Navarette: 'I don't know if I'm pro-choice anymore'

Nationally syndicated columnist Ruben Navarette writes frequently about politics and immigration.  But in 30 years of writing, he says he has never written about abortion.

Until now.

Chalk Navarette up as one who has been mugged by the reality of the Planned Parenthood videos.  Considering himself pro-choice for 30 years, Navarette has been profoundly affected by the videos and is questioning the entire philosophy that led him to embrace the pro-choice position.

David Daleiden, head of the Center for Medical Progress, issued an unsurprisingly stronger statement: “Planned Parenthood’s system-wide conspiracy to evade the law and make money off of aborted fetal tissue is now undeniable. Anyone who watches these videos knows that Planned Parenthood is engaged in barbaric practices and human rights abuses that must end.”

I agree with that assessment, and I’m pro-choice. At least I thought I was until recently. These days, each time, I express concern, outrage, disgust or horror over another video—which should come with warnings that they may produce nightmares — some supporter of the organization responds by attacking me and insisting that I was never really pro-choice to begin with. 

Defenders of Planned Parenthood are trying to deflect criticism away from the organization and onto those who produced the videos. In the minds of true believers, those are the real culprits—guilty of releasing illegally obtained and “heavily edited” videos with the intent of destroying a valuable organization that provides essential health services to millions of women. The organization has hired an expensive Washington DC-based PR firm to do damage control, and the firm quickly tried to pressure television networks to stop airing the videos. 

[...]

Over time, I made refinements — going along with waiting periods and parental notification laws at the state level, and coming out against the barbaric practice known as partial birth abortion. 

As I’ve only realized lately, to be a man, and to declare yourself pro-choice, is to proclaim your neutrality. And, as I’ve only recently been willing to admit, even to myself, that’s another name for “wimping out.” 

At least that’s how my wife sees it. She’s pro-life, and so she’s been tearing into me every time a new video is released. She’s not buying my argument that, as a man, I have to defer to women and trust them to make their own choices about what to do with their bodies. To her, that’s ridiculous—and cowardly.

“You can’t stand on the sidelines, especially now that you've seen these videos,” she told me recently. “That’s bullshit! These are babies that are being killed. Millions of them. And you need to use your voice to protect them. That’s what a man does. He protects children—his own children, and other children. That’s what it means to be a man.”

Navarette calls the videos a "game changer."  It won't be for the radicals on the forefront of the pro-choice movement.  But for those who are nominally pro-choice like Navarette, I'm sure there are many who are rethinking their support of both Planned Parenthood and on-demand abortions.

How can you not?  The callousness with which Planned Parenthood executives carried out the sale of fetal body parts is beyond civilized behavior and calls into question the humanity of these officials.  If you're a woman, would you let some of those doctors anywhere near you?  Considering their cynical, brutal outlook on aborted fetuses, they should have their licenses revoked – at a minimum.  They certainly shouldn't be involved in "women's health" at any level.

Planned Parenthood has been referring to its opponents as "extremists" since the videos broke.  In fact, anti-abortion views are solidly set in the mainstream, with consistent polling of between 40% and 50% opposed to all abortions save those in cases of rape, incest, and the health of the mother.  (Much smaller percentages wish to ban all abortions.)  So far, with the help of a compliant media, Planned Parenthood has been able to avoid the worst of the backlash against its barbaric practices.  But there are several more videos to be released, and I suspect that by the time they are all on the public record, there are going to be a lot of Ruben Navarettes rethinking their position on abortion.

Nationally syndicated columnist Ruben Navarette writes frequently about politics and immigration.  But in 30 years of writing, he says he has never written about abortion.

Until now.

Chalk Navarette up as one who has been mugged by the reality of the Planned Parenthood videos.  Considering himself pro-choice for 30 years, Navarette has been profoundly affected by the videos and is questioning the entire philosophy that led him to embrace the pro-choice position.

David Daleiden, head of the Center for Medical Progress, issued an unsurprisingly stronger statement: “Planned Parenthood’s system-wide conspiracy to evade the law and make money off of aborted fetal tissue is now undeniable. Anyone who watches these videos knows that Planned Parenthood is engaged in barbaric practices and human rights abuses that must end.”

I agree with that assessment, and I’m pro-choice. At least I thought I was until recently. These days, each time, I express concern, outrage, disgust or horror over another video—which should come with warnings that they may produce nightmares — some supporter of the organization responds by attacking me and insisting that I was never really pro-choice to begin with. 

Defenders of Planned Parenthood are trying to deflect criticism away from the organization and onto those who produced the videos. In the minds of true believers, those are the real culprits—guilty of releasing illegally obtained and “heavily edited” videos with the intent of destroying a valuable organization that provides essential health services to millions of women. The organization has hired an expensive Washington DC-based PR firm to do damage control, and the firm quickly tried to pressure television networks to stop airing the videos. 

[...]

Over time, I made refinements — going along with waiting periods and parental notification laws at the state level, and coming out against the barbaric practice known as partial birth abortion. 

As I’ve only realized lately, to be a man, and to declare yourself pro-choice, is to proclaim your neutrality. And, as I’ve only recently been willing to admit, even to myself, that’s another name for “wimping out.” 

At least that’s how my wife sees it. She’s pro-life, and so she’s been tearing into me every time a new video is released. She’s not buying my argument that, as a man, I have to defer to women and trust them to make their own choices about what to do with their bodies. To her, that’s ridiculous—and cowardly.

“You can’t stand on the sidelines, especially now that you've seen these videos,” she told me recently. “That’s bullshit! These are babies that are being killed. Millions of them. And you need to use your voice to protect them. That’s what a man does. He protects children—his own children, and other children. That’s what it means to be a man.”

Navarette calls the videos a "game changer."  It won't be for the radicals on the forefront of the pro-choice movement.  But for those who are nominally pro-choice like Navarette, I'm sure there are many who are rethinking their support of both Planned Parenthood and on-demand abortions.

How can you not?  The callousness with which Planned Parenthood executives carried out the sale of fetal body parts is beyond civilized behavior and calls into question the humanity of these officials.  If you're a woman, would you let some of those doctors anywhere near you?  Considering their cynical, brutal outlook on aborted fetuses, they should have their licenses revoked – at a minimum.  They certainly shouldn't be involved in "women's health" at any level.

Planned Parenthood has been referring to its opponents as "extremists" since the videos broke.  In fact, anti-abortion views are solidly set in the mainstream, with consistent polling of between 40% and 50% opposed to all abortions save those in cases of rape, incest, and the health of the mother.  (Much smaller percentages wish to ban all abortions.)  So far, with the help of a compliant media, Planned Parenthood has been able to avoid the worst of the backlash against its barbaric practices.  But there are several more videos to be released, and I suspect that by the time they are all on the public record, there are going to be a lot of Ruben Navarettes rethinking their position on abortion.