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Why is Nancy Keenan Afraid of Me?

1e2184d7-5b80-4afd-892c-676bec5948f11.jpgI got a call from the Warren Olney show  because they are devoting Monday to the latest SCOTUS decision which kicks a huge hole through  Roe v. Wade by allowing states to end-run it, something NARAL's Nancy Keenan seems blissfully unaware of. They had read my post on NARAL's failure to  fight Alito in spite of the fact that they raised obscene gobs of cash for just that purpose, and wondered if I'd be interested in being on their show with Keenan.  I answered, of course, "you bet, any time, any place you want, let's go."

NARAL declined to participate.

I  look to the NRA, possibly the most successful single-issue group of all time, who have not only wiped the floor with any politician of either party who opposes their agenda but who have also managed to build an incredible base of rabid loyalists they can mobilize to promote the entire conservative agenda.  And they will debate anyone, anytime, anywhere.  Anybody catch them with bared teeth accusing liberals of bathing in the blood of the Virginia Tech shooting victims? It was an argument that was taken much more seriously and given much more airtime than calls for stricter gun control, which preemptively had a lot of Democrats like Steny Hoyer and Harry Reid saying "well, let's not get too hasty here." 

Why won't NARAL do the same? 

This affects more than just choice.  A lot of people give money to NARAL believing they will take the lead in these fights for a lot of reasons.  Then NARAL goes and endorses people like Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Arlen Specter and Joe Lieberman — all of whom voted for cloture on Alito.  They give them the social progressive bona fides they need to get elected in more socially progressive New England states, only to watch them turn around and put reactionary judges on the bench who are destroying reproductive rights quite furiously.  We were worried about something happening to John Paul Stevens such that George Bush would appoint a fifth reactionary judge to the court, but with this decision it looks like Robets has his hand so far up Kennedy's ass that the point is moot — Kennedy is now adopting the arguments put forth by architects of the father/daughter purity balls in writing his decisions:

But never until Wednesday had the court held that an abortion procedure could be prohibited because the procedure itself, not the pregnancy, threatened a woman’s health — mental health, in this case, and moral health as well. In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy suggested that a pregnant woman who chooses abortion falls away from true womanhood.

“Respect for human life finds an ultimate expression in the bond of love the mother has for her child,” he said.

Justice Kennedy conceded that “we find no reliable data” on whether abortion in general, or the procedure prohibited by the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, causes women emotional harm. But he said it was nonetheless “self-evident” and “unexceptional to conclude” that “some women” who choose to terminate their pregnancies suffer “regret,” “severe depression,” “loss of esteem” and other ills.

Let's face it, with regard to the Supreme Court, we're really screwed for some time to come. And Nancy Keenan — who was entrusted with millions by pro-choice Americans to protect Roe v. Wade and failed miserably by not showing up to fight — has a lot to answer for.

I've been on the Warren Olney show before talking about the Blue Dogs and their attempt to neuter Henry Waxman shortly after the election.  I calmly recounted the facts, I was not foaming at the mouth and I didn't drop any f-bombs.  If NARAL can't stomach sending someone to  counter me in an extremely wonky, heavily moderated setting, if they won't engage in any public discussion of their policies and practices, how exactly are they going to fight a bunch of rabid wingnuts who are living to jam another true believer onto the Supreme Court?

I was on BlogTalk radio yesterday and I said Nancy Keenan must go.  As a woman who is very worried that my basic human rights are under attack, and that key female Democrats either don't want to talk about it or are using right wing frames to do so while the largest and most powerful pro-choice lobbying group is asleep at the wheel, I believe that to be true.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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