Carving out middle ground, or caving in to the enemy?

Legislators and womens advocates continue to shake hands across the aisle.

Topics: Stem cells, Broadsheet, Health, Love and Sex,

Some say it’s a step toward a necessary middle ground. Others say it’s a sign of the Democratic apocalypse. I’m talking about the apparently increasing willingness of people at least nominally on “our side” to cozy up to Republican/antiabortion/anti-stem-cell/etc. frenemies such as Bob Casey Jr., who is opposing Rick “He’s Even Worse” Santorum in the Pennsylvania Senate race. Just yesterday, we learned that Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, who supports stem cell research, had buddied up with the far more loathsome Santorum, who does not, to call for federal funding of research into the possibility of creating Franken-stem cells without destroying human embryos.

Then today, I found an e-press release in my “Press Releases You Might Not Have Seen Five Years Ago” box bearing the title “Planned Parenthood Applauds Senator Reid.” Reid, as you may be aware, is not exactly awesome on abortion. However, when it comes to preventing abortion, he gets it. Why today’s applause? Because Reid introduced a key amendment to the potentially super-scary Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act (S. 1955). “The senator introduced an amendment to the bill to ensure that access to family planning is protected,” reports Planned Parenthood. Without this amendment, under HIMMAA, “women would lose contraceptive equity protections currently guaranteed by state law.” (More about HIMMAA on Broadsheet here.)

You Might Also Like

Reid absolutely deserves credit for this and other actions; Specter insists that his commitment to “real” stem cell research is unwavering. All I’m saying is that the times, they are a-changin’, and — this I add with some hesitation — possibly for the better.

I completely understand concerns about pandering, selling out, being so eager to compromise that we lose our footing, not to mention our credibility. Though abortion advocates’ support of Casey narrowly passes muster with my head, it also breaks my heart. Still, I think it’s worth remembering that — sometimes — it takes two to meet in the middle. Santorum, though I’d really rather not give him credit for anything, risked his supporters’ wrath by shaking hands with Specter, never mind saying the words “stem cell” in a sentence that did not also include the word “murder.” Reid, obviously, is not scoring points with the anti-contraception brigade. And remember the resolutely antiabortion Missouri state Rep. Michael Corcoran, who braved a Planned Parenthood meeting — infuriating Missouri Right to Life — to say he maybe probably kind of wouldn’t oppose emergency contraception? I don’t mean to over-lavish with praise; I’m just saying we’re not necessarily the only ones who are seeing fit to take steps toward this mythical middle ground.

What do you think?

Award-winning journalist Lynn Harris is author of the comic novel "Death by Chick Lit" and co-creator of BreakupGirl.net. She also writes for the New York Times, Glamour, and many others.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Michael Ohl/Museum fur Naturkunde

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Soul-Sucking Dementor Wasp

    Latin name: Ampulex dementor

    Truong Ngyuen

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    10,000th reptile species

    Latin name: Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi

    Jodi Rowley/Australian Museum

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Colour-changing thorny frogs

    Latin name: Gracixalus lumarius

    Judith L. Eger

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Long-fanged bat

    Latin name: Hypsugo dolichodon

    Neang Thy Moe/FFI

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Stealthy wolf snake

    Latin name: Lycodon zoosvictoriae

    Michael Janes

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Feathered coral

    Latin name: Ovabunda andamanensis

    Jerome Constant

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    World's second-longest insect

    Phryganistria heusii yentuensis

    Nantasak Pinkaew

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 8

    Latin name: Sirindhornia spp

    Tim Johnson

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 9

    Tylototriton shanorum

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>