Abortion Congress

Abortion Congress

No matter what your position on the abortion issue, I think we can all agree that our government is virtually paralyzed.  No one can get anything done and the simple explanation is those “special interests” that focus just on their particular issue.  Indeed, just about every group that does some lobbying rates Members of Congress and come election time everyone runs to see if he or she has that vaunted 100 percent voting record on their issue.  If they don’t, watch out.  Lemme give you a good example.

One of my best friends is a Congressman from Virginia.  He’s been around for many years, I’ve worked on his campaign, donated money, etc.  When he ran for Congress the first time he did something unusual – he actually ran commercials highlighting how he was pro-choice.  He won that race and in the years after that, he earned a 100 percent voting record with the National Abortion Rights Action League.   And every time a new campaign cycle came around, he received the maximum $5,000 contribution from NARAL.

Then one day, while I was at the office of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, he gave me a call.  “Pat, what the hell is this partial birth abortion thing?”   As readers of this blog know, the “partial birth abortion” procedure as dubbed by pro-lifers, entailed pulling the live fetus down the birth canal, removing the contents of the cranium to deflate the skull, then removing the fetus from the canal.  The doctor who developed this technique explained it was designed for women with small birth canals.  Well, the shit hit the fan when the anti-abortion movement discovered this procedure.  And folks like my friend in Congress, who is Catholic, were horrified.

I explained to him as much as I could about this procedure but he was clearly uncomfortable. Then, to his credit, he told me bluntly that he felt he had to vote to ban the procedure and, as much as I was disappointed, I actually admired how he had examined this issue based on the individual merits.

Ultimately, the votes were cast and he voted to ban the procedure.  At that point, it did not become law because President Clinton vetoed the bill.  The ban later became law under President Bush.

And in the next election cycle, the NARAL-PAC gave him NO money.

One vote and his 100% record was gone – and his “friends” felt they had to punish him for daring to vote against them.  As we know, several pro-choice Members of Congress did the same, including Senator Daniel Moynihan and Representative Patrick Kennedy.

This is how Washington, D.C. works folks.  Either you toe the line or watch your back.  And this is why nothing ever gets done.