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Interlude on choice 
23rd-Jan-2007 04:37 pm

Yeah okay, so I'm a day late on this. And anyway I've already written enough on the subject this month; you can just go here and here.

... just in case anybody wants to know why I'm not a big Dennis Kucinich fan -- and how it particularly disturbs me that I could get all the way through the 2004 election cycle without hearing about his history on this even once. Folks who call themselves "progressives" really need to be clear on what they're fighting for, preferably before they choose a standard bearer.

in other news, the national NARAL organization (to which I am no longer a contributor, though I still give to state orgs) needs to pull its head out of its ass. Convincing Nancy Keenan to resign might be a good first step.

24th-Jan-2007 04:07 am (UTC)
I liked that Kucinich changed his mind, though. How many politicians would say that they didn't have enough data initially, then they heard from people with experience and changed their minds? Most politicians are stuck in the "I'm always right and if I change my mind 180 degrees, then you were mistaken - I never said that, I never felt that way" mold.

Of course, there may be more to the story than what I heard. What I heard was he was initially anti-choice, then heard women talk about their experiences and changed his mind. If that wasn't really the story, I'd love to know more. I was a big Kucinich supporter back when he was running.
24th-Jan-2007 04:41 am (UTC)
It's great when people can admit mistakes and change their minds.

However, those who have changed their minds do have something of an extra burden in repudiating their prior position. In the case of politicians, the possibility always exists that they only adopted the new position out of political expediency; there's always going to be extra work to do to dispel this.

As far as I can tell, Kucinich changed his mind pretty much the moment he decided to run for President, and he's simply gone from actively bad to mushy, i.e., conceding the basic pro-choice position to be the right thing -- which I'll give him points for -- but (1) still willing to cave on the wedge-issues the right-wing folks keep throwing up (parental notification, "partial birth", etc...) and (2) still playing into conservative frames on the subject. And we do not need this.

28th-Jan-2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
Outside of this issue, does Kucinich have a record of changing his vote for the sake of political expediency? I don't know his record well, but he seems like someone unafraid to take unpopular positions that he thinks are right. If that's the case, why would he cave to political pressure just in this case?

I'm more receptive to the mushiness argument, but Google hasn't helped me yet with that. His voting record seems pretty good since the switch (circa 2002): He voted *against* the partial-birth abortion ban in 2003, and the parental notification bill in 2005. His NARAL rating from 2003-2005 is 100%. Planned Parenthood gave him 56% last year, but only because of bills from before 2003. NRLC's given him 0% since the switch, except in 2003 when he voted against human cloning.

So that leaves "conservative frames", which I don't know about. I'll admit I'd prefer a stronger statement than the one on his web site--a tepid and confusingly framed "abortions are icky, but banning them isn't the way to reduce their number". But he's made those stronger statements elsewhere.

Anyway, I can see why you're suspicious. But it seems like there's a lot of FUD floating around about this, too.
30th-Jan-2007 10:35 am (UTC)
So that leaves "conservative frames", which I don't know about.
what I mean by that is using the anti-abortion folks' favored terminology, discussing it in a way that implicitly supports the social conservative position even while one is nominally opposed to it. This gives "bipartisan" cover to that position while cutting the legs out from under those of use that are trying to fight it.

E.g., saying things like, "The fact is that most Americans, including myself, are uncomfortable with abortions and feel there are too many of them," which plays into conservative hands by conflating abortions at all stages of pregnancy, which their primary mode of argument, which is to refuse to acknowledge any difference at all between a 1st trimester or 3rd trimester abortion. And even if he feels this way, he cites no evidence for how everybody else feels, just takes it as given that all abortions are created equal, they're all bad, and nearly everybody agrees.

Now I could easily believe that most Americans are uncomfortable with 3rd-trimester abortions of viable fetuses (as if this happens a lot), but I would also wager that the vast majority of Americans have no problem whatsoever with with Plan B, RU-486, disposal of embryos by fertility clinics, their use in stem cell research, or abortions that otherwise take place within the first few weeks of pregnancy -- especially once you point out how often fertilized eggs get flushed out naturally or never even implant in the first place.
30th-Jan-2007 04:21 pm (UTC)
Okay, that makes sense. Thanks.
28th-Jan-2007 02:25 am (UTC)
He's still running.

Does either of you have links to a summary on Kucinich and abortion? It may be the flu, but I couldn't make head or tails of those links.
28th-Jan-2007 07:25 am (UTC)
Google does a pretty good job with this actually.
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