Don’t say I didn’t warn you. In my July 25 posting, I said that the Sexual Left would try to paint John Roberts, President Bush’s nominee to the Supreme Court, as the “dread jurist Roberts.”
As if on cue, NARAL Pro-Choice America created a 30-second television spot claiming Roberts supported abortion-clinic bombers while arguing a case as a government lawyer in 1991. The advertisement, complete with pictures of a mangled clinic and the emotional words and image of a victim, accuses him of “supporting . . . a convicted clinic bomber.” It brands Roberts as someone “whose ideology leads him to excuse violence against other Americans.”
Like much of the information produced by NARAL (see my July 18 posting, “Keeping Sex ‘Real’”), the ad is a lie. That’s not just my opinion. The nonpartisan FactCheck.org notes that “the ad is false,” the images “misleading.” FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, says the NARAL ad “uses the classic tactic of guilt by association.”
To review, in 1991 Roberts argued for the first Bush administration that abortion opponents who blockaded clinics could not be prosecuted under the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, saying that blocking access to a clinic was not discrimination against women, thereby not violating their equal protection rights under the Constitution. Indeed, Roberts argued that state law was sufficient to prosecute the blockaders. Roberts’s reasoning was so radical that the Supreme Court agreed with him, in a 6-3 vote.
This case, Bray v. Alexandria, actually had nothing to do with attacks on abortion clinics. The bombing the ad refers to occurred in 1998, a full seven years later. Previously, in fact, Roberts had written a memo while working for the Reagan administration in which he had called bombers “criminals” and “misguided individuals.”
Why the smear job? Here’s a guess: NARAL knows it can find nothing substantial against Roberts, so it is making stuff up. NARAL also knows that it can’t simply say it opposes Roberts because he would likely vote against Roe v. Wade.
According to an excellent summary of the ad flap in The New York Times, NARAL’s wild, irresponsible charges (which were accepted for airing by CNN) sparked “considerable uneasiness” among pro-abortion allies. Linda Greenhouse of the Times could find only one pro-choicer willing to defend the ad: Nancy Keenan, NARAL’s president.
Greenhouse did, however, find one willing to criticize it: Frances Kissling of Catholics for a Free Choice. Kissling, who sought out the newspaper to express her views, said the ad “deeply upset and offended” her. Kissling called it “far too intemperate and far too personal.”
Kissling said the ad “step[s] over the line into the kind of personal character attack we shouldn’t be engaging in.”
“As a pro-choice person, I don’t like being placed on the defensive by my leaders,” Kissling said. “NARAL should pull it and move on.”
Facing public ridicule and scorn, late last week NARAL finally announced it was pulling the ad. But expect the Sexual Left to fire other muddy salvos at the “dread jurist Roberts.” After all, their pro-abortion ideology apparently trumps any obligation they might feel to tell the truth.