No, All Pro-Life People Don't Hate Women

No, All Pro-Life People Don't Hate Women

Demonizing almost half of the nation as anti-women is counterproductive and unfair.
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In recent weeks, the Democratic party has made headlines and sparked outrage by announcing that they were willing to fund candidates who oppose abortion rights.

While I appreciate and generally support the central point of this outrage--that an issue as important to many women, especially those from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds, as reproductive freedom is not something on which any purportedly progressive party can compromise--much of the rhetoric surrounding the outrage disturbs me.

The primary point of this outrage, like much of the Left's arguments surrounding abortion, is that to be "pro-life" is to be, automatically and without exception, anti-woman. Not only is that not really a fair statement, it also makes the Left sound smug and uncompromising, which we have been accused of being many times in the past. It also vastly oversimplifies a complicated issue.

Personally, I am pro-choice for many reasons. I know that regardless of whether there are laws preventing it rather than allowing it, many poor and desperate women will attempt to perform abortions anyway, only these would be much more dangerous and would pose much greater threats to the woman's health.

I also think that the point at which an embryo or fetus becomes a human being is a very individual question whose answer is oftentimes derived from one's religious views and that the government has no place in making that determination for all women.

I think the best ways to reduce abortions is to provide aid to struggling women and make birth control and other contraceptives more easily accessible. The best way is certainly not to criminalize something that almost 60% of adults think should be legal in all or most cases.

And, yes, I support a woman's right to bodily autonomy. However, I do not think that dismissing people who identify as "pro-life" as being anti-women is a fair summation of their beliefs or arguments.

To say that people who are not pro-choice are only not so because of a deep-rooted vendetta against women and their liberties is not a fair summation of their beliefs or arguments.

The truth is most people who identify as "pro-life" do not do so out of a desire to deprive women of their rights or out of a desire to control women's lives. Polling suggests that men and women express similar beliefs on abortion, and within my own life, almost all of my friends who are most vocally and passionately anti-abortion are female.

This does not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean that abortion is not still a women's rights issue or that internalized misogyny or outright sexism don't play a role in some individuals' views on abortion.

What it does mean is that those on the Left need a new, more fair, more compassionate response to "I'm opposed to abortion rights" than "WHY DO YOU HATE WOMEN????"

To continue to oversimplify this issue while demonizing almost half of the nation as anti-women is counterproductive and unfair. It only feeds into the Right's narrative of us as being smug.

Cover Image Credit: Wiki Media Commons

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Ilhan Omar Is at Best Foolhardy and at Worst, Yes, Anti-Semitic

Her latest statements seem to lack substance, motivation, or direction.

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I find the case of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to be a curious one.

Specifically, I am referring to the recent controversy over select comments of hers that have generated accusations of anti-Semitism. In all honesty, prior to doing research for this article, I was prepared to come to her defense.

When her comments consisted primarily of "Israeli hypnosis" and monied interest, I thought her wording poor, though not too egregiously deviated from that of most politicians in the current climate of bad behavior. After all, Israeli PACs surely do have a monied interest in the orientation of United States policy in the Middle East. Besides, if President Trump can hypothesize about killing someone in broad daylight and receive no official sanction, I don't see the need for the House of Representatives to hand down reprimand to Rep. Omar for simply saying that Israel may have dealt wrongly, regardless of the veracity of that position.

And yet, seemingly discontent that she had not drawn enough ire, Omar continued firing. She questioned the purported dual loyalty of those Americans who support the state of Israel, while also making claim that the beloved former President Obama is actually not all that different from the reviled current President Trump.

In short, the initial (mostly) innocuous statements about the United States' relation with Israel have been supplanted by increasingly bizarre (and unnecessary) postulations.

Those latest two controversies I find most egregious. Questioning the loyalty of an American citizen for espousing support for a heavily persecuted world religion and in defense of a refuge for practitioners of that self-same religion that has existed as an independent state since 1948, seems, in really no uncertain terms, anti-Semitic.

After all, is it not her own party that so adamantly supports persecuted Palestinians in the very same region? Is it not she and fellow Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) (who is not without her own streak of anti-Semitic controversy) that have rejected challenges to their own loyalty in being ethnically Somali and Palestinian respectively? Is her claim not akin to the "racist" demands that Obama produce proof of his birth in the United States, and the more concrete racism that asserted he truly was not? And (if you care to reach back so far) can her statement not be equated to suggestions that President John F. Kennedy would be beholden to the Vatican as the first (and to date only) Catholic to hold the presidency?

From what I can discern amongst her commentary, in Omar's mind, the rules that apply to her framework on race, ethnicity, religion, and culture as sacred idols above reproach do not extend to her Jewish contemporaries.

Oh, and may I remind you that over 70% of Jewish Americans voted for Hilary Clinton in 2016.

And yet, beyond even this hypocrisy, is the strange disdain Omar suddenly seems to hold for Barack Obama. Even as a non-Democrat, while I can find reason for this, it is still largely perplexing.

To begin with, I recognize that Ilhan Omar is not your prototypical Democrat. She would scoff at being termed a moderate, and likely would do the same to being labeled a traditional liberal. While she doesn't identify as an outright democratic socialist, one would have to be totally clueless to avoid putting her in the company of those who do, such as Tlaib or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

As such, she's bound to have some critical evaluations of President Obama, despite the lionizing that the Democratic establishment has and continues to engage in. Two points still stick out to me as obvious incongruities in her statement, however.

First, Obama and Trump are nothing alike. Again, this coming from someone who does not regularly support either, I can at least attempt to claim objectivity. While Obama might not have been faithful to all the demands of the far-left during his presidency, his position on the political spectrum was far from the extreme bent that Trump has ventured into.

Secondly, there is the style of the two men to consider. While Obama had his share of goofs and gaffes (I still think it somewhat juvenile that he often refused to say "radical Islamic terrorism" when referring to Islamist extremists) he pales in comparison to Trump. Every week Trump has his foot caught in a new bear trap. Obama is enormously tame in comparison.

And in addition to all of that, one must beg the question of Omar's timing. With Republicans emboldened by her controversies and House Democratic leadership attempting to soothe the masses, why would Omar strike out at what's largely a popular figure for those that support her most? There seemed no motivation for the commentary and no salient reasoning to back it up, save that Omar wanted to speak her mind.

Such tactlessness is something that'll get you politically killed.

I do not believe Barack Obama was a great president, but that's not entirely important. I don't live in Ilhan Omar's district; her constituents believe Obama was a great president, and that should at least factor into her considerations. Or maybe she did weigh the negative value of such backlash and decided it wouldn't matter? 2019 isn't an election year, after all. Yet, even if that's the case, what's to gain by pissing off your superiors when they're already pissed off at you?

You need to pick your battles wisely in order to win the war, and I'm highly doubtful Omar will win any wars by pitching scorched-earth tactics over such minute concerns.

Her attitude reminds me not only of that of some of her colleagues engaging obtusely and unwisely over subjects that could best be shrugged off (see the AOC media controversies), but also some of my own acquaintances. They believe not only in the myth of their own infallibility, but the opposition bogeyman conjured by their status in a minority or marginalized group. As the logic goes, "I'm a member of x group, and being so gives me the right to decimate anyone who has any inclination to stand against me in any capacity, tit for tat." So much for civility.

I initially came here to defend Rep. Ilhan Omar, and I still do hold to that in certain cases. The opposition to some of her positions is unwarranted. She is allotted the freedom of speech, as are all Americans.

And yet, in certain other cases she has conducted herself brashly, and, one could argue, anti-Semitically.

All I can say is that I am content living adjacent to Minneapolis, not in it. You'd be hard-pressed to find me advocating for leadership that makes manifest in such impolitic fashion.

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