August 8, 2014

Kevin Drum Doubts That ‘Anti-Abortion Activists Really Think Abortion Is Murder’

The left constantly and falsely characterizes the right, particularly those sympathetic to Tea Party-related causes, for their alleged incivility, racism, bigotry, nativism, blah-blah-blah.

This stereotype apparently drives Kevin Drum’s contention, expressed at at Mother Jones, that Americans who say the believe that abortion is murder really don’t feel that abortion is murder. After all, even the most passionate of abortion opponents generally engage in orderly protests, counsel guilt-ridden women who have had abortions, and work calmly and persistently to change abortion law and promote a culture of life. To Drum, the fact that they don’t go ballistic upon learning of each and every abortion must somehow mean they don’t really care that much, and — get this — that their opposition to abortion is really the product of sexual prudishness (bolds are mine):

How Many People Really, Truly Believe That Abortion Is Murder?


Do anti-abortion activists really think abortion is murder? Or is their opposition merely an expression of their broad discomfort with modern sexual and gender mores? Ed Kilgore concedes that the belief in abortion as murder is often sincere, but if that’s the case, how do you explain Rep. Steve DesJarlais (R-TN)?

… I guess I don’t share Kilgore’s befuddlement, since I’ve never really believed that much of anyone really, truly thinks that abortion is murder. If you look at actions, rather than words, it just doesn’t add up. Lots of people oppose abortion, but with very few exceptions, they very plainly don’t react to it the same way they react to a genuine murder. Their emotional response gives the game away, even if they’ve convinced themselves otherwise intellectually.

… So don’t tell me that all the conservative Christians in DesJarlais’ district believe that abortion is murder. They may say they believe it. They may even sincerely think they believe it. But they don’t.

As of when this post was written DesJarlais led his oppoent Jim Tracy by a few dozen votes.

Where to begin with Drum? Obviously, generalizing to an entire nation of about 230 million adults based on the roughly 35,000 people who appear to have supported DesJarlais is ridiculous. But let’s look at his “emotional” argument anyway.

The emotional response to abortion certainly has an element of anger, but it also has a heavy component of sorrow. The sadness is for a life snuffed out before birth; for a mother who very often has given into intense family, spousal, and/or partner pressure to do what she really didn’t want to do; and a society that has devolved into enabling and even encouraging all of this to happen. We can argue over whether anger should be a more significant component in the mix, but the fact that it’s downplayed compared to circumstances involving murders of very young children within a year or two after they were born proves nothing about a person’s convictions about abortion being murder.

However, it probably does say something about their willigness to follow through on their convictions: It has been true for decades that “A majority of Americans think abortion is murder, but more than two-thirds think the decision to have one must be left to a woman and her doctor.” So if Kevin Drum was criticizing many Americans for condoning murder as long as they don’t have to be around to witness it, he might have a point. That said, pro-aborts have successfully intimidated many Americans, especially men, into thinking that it’s none of their business, and ruthlessly go after anyone in social and workplace settings who dares to differ from that stay-away outlook.

But Drum isn’t arguing that the difference between belief and follow-through has to do with politically correct pressure.

He’s saying the vast majority of those who claim to believe that abortion is murder — remember, he wrote that “I’ve never really believed that much of anyone really, truly thinks that” — are really sexually repressed hypocrites. What pathetic, insulting horse manure, Kevin.

Cross-posted at


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