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Yesterday morning, Meet the Press hosted a bit of a debate on abortion and the women's movement generally between Kate O'Beirne, conservative voice from the National Review, and Kate Michelman, former head of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

O'Beirne, in making her argument that the pro-choice position has cost the Democratic Party millions of votes, both houses of Congress, and the White House...made an outlandishly false statement about Roe v. Wade:

MS. O'BEIRNE: But they haven't because the democratic process would see the Roe v. Wade abortion on demand for nine months regime quite cut back at the hands of voters.

That is a bald-faced lie, and Ms. O'Beirne knows it.

Roe did not set up an "abortion-on-demand for nine months regime".  Roe set up a trimester system, in which the state may not restrict a woman's privacy right to an abortion in the first trimester, may begin to place restrictions in the second trimester, and may severely restrict or ban abortions in the third trimester (with the caveat that the state must protect the life/health of the mother).

Ms. Michelman's retort corrected Ms. O'Beirne, and also took her to task for the "abortion-on-demand" language:

MS. MICHELMAN: Could I speak to this "abortion on demand"?  I have to comment about this because I hear it over and over and over again. First of all, I ran a Planned Parenthood affiliate for years. I have been with women who have faced the decision about whether or not to have an abortion. I have never heard a woman demand to have an abortion. I think that that language reveals the lack of respect that those who oppose abortion have for women who face crises. We've got to get rid of that language.

MS. O'BEIRNE: But we do agree...

MS. MICHELMAN: And Roe does not guarantee women a right to abortion without restrictions. It balanced rights of women to have an abortion in the earlier stages of pregnancy, and allows the states to restrict in the post-viability, roughly last trimester.

There is a legitimate debate on abortion in this country, between people of good faith on all sides of the issue who honestly and sincerely believe in their positions.  This debate is a sensitive one, but one which is important for our nation to have from time to time.

But the debate, and the issue, is not well-served by people like Ms. O'Beirne who know the facts and yet choose to lie about them on national television.  I have no doubt that Ms. O'Beirne has, at some point in her life, read the Roe decision, and more to the point, that she knows the Roe decision did not set up an "abortion-on-demand for nine months regime."

There is a legitimate debate on abortion.  Ms. O'Beirne, however, has chosen the path of lies, rather than honest discourse.  The debate, and the nation, is worse for it.

Originally posted to Old 33 on Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 05:51 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I agree! (none)
    I don't know why she gets away with this stuff! I was flipping off the tv with both hands! I couldn't believe my ears!  And Tim must know she was lying. Surprise!  Once again, he sat there and let himself and his show be used by liars to push their agenda.  I'm sure he's pro-life anyway.  I loved the NARAL woman, however.  She was excellent!  The Dems should start talking like she did.  Her language wasn't so much about the act of abortion itself, but about the rights of women in this country to make the decision for themselves - which is really the issue.  

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