As befits a politician aspiring to the image of moderate Republicanism, U.S. Senate candidate Christina Nolan has given a carefully circumscribed statement of support for abortion rights.
And it’s as worthless as a bank note from the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
I’m not accusing her of lying. Although a look at her background might suggest otherwise. She was raised in a devout Catholic family; she attended Rice Memorial High School; her grandparents were publicly anti-abortion; and one of her aunts is Mary Beerworth, the longtime head and public face of Vermont Right to Life. None of those facts can be found in any of her campaign literature, because of course they can’t.
But hey, for all I know she might be the family outcast, what with her “alternative lifestyle” and all.
Whether she’s welcome at holiday dinners or not, she opposes Proposition 5, the amendment that would enshrine reproductive freedom in Vermont’s Constitution, using language and reasoning borrowed from the anti-abortion crowd. They realize that direct opposition is a nonstarter in Vermont, so instead they raise bogus concerns about Prop 5 being overly broad, subject to misinterpretation, and potentially allowing abortion right up to the moment of birth. Nolan reportedly views Prop 5 as “extreme” but shies away from specifics. When asked where she would draw the line, all she can offer is “Vermonters need to have this conversation.”
That’s one level of uselessness. The other is the potential consequences of her entirely hypothetical election to the U.S. Senate.
It doesn’t matter what Nolan personally believes about abortion; it’s the fact that her election would be one more nail in the coffin of Roe v. Wade. With Griswold v. Connecticut in the on-deck circle. (Not to mention Obergefell v. Hodges and Loving v. Virginia, but those are outrages for another day.)
No matter how moderate she is, her election would help return Mitch McConnell to Senate leadership. McConnell, who has promised to block any Supreme Court nominees put forward by Joe Biden if he has the power to do so. McConnell, who spearheaded the detestable maneuvers that put Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett on the high court. McConnell, who openly embraces the tenets of Machiavellianism: the absolute pursuit of power with no quarter for principle.
Nolan has refused to say whether she would vote for McConnell as Majority Leader, but c’mon. The guy co-hosted a D.C. fundraiser for her. And either way, if she helps create a Republican majority, McConnell would become Leader with or without her vote.
Nolan’s support for Roe v Wade is meaningless because her election would ensure the primacy of the anti-abortion movement. Her words are empty. Which shouldn’t be too surprising, given that Nolan sees Sen. Susan Collins, the queen of empty gestures, as her political role model. Collins who, whenever push comes to shove, swallows her alleged principles and votes in lockstep with the Republican caucus.
Collins, who voted for McConnell as Leader.
Christina Nolan’s election would be a disaster for reproductive rights, whether or not she’s being honest about her stance on abortion. Her position is weaksauce anyway, and shouldn’t provide any basis for a Nolan vote by anyone who’s pro-choice.
But really, it doesn’t matter what her position is. Her election would be a clear victory for the anti-choice movement. That’s the only thing that matters.