Abortion is still one of the most divisive issues in America precisely because it’s a clash between two fundamentally opposed human rights claims, notes Callie Beusman: the pro-life side, which focuses on the right to life for the unborn and the pro-choice side, which focuses on a woman’s right to equality and to bodily autonomy.
“The ‘abortion debate’ isn’t about finding a way to respect two competing ideological beliefs—it’s a question of whether women should have full access to healthcare,” argues Beusman.
In the wake of their stunning losses in the 2016 elections (Russian interference and Trump collusion aside), the Democratic Party is currently being admonished to change its ways, to welcome those Democrats who are opposed to abortion into the fold. This more inclusive approach would win over red state voters, which is necessary, as well as progressive Catholics who can’t seem to vote for a candidate who supports abortion, argue pro-life Democrats like Janet Robert, the president of Democrats for Life America. Or so the theory goes.
“If a woman is forced to give birth against her will,” Beusman points out, “it doesn’t matter how much state support she has; she’s still stripped of the ability to decide what happens to her own body.”
But pro-choice organizations already acknowledge that “the Democratic Party has room for those who identify as personally opposed to abortion,” Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, tells Beuman. “The real question,” she added, “is when candidates and elected leaders force their own ideology and religious values on their constituents and the women of this country.”