion in favor of immigration over the past few years of nativist cruelty and xenophobia from the administration, Trump tends to turn people against the very causes he champions. By locking arms with a polarizing, deeply unpopular, and morally repulsive president, the pro-life movement is likely to end up losing at the very moment it feels closest to winning.”
Damon Linker, The Week

“Voters’ fury over Donald Trump’s agenda, which included rollbacks on abortion rights, combined with an influx of women and people of color running for office, led to Democratic wins in the midterm election. Democrats flipped seven governorships, six state legislative chambers, and more than 300 state House and Senate seats in 2018…

“In 2019, more states passed proactive protections for abortion rights and expanded access than in any previous year. Ever. Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont all enacted laws that codify a fundamental right to make reproductive decisions, including abortion. Maine guaranteed both private and public insurance coverage for abortion, and Nevada repealed its pre-Roe abortion ban that made it a crime to provide an abortion or for a woman to self-manage her own… What we are learning—led by activists and advocates who are fighting the attacks on the front lines—is that we are more effective when we publicly proclaim our support for abortion access for all and stand strong to defend that position.”
Andrea Miller, The Nation

A Planned Parenthood medical director writes, “I recently took care of a West African patient who suffered many horrors as a political prisoner before fleeing her country, leaving behind her three children and sister. While trying to make her way to the United States, she endured additional horrors, including a rape that resulted in pregnancy… Despite all she had been through, she was determined to start her life over and, for her, ending the pregnancy was an integral part of that process… I understand fully the complexity that surrounds abortion care, but banning access to abortion and stigmatizing those who provide abortions hurts my patients and has lasting effects on the entire community’s health.”
Serina Floyd, Washington Post

Regarding Pelosi, “[her] talents have always lain in the less glamorous, less public side of politics: she is good at whipping up votes in her caucus and she is good at disciplining dissenters. She is good at offering incentives and punishments to get Democratic members of Congress to do what she wants them to do… To rip up the speech on television was a bit of theatricality, sure – a ploy designed to get attention. It also worked. The day after Trump made a long speech full of misinformation that tried to make a case for his re-election, no one is talking about him. Instead we are talking about the speaker of the House. That, too, is a skill, one that Pelosi seems to be honing.”
Moira Donegan, The Guardian

Others argue that “Biden was almost the only one on the stage who talked like a normal person. There was a point near the end of the debate when he was talking about getting men involved in stopping domestic violence and he said that we need to keep ‘punching’ at it… I knew that the twitterati and the analysts would tut tut. Ol’ Joe is just out of touch! He doesn’t know you can’t use words like that. Meanwhile, every non-political junkie watching the debate thought there was nothing wrong with this. Biden was just using ordinary language, not worrying too much if it was fully approved by the woke brigade.”
Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

From the Right

The right is encouraged by Trump’s appearance and supportive of increased restrictions on abortion.

From the Right

The right is encouraged by Trump’s appearance and supportive of increased restrictions on abortion.

“The president has been a strong, unapologetic advocate for the unborn since the start of his term. In his first year alone, Trump reinstated the Mexico City policy preventing U.S. money sent abroad from going to abortion groups, nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and directed the Department of Health and Human Services to recognize, for the first time ever in its four-year strategic plan, that life begins at conception…

“Trump has [also] successfully appointed hundreds of pro-life judges to the federal bench, his administration has expanded the Obamacare contraception exemption, and due to changes the Trump administration made to Title X, Planned Parenthood withdrew from the program entirely. Trump may have been pro-choice earlier in life, but to say that he is a pro-life president is completely accurate.”
Kimberly Ross, Washington Examiner

“No president has ever attended the March for Life — not Ronald Reagan, not George H.W. Bush, not my old boss, George W. Bush. They all addressed the marchers remotely… The message to pro-life conservatives was clear: They were the black sheep of the Republican coalition. Their presence was tolerated because their votes were needed. But while Republican presidential candidates couldn’t win the nomination without declaring themselves pro-life, the GOP establishment not-so-secretly loathed pro-lifers…

“Trump has done more than simply govern as a pro-life conservative; he has embraced pro-life conservatives without shame or hesitation. Want to know why so many Republicans don’t care about Trump’s ham-handed phone call with Ukraine’s president or his personal moral failings? Because he is an ally like no other in the fight to save innocent unborn lives.”
Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post

“While most Democratic candidates for president have embraced extreme abortion positions, the majority of Americans haven’t… Support for limits on abortion cuts across party lines. Fewer than 4 in 10 Democrats support abortion at any time and for any reason, while 62% want some limitations on abortion and about half (49%) would limit abortion to the first three months of pregnancy at most. So would 69% of independents and 91% of Republicans.”
Carl Anderson, Wall Street Journal

Many argue that “Abortion is another social evil resulting from alienation… ending abortion will require us to make expectant mothers and the people in their lives not want to get an abortion and not feel the need to get an abortion… Pro-lifers need to work to make circumstances different for every pregnant woman considering abortion because of hardship…

“Expectant mothers need medical care, they need money, they need housing, they need food. Those who choose to raise their children need cribs, diapers, money, and childcare. But we should think of these material needs as part of a bigger picture. If you have children, think of how you have gotten what you need. Many of the baby needs you got (a changing table, a diaper pail, onesies) probably came as gifts from a baby shower. Much of what you needed was wisdom and advice from your mother, your older sister, your neighbor. You may have relied on in-laws or next-door neighbors for free babysitting, especially in a pinch… It takes a village to save a child.”
Timothy P. Carney, Washington Examiner

“From the moment of conception, [the] unborn child possesses its own unique, human DNA. Whether it can be developmentally labeled as a zygote, an embryo or a fetus, it is scientifically, biologically distinct from the woman who carries it… Pro-choice advocates say the mother should decide whether she wants to allow her body to be used [to bear a child], and that she alone — in consultation with her doctor — should decide whether allowing this is in her physical or emotional interests…

“Pro-lifers do not disagree with the moral premise of this argument insofar as it applies solely to the woman’s body. They do, however, take issue with the idea that the unborn child is simply part of the woman’s body. It is not; it is a separate — even if radically dependent — human being. Recognizing that there are two humans involved in this process is absolutely fundamental to making a fully informed moral decision about abortion’s legality.”
Henry Olsen, Washington Post

“If a dozen drones or missiles can do the kind of damage to the world economy as did those fired on Saturday—shutting down about 6 percent of world oil production—imagine what a U.S.-Iran-Saudi war would do to the world economy. In recent decades, the U.S. has sold the Saudis hundreds of billions of dollars of military equipment. Did our weapons sales carry a guarantee that we will also come and fight alongside the kingdom if it gets into a war with its neighbors?… the nation does not want another war. How we avoid it, however, is becoming difficult to see. John Bolton may be gone from the West Wing, but his soul is marching on.”
Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“While running for president in 2000, George W. Bush derided ‘nation building’ and said American foreign policy should be ‘humble’ rather than ‘arrogant.’ As president, Bush brought us the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq… While running for president in 2007, Barack Obama rejected the idea that the president has the authority to wage war without congressional authorization whenever he thinks it is in the national interest… As president, Obama did that very thing in Libya… A few years before his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump said the U.S. should withdraw immediately from Afghanistan… As president, he sent more troops to Afghanistan…

“Three men with little or no foreign policy experience entered an office where they were surrounded by experts, and they quickly shed their initial skepticism of military intervention… we should worry about a president with little knowledge of the world whose military decisions are driven by anger or domestic political considerations. But it's not clear to me that such a president poses a bigger danger than the experts who have been disastrously wrong more times than we can count.”
Jacob Sullum, Reason

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