Jonah’s column on Goldwater revisionism is very good. The line about how Goldwater’s wife may have influenced his views on social issues took me back to the best Goldwater biography available — the one by Lee Edwards, published in 1995. Lee was a veteran of the 1964 campaign and admired Goldwater. But he also wrote a fair and balanced book that revealed some interesting facts. As late as 1988, Goldwater said he personally opposed abortion. But Lee, based on his own research, reports the following:
When [Goldwater's] daughter Joanne, not yet twenty and still in school, became pregnant with the child of her intended husband and told her father that she did not want to have the child, Goldwater said, “I’ll take care of it.” He arranged for Joanne to fly back to Washington and have a then-illegal abortion (it was 1955) in the converted dining room or a large three-story house in the suburbs. “I just want to prevent anyone from going through that,” says Joanne Goldwater, who admits that all three of her daughters have had abortions.
Given this family pattern, it is not surprising that Goldwater ultimately assumed a pro-abortion position.