WaPo Blogger: Abortion Is ‘A Deeply Affirmative Value’

In a piece for The Washington Post, blogger Carter Eskew recently argued, “It's time for a new dialogue on abortion.”

Eskew, director at The Glover Park Group (which lobbies for Planned Parenthood) and former strategist for Al Gore, wrote in response to his colleague Janet Harris, who insisted abortion is never immoral or “difficult.” “Control over one’s reproduction is a deeply affirmative value,” he approved, and “It’s time to assert it.” 

Citing Harris, Eskew affirmed, “She couldn’t be more right” and added, “the current political dialogue is even worse than she documents.” “The pro-choice movement,” he lamented, “has been on the defensive” while the pro-life movement is “chipping away at a woman’s freedom.” 

Abortion advocates “can’t and won’t win,” he continued, “because they don’t have an affirmative argument.” 

But, surprisingly, Eskew got one thing right: “The problem is ‘choice’ will never trump ‘life.’ Choice is valuable, but life is precious. As long as there is no competing affirmative value for abortion, then life will always win.” 

That sentiment quickly disappeared as Eskew found his fix: the “small, brave cohort of women” who “affirm the positive value of abortion in their own lives” for “abortion rights, centered on not just freedom of ‘choice’ but on the benefits of the outcome of choice.” 

While “the right to control one’s body [which, you know, includes any other body within it] is basic,” he explained, “it remains abstract.” He continued, “More concrete are personal benefits, such as waiting until one is willing and able to care for a child, and societal benefits” for women, including finishing school and entering the workforce. 

Convenience, in other words. Think of killing your child as a time-management tool – maybe even a handy app that gets you through your busy schedule with a minimum of hassle. 

As far as the “safe, legal and rare” argument, Eskew complained abortion advocates, “might as well wave the white flag because implicit in this formulation is that abortion is bad and shameful.” Whelp, at least he has the media to back him up (see: The Daily BeastThe Guardian, Salon – and even the nets). 

He concluded by comparing abortion to “gay rights.” “For years,” he cried, “the public dialogue on gays did not comport with the private reality” and “The laws treated homosexuality as deviant, when it was common; as shameful, when it was human.” 

“The gap between repression and reality was bound to be breached,” he finished, and “the same evolution looms on the abortion issue.”  

Except that this “repression” is connected to the “reality:” abortion terminates the lives of the most vulnerable – or, in his own words, “Choice is valuable, but life is precious.”

— Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center. Follow Katie Yoder on Twitter.

Katie Yoder
Katie Yoder
Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center