Politics

07.02.13

Kirsten Powers: I Don’t Stand With Wendy Davis

Stand with the pink-sneakered Texas legislator and her fight to allow mothers to abort babies past the 20th week of pregnancy? Never—and most women wouldn’t either, says Kirsten Powers.

It’s amazing what is considered heroism these days.

A Texas legislator and her pink sneakers have been lionized for an eleventh-hour filibuster against a bill that would have made it illegal for mothers to abort babies past 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in the case of severe fetal abnormalities or to protect the life or health of the mother.

People actually cheered this.

Video screenshot

When Davis' filibuster was stopped, spectators voiced their anger.

But the fight is not over. The bill will be reintroduced, and supporters of the ban are optimistic it will pass. For now, Wendy Davis has achieved the dubious victory of maintaining a very dark status quo. Texas women will still be able to abort a healthy baby up to the 26th week of pregnancy for any reason, as the current law allows.

According to the Parents Connect website, if you are in the 25th week of your pregnancy, “Get ready for pat-a-cake! Baby’s hands are now fully developed and he spends most of his awake time groping around in the darkness of your uterus. Brain and nerve endings are developed enough now so that your baby can feel the sensation of touch.” Let’s be clear: Davis has been called a hero for trying to block a bill that would make aborting this baby illegal.

In addition to the limit on late-term abortions, the Texas legislature sought to pass regulations on abortion clinics similar to what was passed in Pennsylvania in 2011 after the Gosnell horror. The New York Times warned that the Texas bill “could lead to the closing of most of Texas’s 42 abortion clinics.” That sounds familiar. In 2011, the Pennsylvania ACLU claimed a post-Gosnell bill “would effectively close most and maybe all of the independent abortion clinics in Pennsylvania.” Last month, a Pennsylvania news site reported that “several” abortion clinics have closed, which isn’t quite the Armageddon the abortion-rights movement predicted.

So no, I don’t stand with Wendy. Nor do most women, as it turns out. According to a June National Journal poll, 50 percent of women support, and 43 percent oppose, a ban on abortion after 20 weeks, except in cases of rape and incest.

One can assume I am also not the only woman in America who is really tiring of the Wendys of the world claiming to represent “women’s rights” in their quest to mainstream a medical procedure—elective late-term abortion—that most of the civilized world finds barbaric and abhorrent. In many European countries, you can’t get an abortion past 12 weeks, except in narrow circumstances. Gallup reported in January that 80 percent of Americans think abortion should be illegal in the third trimester, and 64 percent think it should be illegal in the second trimester.

Maybe we should wonder what is wrong with the women who think protecting the right to abort your baby for any reason up to the 26th week is a ‘human right.’

If the majority of Americans oppose elective late-term abortion, why do we have Davis complaining to CBS’s Bob Schieffer that the male politicians who are championing the late-term abortion ban are “bullying women”? Maybe it’s she who is bullying the rest of us into supporting a view that is mocked by scientific advancement; namely 3-D sonograms. Maybe we should be thankful for the men and wonder what is wrong with the women who think protecting the right to abort your baby for any reason up to the 26th week is a “human right.”

Human-rights movements have traditionally existed to help the voiceless and those without agency gain progressively more rights. Yet in the case of abortion, the voiceless have progressively lost rights at the hands of people who claim to be human-rights crusaders. Abortion-rights leaders have turned the world upside down. They want us to believe that a grown woman is voiceless, that she has less agency than the infant in her womb who relies on her for life. A woman has so little agency, we are told, that she is incapable of getting an abortion before the fifth month of her pregnancy. To suggest she should do so is a “war on women.” It’s an insult to women dressed up as “women’s rights.”

On ABC’s This Week, Peggy Noonan responded to the chants of “I stand with Wendy” by noting, “What she is ... standing for is something we would recognize as infanticide, late-term abortion, the taking of a little child’s life.” Standing for that is not heroic, and it is not something to be cheered.