This month, for the first time in 50 years, the annual March for Life was more celebratory than cautiously hopeful, more forward-looking than burdened by a troublesome history.
Since Roe v. Wade was overturned last June, the pro-life movement has been energized with new possibilities, and this is a reason to rejoice.
However, as we’ve seen from the proponents of abortion rights, who have changed their names over the course of the half-century from pro-choice, to pro-woman, to pro-reproductive-freedom, to pro-reproductive health care, this is a dangerous time as well.
The anger and hysteria that were triggered by the collapse of federal abortion jurisprudence have manifested themselves in violence with the vandalism and firebombing of churches and pro-life clinics, in breathless editorials railing against the Talibanization of American society, and the promotion of legislation at the state level that would expand abortion rights exponentially.
The irony in all of this is that this unhinged reaction to a legitimate exercise of the Supreme Court’s authority — long, long overdue — is exhibited by women who have been elected to positions of authority precisely because they argued that they are reasoned diplomats who can seek consensus where men often fail.
Instead, they look like fools.
Take, for example, the group photo posted by the Democratic Women’s Caucus last week, with a bevy of representatives all decked out in white suits and smiling for the camera like a bunch of middle-aged participants at a college reunion.
The caption to the social media post read: “Our caucus dressed in white today to show our collective resistance to the extreme MAGA Republicans’ anti-abortion agenda. We will always stand up for reproductive freedom and access to abortion care.”
That’s all well and good as far as it goes.
You would expect Democrats, particularly Democratic women, to speak that way about any attempts to limit a “right” that has achieved sacramental status with them.
It’s even understandable that they would have been upset at Republican attempts to pass the Born Alive Act, a bill that mandated medical care for babies that had survived botched abortions.
All of these women had voted against it, preferring to allow the decision to save that struggling human child to remain between the mother who tried to abort it in the first place and her unsuccessful abortionist.
But what I found even more galling than this gruesome vote, was the reaction from my own representative, Mary Gay Scanlon, who was quoted as saying this when asked about her reaction to the bill: “Rep. Mary Scanlon, D-PA, says she opposes the GOP’s ‘grotesque attempt to politicize abortion care and criminalize doctors.’”
When I read that quote, I was sure that I was missing something.
There must have been a context that I overlooked because the use of the word “grotesque” in connection with providing life-saving care to a struggling infant seemed so strange as to be improbable.
I hoped that the congresswoman was misquoted. So I emailed her.
“I am writing about Ms. Scanlon’s use of the word ‘grotesque’ to describe pro-life initiatives. Could I please have clarification as to whether the Representative is describing the attempts to save the lives of children in extremis as grotesque? I think we would all benefit from some context.”
I also tried calling her office in Washington and left a message. As of this writing, I did not receive a response. But I wasn’t expecting one, to be honest.
The fact that Scanlon chose the word “grotesque” to define life-saving efforts, instead of using that same word to describe the act that makes those efforts necessary, namely, abortion, is telling.
It’s telling me that the woman who represents me in Congress has no qualms about using extreme language in order to advance the objectives of her pro-choice base.
I can be generous these days. With the fall of Roe and the efforts by many states to drastically limit abortion, if not ban it altogether, the momentum favors the pro-life movement.
To quote the Rolling Stones, time is indeed on my side. Yes, it is.
Nonetheless, I find the PR stunts by American congresswomen to be repellent, since I regularly deal with women who are being persecuted by the actual Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
And I wish that my own representative would have had the decency to respond to a request from a constituent who didn’t vote for her, but who asked an honest question.
Still waiting for that answer.
Christine Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Delaware County Daily Times, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org