Democratic presidential hopeful Richard Ojeda, who launched his campaign last month, recently eviscerated any hope that he’d represent a relatively moderate alternative to his party’s stance on abortion. Back in May, The Nation described Ojeda as “avowedly pro-life,” even though he opposed legal protections for the unborn as a West Virginia state senator. Now, in a statement “clarifying” his views on the topic, the failed congressional candidate declared that he “wholeheartedly [supports] a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body.” Ojeda’s rant is unique, not just for its visceral contempt for pro-lifers (he calls us “pro-birth,” guys!) or its blatant hypocrisy (he condemns pro-life politicians who support foreign wars, even though he knocked Trump for failing to serve in Vietnam) but for the manner in which it uses poor people as a shield for advancing militantly pro-abortion policies.
Ojeda begins his poorly-reasoned diatribe by citing how “rich women have always had access to the care that they want or need.” But rather than argue that a morally informed social democrat ought to oppose legalized abortion and back programs intended to aid underprivileged women, Ojeda offers delusions about how “those in power have not trusted working class women to make their own decisions.” (He mentions the working class ten times in his statement and twice in the same sentence.) He even implies that pro-lifers are anti-abortion because of racial animus, even though the abortion rate among black women is nearly three times that of white women. Naturally, he pledges to gut the Hyde Amendment. But then, he takes his claptrap a step further by expressing his opposition to the Helms Amendment, which prohibits the use of American dollars to pay for abortions in foreign countries.
It isn’t enough that the United States plays host to over 630,000 abortions a year. The world is a battleground, and the scourge must spread to Third World countries, conscientious objectors be damned. Even the Obama administration was unable to “reinterpret” Helms, and while Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both vowed to support its reappraisal in 2016, Ojeda’s radical posturing on the issue this early on is uniquely concerning. If a candidate from West Virginia – which recently affirmed its commitment to the unborn – can’t challenge his party on abortion, then it’s safe to say that nobody in the 2020 Democratic primaries will run on even a moderate platform.
Regardless, a global abortion regimen underwritten by the United States reeks of neocolonial paternalism. The idea that women in developing countries must choose between economic prosperity or the lives of their children is hostage taking of the worst sort imaginable. Still, Ojeda deserves credit for delivering the twenty-first century’s answer to “The White Man’s Burden.” His singular lack of ethics or compassion will no doubt be praised by the very people who enjoy sermonizing loudly about the evils of privilege.
The most laughable aspect of Ojeda’s statement might be his insistence that he’s the true pro-lifer in the race: “I have always considered myself pro-life because I want to reduce the number of abortions by…quadrupling the funding for Planned Parenthood.” The notion that America’s largest abortion provider, which carried out over half of those procedures in 2016, needs more funding, and that such funding constitutes a genuine commitment to a pro-life agenda, is as sickening as it is ludicrous.
While pro-lifers might be tempted to back pro-abortion-rights candidates who claim to support fewer abortions, there is no doubt that such leaders will back policies which ultimately have the effect of killing even more unborn children. Social programs will do little to reduce the nation’s abortion rate if they are offset by more abortion clinics, a major increase in taxpayer funding for abortion, a global regime that subsidizes the procedure, and heightened attacks on pro-life organizations and crisis pregnancy centers. Figures like Ojeda might claim to speak for the poor, but their agenda masks a detestable and unjustifiable willingness to force abortion on America’s most vulnerable populations.
[Today’s guest post by Anonymous is part of our paid blogging program.]
|Above: West Virginians rally for pro-life ballot measure|