“The Abortion Debate No One Wants to Have”

Patricia E. Bauer with her husband, Edward Muller, and their children, Margaret and Johnny Muller, in June at Margaret’s high school graduation in Massachusetts.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Christina Overland

Patricia E. Bauer, former Washington Post reporter and bureau chief, writes a stunningly pro-life Op-Ed today titled “The Abortion Debate No One Wants to Have.” The article discusses whether it is right to abort a baby simply because pre-natal testing confirms that the baby has a disability. In Bauer’s case, the issue is intensely personal because she is raising a daughter named Margaret who has Down syndrome. She writes this about her daughter:

Margaret is a person and a member of our family. She has my husband’s eyes, my hair and my mother-in-law’s sense of humor. We love and admire her because of who she is — feisty and zesty and full of life — not in spite of it. She enriches our lives. If we might not have chosen to welcome her into our family, given the choice, then that is a statement more about our ignorance than about her inherent worth.

What I don’t understand is how we as a society can tacitly write off a whole group of people as having no value. I’d like to think that it’s time to put that particular piece of baggage on the table and talk about it, but I’m not optimistic. People want what they want: a perfect baby, a perfect life. To which I say: Good luck. Or maybe, dream on.

And here’s one more piece of un-discussable baggage: This question is a small but nonetheless significant part of what’s driving the abortion discussion in this country. I have to think that there are many pro-choicers who, while paying obeisance to the rights of people with disabilities, want at the same time to preserve their right to ensure that no one with disabilities will be born into their own families. The abortion debate is not just about a woman’s right to choose whether to have a baby; it’s also about a woman’s right to choose which baby she wants to have.

This is a great Op-Ed. I hope you make time to read the whole thing.


Will James Dobson and Richard Land Be Subpoenaed?

It looks like James Dobson, Richard Land and others may very well be subpoenaed to appear before the Senate judiciary committee. The subpoenas look more and more likely as news of a certain conference call becomes public. According to John Fund in today’s Wall Street Journal, Dobson, Land and others were a part of a conference call, set up by the Bush administration, in which they received assurances that Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Here is a paragraph from Fund’s piece:

The conference call will no doubt prove controversial on Capitol Hill, always a tinderbox for rumors that any judicial nominee has taken a stand on Roe v. Wade. Ms. Miers meets today with Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Chuck Schumer of New York, both stalwart Roe supporters, who surely will be interested to learn more about her views. After Mr. Dobson’s initial comments about “things . . . that I probably shouldn’t know,” Sen. Arlen Specter, the pro-Roe Judiciary Committee chairman, said, “If there are backroom assurances and if there are backroom deals and if there is something that bears on a precondition as to how a nominee is going to vote, I think that’s a matter that ought to be known.” He and ranking Democrat Pat Leahy of Vermont threatened to subpoena Mr. Dobson as a witness.

“Judgment Call: Did Christian conservatives receive assurances that Miers would oppose Roe v. Wade?” by John Fund


Flu Pandemic: The Biggest Story in the News

As far as I’m concerned, the story about a possible flu pandemic is the biggest story in the news right now.

The Wall Street Journal has run an insightful Op-Ed on the topic today titled “Reasons to Be Fearful: We are ill-prepared for a flu pandemic” by Henry I. Miller. Last week, Charles Krauthammer wrote a chilling piece on the subject in the Washington Post titled “A Flu Hope, Or Horror?”

The common flu kills about 1% of those who contract it each year. The so-called “Bird Flu” kills 50%. If this particular flu virus mutates such that it can move from human to human with efficiency, then there could be a worldwide plague of epic proportions. One article that I read estimated that over a million people would die in the United States alone.

Some scientists are claiming that it is very likely to mutate so that it can transmit efficiently from human to human, but other scientists are less certain. Some scientists think that “Bird Flu” will be resistant to drugs like Tamiflu, others aren’t so sure.

One thing is for sure. We all need to be paying close attention to this story.


John Fund Reverses His Position and Opposes Miers

Conservatives continue to line-up against the Miers nomination. Today, the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund joins them:

I have changed my mind about Harriet Miers. Last Thursday, I wrote in OpinionJournal’s Political Diary that “while skepticism of Ms. Miers is justified, the time is fast approaching when such expressions should be muted until the Senate hearings begin. At that point, Ms. Miers will finally be able to speak for herself.”

But that was before I interviewed more than a dozen of her friends and colleagues along with political players in Texas. I came away convinced that questions about Ms. Miers should be raised now–and loudly–because she has spent her entire life avoiding giving a clear picture of herself. “She is unrevealing to the point that it’s an obsession,” says one of her close colleagues at her law firm.

“Miers Remorse: Conservative Are Right To Be Skeptical” – Wall Street Journal


Peggy Noonan: “President Feels So Free To Stiff Conservatives”

Once again, Noonan’s analysis is brilliant. She argues that in nominating Harriet Miers President Bush completely misread his base. And she’s right.

The base wanted a bench-clearing brawl, but the President decided to take a knee and run the clock out. Not very inspiring, and not a good way to rally the troops.

My own analysis is forthcoming, but in the meantime you should read Noonan’s piece: “The Miers Misstep: What was President Bush thinking?”


George Will: Miers Should Not Be Confirmed

In today’s Washington Post, conservative columnist George Will opposes the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. He writes:

“Senators beginning what ought to be a protracted and exacting scrutiny of Harriet Miers should be guided by three rules. First, it is not important that she be confirmed. Second, it might be very important that she not be. Third, the presumption — perhaps rebuttable but certainly in need of rebutting — should be that her nomination is not a defensible exercise of presidential discretion to which senatorial deference is due.”

Washington Post – “Can This Nomination Be Justified?”


“Strong Grounding in the Church Could Be a Clue to Miers’s Priorities”

(From the Washington Post)

“One evening in the 1980s, several years after Harriet Miers dedicated her life to Jesus Christ, she attended a lecture at her Dallas evangelical church with Nathan Hecht, a colleague at her law firm and her on-again, off-again boyfriend. The speaker was Paul Brand, a surgeon and the author of ‘Fearfully and Wonderfully Made,’ a best-selling exploration of God and the human body.

“When the lecture was over, Miers said words Hecht had never heard from her before. ‘I’m convinced that life begins at conception,’ Hecht recalled her saying. According to Hecht, now a Texas Supreme Court justice, Miers has believed ever since that abortion is ‘taking a life.’”

Washington Post – “Strong Grounding in the Church Could Be a Clue to Miers’s Priorities”


Why Quick Endorsements for Miers from Evangelicals?

The newspaper of record has the best reporting that I have seen thus far on Harriet Miers. The story is titled “In Midcareer, a Turn to Faith to Fill a Void.” This article gives great insight into Miers’s conversion to evangelical faith and the subsequent reconfiguring of her politics. This one is definitely worth your taking the time to read it.

For those who have been wondering how prominent Evangelicals have been able to offer such a quick endorsement of someone who is largely an unknown quantity (e.g. James Dobson), there may be some information in this piece that helps to explain. The White House had Texas Supreme Court justice Nathan Hecht testify to Miers’s evangelical bona fides in a conference call preceding the nomination.

“To persuade the right to embrace Ms. Miers’s selection despite her lack of a clear record on social issues, representatives of the White House put Justice Hecht on at least one conference call with influential social conservative organizers on Monday to talk about her faith and character.

“Some evangelical Protestants were heralding the possibility that one of their own would have a seat on the court after decades of complaining that their brand of Christianity met condescension and exclusion from the American establishment.

“In an interview Tuesday on the televangelist Pat Robertson’s ‘700 Club,’ Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the Christian conservative American Center for Law and Justice, said Ms. Miers would be the first evangelical Protestant on the court since the 1930’s. ‘So this is a big opportunity for those of us who have a conviction, that share an evangelical faith in Christianity, to see someone with our positions put on the court,’ Mr. Sekulow said.”


Miers Found Christ and Turned Republican

White House Counsel Harriet Miers speaks after being nominated by President George W. Bush as Supreme Court Justice during a statement from the Oval Office on Monday October 3, 2005. -White House photo by Paul Morse

According to the Matt Drudge, Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers found Christ in 1979, and then became a Republican. Drudge is saying that the New York Times is set to splash the story on front pages tomorrow morning.

Well, this could be a tough pill for Harry Reid to swallow. Her merits of personal affability and answering phone calls promptly are not likely to outweigh the unconscionable demerit of her being an evangelical. For liberals, the only thing worse than being pro-life is being an evangelical. Tough pill indeed!


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