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What liberals don't want you to know about Reagan

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Opinion Zone,Mitchell Blatt

As we celebrate Reagan's 100th birthday, liberals are once again training their targets on attacking the second most popular president of the past fifty years. Liberals like to claim Reagan was "anti-woman" because he was "anti-choice," but ThinkProgress unintentionally debunks that lie in their piece earlier this week reflecting on Reagan's record.

In 2004, an editorial on the National Organization for Women's website said:

The most anti-woman president of the 20th century will be buried today. Too bad his policies can't be buried with him. Unfortunately, they're still very much alive. The Reagan "vision" for America, with its disproportionately negative impact on the female half, has become the centerpiece of Republican dogma and not a small part of national law.

 

The 40th president was indeed a clear-eyed visionary. He envisioned a world where women would never be granted equality in the U.S. Constitution, where abortion was illegal and equal employment laws a thing of the past.

 

N.O.W. also said:

For the record, it behooves feminists to remember that his presidency began the long descent into reactionary politics, which culminated in the presidency of George W. Bush. For women, minorities and the poor, the Reagan years were the bad old days.

 

So was Reagan really the anti-abortion, anti-choice zealot N.O.W. and liberal extremists make him out to be?

 

We have to look no further than leading liberal blog ThinkProgress to set the record straight.  On February 5, ThinkProgress published the piece "10 Things Conservatives Don't Want You To Know About Ronald Reagan."  In that post, they noted:

5. Reagan did little to fight a woman’s right to choose. As governor of California in 1967, Reagan signed a bill to liberalize the state’s abortion laws that “resulted in more than a million abortions.” When Reagan ran for president, he advocated a constitutional amendment that would have prohibited all abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother, but once in office, he “never seriously pursued” curbing choice.

 

Roger Fallihee at Salon also notes Reagan's moderate mainstream position on abortion.

 

Not only did Reagan not attack womens' access to abortion, he was also one of the most pro-"choice" presidents in the past century.  Reagan supported letting people choose what they wanted to spend their own money on rather than having big government bureaocrats raise taxes and hamper individual choice.  He was an early supporter of giving parents choice in where they wanted to send their children to school, though his school voucher proposals were defeated by an anti-choice Democrat congress.  He was even in favor of letting workers choose how they wanted to handle his retirement, though the anti-choice congress also stood in the way of his proposed Social Security reforms.

 

In remembering Reagan's life and his legacy as one of America's best and most loved presidents, liberals should take some time to reflect and correct their misstatements about Reagan's agenda on so many issues, including abortion.

 

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