By Dave Andrusko
The New York Times runs something it calls the “Opinion Today” newsletter which (in its typically modest way) the newspaper describes as a place readers can come to to read “influential, thought-provoking commentary” and op-eds, and the like.
I just ran across “Abortion and Big-Tent Feminism,” written by David Leonhardt, who among other things, is a Times columnist.
Leonhardt is talking about an op-ed written by veteran pro-life writer Lauren Enriquez which ran in the Times and about which we commented.
Among many points Ms. Enriquez made is that the feminist movement leadership is foolish to insist that you have to be all-in on abortion on demand to consider yourself a feminist. This exclusionary posture is hugely counter-productive.
Indeed “its radical position on abortion” constitutes the “fatal chink in the armor of the new feminist resistance movement,” she writes. (“Resistance” is the high-falutin’, self-indulgent self-description of those who hate pro-life President Donald Trump.)
Leonhardt’s ultimate conclusion is that he agrees that Enriquez is “right that the progressive movement will be stronger if it’s willing to welcome abortion opponents.” Along the way there are some other very interesting acknowledgements and a couple of misrepresentations.
First and foremost his beginning:
On most issues, women are significantly more liberal than men, young Americans are more liberal than older Americans and African-Americans are more liberal than whites.
But there is at least one big exception — a major issue on which the views of the two sexes, different races and different age groups are fairly similar.
That issue may surprise you: abortion.
(He doesn’t go on to mention that in most polls, women are always more pro-life than men, but…)
So it’s not men=pro-life and women=pro-choice.
Then there is this description of the opposing sides:
Abortion opponents favor laws that deny women control over their own bodies. Proponents of abortion access, meanwhile, favor laws that permit the taking of human life.
To state the obvious, our goal is to protect that second “body”–the unborn child–to persuade women that it is a denial of the liberal values of equal protection and the inherent worthiness of all human life to abort an unborn child.
But, give Leonhardt his due; he doesn’t tap dance around abortion. It is “the taking of human life.”
Third, in reflecting on the truth that there is no split along gender lines on abortion, he writes, “I think this fact highlights the moral complexity of abortion.”
But in telling us he disagrees with “major chunks of her argument,” Leonhardt continues with “and she chose to emphasize that most women favor abortion restrictions (true) rather than that most women favor fairly broad abortion access (also true).”
He’s correct about most women (and men) favoring “abortion restrictions.” But how does Leonhardt draw the conclusion that “most women favor fairly broad abortion”?
He links to a 2015 Gallup poll, one which NRL News Today has written about multiple times.
What does Gallup say? If you dig into the numbers
(1) That a total of 56% believes abortion should be illegal in all circumstances (19%) or legal “only in a few circumstances” (37%).
(2) Asked how satisfied they are with the abortion laws, 13% said they were dissatisfied and wanted less strict laws but 29% said they were dissatisfied and wanted stricter abortions laws!
The only thing that might suggest that “most women favor fairly broad abortion” is their response (and men’s as well) to the totally misleading question about whether the public wants Roe v. Wade “overturned. ”
Having said all this, it’s important to acknowledge that a beehive of pro-abortion activism–the pages of the New York Times–not only published a pro-life op-ed but added a commentary recognizing that women are split on the abortion issue and that it is unproductive (my description) for “feminism” to exclude pro-life feminists.
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