Tag Archives: abortion

‘Litmus test’ must not be a four-letter word

I have long wondered why the term “litmus test” has become a sort of plague to politicians running for offices that hold the power of appointment.

The U.S. Supreme Court, for instance, is going to become a key issue in the 2020 presidential campaign. Namely, the issue will revolve a potential appointment of the next justice on the nine-member court.

The expected Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, will insist he would appoint justices with a record of favoring pro-life litigants who would come before his or her court. Indeed, he’s already got two judicial appointments on the SCOTUS and they certainly seem to fit the bill prescribed by what Trump has said.

The large field of Democratic Party candidates will argue to a person that they want judicial candidates who take a more expansive view of a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.

But no one says they will apply a “litmus test” to determine who they intend to nominate the highest court in the nation.

They dance all over and around the issue. Litmus tests exist on all sorts of issues. They involve capital punishment, sentencing guidelines, drug policy, firearm ownership and, yes, abortion.

We know the types of individuals that presidents would nominate. They telegraph that punch before they deliver it. However, we refuse to hold them accountable on whether they are applying litmus tests on the individuals they are considering for these appointments.

U.S. senators who have the right to confirm or deny these appointments often make their decisions on single issues. Yet they won’t ever acknowledge they have applied a litmus test to the nominee, indicating whether they pass or fail the exam.

This is a circuitous way of saying, I suppose, that we apply litmus tests at every turn.

Why not, then, just call them what we know them to be?

This conservative stands on principle … how about that?

Jeff Leach calls himself a true-blue political conservative, an avid pro-life politician who opposes abortion fervently.

The Plano, Texas, state representative, though, does see the wall that separates conviction from political fanaticism.

Such is the case when he withdrew his support for a piece of legislation that was considered in the 2017 Texas Legislature. Leach co-authored a bill two years ago that would have made abortion a crime, it would have made women who obtained them criminals and would have subjected them potentially to the death penalty for terminating a pregnancy.

He pulled his support for the bill in the just-concluded 2019 Legislature. As he told the Dallas Morning News:

“Very candidly, when I signed onto that bill … I did not understand the criminal implications on the woman and the possibility of that woman being convicted of homicide and subjecting her to the death penalty … I think it’s the wrong direction for the pro-life movement in Texas to be criminalizing women and I decided very strongly not to support it this session. And I’m pro-life through and through and will not apologize for that, but this is the wrong direction for the pro-life movement.”

Well. How about that?

The Morning News asked Leach this question: What would you say to purists or idealists who might call that kind of flexibility cowardice instead of compromise?

“It’s not cowardice or compromise, it’s conviction. I am a conservative through and through … My values are deeply rooted. It’s who I am and political strategy and legislation changes, but my core convictions, my core values do not.”

Read the DMN interview here.

I believe Rep. Leach represents one of the struggles occurring within the Republican Party and the conservative movement over this abortion matter.

Several states have enacted strict laws banning abortion. Some of them have criminalized the act, subjecting women who have to make the most difficult decision imaginable to prosecution. And, yes, the death penalty is in play in some of those instances.

Does a politician who proclaims himself to be fervently pro-life then stand by while a woman who — for whatever reason — cannot carry a pregnancy to full term? Does that politician then want to punish that woman by killing her in the name of the state where she ended the pregnancy?

This kind of legislation has drawn considerable reluctance among some GOP politicians who, like Leach, say they are reaching too far.

State Rep. Leach tilts too far to the right to suit my political tastes. On this matter, though, he is demonstrating a commitment to reason and to a higher principle than legislating punishment for women who face decisions that not a single male human being can ever imagine having to face.

‘Consensual rape’? No such thing, buster

A Republican state lawmaker has joined the ranks of politicians who “misspeak” when they discuss the rape of an individual.

The latest inductee into the Rhetorical Hall of Shame is Missouri state Rep. Barry Hovis, who declared that most rapes occur during dates or when a woman “consents” to it.

Yes, he called it “consensual rape.” The reason for the discussion in the first place is the Missouri Legislature’s action on a bill that outlaws abortion with only one exception: the health of the mother.

Rape or incest don’t qualify as exceptions, under the proposed Missouri law.

Rep. Hovis, of course, was dead wrong in calling an act of violence against a person to be a “consensual” event. Rape is rape. No one “consents” to being sexually assaulted against their will.

Of course, Hovis said he “misspoke”; he added that he doesn’t believe rape is “consensual.”

Too late, bub. The damage is done.

Abortion-ban law blowback: a big surprise

I have to admit to being quite surprised at much of the response to the Alabama Legislature’s decision to ban virtually all abortion in that state.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill into law. Democratic/progressive response has been predictable: Alabama has launched an assault against women’s reproductive rights, the lefties are saying . . . correctly, in my view.

But then there’s been a negative response from the Republican/conservative movement.

Get a load of this from Tomi Lahren, a right-wing commentator and contributor to the Fox News Channel. Lahren calls herself a “pro-choice” conservative who favors limited government involvement in people’s lives. She wrote: “I’m . . . someone that loves the Constitution, I’m someone that’s for limited government. So I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say ‘I’m for limited government, but I think the government should decide what women do with their bodies.'”

Televangelist Pat Robertson said the law is too harsh, too “extreme.” Lahren said it won’t save any lives because it “forces women into more dangerous methods, other states or countries.”

This debate is causing my head to spin. I used to think the abortion divide fell along certain partisan and ideological lines.

The Alabama law has just blurred those differences beyond my ability to recognize them.

Hell freezes over: I agree with Pat Robertson

Hell has frozen over and the sun is going to rise above the western horizon tomorrow morning.

How else to explain that televangelist Pat Robertson and yours truly are on the same page regarding arguably the most emotionally charged issue of our time . . . or any time, for that matter?

Robertson says the Alabama Legislature has “gone too far” in banning abortion in that state. Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill into law earlier today.

Robertson calls the Legislature’s move “extreme.” Indeed, he is right. Imagine that, if you can; he and I agree on something.

The law bans abortion except only when the mother’s health is in peril. Rape victims? Those who are impregnated by their, oh, fathers or uncles or older brothers? They’re out of luck. A doctor who terminates those pregnancies are going to face prison terms of as long as 99 years.

Well, I don’t know yet how to act this late in the day.

I know the sun will rise in the morning. I just hope it comes up on the correct side of the house.

Alabama pushes forward radical abortion bill

Oh, I do hate commenting on abortion or, to borrow the current euphemism, “women’s reproductive rights.”

However, the decision by the Alabama Legislature to make abortion a criminal act deserves a brief comment here.

Alabama’s legislators have made a serious mistake. They have sent to the governor’s desk a bill that would punish doctors with prison terms of as long as 99 years for performing an abortion at any stage of a woman’s pregnancy.

Here’s the worst part of it: The bill makes no exception for women who are impregnated in an act of rape or incest; the only exception is if the woman’s health is in danger.

If Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, signs the bill, it seems to set up a clear challenge eventually of Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States.

Here is a potential consequence of this legislation: We well might see a spike in what is called “back-alley abortions,” where women who cannot carry a pregnancy to full term will seek illegal methods to end the pregnancy. Some of these processes are too gruesome for me to describe in this blog; you know what I’m talking about. The consequences of these hideous acts also are dire in the extreme.

So what does the president of the United States say about this Alabama law? He endorses it as a hedge against what he describes as procedures supported by Democrats who favor “ripping the baby from the mother’s womb” and essentially “executing” the child — which, of course, is a bald-faced lie.

This blog post is going to get some blowback from readers who endorse the Alabama decision. Fine. I’m willing to take the hits.

I am not willing to remain silent while one of our states criminalizes an act that the U.S. Supreme Court has determined to be legal. I would never counsel a woman to obtain an abortion. That is my point. It’s not my business. It is hers alone!

Trump takes demagoguery to shocking level … even for him!

Donald Trump’s shamelessness knows no bounds.

He exhibited it yet again this weekend in Green Bay, Wis., when he accused women and their doctors of committing criminal acts.

The president got all fired up and then told his adoring crowd of Trumpkins that women and their doctors deliver babies, talk about how to care for the baby, wrap the child up — and then decide how to “execute” that child.

Oh, the throng loved it. They cheered the president and booed the scenario. Except that he lied. What he described does not happen!

Yet for this president to continually demagogue the issue of abortion, of whether a woman should be able to choose whether to carry a child to full term simply astonishes many of us beyond our ability to declare our revulsion.

It’s illegal, Mr. POTUS.

The nation does not allow the “execution” of babies. Such a crime would be produce at minimum a life sentence in prison in most states. Yet there he was this weekend, spouting even more outrageous lies.

Donald Trump is the most indecent human being ever to occupy the nation’s highest office.

Not very ‘pro-life’ of this legislator

I am trouble grasping the logic of this proposal by a Texas legislator.

State Rep. Tony Tinderholt, a Republican, wants to criminalize abortion. He wants to charge every woman who terminates a pregnancy with homicide, or murder. He wants, therefore, to subject that woman to the death penalty, which Texas allows for those convicted of murder.

He is a “pro-life” legislator? I don’t get how that computes.

Enter a more reasonable GOP lawmaker, Rep. Jeff Leach of Plano (pictured), who says he won’t allow Tinderholt’s bill to the House of Representatives floor for a full vote among the state’s 150 state representatives.

Leach chairs the Texas House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence. Since announcing his plan to stop House Bill 896, Leach has received threats at his office. The Collin County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the source of those threats.

Yes, this issue is highly sensitive. It pushes hot buttons on folks they possibly didn’t know existed on their person.

As for Tinderholt’s idea of criminalizing a legal medical procedure — which the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled — it doesn’t sound very “pro-life” to kill someone who makes the most difficult decision she ever would make.

This debate over women’s right to choose whether to give birth needs to stay on a more sane track than the one proposed by Rep. Tinderholt.

Thank goodness there exist some sense of reason among Texas Republicans.

Bring it to the middle, candidates

I dislike radicals on both ends of the vast political spectrum.

Yes, that includes the far lefties who at the moment seem to be dictating the direction the Democratic Party appears to be heading. I guess it’s understood that I harbor an intense loathing of those on the far right; no need to elaborate there.

The 2020 presidential campaign is taking shape.

You’ve got the incumbent on side, Donald Trump. Where he stands on that spectrum remains a mystery to me. He is a Republican In Name Only, the RINO in chief. He’s also a serial liar, a self-proclaimed genius and also a self-proclaimed self-made zillionaire; now that I think of it, the latter two items are related directly to the first one. He is an amoral narcissist who possesses zero empathy for the plights of others. He spent his entire pre-political life enriching himself and looks to me as if he governs in the same manner.

I want the president out of office, but you know that already.

As for the Democrats, I tend to tack toward the centrists. I don’t like the far-left rhetoric that comes from Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke . . . and many among the rest of horde of Democrats running for their party’s nomination. That leaves, oh, Amy Klobuchar. Then we have a one-issue hopeful: Jay Inslee.

I remain a devoted centrist. I am a deficit hawk. I want us to remain vigilant in the war against international terror. I favor strong border security (although I do not want to build Trump’s Wall along our southern border). I want to retain the Electoral College system for electing presidents.

On the flip side, I want stronger — not weaker — environmental regulations. I believe Earth’s climate is changing and we need to tackle the crisis head on. I believe transgender Americans deserve to serve in the military if they wish. I support the Affordable Care Act and believe the U.S. Constitution gives women the right to choose whether to terminate their pregnancy and whether same-sex couples have the right to be married.

My hope over time is that we can move the dialogue from the fringe and toward the center.

I am not confused. I once was a radical lefty. The older I get the more shades of gray I see on many issues.

It starts, too, with electing someone who appreciates the majesty of the office to which he or she will be elected. The guy we’ve got now needs to go.

Oh, and then there’s this ‘infanticide’ matter

While the nation gnashes its teeth over Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s alleged posing in a racist picture that appeared in his medical school yearbook, there this other matter.

Northam went on a radio talk show and appeared to suggest that “infanticide” is an acceptable medical practice if it is done a woman who gives birth consults with physicians, clergy and her spouse.

Wow! I cannot stomach the idea of anyone failing to condemn such an act.

At issue is whether a third-trimester abortion should occur while the mother is “dilating,” and “ready to give birth.”

Northam, whose other day job is as a physician, has uttered a disgusting and disgraceful policy view.

Those of us who are “pro-choice” but “anti-abortion” should be repulsed in the extreme.