By Dave Andrusko
I know nothing about Mehdi Hasan other than that he is a self-described “lefty” and is political director of The Huffington Post UK and a contributing writer to the New Statesman. But it was like déjà vu all over again as I read about the furor he unleashed by daring to write a column for the New Statesman (and cross posted on the Huffington Post) headlined, “Being Pro-Life Doesn’t Make Me Any Less Of A Lefty.”
His column ran recently with a follow up today—“10 things I learned from debating abortion on Twitter.” Mr. Hasan learned a great many things from the barrage of vindictive, hateful, indeed spiteful tweets by self-described “pro-choicers.”
I’m sure at some level he probably already knew that for many “pro-choicers” (a) there is ONLY one choice; and (b) therefore it borders on the absurd to think there are two sides to this argument. He writes, “I was told again and again by commenters on Twitter that there is no legitimate ‘pro life’ (or ‘anti choice’) position.” Or, to put it more bluntly, to be pro-life and a “lefty” is an impossibility, literally a contradiction in terms.
It’s useful for us to read the exchange because it’s like experiencing time travel. Character assassination was a staple of the way pro-abortionists used to routinely argue here in the states (it’s still there, but much more rare.) It blended the most vituperative personal attacks with a determination to reduce the unborn to less than nothing. “I was astonished by the number of commenters on Twitter who referred to the foetus as a ‘cancer’, a ‘lump of flesh’, a ‘parasite’ and a ‘cake’ (as in, cake in the oven’),” Hasan writes.
You can read Hasan’s very thoughtful column that sparked the controversy at www.newstatesman.com/lifestyle/lifestyle/2012/10/being-pro-life-doesnt-make-me-any-less-lefty, so let me make just two points.
First, veteran pro-lifers (like yours truly) remember that many years ago there were a lot of “liberals” (properly understood) who took up the cause of unborn babies. However, once it became orthodoxy for Democrats to embrace abortion for any reason, or no reason, it took real courage to stay resolute.
Unfortunately, people like the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who once wrote a passionately pro-life op-ed for National Right to Life News, were not profiles in courage. They wilted under the weight of their own ambitions.
Second, Hasan’s objective was for ”my fellow lefties and liberals to try to understand and respect the views of those of us who are pro-life, rather than demonise us as right-wing reactionaries or medieval misogynists.” It was a valiant try, but he never had a chance.
Hasan tried reminding his readers of just how extreme the abortion situation is in England; that more women than men want abortion on demand dialed back (so stop “smearing those of us who happen to be pro-life as ‘anti-women’ or ‘sexist”); and to stop reducing his (or anyone else’s) opposition to abortion to religion (Hasan, as it happens, is a Muslim).
He wrote, “To be honest, I would be opposed to abortion even if I were to lose my faith. I sat and watched in quiet awe as my two daughters stretched and slept in their mother’s womb during the 20-week ultrasound scans.”
Take a few minutes to read Hasan’s column. It will be a useful reminder that so often there are none so intolerant as those who preen about their tolerance.
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