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  •  No Democrat thinks women's rights are negotiable (none)
    But lots of us, women as well as men, think that abortion is not a right that anyone can claim.  This is true even for many who believe that abortion should be kept legal.  

    I fully appreciate that for many women, access to abortion, if needed, has been a key factor in being able to avoid being trapped in an apparently impossible life, even if you never choose to have an abortion.  

    But for many of us, that can never make it a right, even if some of us could be convinced that it may be good policy to keep it legal.

    I never hear pro-life Democrats calling and women or doctors "murderers" or advocating an end to birth control or any of the hyperboles that you or others accuse us of here on these blogs.  But I do hear you calling people, women included, "misogynist", or worse, because they happen to believe that abortion is a wrong and not a right.  That is extremely disempowering and disrespectful of the life experiences of others who want to be in the Democratic tent as much as you.  

    I have no problem with single issue organizing.  It is the most effective way to get things done in politics today.  I have no problem with NARAL supporting Republicans.  It makes perfect sense for them to do that, NOT because they need Republican support, but because it forces Democrats to focus on the issue.  That's how single issue politics works.

    But hurling insults at pro-lifers, especially Democratic ones, is contrary to everything that party building is about.  The party that wins is the one that gets more people who disagree with each other about very fundemental things to vote for the same person.  Please stop trying to drive us pro-lifers out with the insulting and unsupported accusation that being against abortion rights means being against women.  

    •  You are wrong on one thing. (4.00)
      The president of the Democrats of Life in 1997, still active with them....gave a speech in TX and said that abortion was essentially murder and then she brought up Judgement Day.

      I also wrote a diary about that speech.  

      They are not about to give an inch once they get a foothold.

      "I'm willing to say things that are not popular but ordinary people know are right." Howard Dean

      by floridagal on Mon Sep 19, 2005 at 04:20:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  To say that abortion is murder (none)
        is not the same as calling women or doctors murderers.  War is murder, and illegal most of the time, but we don't usually call soldiers murderers either.  
        •  Yes, it is the same thing. (4.00)
          If a person says it is murder, then the one having it committed murder.  It is a serious accusation.  It should not be made lightly.

          Our party has some very big decisions to make.  Decisions have great consequences.

          "I'm willing to say things that are not popular but ordinary people know are right." Howard Dean

          by floridagal on Mon Sep 19, 2005 at 04:42:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It is not made lightly, (none)
            but neither is blame being placed.  As I said before.  We do not generally condemn soldiers as murderers, even though we all agree that war is tragic and should be stopped, and that murdering is, in fact, what soldiers do there.

            Why are you so suddenly seeing the world in only black and white on this particular issue?

            •  This is a complex issue. (none)
              It is about men in mostly religious based groups getting together and deciding about the role of women in society.  

              It is not a black and white issue, and anyone who sees it that way is either in denial or being simplistic in their thinking.

              "I'm willing to say things that are not popular but ordinary people know are right." Howard Dean

              by floridagal on Mon Sep 19, 2005 at 10:12:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree, but I've seen many of these groups, (none)
                and women are in leadership roles there as often, if not more so, then men.  And no one ever talks about "women's role" in society.  What they do say, and that might be setting you on edge, is that women, and men, should not have to feel pressured by society to be career-oriented any more than they should be pressured to be homemakers.  I don't find anything objectionable about that, particularly when it is women saying it.  Do you?

                Yes, there are a few creeps that show up sometimes in such groups, as in any group, but despite the press they get such people are not the norm among pro-lifers, particularly among those prone to vote Democrat.  

        •  sorry (4.00)
          but this fails logic 101.

          If you drive a car, you are a driver. If you eat something you are an eater. And so on.

          The problem here may be that people use the term "murder" in different ways. Whether or not something is "murder" is either a technical legal question determined by precise matters of law or a question of whether "murder" is an appropriate metaphor to apply to a particular act of violence - an argument which depends on people's ethical beliefs. People can argue about whether killing animals is "murder" for example, and thus about whether or not it is ethical to kill animals, without thinking that the killing of animals should be punished by law.

          If you are arguing on the metaphorical level, then to say that abortion is murder is the same thing as saying that the people who perform them are murderers - on a metaphorical level. I.e, that they are morally responsible for a horrendous act, but not that they are guilty of committing a violation of law. This would be the same thing as saying that killing people in war is murder.

          If you are saying it in a technical legal sense, then you would of course be wrong - at least for the time being.

          The problem here, is that when many people who are opposed to abortion call abortion "murder," they not only mean it on the methaphorical level but also that the act SHOULD be included within the technical definition of the crime we call 'murder.'

          I hope that helps clear things up.

          By the way, if you think abortion is "murder," do you think it should be punished as such? I.e., that it should be included within the legal definition of the crime?

          Come get lost in our world:

          by MonkeyDog102 on Mon Sep 19, 2005 at 04:57:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're missing the point that (none)
            even if it were to be legally called murder, it does not have to follow that criminal repercussions must follow.  There are some horrendous acts that we, as a society, allow to happen for the simple reason that we can't figure out a better way to do it.  We still mostly agree that it is wrong and often even criminal to partake in warfare, but soldiers are usually not called criminals or murderers, even though most would admit that murdering is precisely what they are doing in war, and that most wars are, techincally, in violation of treaties, including the adventure that got us into Iraq.
            •  No, you're missing the point (none)
              We don't call all killing murder.  People who call soldiers murderers generally do think they have committed a crime, and people who don't think they have committed a crime don't call them murderers.  Murder is not the only kind of killing, we have homocide, self-defense, and all kinds of shades that describe different situations and balances of the rights of different people, and abortion is one of these terms.

              If you call it murder rather than any other term, you're saying the person who does it is a murderer.  If you're saying it's murder and should be against the law because it's murder, then you're either saying a person who does it should be prosecuted as a murderer, or you're just twisting the language.  You might have a leg to stand on if you called it homocide, but that doesn't have the same emotional impact, does it?

              •  Murder is killing (none)
                when it should not have had to happen.  Most soldiers I've met who have killed do believe they murdered, but not that they were wrong, personally, for doing so, given the situation.  By recognizing that war results in murder, even when legal, we can all try to work towards ending war and making it less destructive (not that we have a good record of doing that, mind you).  

                The same goes for abortion as an institution.  Most pro-lifers would not want to criminalize people who participate in it if, as a society, there was a general agreement that abortion is wrong and we could focus on the question of how best to reduce its practice while protecting individual freedoms.  We are a long way from that, based on the number of people who advocate that abortion is a good and responsible thing.

                •  Guess we'll have to disagree (none)
                  on the murder thing.  If you're talking about soldiers' feelings, then that's a different arena.  But when you're saying something should be illegal because it's murder, you're talking about the legal definition of murder, or you're being dishonest.

                  On the "most pro-lifers would not want to criminalize it," I call bullshit.  In fact, most on the pro-choice side would much rather be focusing on how best to reduce abortion while protecting individual freedoms, but the pro-life side is more concerned with everyone agreeing that it's wrong, and only supporting measures that purport to get rid of it completely, not reduce it (and if that's not what the rank-and-file pro-lifers want, they should damn well stop supporting leaders who do.)  Look at the steady stream of anti-abortion laws that are struck down solely because they fail Roe v. Wade's "life and health of the mother" exemption -- are those an honest effort to reduce abortion?

                  You claim that the opposites the two sides supposedly believe are "wrong" and "good."  But those aren't opposites.  I can believe something is not wrong, and also not good.  I believe that it's good that abortion is legal, because it's less bad than the alternatives in so many cases.  I believe that it's good for abortion to be relatively unrestricted, because it's less bad for some people to have abortions for what pro-lifers would consider insufficient justification than for a great many more people already in terrible circumstances to have to go through onerous government procedures and expose their personal life to official scrutiny.

                  So show me pro-life Democrats whose primary focus is on reducing abortion and not on imposing legal restrictions (such as Tim Kaine, who's running for governor here in Virginia), and I have no problem working with them.  They're not hard to spot -- they're the ones Republicans call "not really pro-life."

                  •  "Not really pro-life" (none)
                    is what Republicans call virtually all pro-life Democrats.  

                    Harry Reid is a pro-life Democrat and is representative of the typical position of not just pro-life Democrats, but most people who identify themselves as pro-life.  Only the extremeists want to lock anyone up, but pro-lifers do want a societal committment to reduce abortions, both by reducing occurences of unwanted pregnancy, AND by WANTING the children that result from them in demostrable ways.

                    •  but the problem here (none)
                      is that the extremists are driving the politics, right? And that is what is worrisome to a lot of people around here about working with Democrats who identify as pro-life: that it will end up helping the extremists, and the next thing you know we will all end up in the equivalent of A Handmaid's Tale.

                      It sure is a valid concern, ain't it?

                      Come get lost in our world:

                      by MonkeyDog102 on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 04:11:17 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Single issue politics give extremists power (none)
                        This does not mean that all single issue people are extremists, but that most extremists are single issue people.  

                        Most pro-lifers, and virtually all pro-life Democrats, are not single issue people.  This means that they are not leading the battle on pro-life issues, but that they can be counted on to collaborate with the single-issue pro-life leaders on some of them.  The single issue people need them, so they have a bargaining position.  

                        This is no different than the pro-choice side of the debate.  Most pro-choice people, and virtually all pro-choice Republicans, are also not single issue people.   But pro-choice folks can count on them in some key battles.

                        The single issue people on both sides gain power by being able to threaten their friendly party by endorsing friendly supporters of their issue in the hostile party.  This keeps their issue at the top of the agenda of the friendly party, even as it works against the friendly party's immediate interests in winning elections.  It's smart politics whether NARAL does it or National Right to Life.  But it makes life for us multi-issues partisans much more difficult.  It's supposed to, and it's just as valid a part of democracy as being a partisan Democrat is.

    •  Please point out the insults I made. (4.00)
      Your quote: "But hurling insults at pro-lifers, especially Democratic ones, is contrary to everything that party building is about.  The party that wins is the one that gets more people who disagree with each other about very fundemental things to vote for the same person.  Please stop trying to drive us pro-lifers out with the insulting and unsupported accusation that being against abortion rights means being against women."

      Please point to the insults I made.  I think if you accuse, you should provide the source of what you say.  

      I am all for a big tent party that is not going to do away with a right to choose an under Roe v Wade...and the right to birth control pills...not just condoms and abstinence.

      I don't think religious groups should be determining the issues of either party.  

      And yes, many Democrats are very willing to give up the rights of women to choose their medical care, birth control, and to have an abortion.  

      "I'm willing to say things that are not popular but ordinary people know are right." Howard Dean

      by floridagal on Mon Sep 19, 2005 at 04:40:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's how I see it (4.00)
      Kos and Armando think it makes sense for a pro-choice organization to oppose a pro-choice Republican because he's going to work with DeLay and produce results they don't like.  They urge looking at the big picture.

      I don't know about where you live, but where I live (Virginia), pro-life Democrats work with pro-life Republicans to restrict contraception, impose onerous restrictions on those people suffering in impossible situations, and do other things I don't like.  They don't distance themselves from people who call contraceptives "baby pesticides."  They have a choice of whether to do that or not; by Kos and Armando's logic, why should I want them in my party?

      I understand being against abortion, even if I don't agree with it.  I certainly support actions that are actually effective in reducing abortion, such as anti-poverty programs, contraception education and availability.  What I don't understand is the idea that if you believe that abortion is wrong, you have to work to outlaw it, which seems to be the requirement for calling yourself "pro-life."  There are plenty of things I think are wrong that I don't think should be outlawed, and there are plenty of things that religions declare are wrong that I don't think should be outlawed.

      •  Paul Wellstone, of all people, (none)
        maintained an active and fruitful personal and professional friendship with Jesse Helms while they were both in the Senate.  They disagreed about a great many things, but that did not stop them from working together on important international human rights legislation and advocacy.

        That is what democratic politics is: getting along with people who disagree with you about some of life's most important issues.  Democrats, of all people, should be examples of this.

        •  I disagree (4.00)

          As far as I am concerned all anti-choice democrats can leave the party.  I am not voting for or supporting anti-choice candidates ever, not even once.

          Liberal, Christian, Feminazi, Mom.

          by TeresaInPa on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 03:40:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If you do that (none)
            and there are not too many people who follow your example, you will be successful in keeping abortion rights a high priority in the Democratic Party.  

            But if too many people follow your example, you will keep the Democratic Party from winning power and thereby lead to the further erosion of the very rights you seek. (As is occurring now.) Politics in a democracy is a balancing act of coalitions, and there is not much place for zealotry if you want to be successful at it.

            •  Why would you believe this? (4.00)
              Every poll I've seen indicates that the majority of Americans support reproductive rights, including a right to abort a pregnancy.
              •  Those polls don't gage prioritization (none)
                For most people who respond in ways that identify them as pro-choice, it is not as important an issue for them as it is for you.  

                For example, a large number of successful career women who are also pro-choice, consistently vote Republican due to a belief that Republicans will protect their economic interests better.  Keeping taxes low is more important to them than abortion rights, even though they are pro-choice.  

                Likewise, a large amount of the labor and rural base of traditional Democratic voters prioritize pro-life causes above their own economic interests. That is why there exists a swap set of pro-life Democrats that can be gained by moderating the pro-choice rhetoric of the party.  Majority numbers on issue polls don't win elections.  If they did, Republicans would not be in power now.  Effective, but often temporary, coalitions of people with some common interests, but many contrary ones, are what win elections.

                •  shit (none)
                  I wish I was as smart as you. No snark intended.

                  Come get lost in our world:

                  by MonkeyDog102 on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 04:15:57 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Go ahead with rationalizing (none)
                  Because the simple fact is that there's no indication that it's not an important issue for them, either.

                  Or that civil rights are.

                  Or that gay rights are.

                  Or that the war is.

                  Or that the economy is.

                  Or fill in the blank.

                  But you go on rationalizing your finger-waggling at the electorate for not buying the "If we take a stance, someone won't like us" theory of politics.

                  Who's against the big tent? Every single would-be pundit who kicks people in the teeth for feeling passionate about their rights.

                  •  Yes there is an indication. (none)
                    The indicator is this:  Republicans control the country, and they run unabashedly pro-life as far as abortion is concerned, even though polls consistently say that the majority of the country supports Roe.  The Democrats have run unabashedly pro-choice since the 1980's, but they have been losing more than winning.  The only possible explanation is that support for Roe is less important than other things for key constituencies.  

                    Facts sometimes hurt, but the effective political actor will find ways to obtain her objectives after taking those facts as a given. That's what Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer are doing.  The ineffective one simply resorts to believing his own propaganda, truth be damned.  Which one one are you?

                    •  Flawed logic (none)
                      The Democrats have run unabashedly pro-choice since the 1980's, but they have been losing more than winning.  The only possible explanation is that support for Roe is less important than other things for key constituencies.

                      A big mistake a lot of people make is that correlation means causation. And here there's not even correlation.

                      1. It's a modern urban legend that "Democrats have run unabashedly pro-choice since the 1980's." In actual fact, many Democrats are anti-choice, and run as such, and most others just try to avoid the issue altogether, which is not unabashed support, it's weasly support.

                      2. Democrats have been going along with much anti-choice legislation, including TRAP laws.

                      3. The losses of Democrats have been since the DLC led the party away from its core constituencies. And they seem to be doing that more and more.

                      The picture you paint is pure fantasy. "The only possible explanation"? I don't think so!
      •  I think situations like that... (none)
        ...prove why the Kos/Armando approach has flaws. And I note neither of them have addressed that or other similar issues.

        I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

        by eugene on Mon Sep 19, 2005 at 09:15:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Democrats have negotiated our rights for years (4.00)
      You say no Democrat thinks women's rights are negotiable.  Democrats have been negotiating with our rights for years.  How do you think so many of our reproductive rights have been taken away?  Didn't John Kerry negotiate on the pharmacists' filling birth control prescriptions?  Didn't Democrats negotiate on the ban on late abortions?  Didn't they negotiate on federal funding for abortions?  Didn't they negotiate on access to abortions on military bases overseas and also on access to abortions through private funding?  Didn't they negotiate on criminalizing abortions?  

      abortion is not a right that anyone can claim.

      This is exactly what the right to choose is, the right to have an abortion.  It has been a woman's right since 1972.  It is still a woman's right and will be, even if it's a right in name only, it is still a right the women in this country have.  Everytime a woman finds out she is pregnant and decides to terminate that pregnancy she can claim the right to abortion.

      It's not up to you to tell me abortion is wrong or right.  It's private, it is my choice to decide.  Whether you think it's right or wrong is of no consequence to me unless you try to take that right away from me.  The Democratic Party has always maintained that I had that right to choose.  I'm assuming it still does.

      Katrina changed everything, you bet your sweet ass it did. "Women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy." Reuel Gerecht

      by caliberal on Mon Sep 19, 2005 at 07:03:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for clearing things up (4.00)
        That "abortion should remain legal, but a woman can't claim a right to have one" stuff is soooo confusing.

        But it all makes sense now that you've "negotiated" it for us.


      •  Roe v Wade specifically gives a right to privacy; (none)
        not a right to abort.  Abortion is determined to be allowable because, since it is no one's business to inquire about the state of a supposed pregnancy until it is so far along that it simply cannot be denied to be present, no one could possibly know whether a person is actually being injured or not, other than the mother and her privacy protected medical servants.  Therefore the court determined that a right to privacy provides for the protection of legal abortions before the third trimester.  Privacy provides the right, specifically, to deny that abortion is hurting anyone where no one has the right to look.  
        •  Umm, no. (none)
          The decision is based on the right to privacy, but it is simplistic and completely inaccurate to say that it is because the fact that the woman is pregnant is private.  The decision balanced the interest of the state in protecting the life and health of women with the interest of the state in protecting potential human life, and is in fact a compromise.  (See Wikipedia for an evenhanded and nonpartisan description of the decision.)

          And for those conservatives who claim to adhere strictly to the "original intent" of the Constitution, the justices determined that, because abortion had only been criminalized relatively recently, the original intent of the equal protection clause did not include protecting the unborn.

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