Kevin Drum has written a brilliant post over at Mother Jones regarding the Elephant in the Abortion room:
DesJarlais is a big antichoice, "pro-family" pol first elected (like so many other mistakes) in 2010. During his 2012 re-election campaign, evidence began leaking out through various outlets that he had a history of alleged spousal abuse, serial adultery, sexual relationships with patients and at least three occasions of encouraging a woman to have an abortion (twice his soon-to-be-former wife, once a patient). Much of these toxic allegations seem to have been confirmed when DesJarlais' divorce papers from his first wife were opened just after his 2012 re-election.
In dealing with this evidence, DesJarlais has allowed as how he made some mistakes in a "difficult period of his life," blah blah blah, and has denied pushing a lover to have an abortion (though not pushing his then-wife to have two of them). So without even the drama of a public confession and act of contrition, he's back to trying to pass laws telling other people how to live their sex lives.
I do not understand how anyone who actually thinks of abortion as a homicidal act can vote for someone -- a medical professional no less -- who admits to having encouraged it with no apparent great remorse. That it seems to have occurred as part of a pattern of systemic disregard for personal and professional ethical standards doesn't help.
That's Ed Kilgore writing. Kevin Drum answers Ed's astonishment that voters would continue to vote in this scumbag Republican Congressman:
I guess I don't share Kilgore's befuddlement, since I've never really believed that much of anyone really, truly thinks that abortion is murder. If you look at actions, rather than words, it just doesn't add up. Lots of people oppose abortion, but with very few exceptions, they very plainly don't react to it the same way they react to a genuine murder. Their emotional response gives the game away, even if they've convinced themselves otherwise intellectually.
DesJarlais is a good example. If he had encouraged the murder of two children -- real murder, of kids who were a year or two old -- he wouldn't merely be having a tough primary. Regardless of whether he had managed to avoid conviction for his acts, he wouldn't even be able to run for office, let alone be even odds to win. He'd be a pariah. That's how people react to actual killing. But it's not how they react to encouraging abortion. As long as DesJarlais is otherwise on the right side of the culture wars, it'll be shrugged off as unfortunate but not disqualifying.
So don't tell me that all the conservative Christians in DesJarlais' district believe that abortion is murder. They may say they believe it. They may even sincerely think they believe it. But they don't.
It's clear that Kevin is correct. We have laws against murder in this country. If you honestly believe that abortion is murder, then we should be throwing these "murderers" - ahem, pregnant mothers -- into jail for life after every abortion. Or killing them to fulfill the death penalty. It's just clear logic and justice.
The fact is that the choice to have an abortion is an intensely personal and difficult one meant to be left between the woman, her doctor, and her religious beliefs. But most Americans believe that it stops short of murder.
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