- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Aborting girls

Several pro-life and Christian blogs picked up on an interview last week in which Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton condemned sex-selection abortion and acknowledged that it’s a major problem in such countries as China and India.

“Obviously, there’s work to be done in both India and China, because the infanticide rate of girl babies is still overwhelmingly high,” Mrs. Clinton told the New York Times. “Unfortunately, with technology, parents are able to use sonograms to determine the sex of a baby, and to abort girl children simply because they’d rather have a boy. And those are deeply set attitudes.”

Catholic blogger Jeff Miller was waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it didn’t.

“As you would expect the NYT does not have a follow up question in regards to sex-selection abortion. No question as to how if abortion is a ‘right’ then how does doing it because of the sex of the child then make it a problem. Either it is a human person or it is not. The sex of a ‘tissue mass’ would not matter. Does the women have a so-called choice just as long as the reason is not sex-selection?” Mr. Miller wrote at his site, the Curt Jester.

Pro-life blogger Jill Stanek underlined Mrs. Clinton’s phrase “abort girl children simply because they’d rather have a boy” and wondered aloud at the reaction among pro-choice and feminist sites at that phrasing.

“This is problematic for hardcore pro-aborts, because Hillary is admitting preborns are distinct and separate human beings and also that some abortions are wrong. Can’t find any pro-abort blog taking note of this traitorism,” Mrs. Stanek said at her self-titled blog.

One feminist to make note was Laurie Carlsson at her site Speaking of Women’s Rights, where she criticized “traitor” language, which Mrs. Stanek also used in an interview with Lifesite News. Ms. Carlsson’s own comments were somewhat noncommittal, calling the issue “neither simple, nor clean-cut along lines of political beliefs or moral values.”

“How does this fit into the feminist perspective of a woman having autonomy when it comes to her own body? Hillary Clinton recently spoke out against sex selection and her comments have been labeled by anti-abortion groups as ‘traitorism in the ranks of the abortion advocates.’ Is it not possible to have a nuanced view on such a highly contentious issue as abortion? The most important thing, it seems, is to allow the debate to have its own framework. To recognize that the world of assisted reproductive technology is ever-changing and that the way in which we approach a dialogue on these issues must change along with it,” she wrote.

End of privacy?

At his CBS News blog Taking Liberties, Declan McCullagh mused that all sorts of interesting things can hide in 1,000-page bills such as the House health care package and “much deviltry can lie in the details.”

Three provisions in the House bill HR 3200 require the IRS or other government agencies to give a person’s tax and financial information to the health care bureaucracy, he reported at the site.

“Section 431(a) of the bill says that the IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, including the filing status, the modified adjusted gross income, the number of dependents, and ‘other information as is prescribed by’ regulation. That information will be provided to the new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs and used to determine who qualifies for ‘affordability credits.’ Section 245(b)(2)(A) says the IRS must divulge tax return details — there’s no specified limit on what’s available or unavailable — to the Health Choices Commissioner. The purpose, again, is to verify ‘affordability credits.’ Section 1801(a) says that the Social Security Administration can obtain tax return data on anyone who may be eligible for a ‘low-income prescription drug subsidy’ but has not applied for it,” Mr. McCullagh wrote.

Free-market analyst Tom Giovanetti, president of the Institute for Policy Innovation, called these and related provisions in Senate versions of the bill “the most egregious violations of Americans’ privacy imaginable. Indeed, one way to characterize HR 3200 is as ‘The End of Privacy.’”

He sarcastically noted in an IPI press release “But don’t worry, Senator Arlen Specter promised the other day at a town hall meeting that ‘we’ll do everything we can to stop people from breaking into the files.’”

Ha ha

In an unguarded moment during a remembrance of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy last week, close friend and New York Times Magazine Editor-in-Chief Ed Klein told “The Diane Rehm Show” of one of the Massachusetts Democrat’s favorite joking subjects — when he crashed his car into a pond, abandoned the scene and did not report the accident to authorities for hours, while his female companion was left trapped in the car to die.

“I don’t know if you know this or not, but one of his favorite topics of humor was indeed Chappaquiddick itself. And he would ask people, ‘have you heard any new jokes about Chappaquiddick?’ That is just the most amazing thing. It’s not that he didn’t feel remorse about the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, but that he still always saw the other side of everything and the ridiculous side of things, too,” Mr. Klein told guest host Katty Kay.

Jules Crittenden called himself “deeply moved to hear … how the late senator loved to hear and tell Chappaquiddick jokes” and sensed that Mr. Klein may have realized he let one slip.

“Not that Kennedy lacked remorse, Klein quickly added, seeming to intuit that my jaw and perhaps those of other listeners had just hit the floorboards. I gather it was a self-deprecating maneuver on Kennedy’s part, exercised with the famous Kennedy charm, though it sounds like one of those ‘I guess you had to have been there’ things,” he wrote at his eponymous site.

An incredulous Mark Hemingway said at the Corner blog at National Review that this detail “makes Kennedy kind of a monster” before going to town on the show where Mr. Klein spoke.

“The odd thing is that if you listen to the whole show, the tone of everyone involved is nauseatingly hagiographic and reverential. Klein apparently let his guard down a bit; after he lets it slip Kennedy liked to joke about the woman he killed you can actually hear in his voice that he’s trying to backpedal. The show actually cuts to a break as he’s trying to explain himself, and I seriously wonder if it wasn’t the producers trying to do Klein a favor.”

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air concluded that “if nothing else, it puts to rest the notion that Kennedy’s remorse balances out the undeniable cowardice of his actions at Chappaquiddick. Even allowing for the best possible spin on his actions that day, what kind of person jokes about an incident that left a young woman dead in the back of his own car? … It does set free Kennedy’s critics to talk at length about Chappaquiddick and its proportion to Kennedy’s public life. After all, if Kennedy thought it was a topic for humor in private, then it certainly is a valid topic for serious analysis of his life as well.”

Victor Morton may be reached at [email protected]

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