Standing with Wendy and staying Republican

Posted Wednesday, Jul. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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My dad always liked to say he sent two girls to Mizzou and one came back a vegetarian and another a Republican, and he did not know which was worse.

I was the Republican.

I still am. I think.

Or I may have been kicked out of the Republican party because I Stand With Wendy, because I Stand With Texas Women, because I am becoming more and more pro-choice with every passing day.

My state Sen. Wendy Davis stood literally for hours filibustering for a right — a right to terminate a pregnancy — that I have zero intention of ever using.

I believe abortion is morally wrong and decidedly destructive to women. So I never, ever, ever, ever plan to have an abortion.

As I have aged, though, I have come to realize that I never, ever, ever, ever want to make this excruciatingly painful and ultimately personal decision for another woman, and I certainly do not want a bunch of 60-year-old dudes in Austin doing so.

That they did so under the guise of protecting women and families is even more repugnant, because of how intellectually dishonest it is.

The thing is, being pro-life is a very conservative — dare I say, Republican — ideal. The thing that attracted me to this party in college despite growing up with two crazy idealistic liberals as parents was the idea of less government, the idea that government was not the answer for every problem and, even more on point, that government really had little business telling people how to live their lives.

My ender in every debate with my father was that I wanted the government out of my wallet, out of my house and out of my body. He always laughed and said, well, then vote Democrat, because they want no part of your body.

Listen, I am 99.9 percent sure that every single person in America agrees that abortion is wrong, a last-ditch option for the truly desperate. There is no woman at an abortion clinic thinking, “Well, this has gone exactly as I planned.”

What I have grown tired of is all of the opinions from the cheap seats, from pro-life women who do not have to worry about affording childcare or health insurance or working outside the home or whether they have enough money for rent and car insurance.

It is really easy to be pro-life when there are baby showers and providing spouses and nannies and resources.

What Wendy Davis was standing for, and why I stand with her, is choice for the woman who feels she has no choice, who feels like choosing life is setting herself up for a life of food stamps and poor schools and very little in the way of help from the very people who insisted she give birth.

I may not agree with her choice — actually. I certainly do not — but I am not in her shoes and I am not facing a lifetime of dealing with a choice made for me by others.

Tell me another sphere of society where we’d tolerate being told by government what we have to do with our bodies, our lives, our futures.

So here is the deal: The Republicans either need to start supporting the babies they would force to be born with better schools, affordable childcare, more job opportunities, a chance for a chance as well as supporting their mothers. Or they had better stop making choices for others.

That is, frankly, Republican.

And so I am staying in the party and I am standing with Wendy and anybody who does not like it — well, I just do not care.

Jennifer Floyd Engel writes a national sports column for She wrote this column for her blog,

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