Douthat’s Propaganda

If you go to and click on the “abortion” link, you can look at poll results on abortion going back years. You see that several of them break opinion into four categories, such as these from an ABC News/Washington Post poll from July 2011 (responding to the question “Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases, or illegal in all cases?”):

  • Legal in all cases 19%
  • Legal in most cases 35%
  • Illegal in most cases 30%
  • Illegal in all cases 15%

What this says to me is that 54 percent of those polled are mostly opposed to criminalizing abortion, and 45 percent are mostly in favor of criminalization. A whopping 65 percent are not absolutists one way or another. And note that I’d probably put myself in the 65 percent, because I favor a clear gestational limit on elective abortion, per Roe v. Wade guidelines. That puts me in the “legal in most cases” category.

If we scroll down a little further, we find a Gallup poll from May 5-8, 2011 asking the question, “Do you think abortions should be legal under any circumstances, legal only under certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances?” According to that poll, the breakdown is:

  • Always legal 27%
  • Sometimes legal 50%
  • Always illegal 22%

Here, both groups of “mostlys,” both mostly legal and mostly illegal, are dumped into a middle ground. Gallup’s polls are, apparently, very popular with Fetus People, because they can be used to argue that all those people in the middle are on their side. However we see in other polls that more than half of the mostlys are “mostly legal,” not “mostly illegal.”

This is the game Douthat is playing in his most recent column, which blames “the media” for the recent Komen for the Cure flap. His basic argument is that nearly all Americans want abortion criminalized, and Komen’s crisis wouldn’t have happened had “the media” not stirred it up.

The real story, of course, is that it wasn’t professional news media that slammed down Komen’s decisions, but vast numbers of people who took to Twitter and Facebook and howled bloody murder about it. Komen’s own affiliate chapters were denouncing the decision, for pity’s sake. One suspects a majority of women who care deeply about women’s health issues are pro-choice, since the Fetus People mostly don’t care if women are dropping dead in the streets as long as they aren’t getting abortions.

DougJarvus Green-Ellis argues that Douthat’s whining is typical of someone who has just been spanked. He also says —

The Chunky one cites some poll numbers about how many Americans identify as pro-life, but that’s neither here nor there: reproductive rights has been a great issue for Republicans for 30 years even though polls show that the country has been split, tending slightly towards pro-choice, during that time. The reason is that pro-lifers think that if Republicans wink at them and say “Dred Scott”, they’ll over-rule Roe v. Wade, whereas pro-choicers think that Roe v. Wade will never be overturned (they’re probably right) and, if they have money, that they or their daughter can go to Mexico or Canada if need be (they’re probably right here too)…so pro-lifers vote the issue and pro-choicers don’t.

For this reason, conservatives like Douthat think that all talk of reproductive rights helps their cause, no matter what the MSM says. They’re wrong. Republicans have found a sweet spot on the issue, where their side is fired up and the other side is complacent. But that’s only on abortion. As soon as the debate expands to include access to contraceptives or cancer screenings, the terrain shifts, and probably not to a place that is as favorable for them as the current terrain.

My suspicions are that the “sweet spot” will work only as long as the Fetus People don’t actually get their wish. As long as middle-class American women have access to legal abortions, even if they have to drive to another state, people will more or less put up with the status quo and tolerate the shenanigans of the anti-reproductive rights crowd. As it is, a lot of poor women in states like Mississippi must effectively be cut off from legal abortions, although we’re not hearing much about it.

But, IMO, if middle-class women ever thought they’d lose access to legal abortions entirely, the game would be over, and the Fetus People would find themselves swiftly and eternally cast into political purgatory. What was done to Komen was just a preview.

8 thoughts on “Douthat’s Propaganda

  1. Ending contraception is probably the end-game plan. If this politicization of 3% of PP’s budget trumping 97% of its activities because money is “fungible” (unlike needless or lawless killing paid for in the defense budget, no?) is not a wake-up call, what will it take?

    Republicans don’t want to deal with this fully, and they don’t when in power. It would rob them of a stick with which to beat the Democrats. The Republicans have an extremist wing that wants this, but so far that wing is manageable. If they keep feeding it red meat, though, it will become powerful enough to make real trouble.

    Santorum is the harbinger among the four current clowns, but he is so similar to so much of the party that they either agree or can’t publicly disagree because it would be discomfitting to have to explain it. Let them keep walking on that razor blade.

  2. I’m not sure what the standard procedure is for reporting income with Planned Parenthood and Komen. If it’s quarterly, the next two quarters, the one including this battle, and the cycle which follows, will tell who won & who lost. My gut feeling is that the extra contributions to PP plus the restoration of the grant by Komen will put PP way over their expectations. My gut feeling is that Komen is going to see corporate sponsors back away. Big Time loss of revenue. I hope the blogspot follow up. Money is sincere.

    Rachel Madow made the point that the GOP is anti-contraception. On the face of it, this seems over the top, but if the GOP tries to rope the Catholic vote with the health care issue, they aren’t in the abortion argument, they have tied the party to an anti-birth-control plank. I find myself wondering if that possibility wasn’t a calculated factor when team OBAMA decided an employer, even a religion, has to comply with AHC and allow contraception as an individual choice and a matter of conscience.

    Given that whatever OBAMA is for – the GOP is automatically against, issues are being framed by the administration. Against my better judgement, I’m hopeful that the administration is picking a few doozies.

  3. The Republicans have had the Executive, the Legislative, and the Courts under control for good chunks of the last 30 years – and at the same time.

    I think, if they really wanted to, they could have reversed Roe v. Wade.

    But they realize that that’s political suicide.
    Every non-knuckle-dragging cavewoman, and her mate, would vote against them.

    The way they’ve kept it, they have a convenient cudgel with which to raise their moronic, uncaring, and sociopathic, base.

    Nobody loves abortions.
    But women should be allowed the choice of what goes on in, and with, their bodies.
    This is all a matter of control.
    The misogynistic male morons, and their complicit and compliant mates, want their “little woman’s” fate in their hands.
    “Get Your Bisquits In The Oven, And Your Buns In The Bed,” is their anthem.

  4. Now, I know Mayor Bloomberg has some serious flaws– and also this was probably just money he found under the sofa cushions– but I had to “Woot!” when he personally donated a quarter mil to PP last week. I would love to see the mayor debate Doubt-that on the subject of Planned Parenthood.

  5. One suspects a majority of women who care deeply about women’s health issues are pro-choice,

    Even if they weren’t, Planned Parenthood has more to do with avoiding abortions than performing them. Anyone working from rational principles, who looks for the truth, will figure that out.

    I grew up Catholic; I hated abortion. I still thought Planned Parenthood was a fine organization because they tried to help people avoid pregnancy. Yeah, they performed abortions – that sucked, but, they also tried to prevent ’em, and that counted for something.

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