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Tuesday, August 16, 2005 

Reframing the Debate

It has been an interesting couple of days in terms of abortion, as there was a story in the Strib and an MPR piece (audio) yesterday. Rew at Power Liberal also linked to an Avedon Carol post considering the "pro-life" position.

There is a serious need within the Democratic party to reframe the debate on abortion. I, for one, am sick and tired of letting the Republicans demonize us because we're for privacy and choice. Republicans, of course, are against both, yet they're not really pro-life either. A typical Republican these days might be anti-choice, pro-war, anti-stem cell, anti-assisted suicide, and pro-death penalty. They often oppose contraception. These positions, taken together, make no sense; they have no consistency as a platform. The GOP can charitably described as pro-birth. Of course, Republicans generally don't care about fertility clinics, where embryos can and are legally destroyed when not needed. Too troublesome to too many people, not worth the political consequences. Thus, Republicans aren't even completely pro-birth.

It's high time for Democrats to start working harder on this issue, and it sounds hopeful that this debate is going on inside Democratic leadership. Democrats should start presenting themselves as the party of life. After all, Dems are often anti-war, pro-stem cell, anti-death penalty, a consistent position. We're against overreaching government restriction of abortion, and in favor of making it safe, legal, and rare. Republicans are all about making it unsafe and illegal, but more necessary.

Finally, we need to stop talking about abortion in the same way. I, myself, am very strongly anti-abortion. I do not support abortion. I think it's wrong. I simply don't believe that abortion is something the government can flat-out ban. I know that this is the position of most pro-choice advocates. This being the case, we can NEVER allow ourselves to be caught saying "I'm pro-abortion" or "I support abortion." The message must always be "I support rights. I support privacy. I support freedom. I'm against abortion."

It's not really about changing our stance. It's about safe, legal, and rare: reframing the debate. As Avedon says: "We are the real pro-life crowd. Don't be afraid to say so."

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