Abortion: Are Democrats too extreme?
How many elections are Democrats willing to lose to protect late-term abortions? asked David Brooks in The New York Times. A bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks recently went down to defeat in the Senate, with Republicans unable to overcome the Democrats’ filibuster. All but three Democratic senators voted against the ban, despite the fact that the politics of abortion are “fundamentally bad for Democrats.” Most Americans support at least some restrictions on abortion, which makes sense in a world where scientific advances now allow babies to survive outside the womb as early as 22 weeks. Nevertheless, liberals continue to support the unfettered right to an abortion throughout pregnancy; that absolutist position alienates millions of voters. Democrats maintain that late-term procedures are just 1 percent of all abortions. If that’s the case, why prioritize them over all other issues?
Democrats should stand up for what is right, “even when it makes ‘winning’ harder,” said obstetrician Cheryl Axelrod in Slate.com. Most women who choose to have second-term abortions do so “due to grave health concerns for either mother or fetus” that are discovered later in pregnancy. Should a woman be forced to carry a baby to term who will be born without a brain? Or give birth to a child who would suffocate upon delivery because of undeveloped lungs—a choice I faced myself? Yes, second-term abortions make some people uncomfortable. But there is nothing progressive about “throwing away the needs of a minority for the comfort of the majority.”
This issue isn’t going away, said Hannah Levintova in MotherJones.com. The pro-life camp has seized on the post-20-week ban as a “key tool” in its campaign to overturn Roe v. Wade, and 21 states have already passed one, although federal courts have struck it down in two instances. The most recent Senate vote gives Republicans a valuable wedge issue to deploy against red-state Democrats Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri. Democrats should pay a price for their extremism, said Alexandra DeSanctis in NationalReview.com. Their stance has hardened into a reflexive opposition to any restrictions on abortion—even though recent polling shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans support a 20-week abortion ban, including half of pro-choice voters. “This debate demonstrates exactly how far the Left has managed to push the goalposts on abortion.”