Real False Equivalency (on Steroids)

By Dave Andrusko

Merle Hoffman

We’re approaching the six-weeks-prior-to mark–prior to the 44th anniversary of the abominable Roe v. Wade decision and its equally hideous companion, Doe v. Bolton. We’re largely publishing previously run stores about Roe and Doe in December, although there will be new ones and, like this one , a hybrid.

You may remember that last week we mentioned in one of our post-election stories how Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank had co-authored a piece in the Post 15 days prior to the election whose headline was “Donald Trump’s chances of winning are approaching zero.” This was a typically astute Milbank column, filled with self-confident assurances and smears of Mr. Trump.

With the anniversary of Roe at hand, it got me to thinking about one of his ugliest hit pieces on our Movement. It ran in 2012, just prior to the annual March for Life.

Even my Milbank’s standards, it was malicious, although the worst part was that he attributed to us what courses through his veins: cynicism. The only way he can “discredit” our Movement is to libel us with the charge that the most selfless Movement in contemporary culture is the exact opposite.

In light of our tremendous– and unselfish–victories November 8, I’m reposting a piece I wrote January 19, 2012.

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There are so many things wrong with Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank’s broadside (“Roe v. Wade’s greedy offspring”), you have to ask yourself yet again, “Does anybody edit these people?”

That pro- and anti-life groups really aren’t all that interested in stopping abortion is hardly a new charge. Intended to give abortion supporters like Milbank an air of even-handedness, this is the false equivalency on steroids.

Let’s take a few minutes to see how opinionators of the Dana Milbank stripe come to their conclusion about us. To do so we have to contrast what pro-abortionists are doing on the eve of the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade with what pro-lifers are doing.

Milbank starts with “abortion provider Merle Hoffman,” who appeared at the National Press Club. We wrote about Hoffman the other day.

She’s peddling a new book—“Intimate Wars: The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from the Back Alley to the Boardroom”– with an alarmist message: because of the downturn in the economy (quoting Milbank’s characterization), “nearly three-quarters of women ending their pregnancies say they simply can’t afford to have a baby. Hoffman expanded on that trend to forecast a ‘dim future’ for women if a Republican wins the White House: a world of abortion ‘slave states’ and ‘underground railroads’ and “pre-Roe reality.”

The problem (beyond the synthetic hysteria)? Not only is the data she relies on from 2008—before the recession’s impact was felt—Hoffman came to these global generalizations based on newspaper stories and by the equivalent of taking her own pulse—what supposedly happened at her abortion clinic. (Milbank then segues into a discussion of the various and sundry crimes of allegedly greedy pro-lifers, which we’ll return to a second.)

He talks caustically about a series of fund-raisers some of the pro-abortion heavy hitters are hosting and comes to the conclusion that neither side is interested in compromise because they have “strong financial incentives to avoid consensus and compromise.”

Really?

The lone pro-life example of fund-raising is the dinner the March for Life puts on to fund its annual Washington, D.C. rally. Hello?

So what exactly are pro-lifers doing as we approach the 39th anniversary of Roe and Doe? In addition to the March (the fact that 80,000 to 120,000 people will come from around the country somehow get lost) and the National Right to Life press conference (which he manages to overlook), Milbank talks mostly about those fundraising machines known as… youth rallies, youth conferences, and prayer vigils!

But not only are both sides in it for the money, both sides have “no time for reason,” Milbank pronounces from his chair on the journalistic equivalent of Mt. Olympus.

He’s on to something, just not what he thinks.

To take just one example, is it reasonable for tens of thousands of kids to ride on buses all-night from hundreds of miles away to pray at a Cathedral for unborn babies and their mothers? Naw, he’s right, it deserves nothing more than his dismissive putdown: a “carnival.”

Next year Milbank will no doubt draw parallels to Marti Gras and beach week. What a guy.

But to give him his due, Milbank starts with Hoffman and ends with another excerpt from her Press Club Jeremiah. Even he appears stunned at her

“full-throated defense of her own abortion (‘I had committed myself to my work’ and didn’t want to be ‘diverted’), coupled with dire warnings about the future of legal abortion (‘relentless attacks . . . will be impossible’). Hoffman likened her defense of the procedure to Martin Luther’s 95 Theses. ‘Abortion is a life-affirming act,’ she said, and ‘abortion is often the most moral choice.’”

Milbank dismisses this as nothing more than “Roe week in Washington. (Donate now.),” the kind of posturing you get when the sound of cha-ching has replaced the voice of sincerity.

That would seem to perfectly fit Hoffman, a self-made millionaire, and the upper management at Planned Parenthood.

It could not be further from the truth for pro-lifers and for the organization that is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in the world: National Right to Life.

But to know that, the Milbanks of this world would actually have to know pro-lifers. Just guessing, I suspect having a genuine conversation with NRLC President Carol Tobias is not high on his to-do list.