the party of healing
Amherst Professor of Jurisprudence Hadley Arkes remarks on the unexpected stubbornness of that almost-extinct species, the pro-life Democratic congressman, and the unexpected consequence that "health care" may find itself directed at health:
What the media have not understood is that the removal of abortion could doom the whole bill. For even they seem not to have grasped the truth that dare not speak its name: that the paramount, defining issue for the Democrats now -- the issue that gives scale and place to everything else -- is that commitment to abortion, for any reason, at any time. For people on the Left, that right to abortion has become the “first freedom,” taking the place of freedom of speech and religion. If abortion were explicitly barred from a vast new program of medical care, that would be taken as another, telling sign that the public has refused to accept the legitimacy of abortion as just another form of surgery. For the National Organization of Women, and the Left at the core of the Democratic Party, that kind of judgment is just not to be brooked. If that is the cost of national heath care, they would rather not have it than suffer this moral reproach running to the core of their lives.
'Liberty, equality, fraternity' provided the watchword for the 18th century enlightenment. Today, among the Democrats, the party of the enlightened, the two supreme goods are feticide and fellatio. To voice dissent on either issue, no matter how bashfully, is regarded as sedition. In the right mood Dems will recall their nobler tradition as "pro-family," but in order to make the claim they have camouflaged tolerance of abortion in euphemisms and redefined the family to include any assemblage of mammals that can crawl onto the same mattress at the same time. Small wonder Catholics of the Left mumble the obligatory family pieties as rapidly as possible and try to keep us focused on the big issues ("King Herod may have been wobbly on infanticide, true, but he was staunch in support of employer-funded substance abuse counseling …"). Back to Arkes:
But the calculations distract us from what is truly wrong with this picture. Past the feistiness of Bart Stupak and his gang of Blue Dogs is the hapless, if not witless, condition of the pro-life Democrats and the voters who keep them there. It is the same incoherence that afflicted the pro-life voters who voted to put Bob Casey in the Senate in Pennsylvania. If they were really pro-life, what sense did it make to vote for a man who would help put in control of the Senate or the Congress the party that is radically pro-abortion? If the Bart Stupaks truly regarded the protection of life as the issue that rises above all others, why have they been willing to make themselves agents for putting into power the party that regards the defense of abortion as its first, controlling principle?
Ricky Ray Rector was unavailable for comment.
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Posted by: B_Anthony -
Nov. 03, 2009 12:04 PM ET USA
As a Blue Dog (conservative Democrat) myself, I applaud Bart Stupak, Ben Nelson and the others fighting for life from within the Democratic Party. They need our prayers and support. Abortion only will lose its place as the "first, controlling principle" when we show party leaders that enough of us on "their side" disagree with them on that issue.
Posted by: peggyann -
Oct. 31, 2009 9:15 AM ET USA
I would applaud them if I could believe them. Simply put, I don't. Listening to a Stupak interview recently, in his confusion of speech, I got the distinct impression that his stand against funding for abortion is a weak and shaky one which could easily be blown off in exchange for other reform favors. Typically politician-like he speaks from both sides of his mouth. I will continue to urge him to insist on taking the abortion funding out of the bill.
Posted by: garedawg -
Oct. 30, 2009 9:14 PM ET USA
It seems to me that Mr. Arkes should be congratulating and encouraging those few brave pro-life Democrats, instead of raking them over the coals. Neither of the two major parties are based on any principles, and if, by the grace of God, there are pro-lifers in the Democratic party, we should be applauding that fact.