Susan J. Douglas is a professor at the University of Michigan. She’s also an author, and in a recent magazine column, Ms. Douglas describes her feelings on people she disagrees with. Those feelings aren’t pleasant.
The professor begins by announcing, “I hate Republicans.” She didn’t always have this “loathing” toward them, and she even worked for a Republican legislator in the ’70s. That, however, was before the GOP ruptured “civilized discourse” by preaching “vilification,” “denigration,” “intolerance,” and “hate speech.” While Ms. Douglas has an extensive vocabulary, the word “hypocrisy” doesn’t seem to be in it.
One reason the professor “can’t stand” her political opponents is their habit of “championing fetal ‘personhood.’” Instead, Douglas prefers “moderate” pro-abortion Republicans who are “progressive about women’s rights.”
Former Republican governor Tom Ridge didn’t object to abortion. His policies weren’t particularly good for women, but they were a big help to Kermit Gosnell.
In 2013, Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell was convicted of killing three newborn babies and one patient at his squalid clinic. When authorities raided it, they found filthy conditions, untrained staff, and aborted fetuses rotting in plastic bags.
A subsequent grand jury report identified the policies of Gov. Ridge as having enabled Gosnell. Soon after taking office in 1993, Ridge ended clinic inspections, meaning that even nail salons were subject to greater oversight. The report explained that “[w]ith the change of administration from Governor Casey to Governor Ridge, officials concluded that inspections would be ‘putting a barrier up to women’ seeking abortions. Better to leave clinics to do as they pleased, even though, as Gosnell proved, that meant both women and babies would pay.”
Similar problems have been exposed in Delaware – another state that’s taken a hands-off approach to abortion. Two nurses who worked at Planned Parenthood’s Wilmington clinic came forward in 2013 with accounts of a Gosnell-like environment: Jayne Mitchell-Werbrich and Joyce Vasikonis spoke of “meat market” conditions in which patients were put at risk by bloody tables and unsterilized equipment.
Substandard practices were also found at an abortion clinic owned by the disgraced Dr. Steven C. Brigham in neighboring Maryland. Human remains turned up in a freezer at the Baltimore facility after an eighteen year-old patient suffered serious injuries there in 2010.
In contrast, pro-life Republicans want to protect women through surprise inspections of abortion facilities and by establishing basic clinic safeguards. Others, like Michigan state senator Judy Emmons, are working to protect moms from abortions arranged under coercion.
And although Susan Douglas might think that efforts to defend pre-born children are a threat to her rights, most women don’t seem to agree. A 2013 Quinnipiac poll indicated that sixty percent of American women support a ban on abortions after twenty weeks. It should also be noted that in November’s election, loudly pro-abortion politicians like Mark Udall and Wendy Davis either saw their share of female votes fall or lost the majority of women altogether.
Pro-lifers of all political stripes have a crucial role to play in fighting for women and children. That’s probably going to earn more hatred from Prof. Douglas. Unfortunately, there are bigger problems to worry about.