Tuesday, August 28, 2012

George Neumeyer says it so I don't have to

I've had many, many thoughts about the Todd Akin situation and have thought about posting them here but have been a bit busy with normal life recently so haven't gotten around to it. The short version is that I'm on Todd Akin's side; I'm sorry he slipped up by saying something distracting and possibly false which has provoked a feminist feeding frenzy. I think the Republicans leaping forward to burn him at the stake are bad news and bode ill for the future of both the Republican party and our country. He sounds like a good candidate, the kind of principled pro-lifer we need more of, I applaud his intestinal fortitude in staying in the race, and I hope he wins. Bill Luse has a great post about what has come out of the Akin situation. I recommend it. It was from Bill's post that I learned about this great article by George Neumeyer. A few choice quotations:
We heard this week a lot about "insensitivity" to violence from establishment elites who blithely accept violence in the womb. We heard gasps about dangerously narrow definitions of "rape" from defenders of Bill Clinton (who surely appreciated Akin's "legitimate" distinction if no one else did) and from apologists for Roman Polanski, who, as Whoopi Goldberg once asserted, never engaged in "rape-rape."
In a culture that panders to pro-abortion feminists like Sandra Fluke, thought crimes always rank higher than real ones. Words, not deeds, drive pols from public life. So Akin has to go. He simply harbors the wrong thoughts and no apology will be sufficient from him until he changes his position on abortion. Beneath all the hysterical extrapolations from his remark, which grew wilder and wilder as the days passed, lay that essential demand: approve of killing unborn children conceived under circumstances of rape or be deemed "anti-woman." (emphasis added)
This culture of hectoring explains why Mitt Romney rushed to the cameras upon hearing Akin's remark to pronounce abortion in those cases "appropriate." In a rotten culture, proof of one's "civilized" bona fides comes from such shameless pandering. 
An authentically conservative party would find Romney's unprincipled position far more chilling than Akin's gaffe. If unborn children gain or lose their right to life depending upon the circumstances of their conception, then the party has already conceded that that right doesn't exist. Ronald Reagan understood the implications of that concession and never wavered in his defense of the right to life of all unborn children, not just some of them.Instead of rejecting this media-determined culture of empty and opportunistic outrage, which rests on nothing more than poisonous Planned Parenthood-style propaganda, panicky GOP officials reinforced it this week by treating Akin as a monstrous leper. His stupid remark was thereby turned into a supposedly wicked one and treated as a great crisis for the party.
Even from a narrowly strategic standpoint, the frothing made little sense. Without even bothering to consult grassroots Missouri conservatives who elected him or even find out if they had a viable plan B, RNC officials called for Akin to be obliterated and ruled out any future money to him. Didn't it occur to anybody that he might stay in the race, in which case these fulminations would simply serve to hand victory to the Dems before the race even began? For all the talk about "pragmatism" and "diplomacy" this week from country club Republicans, they didn't display any towards a candidate who won a primary fair and square.  
If social conservatives had any doubt as to their disposable status in the party -- which they shouldn't , since they have been treated like fodder for years -- they can add the hair-trigger purging of Akin to their list of complaints. 
Preach it, George. Somber thoughts, but thoughts that social conservatives need to be thinking. And I, for one, refuse to be fodder.


Gyan said...

"approve of killing unborn children conceived under circumstances of rape"

Unborn children?. Does a few days old embryo mean a "child"?.
Suppose, a raped woman immediately takes one of those emergency contraceptive drugs that stop implantation, then whatever be one's theological opposition, politically, we ought to let the woman and her family run the risk of damnation, if any.

In a country where partial birth abortion is not an automatic no-no and even the President has voted not to ban them, it is simply a waste of time, energy and votes to focus on rape exception.

Lydia McGrew said...

You are showing your ignorance of the entire state of play here, the state of the politics, the law, everything.

First of all, to clear this question out of the way, so it does not seem that I am evading it, yes, I, like all pro-lifers, am committed to the full humanity of the newly-conceived child, even (shock) one that is a "few days old." Allegedly, so is Governor Romney, for that matter.

As far as so-called "emergency contraception," it has more than one possible mechanism, depending upon the stage in the woman's cycle during which she takes it and whether conception has actually occurred before she takes it. One of those mechanisms for some of the EC drugs (some more plausibly than others, with Ella being the worst) is possible prevention of implantation, due to both the dosage, the nature of the drugs (especially in Ella), and the fact that the woman is taking it without regard to the time of her cycle.

Ethically, I oppose giving Ella at all or giving the other drugs when a woman is past a certain number of days in her cycle so that the mechanism in question is unlikely to be prevention of ovulation, unless she has other evidence that she has not yet ovulated at the time.

However: If you think that the controversy to which Neumeyer refers concerning a "rape exception" is about giving a woman these drugs after a rape, you are ignorant. The phrase "rape exception" in political discourse refers to an exception *for surgical abortion* after a known pregnancy. A rape exception in a law means that a woman can abort a child conceived in rape even when she would not be permitted to have an abortion for a child not conceived in rape.

Akin believes this should not be allowed, and the Democrats are using the kerfuffle over Akin to demand that all Republicans approve of such an exception. For surgical abortion.

Lydia McGrew said...

As for "wasting votes" by "focusing on the rape exception," I would remind you that Akin was asked about that exception in an interview. It is not the pro-lifers who have come out making this a focus of the campaigns but rather the pro-aborts, with their insistence on characterizing anyone as a kook and a nutball who does not agree with that exception--which Neumeyer rightly characterizes as "killing unborn children" depending on the circumstances surrounding their conception.

If by "focusing on" that exception you mean "refuse to give into this bullying and take the position that such children should be legally killed" then go pound sand. We'll "focus on it" all we wish.

Beyond that, let me add: Such things do have practical consequences even in the present political milieu, because they affect funding. Pro-lifers such as Akin and Ryan have tried to limit federal funding for abortions for women claiming to have been raped. If, however, the official position of the Republican party comes to be that the rape exception is a good one, it will become even less likely that any Republican will try to restrict such funding ever again. Let me add that in the Reagan and Bush, Sr., administration the Hyde amendment guaranteed that such exceptions were _not_ included in the federal funding ban. It was only during the Bush, Jr., administration that federal funding for abortions was expanded in that way. Since the GOP platform still does not officially approve of killing such children, it at least remains a formal possibility that the funding situation might revert to the status quo ante. The current trend, however, which social conservatives should note and oppose, is in the opposite direction, with the hysteria over Akin feeding that trend.

Lastly, as Neumeyer so deftly points out, if it's a matter of being strategic to win the Senate, throwing Akin under the bus is a stupid move. So please don't bug me with parrot-talk about "wasting votes" as if somehow we are being frugal with our votes by throwing out Akin.

Not that your comment has any clear target in terms of political behavior anyway. I'm just trying to cover the bases.

Gyan said...

I admit to my ignorance and I thank you for clarifying these points.

I still think that, politically, the pro-lifers should admit the possibility of (very) early termination of rape-induced pregnancy through emergency contraception.

It may be logically inconsistent and theologically non-complaisant but could be politically wise--not in sensing to winning most votes but in sense of an achievable compromise

Lydia McGrew said...

Pro-lifers should not advocate or admit the ethical nature of something that is not ethical. It is not ethical to take so-called "emergency contraception" without regard to the time of month at which a woman is taking it.

Pro-lifers therefore shouldn't say, "Oh, we're just fine with this."

It would be a different matter for a pro-lifer to vote for a law prohibiting surgical abortions but that didn't happen to address the issue of so-called "emergency contraception." To endorse and even press for such a law would not need to involve saying that the use of such pills is morally okay, nor would it preclude the possibility of addressing that use in later legislation.

I'm sure the vast majority of pro-lifers, myself included, would be dancing in the street if we could get a) the decisive overturning of Roe v. Wade and b) state laws banning all surgical abortions.

If you think any pro-choicer in the world would call that an "achievable compromise," you are flatly wrong. Any pro-choicer is pro-choice about surgical abortion and would consider that to be a bizarre and extreme law which he will fight to the death.

The idea that we stand to gain anything whatsoever by admitting the ethical nature of the present use of "emergency contraception" (which is given with respect to the time of sexual intercourse, not with respect to the time of a woman's ovulation) is incorrect. Plenty of pro-lifers spend most of their time addressing surgical abortion; if in the process they get asked about "emergency contraception," they should answer forthrightly, intelligently, and morally, regardless of the consequences.

There is nothing to be gained by inconsistency or moral confusion.

ReformedScholar said...

I think Abortion shouldn't be allowed under any circumstance. The intrinsic value of Human life far exceeds these kind of horrible circumstances, plus, it is not the Child's fault for the event. I hope to write a big paper on this subject because I think it is the most important issue of this upcoming election.

ReformedScholar said...

I do think also, there are some good arguments against Abortion from a Rawlsian theory of Justice.