Sometimes you hear something so shocking that you say to yourself, “Did that person actually just say that?”
There is a lot of this going on as we listen to pro-abortion commentary and interviews now that Roe v. Wade is history.
The pro-abortion intelligentsia likes to portray pro-life advocates as religious fanatics and tools of an anti-female patriarchy. These left-wing intellectuals (and I am being charitable in using the term, given that many are merely journalists and pundits) spend so much time attacking social conservatives that we rarely get to hear outright and in detail what the abortion-obsessed intellectual class wants.
Here is what it wants: an industrial-scale pro-abortion regime that offers abortion at all times and at all stages of pregnancy (and even infanticide) in every corner of this country. Their term for this is “accessibility,” which makes death-dealing on a massive scale sound ever so consumer-friendly. “Accessibility” is a happy talk term. I mean, what mean person would want something to be inaccessible?
Luckily, those on the pro-life side and those who are in the mushy middle of the abortion debate have the opportunity to listen to or read the transcript of the June 28, 2022 public radio interview with the writer and pro-abortion advocate Rebecca Traister. It is worth listening to the interview because Traister’s tone of voice is agitated. She is so angry that she sounds as though she is barely able to hold herself together and get through the interview. At best, she is strident. And the interviewer, Melissa Harris-Perry, isn’t even mildly questioning of Traister’s extreme views.
And they are, by any measure, extreme—that is, to anyone with a moral concern about the value of human life. The fact that Traister is treated on the program The Takeaway as a responsible commentator on the matter of abortion is a sign of how far left and pro-abortion (taxpayer-funded) public radio now is. (Not that that is news to conservatives.)
Traister is a well-known feminist author and a big proponent of the utility of anger in pressing the feminist line. (She is lionized by the very same left that caricatures Republicans and other conservatives as being fueled by resentments of various kinds: race, sexuality-related issues, etc.) She is not a marginal figure on the pro-abortion and feminism in general landscape.
So let’s take a look at some of what she says.
She starts off by criticizing feminist par excellence Hillary Clinton for not being farther to the left on abortion and for having years ago used the word “rare” when discussing abortion. To the abortion-obsessed Traister, that is anathema—she wants the country to be awash in abortions:
You had Hillary Clinton telling a group in Albany -I believe this was in 2005- telling a group of reproductive healthcare providers that we had to make abortion more rare by keeping pregnancies from happening, telling people who work in contraception that abortion should be rare.
As we have learned in the brief time since the Dobbs Decision came down, the pro-abortion movement has indeed “moved on” from the days when even liberal Democrats like Bill and Hillary Clinton would display some semblance of moral awareness that abortion was a tragic outcome for everyone involved.
But for Traister (now edging toward her late forties) and her younger pro-abortion comrades, any suggestion that abortion is anything other than a positive good, a tool of empowerment for women, an equality-engendering rite of passage for every self-respecting American woman is enraging. They have nothing but disdain for those like the Clintons who (at one point anyway—Hillary is now pretty much onboard with the Traister 24/7 Abortion Nation line—which shift Traister lauds Clinton for later in the interview) were unwilling to celebrate abortion for its own sake):
Safe, legal, and rare is really crucial to understanding the story. It is rumored by the way that Hillary Clinton was the originator of that phrase, that it didn't start with Bill. That's a phrase that I despise and have been writing about critically forever because it does this thing which is cast abortion as some unfortunate outcome, rather than as a cornerstone of healthcare, which is what it is, and one of the biggest problems we've had.
One would think most people with a drop of compassion in their veins would indeed regard an abortion as an unfortunate outcome.
Traister goes on in a truly revealing moment to say this:
another language choice we can talk about later, "pro-choice movement" as it was called for a long time, is like siloing abortion off from the rest of health care which only seeds the frame of, there's something 'icky' about abortion, there's something different about abortion
Icky? Brutal is more like it. After all, we are talking about such realities as a baby’s skull being crushed and its body parts being ripped into easily extractable bits. In the case of a medication abortion, a woman’s bodily system is deliberately poisoned so that the baby is expelled from her body in a bloody mess and the body of the child disposed of as if it were a tumor or other diseased tissue. Down the toilet or out with the trash goes the little human being.
And note that Traister tries to reduce the moral enormity of an abortion by suggesting that there is nothing exceptional about the taking of a life, denying that there is anything different about an abortion, even employing this appalling analogy:
There are a million different ways to experience individual abortions as there are a million ways to experience pregnancies themselves or other medical procedures, colonoscopies.
No, Ms. Traister—the deliberate taking of a life is not the moral equivalent of a check on one’s colon. How cruelly cavalier she is towards the millions of women who have agonized over their abortions and who have been haunted by them ever since. Mind you, Traister would regard such torments as imposed on women by the religious right and that such women need to start celebrating their courage in ending the lives of their children. Abortions are empowering, after all.
Traister makes it sounds like ending a human life is like the ability to order a pizza:
One of my critiques about how all of this has happened over the five decades that Roe has stood is that we just haven't done a good job of muscularly selling it as a moral, medical, and ideological good and a normal thing. Safe, legal and rare was the most powerful political phrasing that articulated that. It should have been safe, legal, and immediately accessible to every damn person who needs it, like that's the idea.
A moral good? A normal thing? Killing a fellow being? Immediately accessible? What a depraved, dark view of how a society should operate.
Traister does not even seem to notice that the wording that she uses to refer to the supposed evils perpetrated on Democrats by Republicans:
this violent and immoral incursion on their rights
more properly applies to what abortionists do to children in the womb.
When it comes to party politics, Traister makes it clear that she wants the Democratic Party to become a maximalist pro-abortion monolith and one that will rid itself of anyone who opposes abortion:
…the Democratic leadership was sending support to Henry Cuellar in Texas, an anti-abortion member of the House and a Democratic incumbent who was being challenged muscularly by Jessica Cisneros, a terrific candidate.
That election came down to something like 200 votes, which means that Democratic leadership that sent all that money and all that support to their anti-choice house member, Cuellar won him that election. He wouldn't have picked up those extra, whatever it was, 150 votes to beat Jessica Cisneros, a righteous candidate had it not been for Democratic leadership. I want to say we are looking at a future in which every tactic has got to be really carefully thought about.
Absolutely, we have to elect people who are going to protect reproductive access and healthcare in states.
It is sad that a professional writer like Traister does not see the irony of using the term “reproductive access” to refer to abortion—which has nothing whatever to do with reproduction, save in putting a grisly halt to it. And abortion is certainly not healthcare, in the vast majority of cases. For many women (like the liberal career woman Rebecca Traister), abortion is merely a lifestyle option.
Like many pro-abortion leftists, Traister blithely smears the anti-abortion movement as racist with throwaway lines like:
women's anger has also, in part, motivated the anti-abortion movement and all kinds of anti-desegregation movements
That is a very common, baseless accusation against the antiabortion movement—and particularly perverse and unjust given that babies of color are disproportionately aborted.
Traister is aficionado of anger and makes a good living off of urging women to embrace it. She certainly sounds angry in the interview—and puts forth dubious claims about abortion:
It is a safe health care procedure that is absolutely critical, that happens in every community and every family
It is not a safe health care procedure for the baby and it is doubtful that it affects every family. Maybe in her circle it is indeed what she calls “a normal thing.” Normalizing the unspeakable is what she grandiosely vows in the interview to dedicate her life to. How nice for her that she has a life to dedicate—she was not, obviously, aborted.
Notably, the words “child” and “infant” do not appear in the interview. The word “baby” does, but Traister uses it to refer to her early years as an activist:
back to the early part of my career where I was just like a little rudimentary baby feminist
The interview is worth reading or listening to for its damning look into the decadent mindset of modern pro-abortion activism.