Pro-Choice

PRO-CHOICE….Via Atrios, I see that the once popular sport of Amy Sullivan bashing is back in vogue. Here’s Amy, in an interview with Salon about her new book, The Party Faithful:

You’re pro-choice. Does that interfere with being an evangelical?

Well, I don’t like the [pro-choice] label. I guess the reason I wrote about abortion the way I did in the book is because I have serious moral concerns about abortion, but I don’t believe that it should be illegal. And that puts me in the vast majority of Americans. But unfortunately, there’s no label for us.

Amanda Marcotte responds:

Yes, there is. If you think abortion and other forms of contraceptive birth control should be legal — i.e. that women should have the legal right to decide when they have children — you are pro-choice. Even if you still reserve the right to judge them for it. This entire interview with Amy Sullivan, like all her talk on getting the evangelical vote, makes me tired. She appears to have a definition problem, basically, characterizing evangelicals as if they are all Bible-believing Christians, when most self-identified evangelicals are patriarchy proponents with a thin veneer of Christianity over everything as a moral justification.

Actually, I think Amy’s point is precisely the opposite. In the rest of the interview, she basically suggests that about 60% of the evangelical community is politically conservative and won’t ever vote for a Democrat. But the other 40% will, and those 40% are worth trying to appeal to. And one way to appeal to them is to acknowledge their moral qualms about abortion even if you don’t happen to share them yourself. Like this guy:

I think that the American people struggle with two principles: There’s the principle that a fetus is not just an appendage, it’s potential life. I think people recognize that there’s a moral element to that. They also believe that women should have some control over their bodies and themselves and there is a privacy element to making those decisions.

I don’t think people take the issue lightly. A lot of people have arrived in the view that I’ve arrived at, which is that there is a moral implication to these issues, but that the women involved are in the best position to make that determination. And I don’t think they make it lightly.

That’s Barack Obama, likely the next Democratic candidate for the presidency. All he’s doing is acknowledging the moral dimension of abortion, while remaining solidly in favor of abortion choice, reducing unwanted pregnancies, and encouraging responsible sexual behavior.

Now, I don’t know why Amy rejects the “pro-choice” label, and it’s pretty likely that I don’t agree with her reasons — largely because I don’t have any moral qualms about early and mid-term abortion in the first place. But then, I’m not an evangelical, am I? In any case, I’ve invited her to come by in a couple of weeks and guest blog about her book, so we’ll all have a chance to rip into her about it then. In the meantime, keep things civil in comments, OK?

(And, of course, click the link to read the whole interview. Most of it isn’t about abortion at all.)