Erick Erickson, prominent voice of the modern conservative movement and one of Fox News’ most reliable in-house controversy mongers, referred to Texas State Senator Wendy Davis as “Abortion Barbie” today, dealing yet another blow to the GOP’s sensitivity outreach program but probably directing a lot of Twitter traffic to Erickson’s own account.
Erickson was responding to a claim by Davis, a hero to the left for her recent championship of abortion rights in Texas, that she didn't know the details of Kermit Gosnell, a man who ran an illegal and horrific facility in Philadelphia that was essentially a deleted scene from Hostel masquerading as an abortion clinic (he was subsequently convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison).
Of course, Davis’s position is that safe and legal abortions should be readily accessible, not that infanticide should be legal in unregulated “clinics” run by men with multiple malpractice lawsuits hanging over their heads. But subtlety, logical consistency, and not being a sexist aren’t exactly Erickson’s strong suits, and so while his response is absurd and offensive, it’s not exactly out of character.
After Texas passed its draconian abortion laws last month, Erickson responded by telling liberals to purchase coat hangers en masse. Clever! However, this would seem to be a) an admission that he isn’t particularly concerned with women’s health or fetal pain, since coat hanger abortions cause both, and b) an acknowledgment that restrictive abortion laws won’t reduce the number of abortions, just the number of safe ones.
Might it seem as if Erickson’s primary concern isn’t reducing abortions, but in fact regulating women’s control over their own bodies? No, that’s a stretch. In order to back up that claim, we’d need something like video of Erickson asserting that it's anti-scientific to deny a man's natural dominion over women. Oh, wait a second.
Notice the contrast between the brash tone Erickson assumes in his writing and the meek, deferential attitude he takes when called out by woman on air for his sexist attitudes.
Anyway, the point is that this guy isn’t a fringe wacko. He runs one of the most influential conservative websites on the Internet and had a contract with CNN before moving to Fox. If the republican party truly wants to appear more moderate and acceptable to those outside its rapidly-dwindling base, it’ll have to stop guys like this from being the loudest voices on the right.
Elise Foley from the Huffington Post has it about right.
Correction: An earlier version of this post implied that Gosnell operated his facility without a medical license; in fact, his license wasn't revoked until after his arrest. The piece has been changed to remove the ambiguity.