The Corner

Law & the Courts

Vetoing a ‘Heartbeat Abortion Ban’ Has Not Won Kasich Any Reprieve from the Left

There is a tendency on the left to insinuate that conservative ideas are equally if not more dangerous when they are moderated, and a Washington Post opinion piece by Molly Roberts yesterday is a case in point. Under the headline, “The Abortion Bill John Kasich Just Signed Is a Bigger Threat Than the One He Didn’t,” Roberts argues that the bill most hazardous to women is actually one that bans abortions after 20 weeks, not the one that Kasich vetoed that would have banned abortion after a heartbeat is detected (usually around six weeks).

To a casual observer, it may seem that Kasich chose the more moderate approach by signing only the 20-week ban, yet Roberts argues that less conservative measures are also extremist because they are a slippery slope to more conservative measures. She writes, “At the moment, incrementalist bills are the real risk Roe faces.”

This is the same logic that made various writers argue that Ted Cruz or even Marco Rubio were “more dangerous” than Donald Trump. The idea was that more mainstream conservatives pose a greater threat because they are tricking America by seeming reasonable.

This sleight of hand allows the Left to always argue that Republicans are extremists, as long as they do anything that is conservative. If a law is a sharp move to the right, it is denounced as “extreme.” If a law is more moderate, then the Left can describe it as a ploy that is actually more dangerous.

The point is that conservative positions cannot be tolerated, so that even the less extreme option can be painted as the rising tide of extremism. This holds true even when an anti-abortion governor with an anti-abortion legislature vetoes anti-abortion legislation.

And that is how Roberts paints the 20-week ban, which polls have consistently found a majority of Americans support, as a “menacing” victory for “anti-abortion absolutists.”