A note from our editor, Elizabeth MacBride:
You would think, from reading the mainstream news coverage, that most entrepreneurs and business executives favor abortion rights. Inc. published a piece that includes Bill Gates and Arlan Hamilton’s shocked and angry Twitter takes on the Roe v. Wade leak. CNBC detailed companies that have taken a stand against the Texas law, sometimes by helping employees travel out of state.
In fact, the majority of business owners supported Donald Trump, which suggests at the minimum that they don’t care much about abortion rights. I don’t know, because complex positions on this issue are being written out of the mainstream. You would also think that there’s a growing anti-abortion sentiment. There’s not – the increasing political divide in the U.S. is attributable to a growing percentage of Democrats that have moved firmly into the abortion rights camp, according to Pew research.
I understand the instinct of the journalists writing those stories. With the power of your fingers on the keyboard, you think if you can just make it clear how crazy those anti-abortion people are, that they will go away. Of that “our side” will get so fired up we can stop them.
That is not the case.
I went undercover at the NRA convention with a staunch pro-life advocate, the Rev. Patrick Mahoney. I entirely respected his right to his position, and appreciated his commitment to a daily Facebook prayer. The public broadcast blew his cover and is likely what got him tossed out of the convention, leaving me alone in a sea of gun rights advocates who were various degrees of terrifying. I’ll let you unpack that: The NRA likely did not want a pro-life advocate because he also favors gun control. Is that because they love guns or money? The organization follows a key marketing rule: Stick to a simple message.
In any case, I respect Pat. We talked about a lot of things while we were in Indianapolis together. Does evil exist? Does Satan? Is there a line where abortion is/is not OK?
In fact, there is for me. I’m one of those approximately 60% of Americans who believes in a woman’s right to an abortion in most or all cases. If I didn’t think it would be abused to extend to women whose lives and health were in jeopardy, or cases where the child would suffer after birth, I’d probably favor stricter laws against late-term abortions. (That 60% stat comes from Pew, one of the few research organizations I trust these days). It’s complicated. In the complications, I find the space to talk to Pat Mahoney about an issue I feel passionately about, and to consider him my friend.
A certain minority of people will always love guns with a passion I don’t understand. The more we tried to tell them how wrong they were by writing them out of the mainstream, by shunning them, the angrier they got – and the anger made them vulnerable to manipulation by big corporations and organizations. We have no viable gun regulation at all. The result is that there are now so many guns loose in America that death by gun is almost common. We seem to be following that pattern with the abortion issue, except this time, it’s the left that’s being manipulated for money. Because of my coverage of guns, I am on the donation mailing list of the NRA. I get envelopes that say, “They are coming for your guns!” In the wake of the Supreme Court leak, I’m getting donation texts and emails with a similar tone: “They are banning all abortions!”
In fact, the truth is more complicated. Abortions will probably decline by about 15%, The New York Times estimated, as women find their way to the pill or travel out of state. The impact will fall mostly on poor women (and their children). More of them will resort to unsafe and later abortions because of this change, if it happens.
I first heard about the Politico headline from my 15-year-old daughter. “Did you see this?” she asked, disbelief in her voice. She feels less safe in America today, and that breaks my heart. For that reason, and to keep all women safe and to protect their rights, I’ll fight to keep abortion available.
I, too, am scared at the prospect of Roe v. Wade being overturned. But I am more scared about Americans’ inability to acknowledge our differences, with respect for each other, and to talk about them. If every one of our political fights is to-the-death, more people will die.
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