Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Mystery Of The Dog That Didn't Bark

The Hound of Baskerville, was it? In any case, when I was reading through all the blog posts on NARAL and its leader Nancy Keenan, I couldn't help thinking about the dog that didn't bark when it should have.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, this might help: It is about the wingnut proposal for an act which is called "The Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act". Not that fetuses can feel pain, according to medical studies, until quite late in the gestation. But this act is part of the wingnut takeover of women's reproductive rights, and Nancy Keenan, as a representative of NARAL, gave this statement about the proposed act:

"Pro-choice Americans have always believed that women deserve access to all the information relevant to their reproductive health decisions. For some women, that includes information related to fetal anesthesia options," Nancy Keenan, NARAL's president, has said in a statement on the bill.

This is an odd statement, coming from the mouth of a representative for a group like NARAL. An odd statement, because "information" usually assumes that the stuff has some bearing to facts, and as far as I can tell physicians don't know how to give anesthesia to the fetus without endangering the woman's health. Assuming that the fetus could feel pain, which doesn't seem to be the case.

Keenan is also famous for supporting Joe Lieberman (the man who said that rape victims can always walk to another hospital if the first one refuses them the morning-after pill). More and more, she comes across as the dog that didn't bark when it should have barked.

Now Fred Vincy found this* on Keenan's opinions from an article that appeared in 1990:

For many public officials, personal conviction that abortion is wrong does not extend to public responsibility. "As a Catholic, I accept the teaching of my church on abortion. That is my personal religious belief . . . As a public official, there is no question in my mind that depriving women of the right to follow their conscience is the same as imposing religious beliefs," Montana's school superintendent, Nancy Keenan, said in a Dec. 5 letter when questioned by her bishop.

Fred points out that nothing appearing since this quote suggests that Keenan has changed her views on this topic. She may have, of course, but if so isn't it curious that nothing about those changed views has been published? Keenan is leading one of the most important pro-choice organizations of the country, and her personal views on abortion are....unclear?

The usual explanation for the way Keenan acts with wingnuts is not about an abused spouse acting dysfunctionally, though that is the one I find most apt. The accepted explanation is that Keenan is hedging her bets. What if wingnuts get back into power very soon? Isn't it a good thing to be nice to them so that they will leave abortion alone?

It's pretty clear how inane such a wish is, because wingnuttery is based on the idea of reining in all women and making women behave, and abortion is one of the most central of the wingnut targets. They're not going to be reasonable about abortion just because Keenan kowtows to them at every chance she gets. They're going to make abortion illegal and then birth control, too. Which brings me back to the dysfunctional abused spouse model for Keenan.

But Vincy's find suggests yet another theory: That of a mole. Wouldn't it be something if all the time NARAL had been led by a wingnut activist? - Just joking.
*I'm assuming Fred checked that it is the same Nancy Keenan.