Re: Governor Perry and Wendy’s Witness

by Will Allen

David, your post excellently summarizes the histrionic reaction of the pro-abortion left to Texas Governor Rick Perry’s comments about the life of Senator Wendy Davis.  Surprisingly, Jonathan Chait offers some worthwhile insights into the kerfuffle in a column for New York magazine.  Notwithstanding Chait’s strongly pro-abortion stance (and his puerile description of Governor Perry as “cartoonishly villainous”), he acknowledges that “Perry is not attacking Davis here. Perry is pointing to her life as a success. His comments are tantamount to a liberal arguing that Ted Cruz’s family history shows why we need more immigration.”

The liberal columnist also displays an understanding of why pro-life activism is consistent with small-government conservatism, refuting the “hands-off-my-body” trope heard from both the left and certain elements of the libertarian right.  As Chait points out, to anyone who believes that human life begins at conception, the protection of a baby inside the womb is no different from the protection of any other innocent life — and is therefore an essential responsibility of even the most limited government:

[Perry is] saying we should force women to give birth even when they don’t want to, because babies born in bad circumstances can be happy anyway. That isn’t an acceptable burden to place on women, in my opinion, but it surely is if you think abortion is murder.

Likewise, liberals often call conservatives hypocritical for wanting to shrink government while expanding government’s power to ban abortion. Except, if you think abortion is murder, then banning abortion is the sort of thing government ought to be able to do, even if it does very little overall. “Stopping murder” is one function of government that even Grover Norquist would endorse. Anti-abortion conservatives aren’t hypocritical, they’re (from the pro-choice standpoint) wrong about what a murder is.


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