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December 06, 2006

What’s Wrong With Nancy Keenan?

Posted in: Abortion

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I have to say I just do not understand this.  Fred Vincy did some digging in Lexis/Nexis and found some information on Nancy Keenan's background not available on the web (from a January 1, 1990 Boston Globe article):

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.

Now I respect people who believe that their personal religious views should not become the basis for law, and who nonetheless respect the individual's right to make their own decisions regarding their bodies.  But after yesterday's weird decision by Keenan (contra Planned Parenthood) not to challenge Brownback's fetal anesthesia bill, it's worth thinking about the wisdom of hiring someone to head an organization who believes that the right she is tasked with defending is a mortal sin.  

As Amanda Marcotte says:

See, philosophically and logically, the right to an abortion is based in the right to your bodily autonomy. However, on the political side, a lot of Americans are swayed by a combination of uneasiness with sex, sexism, and religious belief to be more fascinated by the red herring discussion of when life begins. Which means that whoever is going to be in leadership positions in the abortion rights leadership needs to be firmly committed to opposing all attempts to define fetuses as some sort of pseudo-citizens, in that they don’t have names or rights, except the one right no real citizen has, which is the right to commandeer another person’s body for your sustenance against their will.

Over at Brendan Calling, Brendan Skwire also writes about his email exchange with Carolyn Treiss of  CT-NARAL, in which she expresses a whole lot of frustration with the national PAC's endorsement of Joe Lieberman (totally undermining everything that Treiss and others in Connecticut were doing to get Plan B contraception mandated in publicly funded hospitals).

Writes Treiss:

Of course NARAL Pro-Choice America is not going to publicize the fact that the state affiliate doesn’t agree with their endorsement. It undermines their credibility and ability to raise money. We also disagree with their endorsements in the Murphy/Johnson and Simmons/Courtney Congressional races, but they don’t tell you that either.

Unhappiness with Nancy Keenan's leadership, or lack thereof, does not seem to be limited to the blogosphere. There is something very wrong about this woman being the head of the most prominent pro-choice rights group in the country, and more and more people seem to be coming to the same conclusion.


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