Typically, any pro-choice Democrat will be labelled an "extremist" by his or her Republican opponent. Sometimes, the Dem has earned that label, having been forced to run far to the left during the primaries. This year, though, it's the GOP that has turned into the extremist party, right in the midst of the general election campaign.
Abortion is a tough, tough issue. Nobody's mind ever gets changed by debates on the topic. It's emotional for both sides. Those who favor criminalization of abortion believe that abortion is nothing short of murder. The other side believes that whether to terminate a pregnancy should be a private decision between a woman and her doctor, and that government intervention in this area is a usurpation of individual autonomy of the most odious kind.
There seem to be some areas where lots of people have reached some agreement. Most pro-choice people believe that late-term abortions should be unlawful, so long as there's an exception where the mother's health is in jeopardy should she be forced to continue the pregnancy. And most pro-life people are okay with that exception.
But not John McCain. During an election year when the GOP--for a while, at least--has gone out of its way to attract women voters, McCain put scare-quotes around the word "health" as it referred to women. I gasped audibly when I saw this part of the debate:
Most people--even the most ardent of pro-life advocates--agree that a woman who is raped should be permitted to terminate her pregnancy. But not Sarah Palin. Last night, this commercial aired in some markets; it is, perhaps, the most powerful pro-choice ad I've seen.
John McCain was certainly right about one thing: elections have consequences. Are you ready for the consequences of a McCain-Palin administration?