February 19, 2006


Bridging the Divide on Abortion (E. J. Dionne Jr., February 14, 2006, Washington Post)

[T]here is a new argument on abortion that may establish a more authentic middle ground. It would use government not to outlaw abortion altogether but to reduce its likelihood. And at least one politician, Thomas R. Suozzi, the county executive of New York's Nassau County, has shown that the position involves more than soothing rhetoric.

Last May Suozzi, a Democrat, gave an important speech calling on both sides to create "a better world where there are fewer unplanned pregnancies, and where women who face unplanned pregnancies receive greater support and where men take more responsibility for their actions."

Last week Suozzi put money behind his words. He announced nearly $1 million in county government grants to groups ranging from Planned Parenthood to Catholic Charities for an array of programs -- adoption and housing, sex education, and abstinence promotion -- to reduce unwanted pregnancies and to help pregnant women who want to bring their children into the world. Suozzi calls his initiative "Common Sense for the Common Good" and, as Newsday reported, he was joined at his news conference by people at both ends of the abortion debate.

This is a matter on which no good deed goes unpunished, and Suozzi was immediately denounced by Kelli Conlin, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, for the grants that went to abstinence-only programs, which, she insisted, do not work.

As the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy has argued for years, the best approach to the problem involves neither abstinence-only nor contraception-only programs but a combination of the two. But the merits of the issue aside, it's unfortunate that Suozzi's initiative is caught in the cross fire of this year's campaign for governor of New York. Suozzi is expected to challenge state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. NARAL strongly supports Spitzer, who opposes the ban on partial-birth abortion that Suozzi -- otherwise an abortion rights supporter -- favors.

You'd think Mr. Dionne might note not just that the abortionist oppose abstinence but that the Democrat's candidate will be the guy who even supports infanticide.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 19, 2006 12:00 AM
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