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Elections

The ‘Right to Choose’ What, Terry McAuliffe?

Then-Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe speaks to volunteers at the Remote Area Medical Clinic in Wise, Va., July 21, 2017. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Driving home yesterday evening, I was listening to the country radio station and generally minding my own business, when I was accosted by an ad for Terry McAuliffe, who’s running for governor as a Democrat here in my home state of Virginia.

The ad touts McAuliffe’s supposed bonafides on education, its primary point being the false claim that Republican Glenn Youngkin wants to cut public-school funding and redirect the money to private schools. Among his many attacks on his Republican opponent, McAuliffe also asserts that Youngkin will take away “a woman’s right to choose.”

Naturally, hearing this prompted me to shout to my entirely empty car, “A woman’s right to choose what?”

In this ad, McAuliffe indulges in one of the laziest arguments for abortion, refusing to name abortion at all, and instead cloaking the issue in fear-mongering euphemism. Youngkin, like any other pro-life candidate or pro-life voter, has no problem with women choosing. The trouble in the case of abortion is the thing being chosen.

It’s far easier for defenders of legal abortion to pretend that pro-lifers are motivated by animosity toward women than it is to defend abortion on its own terms. It’s easier defend some nebulous “right to choose” and invoke female autonomy than it is to acknowledge the reality of abortion and promote it anyway. No one wants to admit that abortion is an act of violence against an innocent human being, an act that likewise harms the women who choose it, and continue advocating it.

Instead, McAuliffe and his fellow Democrats rely on silly euphemisms like this one and hope that voters, filled with unwarranted fear about a Handmaid’s Tale America, will respond accordingly.

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