Tag Archives: Abortion

Abortion could be topic one in 2012

Abortion, which generates marches every year but has not been a real campaign issue in ages, could very well find itself toward the top of the issues list in the 2012 election.

A couple of weeks ago a reader here sent me a link to this column in Salon, in which Sady Doyle is particularly critical of one element in a U.S. House Republican bill, H.R. 3, more commonly referred to as the “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act.”

That element was one that would essentially redefine rape. Instead of exemptions from the law provided for those who are raped, they would have to be victims of “an act of forcible rape.”

That, according to Doyle, meant those who were drugged or unconscious, coerced, statutorily raped or an adult incest survivor would not get federal funding to get an abortion. She said about 70 percent of those raped wouldn’t qualify.

That particular element was pulled from the bill, so I mistakenly thought the abortion issue was kind of likely to drop into the background again. I was wrong. For one thing, the overall bill is still an issue.

Then there are the states.

In Texas the state Senate approved a bill that would require women to have a sonogram and hear the baby’s heartbeat before having an abortion.

Indiana is mulling new restrictions.

In South Dakota legislators set aside a bill that proponents said was designed to protect people who kill in defense of an unborn child, because opponents said it could put abortion providers at risk. Proponents said the bill had more to do with “self-defense,” as in if someone was attacking a pregnant woman.

Even Justin Bieber is getting in trouble for his answer to a question about abortion.

More likely to have an impact to us locally, since I don’t think the Washington Legislature is likely to jump into the issue anytime soon, is what impact what has already happened will have in 2012.

In Slate, David Weigel writes:

Abortion rights activists, whose relevance had been waning during elections fought over the war in Iraq and the Great Recession, have found a toehold in politics again. The strategy has three parts.

1) Wait for the pro-life movement, now at an apex of political power, to do something stupid.

2) Pounce on the stupid thing that it just did.

3) Repeat.

I believe, in fact, that the “1,2,3” strategy is a pretty easy method to follow. If your party or faction is in the minority, just wait for your opponent to do something stupid, because it is an inevitable truth that it will happen.

The energy spawned by the Tea Party was fervent during the last two years, but over the long term I have seen little that generates more emotional reaction than abortion. On both sides of the issue the passion is intense. Should this issue continue to have legs, and if you read the Slate piece it looks like Democrats hope it will, you could be getting your first glimpse of what you will talking most about next year.