Even stranger than a few Democrats shyly admitting they may not embrace abortion as boldly as usual just to keep their jobs was the reaction to the admission that politicians like to politick, and will do anything to keep or gain votes. The outrage showed a severe lack of understanding, not only of the power politicians like to hold but raised the question: What is abortion really about? Could this slight change help others see the real meaning?
Last week, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said that fellow Democrats shouldn't have to support abortion rights to acquire the support of the party. In a shrewd political move, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, agreed, even though the only group that supports abortion more vigorously than the Democratic Party is probably Planned Parenthood.
Progressives erupted: Abortion rights were (supposedly) on the verge of being lost to the abyss due to a couple selfish Democrats who only wanted to keep their jobs instead of upholding their party's values.
Silly liberals: Haven't you seen "House of Cards?" Do you actually think politicians value their so-called values?
An op-ed in Time by Tarina Keene NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia scolds Democrats for putting a political strategy above their precious abortion rights:
If we allow ourselves to compromise the very values that are so critical to our party's identity, what will we cave on next? We're at a pivotal moment where we will decide the future of our party — and our country. If we kowtow to Trump and the GOP, we'll sabotage ourselves and lose — and not just at the ballot box. When we stand up for our core principles and defend the basic human rights of women and families, we grow stronger as a party and as a country. We need to empower and elect people who will be champions for the American people. We need bold leaders who will stand up and fight for the dignity of our daughters to determine their own futures.
Unless the makeup of the Supreme Court changes dramatically anytime soon, Roe v. Wade isn't going anywhere. No woman is going to "lose" her abortion rights. However, as we've seen in states such as Ohio and Texas, some babies may see the light of day — even as women retain those very "rights" — because politicians and grassroots organizations have championed alternative methods to abortion and access to it.
While Roe v. Wade is an important legal precedent, abortion is less about legalities and politics and more about snuffing out the life of an unborn baby with disastrous emotional and physical consequences for both mom and baby.
As this surprisingly vulnerable essay demonstrates, this young woman felt she had no other option, and regretted her abortion for years, suffering intense emotional anguish, even as she still supported a woman's right to choose:
I wish I had been prepared for the ungodly mental anguish I experienced for several years after my abortion, not so I could avoid it, but because that suffering opened the door to my political, intellectual, and spiritual awakening. I passionately support reproductive justice, and that means I fully acknowledge everything a person can experience before, during, and years after terminating a pregnancy.
Abortion always has and always will be about taking the life of a tiny baby and often mom experiencing turmoil due to that choice, whether she made it willingly or felt backed into a corner. It will always be about pain more than it will be about choice, and the only reason the latter rings louder than the former is because progressives have taken abortion — or "right to choose" or "reproductive justice" — and branded, labeled, and treated it like a campaign slogan that can be heard over the sound of a woman's heart breaking and a baby's heart no longer beating.
The Democrats' will to win and dedication to power over party may garner them a few more enemies than friends, and turn a few rabid, pro-choice women against them. But if more Democrats chose this option, even for political reasons, more women might go to a pregnancy resource center, see her baby on an ultrasound, and choose life.
Nicole Russell is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. She is a journalist in Washington, D.C., who previously worked in Republican politics in Minnesota. She was the 2010 recipient of the American Spectator's Young Journalist Award.
If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.