SIMMONS: ‘High stakes’ in the politics of abortion
Missy Reilly Smith, who has paired up with pro-life Democratic presidential candidate Randall Terry to siphon votes from President Obama, isn’t about to fall into the rabbit hole and start questioning the president’s U.S. citizenship, parentage or even his views on government largesse.
Instead, as a vice-presidential candidate, she is honing in on the theological divide that separates her from the president, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and other like-minded supporters of abortion rights.
“This is high stakes,” Ms. Smith said in an interview Saturday, “and I’m all in.”
By “all in,” she means deploying the same in-your-face pro-life strategies she used in 2010, when she made a national name for herself as the Republican challenger to D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a hugely popular Democrat who is pro-choice.
The issues then and now are abortion, chastity, promiscuity, infidelity and adultery and, believe it or not, hypocrisy.
“I’m outraged by [Mr. Gray],” said Ms. Smith, who, like the mayor, is a Roman Catholic. “The worst thing you can do if you are a public figure and supporting the murder of children and go to Communion is accept Communion. It’s a scandal he receives Communion.”
Ms. Smith’s mightiest aspersions are cast upon abortion in the broadest sense, but she is particularly enraged by politicians and other advocates who target poor populations and communities of color in defense of abortion.
Her concerns are legitimate.
According to statistics released last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, blacks make up 12.6 percent of the U.S. population but account for 36.5 percent of the nation’s abortions.
Meanwhile, we have a pro-choice, pro-sex-education president who has said he wouldn’t want either of his daughters “punished with a baby” as teenagers, and the mayor of the nation’s capital and the city’s nonvoting House delegate scream bloody murder (no pun intended) whenever Congress considers prohibitions on government-funded abortions for poor women.
No shrinking violet, Ms. Smith stares at them and their brothers and sisters across the theological divide and calls a spade a spade.
“They are preying on children with abortion. It’s just what Margaret Sanger wanted,” she said of the birth-control-and-eugenics-crusading founder of what now is called Planned Parenthood.
“They are killing babies and supporting gender-selection abortions,” she continued. She went on — and hardly sarcastically, I might add — that, “When a woman is pregnant, we don’t say, ‘We’re having a fetus shower.’ “
Back then, Ms. Smith, who still resides in the District, aired a series of ads highlighting the ugly and violent truths of abortion, ads that were shocking enough to make a grown woman drop to her knees in prayer and ask God to close the great divide.
This year’s run for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will see her strategically targeting evangelicals, independents, people of color and Catholics in states that could be up for grabs.
“[Dwight] Eisenhower forced burgomasters to go into concentration camps and see what had been done [during the Holocaust],” she said. “We have to keep trying, for the children. We have to keep trying.
“We’re not going to hurt [Republican Mitt] Romney’s campaign,” she said. “We’re going to focus on states that are in question because we don’t have the money and resources.”
Mr. Obama knows if he looks to his immediate right he will find Mr. Romney, who has all but officially secured the GOP nomination. But if he were to lean back in the slightest, he would see Ms. Smith — a feisty activist standing at the ready to scrape away the sheer veneer of the war on women.
Hers is a war for humanity.
“We are standing,” she said, at the crossroads of a “crisis of conscious.”
Can she get an amen?
• Deborah Simmons can be reached at email@example.com.
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