If you think Democrats have become untethered from reality on climate change and the Green New Deal, which most of the 2020 frontrunners now seem to endorse, it’s nothing compared to the unreality they’ve embraced about abortion.
During an interview last week, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said that “life begins at breath,” apparently endorsing the extreme view that abortion should be legal up until the moment a baby takes its first breath upon birth.
Setting aside, for now, the abject falseness of Buttigieg’s claim—it’s a long established scientific fact that life begins at fertilization—this is the ascendant view of abortion on the left. Far from “safe, legal, and rare,” Democrats now tout abortion as a positive good , which means it should not only be free from almost any restrictions, but also paid for by U.S. taxpayers.
This devotion to abortion makes for some strange policy outcomes, some of which are beginning to crop up in the Democratic primary. These tell us quite a lot about where the American left in general, and the Democratic Party in particular, is headed.
Consider the population control policy espoused by Sen. Bernie Sanders last week during the CNN climate change town hall. A woman asked Sanders if he would support a campaign to “empower women” and educate everyone on “the need to curb population growth,” and whether he would make this a key feature of a plan to address “climate catastrophe.” Perhaps sensing on some level the ghoulishness of what she was asking, the woman prefaced her question by saying, “I realize this is a poisonous topic for politicians.”
Not for Bernie. He understood just what she meant. The answer is yes, he said, “and the answer has everything to do with the fact that women in the United States of America… have the right to control their own bodies and make reproductive decisions.” The audience cheered. Sanders went on to explain his opposition to the Mexico City agreement, which bars U.S. tax dollars from funding or promoting abortions abroad, and which the Trump administration reinstated in 2017. He called the agreement “absurd,” and said it’s especially important that women in poor countries have access to abortion.
In other words, Sanders endorses abortion, including U.S. taxpayer funding for abortions in foreign countries, as a means of population control to combat climate change. It’s not merely about access to abortion or birth control, as the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake argued. If you follow Sanders’ logic, the entire point of increasing access to abortion is so more people will have them. The inescapable conclusion is that he thinks women in poor countries should be having more abortions as a way to control the population and avert “climate catastrophe.”
Even though this line of argument manages to be racist, elitist, and murderous all at once, it’s nevertheless familiar and long established among environmentalists—just as, a century ago, eugenics was a familiar line of argument among progressives who supported some form of population control.
What made Sander’s response newsworthy was that, until now, a major presidential candidate had never explicitly endorsed such a morally repugnant idea in the name of climate alarmism. Consider the logical implications of Sanders’ position. If abortion is an acceptable form of population control, and we’re really facing a climate catastrophe, then why not forced abortions? Why not euthanasia for the elderly, or the terminally ill? Drastic times, and all that.
Abortion Requires Not Calling Things What They Are
Maybe Sanders was just trying to distinguish himself in a field of candidates desperately trying to outdo each other on climate alarmism. But it’s more likely that Sanders really means it. Like the other leading lights of his party, he has internalized the macabre logic of abortion-as-a-positive-good.
That logic has already led to all kinds of gruesome policies that don’t tend to make it into the news cycle. To take a recent example, last week a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments over a Texas law that would require fetal remains from abortions or miscarriages to be buried or cremated. You might think a law regulating the care and disposal of what are, without question, human remains would be uncontroversial, but here is precisely where the unreality of abortion ideology comes into play.
A federal judge who blocked the bill last year reasoned that it would stigmatize and intimidate women who seek abortions. At last week’s hearing, a lawyer for the abortion clinics challenging the law brought up the testimony of a woman who sought treatment at a hospital for a miscarriage and was upset at learning of the hospital’s requirement for interment of the remains. “She felt she was being treated as a child,” the attorney said.
Here we have educated, professional adults arguing that we should treat human remains not as what we all know they are, but instead indulge the rank fiction that aborted or miscarried fetuses are nothing more than “medical waste.” These people know better, of course, but to maintain their position they must pretend otherwise in much the same way Buttigieg must pretend that “life begins at breath.”
Don’t Believe Your Lying Eyes
This devotion to unreality began playing out in a slightly different way last week in San Francisco Superior Court, where preliminary hearings were held for pro-life activist David Daleiden and his colleague Sandra Merritt. The purpose of the hearings is to determine whether they committed a crime when they secretly recorded conversations with abortionists and human tissue procurement firms discussing the harvesting and sale of aborted fetal organs and tissue, which is illegal in the United States.
But the abortionists and human tissue procurement firms are not the ones on trial. Daleidan and Merritt face 14 criminal felony accounts of eavesdropping and one count of criminal conspiracy, marking the first time eavesdropping charges have ever been brought in the state of California (in this case, by then-California attorney general Kamala Harris). As Lauren Fink noted in her coverage of the hearings for The Federalist, “The nine-day hearing is the first time Planned Parenthood leaders and affiliates have publicly gathered and testified in court since Daleiden’s Center for Medical Progress published 11 undercover videos featuring Planned Parenthood leaders discussing—and in some videos displaying—the harvesting and selling of aborted fetal organs and tissues.”
Yet the hearings were largely ignored by the news media. One likely reason is that they will shed unwelcome light on the brutal realities of the abortion industry, just as Daleiden’s undercover videos did in 2015. They will also likely produce some absurdities and outright lies, and in fact they already have. On day one, the vice president of external affairs for the National Abortion Federation, Melissa Fowler, the prosecution’s primary witness, testified that she doesn’t know what a human tissue procurement company is or does. Yet StemExpress, a human tissue procurement lab exposed in Daleiden’s videos that’s now under federal investigation, is a vendor of her organization.
The point of pretending you don’t know what a human tissue procurement company is, especially if you’re an executive for an organization that regularly works with such companies, is to deny the entire premise of Daleiden’s claims—specifically, that your organization is harvesting and selling aborted fetal organs and tissues for profit.
Maybe Fowler and the other executives at NAF should take a cue from Sanders and Buttigieg, and just follow where the logic of their position leads. If aborted fetuses are just “medical waste” or “tissue,” why can’t they be harvested and sold? If life doesn’t begin “until breath,” why couldn’t pregnant women sell the body parts of their unborn children to the highest bidder? What’s the big deal?
The danger for Democrats in all this is that the American people will plainly see the consequences of this ghastly logic, and recognize that the extreme abortion ideology now embraced by the Democratic Party is based on a monstrous lie.