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Jewish World Review Jan. 19, 2001 / 24 Teves, 5761

Julia Gorin

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Ashcroft and the Medeas --
THERE ARE those who would like us to believe that Attorney General Nominee John Ashcroft is "anti-woman." Because he is against all abortion, and abortion is, after all, a woman’s issue.

Except it isn’t.

It’s not about us. How out of touch we must be with our maternal instincts to think that it is. When so many a mother has given her life so that her child might live, the notion of a woman choosing herself over her child—not to save her life, but to simplify it--is most unnatural. It is a choice that makes about as much sense as that of Medea, the heroine from Greek literature who sought revenge on her husband by killing their two children.

When women allow the single issue of abortion to determine their voting behavior, they do so at the expense of their own dignity. By giving preference to candidates who will protect their right to sexual liberation without consequence, over those who will protect their children, they indulge their lower faculties (no pun intended). And as long as the country is still taking its cues from the Me Generation, abortion rates will remain high and the issue will remain center stage.

Often supplementing the "woman’s right to choose" argument is the "If it were men…" argument. Meaning, if the situation were reversed--and men were the child bearers--abortion rights wouldn’t even be an issue, since men traditionally do what they will to facilitate their lives.

Precisely. Hence G-d chose woman.

Most would agree that, in comparison to the rest of the animal kingdom, the Maker got pretty creative when he made Man.

What was to stop Him from going a step further and making it so that the male became pregnant?

But He didn’t. He entrusted the womb to woman. Silly G-d to assume that nothing could be stronger than the maternal bond.

Not even the all-important act that produces it.

Since we like claiming our divinely intended roles as the world’s healers and nurturers, often taking the higher moral ground to men, whom we fault for making war and such, then aren’t we, women, supposed to do better? Do we really want society to balance out its double standards at the expense of innocents?

John Ashcroft does not. And his is a view that can’t be faulted. One can only disagree, or adopt a less strident version, but one must respect the man. For it’s hard to argue against life.

At Cardinal John O'Connor's funeral last year in New York’s St. Patrick's Cathedral, when a friend’s eulogy described the chief cardinal as having been passionately and unequivocally pro-life because of the Church’s belief in the preciousness of life, from conception to death, the room stood up and gave an ovation that lasted for two full minutes.

In attendance were Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Sen. Charles Schumer, and Sen. Patrick Moynihan. The politicians stayed seated at first. But when they saw the entire room on its feet and the applause not letting up, slowly, reluctantly they followed suit and stood, still withholding their applause.

Was it so hard to applaud a departed man who cherished human life? Is it so hard to disagree but have the class to admit when someone is the better man?

Like Cardinal O’Connor, John Ashcroft has consistency on his side. It makes more sense to be completely against abortion than to be partially against abortion. It makes more sense to be against abortion than to be against the death penalty but pro-abortion. Any inconsistencies belong to everyone else, not John Ashcroft. Therefore, the burden of proof that their way is the right way falls on the shoulders of his opponents. Because where is the inherent evil in respecting the sanctity of life?

The famous Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal once met a woman who was a Holocaust survivor. She was with her red-haired son, whose features betrayed nothing Jewish. That’s because the woman had been raped and impregnated by a Nazi. Could there be a better excuse for abortion? Yet the woman kept her baby, whom she raised Jewish, who identified as Jewish and who became devoted to the study of things Jewish. Could there be sweeter revenge?

Unlike this woman, Medea chose the fulfillment of a personal ambition over her children. So did Susan Smith. These were damaged women.

So are John Ashcroft’s opponents.

JWR contributor Julia Gorin is a journalist and stand-up comic residing in Manhattan. Send your comments by clicking here.


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© 2000, Julia Gorin