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Why the Hell Does Anyone Think Democrats Should Embrace Anti-Abortion Rhetoric?

The "abortion debate" isn't about finding a way to respect two competing ideological beliefs—it's a question of whether women should have full access to healthcare.

by Callie Beusman; illustrated by Lia Kantrowitz
May 12 2017, 4:01pm

The past month or so has seen the proliferation of a certain breed of op-ed, spawning forth with alarming rapidity to play devil's advocate for God: What if, writers in basically every major outlet have pondered, the Democratic party became more accepting of anti-abortion arguments?

As several of these articles note in the first paragraph, the Democratic Party is currently in deep trouble, having lost of the House, the Senate, and the White House to a pack of conservative sociopaths. A potential solution for this, they invariably continue, would be to welcome Democrats who are opposed to abortion into the fold. This would appeal to red state voters, which is undeniably necessary, and to progressive Catholics who can't bring themselves to vote for a candidate who supports abortion access.

My personal belief is that it's laughably hypocritical to claim you care about gender equality while supporting policies that would force women to carry pregnancies to term against their will, especially considering the atrocious state of maternal health and maternity leave in the US. With that said, I can understand where the argument is coming from, in general: We are losing, and we can't afford to have an ideological litmus test! It makes sense when you put it like that. However, "the abortion debate," as it's often called, isn't just ideological, and much of the hand-wringing about accepting "pro-life" Democrats obscures that fact—as though indulging people who say abortion should be illegal won't have terrifying policy repercussions. It also fails to engage with the dangerous effects of banning abortion: that women face arrest, injury, and death when they're forced to resort to unsafe and illegal alternatives.

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