Opinion: Columnists

Abortion supporters build 'House of Cards' by holding fictional character as an example

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Opinion,Noemie Emery,Columnists,Abortion,Television,Magazine,House of Cards

Ah, Claire. She of the tasteful (if very dark) townhouse, of the fabulous haircut that never gets windblown, of the stunning black sheath with the deep killer neckline, the ideal thing to wear when your husband says something really too vicious, and you run off, on the spur of the moment, to your not-so-old flame in New York.

And she is the wife of the "House of Cards" hero, Frank Underwood, the conniving majority whip of the House who schemed and murdered his way to the White House, with her loving advice and consent.

Not only is she now the brand-new first lady, but she is a heroine too to feminist bloggers, due to her admission she has had three abortions, and is apologetic for none of them. The head of Planned Parenthood (in a Claire Underwood bob) showed up to pose with her, in the apparent belief that if glamorous figures sell cars, they can also be used to sell ideologies. Glamorous Claire can make abortion seem glamorous, or at least unremarkable. But there are some problems with this neat formulation that suggest they have not thought things out.

In the show's second season, we found out two different things about Claire: she had three abortions, two in her teens, and one when married to Francis; and that when in school she was raped by a classmate who becomes a high-ranking general, and then has a medal pinned on him by Francis, who by this time is gritting his teeth.

Asked by a reporter if she ever was pregnant, she collapses the three into one, which she blames on the general, brilliantly serving her in two ways: it subsumes the abortion theme into the rape and the general, and changes her from someone disapproved of voters (six out of 10 dislike late-term abortions) into one sympathized with by almost all of the public, as even most of the pro-lifers will make an exception for rape.

But even her political brilliance on this particular point obscures the problem her real-life supporters have with this fictional character: not only do Claire and Frank Underwood have no problem with late-term and/or convenience abortions (both of which make the public uneasy), they have no problems with late-term and convenience terminations performed upon people already alive.

Some time ago, the very pro-choice Barbara Boxer raised eyebrows with her statement that a baby attains the right to life "when you take it home from the hospital," but the Underwoods extend this provision by several decades at least. They have no problem with terminating the lives of people whom they deem inconvenient, not only after viability, but a great many years after birth.

Peter Russo, the congressman, was terminated (gassed to death in the garage of his building) at age 36, as the program informed us, and Zoe Barnes, the journalist who suspected the truth about Peter (and was about 10 years his junior) was pushed into the path of a train.

No one could say that they couldn’t feel pain or hadn’t achieved viability: they could feed, clean, and clothe themselves, have affairs, bring in a paycheck, and hold down a job. Claire didn’t kill either, and may not have known what happened to Peter, but she certainly knew and approved of what happened to Zoe.

She also told an ex-colleague she was willing to "let your child wither and die inside you" if it served her own interests. Is this the woman Planned Parenthood thinks is a credible spokesman to tell people abortion is fine?

If you're trying to argue with people who are saying "abortion is murder," it doesn't help if your spokesmen are actual killers. Perhaps this deserves some more thought.

Noemie Emery, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."
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