Green Room

Dana Milbank says the GOP should sacrifice the unborn for Asian-American votes

posted at 11:52 am on May 31, 2012 by

In his column this morning, Dana Milbank says Rep. Trent Franks’ (R-AZ) bill aimed at preventing sex-selective abortions will alienate Asian-Americans. From the column:

Republicans long ago lost African American voters. They are well on their way to losing Latinos. And if Trent Franks prevails, they may lose Asian Americans, too.

The Arizona Republican’s latest antiabortion salvo to be taken up by the House had a benign name — the Prenatal Non­discrimination Act — and a premise with which just about everybody agrees: that a woman shouldn’t abort a fetus simply because she wants to have a boy rather than a girl.

The problem with Franks’s proposal is that it’s not entirely clear there is a problem. Sex-selection abortion is a huge tragedy in parts of Asia, but to the extent it’s happening in this country, it’s mostly among Asian immigrants.

To me, Milbank is headed out on a dangerous limb. It’s one thing to say that the GOP is targeting minorities to harm them, a common but often false liberal claim. It’s one thing to say Franks is going after a non-issue, another common (if generally false) claim by the left regarding pro-life legislation. However, here Milbank is basically saying the GOP should ignore the evidence that sex-selective abortions are taking place in mostly Asian-American communities for the sake of earning favor with a specific minority group. While neither party should be considered extraordinarily trustworthy when it comes to protecting the unborn (Washington did very little for the pro-life movement during the years when Bush and the Republicans held all the cards, for example, and we all remember the infamous Stupak PPACA cave), it seems odd that a pundit should expressly tell a party to abandon principle for electoral victory.

This encouragement to ditch principle is highlighted by the fact that at no point in his column does Milbank attempt to refute the idea that sex-selective abortions take place in Asian-American communities. However, he does say Franks’ “paternalism” is harmful to the Republican Party, and says “various Asian American legal and women’s groups opposed the bill. Franks’ pro-life principles, which include legislation to prevent the sadly high rate of abortions among black women in America from continuing, are hammered as “singling out minority groups to make his political point.” And while he does get credit for being a “principled and consistent opponent of abortion,” Franks gets portrayed as scattered and disorganized, and playing games as opposed to actually bringing forth legitimate legislation.

But, again, Milbank essentially admits that Franks’ concern is legitimate, both in his thesis and by focusing on electoral strategy instead of principle. I don’t think he has much choice in the matter, though, as there exists substantial evidence that sex-selective abortions are taking place in Asian-American communities. In my interview with pro-life activist Jill Stanek a few weeks ago we touched on sex-selective abortions, and Stanek sent me a link to evidence backing up her claim that this is especially common in Asian-American communities. When I e-mailed her about Milbank’s column, Stanek sent me the following response: “Does Milbank really mean to say let female gendercide continue unabated in America for fear of losing Asian votes? He’s apparently not too concerned about the female Asian vote.” Similarly, Ed has reported the White House opposes the bill, and notes the following political irony: “This is the same administration that’s spent the last few months crying about a “war on women,” right?  Well, here’s a fight in which females are taking real casualties, and … nothing.”

Franks’ bill is up for a vote today in the House of Representatives under suspension of the rules, meaning two-thirds of House Members must vote for its passage instead of the normal majority. I talked with Franks’ press secretary for the reason this was done, since this plays into Milbank’s insinuation that Franks is playing games with pro-life legislation and I wanted to give the Congressman a chance to refute the claim. Unfortunately, she had not gotten back to me with the Congressman’s answer by the time of publication. I also e-mailed Milbank regarding which Asian-American organizations oppose Franks’ legislation, as well as whether or not he believes sex-selective abortions are taking place in Asian-American communities, but he didn’t get back to me, either.

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Racist and vile.

andy85719 on May 31, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Mr. Milbank’s demogoguery reveals the kind of dogmatic drivel Jonah Goldberg just wrote about in The Tyranny of Cliches.
Although a large majority of Americans would be revolted by gender-selective abortions, somehow the media filter must spin it as something evil about Republicans. (Full disclosure, I went to school with Dana Milbank’s younger brother, go figure. Lol)

DrRich on May 31, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Yes, because whoring out your ideals to get a few votes is a way to separate Republicans from Democrats. /sarc

dominigan on May 31, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Dana does come out with some idiotic stories.

lexhamfox on May 31, 2012 at 1:27 PM

The implication is the Democrats *are* voting against this bill to keep the Asian vote, which may be even more reprehensible.

itsspideyman on May 31, 2012 at 1:37 PM

The implication is the Democrats *are* voting against this bill to keep the Asian vote, which may be even more reprehensible.

itsspideyman on May 31, 2012 at 1:37 PM

^ I think people are missing this. And that IS awful!

MelonCollie on May 31, 2012 at 1:49 PM


Once again displaying the rotten soul of the left.

bofh on May 31, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Gee, guys… doesn’t it make complete sense for Mitt to take seriously the advice given by a lefty? He just has to have the GOP’s best interests at heart.

princetrumpet on May 31, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Ahh. Gotta love diversity.

Celebrate other cultures, dammit!

avgjo on May 31, 2012 at 2:29 PM

Hey,let’s legalize drive by shooting so we can get the gang vote!


PattyJ on May 31, 2012 at 3:00 PM

Next up: legalizing drugs to get the junkie vote.

Don’t laugh. Remember what one of Obama’s promises was in ’08?

MelonCollie on May 31, 2012 at 3:13 PM

This is yet another reminder of the ways in which liberals/progressives marinate in hypocrisy. It is quite revolting to hear intelligent (at least on the surface) people contort themselves into knots when confronted with an issue like this.

Fafhrd on May 31, 2012 at 4:45 PM

It would seem logical that many Asians (especially Chinese) legally immigrated here just to get away from the onerous birth restrictions required in their country. Republicans need not worry about doing the right thing, the votes will follow.

Tonynoboloney on May 31, 2012 at 5:40 PM

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Allahpundit on June 1, 2012 at 12:29 AM

The vast majority of Asian American are vehemently opposed to selective-sex abortions. Most left their countries to be relieved of that type of oppression. Is there a minority within the Asian-American population that still practices this? Sure. But by no means is it this majority that will swing a voting block to one candidate. What a stupid theory.

If the Asian American community wasn’t so naturally non-vocal I am sure they would be taking Milbank to task for this kind of racism. But I hardly hear them complain about anything done to them. I think they are just grateful to be Americans. And pretty busy working hard, getting awesome grades and generally kicking ass academically and professionally.

goflyers on May 31, 2012 at 8:46 PM

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