Political Gamesmanship Isn’t Just a Game for Everybody

Kevin Williamson, who has a unique perspective on the matter, has some comments for the Republicans who preemptively scuttled a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks:

I was one of those who entered the world through a pregnancy of the sort we call “unplanned,” though as a Hayekian type I do not object to being the “result of human action, but not the execution of any human design.” I was born about three months — call it a “trimester” — before Roe.

In my case, the result was an adoption. Mine wasn’t, as it turns out, the sort of success story you’d put in a brochure; my adoptive parents were divorced only a few years later, and there was subsequently a great deal of unpleasantness in my home upon which I do not intend to dwell. Some had happier families, some far worse. Eventually, I discovered that I had certain talents, which friends encouraged and teachers helped me to develop. I had the uniquely American experience of playing high-school football in West Texas (for what was the losingest team in our district’s history; we were everybody’s homecoming game, and I still expect to experience pain every time I see a mum), learned a trade at the (mighty, mighty) Daily Texan at the University of Texas, and then moved to India to apply it. I was editor-in-chief of a small newspaper before I was 30, and started a daily newspaper in Philadelphia a few years later. I failed at that, but it was tremendously fun, and on our better days we put out a more interesting broadsheet than the Inquirer. I’ve published a few books, had a few rejected, walked in the foothills of the Himalayas and driven a convertible through the Alps, gotten into bar fights, played Bach’s Prelude II Cm as part of a classical-guitar duet. I work at the only magazine I’ve ever really wanted to work at, and Bill Buckley once asked me for a word he was unable to call up in the moment (“lapidary”). There have been a few rough stretches and some that have been nearly perfect.

People like me — we “unplanned,” the millions of us — now live the first part of our lives outside the protection of the laws of these United States. Our lives, and very often our deaths, are instruments of the convenience of others. That was different, in my case, by a matter of a few months. It is impossible for me to know whether the woman who gave birth to me would have chosen abortion if that had been a more readily available alternative in 1972. I would not bet my life, neither the good nor the bad parts of it, on her not choosing it.

The House of Representatives and its Republican leadership had a chance to take a vote on the question of extending the protection of our nation’s laws to people like me, at least to some of us. …it would have been something to have the House of Representatives at least take the vote on the question. I could respect the “No” voters, in a way. At least they’re willing to say what they think. But pulling the bill because Renee Ellmers and Jackie Walorski don’t have the guts or the principle to vote one way or the other? That is — let us all acknowledge the plain fact — cowardice.

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