Politics & Policy

Of Course There’s Such a Thing as an ‘Abortion Enthusiast’

Xavier Becerra speaks at the Democratic National Convention in 2016. (Mike Segar/Reuters)
The description fits not just Xavier Becerra, but most Democrats in Congress.

On Monday, I wrote about Joe Biden’s decision to tap Xavier Becerra, an unqualified abortion enthusiast, as his secretary of health and human services. For deeming Becerra an enthusiast of the procedure, I received considerable pushback from some readers on Twitter.

To call Becerra a zealous crusader for abortion was “vitriolic,” “irresponsible,” and “incorrect,” and I had outed myself as a “drooling mouth breather” and “ghoul,” per these critics. Some suggested I had unfairly smeared all pro-choicers as enthusiasts, while others argued that there was “no such thing” as an abortion enthusiast.

To those who read the piece, it should have been obvious that I was attributing enthusiasm to Becerra, not everyone who shares his general approach to the issue. As for the suggestion that there’s “no such thing” as an abortion enthusiast, well, that’s simply not true. After all, there exists an organization called “Shout Your Abortion” that encourages women to, well, shout about their abortion without “sadness, shame or regret.” Unreservedly, it declares that “Abortion helps countless people live their best lives. We are the proof.” These certainly don’t sound like the sober sentiments of advocates who view abortion as a dilemma or necessary evil.

Michelle Wolf, the comedienne who saw her star briefly rise after she took the brave and unorthodox step of targeting President Trump during her routine at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, is similarly gung-ho about the procedure. Take the ghastly “Salute to Abortion” to which she dedicated part of one of the ten episodes of her since-canceled Netflix show. In a quasi-religious ceremony, Wolf struts across the stage wearing red, white, and blue parade attire and an enormous grin. Accompanied by a miniature marching band, Wolf announces, somewhat uncreatively, “Abortion, I salute you!” before going on to call it “a great deal” to cheers from the audience. (Wolf is not alone among celebrities: In a December 2016 podcast appearance, actress Lena Dunham infamously admitted that she wished she could say she’d had an abortion, before extolling the “bravery” and “self-knowledge” of women who had.)

Abortion exaltation isn’t confined to fringe activists and comedians, either; it’s widespread among mainstream Democratic officials. Take for instance the median position of Senate Democrats. In February, only three Democrats in the upper chamber — Bob Casey, Joe Manchin, and Doug Jones — voted for cloture on Ben Sasse’s Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would merely have “prohibit[ed] a health care practitioner from failing to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.” For the vast majority of federal officeholders in the Democratic Party, it is not enough that abortion is de facto legal at any stage of a pregnancy. They don’t want to merely leave women’s options open; they want to protect and encourage one option above all the others. That isn’t grudging acceptance; it’s reverence.

For his part, Becerra is not just of the opinion that abortion should be legal at any stage of development, for any reason. He believes that the opposite view is so outrageous that state power should be used to persecute those who hold it. In 2016, he voted against a bill meant to protect the conscience rights of health-care providers by barring federal, state, and local governments from punishing those who refused to “perform, refer for, pay for, or otherwise participate in abortion.” Later, as California attorney general, he overcharged pro-life activists who exposed Planned Parenthood’s fetal-tissue business, in an abuse of power that offended even left-wing outlets such as the Los Angeles Times and Mother Jones.

Even the First Amendment is less important to Becerra and other California Democrats than abortion rights. When the state legislature passed a law requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to distribute government-produced pro-choice literature to women who showed up at their doorsteps, Becerra faithfully enforced it in clear contravention of the Constitution he was sworn to support and defend. Predictably, this led to his being rebuked at the Supreme Court.

I wish that my critics were right to assert that there’s “no such thing” as an abortion enthusiast. If that were the case, not only would audiences refrain from clapping when real ghouls such as Michelle Wolf “salute” the procedure, but pro-choice officeholders would be far less absolute in their positions, and less exacting in their pursuit of sanctions for pro-lifers. Unfortunately, the truth is that the Democratic Party is more than just the willing home of abortion enthusiasts; it’s dominated by them.

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