The RP‘s First Defense
[The RP’s Provocation; Artur Davis’ Rebuttal #1; Rod Jetton’s Rebuttal #2; John Y. Brown, III’s Rebuttal #3; Ron Granieri’s Rebuttal #4; Robert Kahne’s Rebuttal #5; Artur Davis’ First Response; Michael Steele’s Rebuttal #6]
This debate has sparked so many wonderfully different tangents. (That, or I am just high in the moment of Tom Brady moving up my list of Pretty Boys I Begrudgingly Admire. And no, it wasn’t for leading my beloved Pats to the Super Bowl, but rather for admitting before 40 million Americans that “I sucked today, but our defense saved us.”)
I want to unfurl one of the threads here; and of course, in the spirit of my political recovery mission to grab onto any third rail issue I can, I want to address an subject alluded to by both Michael Steele and Rod Jetton:
Despite my own über-feminism — the product of the extraordinary influences of brilliant women from my mom to my sis to Mrs. RP to the RPettes — I’ve always been quite conflicted on the issue. Yes, ultimately, I believe that the woman should have the right to make the awful decision, but I’ve never viewed it as an expression of empowerment, or even “reproductive freedom.” I’ve simply concluded that if abortion were illegal, women would still have them, and too many girls and poor women would die or suffer serious injury at the hands of illegal abortionists.
My favorite modern author expressed this position eloquently in his extraordinary collection of non-fiction essays, Consider the Lobster:
In this reviewer’s opinion, the only really coherent position on the abortion issue is one that is both Pro-life and Pro-choice.
Given our best present medical and philosophical understandings of what makes something not just a living organism but a person, there is no way to establish at just what point during gestation a fertilized ovum becomes a human being. This conundrum, together with the basically inarguable soundness of the principle “When in irresolvable doubt about whether something is a human being or not, it is better not to kill it,” appears to me to require any reasonable American to be Pro-Life.
At the same time, however, the principle “When in irresolvable doubt about something, I have neither the legal nor the moral right to tell another person what to do about it, especially if that person feels that s/he is not in doubt” is an unassailable part of the Democratic pact we Americans all make with one another, a pact in which each adult citizen gets to be an autonomous moral agent; and this principle appears to me to require any reasonable American to be Pro-Choice.
A friend of mine recently became pregnant at a very difficult time in her life, but ultimately concluded to have the child. Frankly, she’s a hero, and her decision should be celebrated.
And so is Mrs. Tebow. She gave birth to Tim under unimaginably difficult and painful circumstances, and the world is so much better off as a result.
I would support the right of my friend and Mrs. Tebow to have an abortion is that was their decision. But that they chose life is something quite remarkable and worthy of our praise.
That’s why I don’t know why my fellow pro-choice progressives get angry at commercials like the Tebows’ Super Bowl ad that Rod mentioned. “Choose Life” is the ultimate vindication of our political philosphy.
And so I have found yet another reason for liberals to love Tim Tebow.
In Tebow’s brand of evangelical Christianity, we celebrate those women — like his mom — who choose life, instead of demonizing women who make the opposite decision. If we could finally put aside the anger and polarization in this debate, maybe we could finally address as a society an issue with which there is consensus support — reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies.