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  • Norman Young

John C. Calhoun Joins Social Media to Defend Abortion

Democrats are on defense about abortion. Ever since Governor Ralph Northam made some uncomfortable comments in defense of a late-term abortion bill in Virginia, Republicans have attacked Democrats mercilously. In February, Senator Ben Sasse forced Senate Democrats to go on record in support of infanticide by sponsoring legislation to protect infants born alive during failed abortion procedures. Donald Trump recently published regulatory changes to the Title X federal grant program which prevents federal funds from being used for abortion referrals. In response to these attacks, Democrats are scrambling for ways to rhetorically distance themselves from infanticide while referring to Trump’s Title X reforms euphemistically as a “gag rule.”

Not everyone is happy with the Democratic Party’s defensive posture on abortion, however. This is especially true of Democrat firebrand and notorious slavery apologist John C. Calhoun, who decided, last week, to join the political discussion via Twitter. Unlike other Democratic politicians, Calhoun vocally defends the abortion industry not merely as a necessary evil, but as a positive good. Under the twitter handle @Calhoun_J_C, the former vice president proudly describes abortion as a "noble, Democratic institution,” even going so far as to call Virginia’s abortion doctors “true Southern gentlemen.”

Calhoun, who lived through the politically tumultuous early 1800s, is prepared for a long, drawn-out fight over the abortion institution. He knows that the pro-Life side will never willingly give up their moral crusade, just as the Abolitionists never gave up theirs. The zealous religiosity of his party's political opponents is all too familiar to him.

"Abortion abolitionists" is Calhoun's disparaging term for pro-Life Republicans. But radical Republicans are not the only political group subjected to his fierce, political ire. From time to time, Calhoun will vent his frustration at fellow Democrats when they are, in his view, insufficiently committed to Democratic institutions. He labels those in his party who are troubled by his bold, moral defenses of abortion as “snowflakes” (yes, Calhoun is apparently fluent in social media lingo). Democrats who want to leave room inside their tent for Americans who are “personally opposed, politically supportive” of abortion are branded by Calhoun as “sell-outs” and attacked for ceding important moral high ground to the Republican Party.

Having personally endured cultural defeat for his political party once before, John C. Calhoun gets testy about anything that could cast doubt on the morality of Democrat policy. He is desperate to ensure that, this time around, Democrats don’t make the same mistakes his generation made and one day find their precious abortion institution on the ash-heap of history.

Despite his often prickly and combative demeanor, a few tweets reveal a softer side to Calhoun, letting his followers see that his heart is in this fight on behalf of women. Unlike the abolition of slavery, which Calhoun insists threatened the economic security and way of life of the entire South (men, women, and children alike), the abolition of abortion primarily targets the female sex. Women are the ones, he argues, who bear the brunt of modern abolitionist policy. They are the ones who have the security of their economic future put in jeopardy by restricted access to abortion. Calhoun's heart breaks for women—especially Southern women—and these emotions are sometimes detectable in his tweets.

Calhoun recognizes that one of the central pillars of the abortion industry is the Supreme Court. Because of the conservative nature of court systems, stare decisis plays important role in preserving a desirable status quo. Had Calhoun foreseen the Dred Scott decision, in his day, he probably would have supported the precedent it set for the future American jurisprudence regarding the slavery institution. On Roe v. Wade, Calhoun emphasizes the importance of continuing to interpret the Constitution in a way that expands “rights” to the breaking point—where entire social institutions that are endorsed by an intransigent minority become untouchable. Justices who threaten this interpretation of the Constitution receive acerbic criticism.