By Dave Andrusko
New York Times columnist David Brooks is the kind of “conservative” places like PBS love to tout. He challenges few liberal orthodoxies (in most cases, he agrees) but allows PBS to check the “we-have-a-conservative-in-house” box.
But it is no less true that on occasion Brooks is positively brilliant. For example, “The Moral Bucket List” from which I learned a great deal.
In his latest column, Brooks is once more brilliant. But more importantly, he also challenges the pro-abortion orthodoxy which has become a kind of idolatry for Democrats. Starting with leadership, Democrats now dutifully worship at the secular throne of abortion on demand throughout the entire pregnancy.
The price for this absolutism, however, is to render them profoundly out of step with most Americans—be they Republicans, Independents, and even many-to-most Democrats!
Brooks’s column takes the form of a letter:
To: Democratic Party Leaders
From: Imaginary Democratic Consultant
Re: Late-Term Abortions
His thesis is found in his first paragraph:
Last week I watched as our senators voted down the Republican bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks. Our people hung together. Only three Democrats voted with the other side. Yet as I was watching I kept wondering: How much is our position on late-term abortions hurting us? How many progressive priorities are we giving up just so we can have our way on this one?
This “Imaginary Democratic Consultant” [IDC]makes any number of unassailable points. For example, as pro-life “withered” on the Left, it blossomed on the conservative side of the political aisle.
Democrats kowtow to the Planned Parenthoods, NARALs, and EMILY Lists of this world which provide massive amounts of dollars but not the votes that Republicans receive because they are overwhelmingly pro-life.
Why? Simply because single-issue pro-lifers, the ICD/Brooks writes,
consider the killing of the unborn the great moral issue of our time. Without pro-life voters, Ronald Reagan never would have been elected. Without single-issue voters who wanted pro-life judges, there would never have been a President Donald Trump.
It is a measure of the dilemma Democrats find themselves in that most online responses to his column hated Brooks’s argument. Even a cursory read shows us that what they offer is a kind of seamless garment of the Left on steroids.
While you can have lots and lots and lots of issues that are “progressive,” the hub out of which everything else must radiate must be abortion extremism. The argument, flimsy as it is, is that no other issue can compete in importance with the “right to control our reproductive lives” for 51% of the population. Never mind that women are more pro-life than men. For ideological purposes, “women” are always treated as if they are a pro-abortion monolith.
The “letter” to Democratic Party Leaders warns, “We need to acknowledge our vulnerability here.” Unalterable support for abortions up to (and way past) 20 weeks is a losing proposition in the face of what Emma Green wrote about in The Atlantic –“Science Is Giving the Pro-Life Movement a Boost: Advocates are tracking new developments in neonatal research and technology—and transforming one of America’s most contentious debates.”
The IDC/Brooks writes
We’re learning how cognitively active fetuses are. A researcher from Britain recently found that fetuses prefer to look at face-like images while in the womb. Early in the pregnancy they can recognize and distinguish between tastes. Late in the term they can recognize words, tunes, languages. They seem to begin crying, for example, by the 28th week. It could be that one of the current behaviors that future generations will regard as most barbaric is our treatment of fetuses.
As important as all this issue, there is this political factor which makes pro-abortion leaders tremble. [The underlines are mine.]
We also shouldn’t take millennial voters for granted. Boomers saw the pro-choice movement as integral to their feminism. Millennials do not. In 1991, 36 percent of young voters thought abortion should be legal in all circumstances; now only 24 percent do. Young voters don’t like the Republican total ban. But they don’t like our position, either. Moreover, young pro-choice voters are much more ambivalent or apathetic than young pro-life ones.
The IDC/Brooks conclusion for Democrats who are not wholly in thrall to Planned Parenthood and NARAL, truly ought to be the last and decisive word:
I’m asking us to rethink our priorities. What does America need most right now? One of our talking points is that late-term abortions are extremely rare. If they are extremely rare, why are we giving them priority over all of our other issues combined?
Exactly. The evasive answer is that these late abortions are necessary because the baby is dying or will die soon after birth, or because continuing the pregnancy poses a threat to the physical health of the mother. As I have written before, these are canards recycled from the failed attempt to stop the ban on partial-birth abortions.
Overwhelmingly women abort late in pregnancy because they: are unmarried with other children; put off deciding; have issues with depression and substance abuse, or; have relationship issues. And this courtesy of the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion movement’s in-house think tank.
Will Democrats listen? Very unlikely. Politically they sold their souls for the gobs of money the Abortion Establishment can raise, a Faustian bargain if ever there was one.
That this cynical bargain has resulted in an almost unparalleled position of weakness has been, is, and likely always will be ignored by Democrats.