The Corner

Elections

NARAL President Says Asking about Abortion Is ‘Disinformation’

NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue speaks at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pa., July 27, 2016. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Earlier this week, Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL — one of the most powerful abortion-rights lobbying groups in the country — suggested on Twitter that asking presidential candidates to explain their stance on abortion is “intentional disinformation.”

The questions Hogue alludes to have come in response to the actions of Democratic lawmakers over the last several months: explicitly legalizing abortion-on-demand after fetal viability, expanding exceptions to allow abortion throughout the entire third trimester, defining abortion at any point in pregnancy as a fundamental right, removing legal protections of any kind from fetuses at all stages of development, and rejecting legislation that requires doctors to provide medical care to infants born alive after attempted abortion procedures.

Asking 2020 Democratic candidates whether they support the right to abortion throughout pregnancy, then, can’t really be called “intentional disinformation.” It is instead a fairly standard question presumably designed to give politicians an opportunity to articulate or clarify their policy positions on an issue Americans care about.

Hogue’s desire to dismiss any such relevant policy questions is telling. If even she — who openly favors placing no limitations whatsoever on abortion rights — would prefer that politicians refuse to answer this question rather than justify their support for abortion until birth, she must fear that the argument for such a regime could fall flat.

If, as NARAL and its allies argue, there’s nothing whatsoever wrong with allowing women to “terminate a pregnancy” (read: end the life of an unborn human being) even when that unborn child could survive outside the womb, surely there should be no problem with allowing Democrats to articulate their support for such a belief. In fact, one would think abortion-rights activists would prefer that their politicians take the chance to do so.

Instead, Hogue wants them to reject the question out of hand and retreat onto an easier playing field. That’s because no one, including the most vociferous abortion-rights supporters, wants to defend abortion for what it is. They want to reset the terms of the debate. Defending euphemisms like “women’s rights” and “individual health-care decisions” is easy. Defending the right to let a woman have a viable unborn child killed moments before birth is much less so.

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