Jim Verhulst - Deputy Editor of Editorials
Here’s what to read from the left and the right | Column
Here’s some interesting commentary from the opposite poles of the political spectrum.
Protestors gather and hold signs in Saginaw, Michigan, in reaction to the overturn of Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022.
Protestors gather and hold signs in Saginaw, Michigan, in reaction to the overturn of Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022. [ KAYTIE BOOMER | ]
Published Aug. 6

We live in a partisan age, and our news habits can reinforce our own perspectives. Consider this an effort to broaden our collective outlook with essays beyond the range of our typical selections.


From “Roe Was Always a Terrible Basis for Abortion Rights. Now We Can Fight for Something Better,” by Carolyn McConnell in Jacobin.

The context, from the author: Abortion activists had to defend Roe when reproductive rights hung in the balance of its defense. But it was always a weak foundation for those rights. We shouldn’t want Roe back — we should demand much, much more.

The excerpt: By focusing on viability rather than birth, the (Roe v. Wade) decision refused to acknowledge the unique geography of pregnancy — by definition fetuses are located inside of human beings. Until birth, any contact between state and fetus must go through the woman. Therefore, birth would seem far more salient than viability.

From “Why Can’t Congressional Democrats Imagine a World In Which Fewer People Drive Cars?” by David Zipper in Mother Jones.

The context, from the author: There’s a maddening omission in the Senate climate bill, one for e-bikes.

The excerpt: At least for now, a federal e-bike incentive looks dead. America — and the planet — will be the worse for it. For the unfamiliar, an e-bike is basically a traditional pedal bike affixed with a battery that offers a boost when a rider is conquering a hill, lugging groceries, or simply trying to avoid showing up sweaty to work. For a bit more money, e-cargo bikes offer additional capacity for hauling goods or kids. For shorter trips, the extra power helps e-bikes replace car trips that a pedal bike could not. Each such substitution is a step toward curbing climate change because e-bikes produce significantly lower emissions per passenger mile than even an electric car. Their manufacturing process consumes less power and resources, and their small batteries are far less thirsty for electricity.

From “American Motherhood,” by Annie Lowrey in The Atlantic.

The context, from the author: Despite recent medical advances, bearing a child remains startlingly dangerous, a fact that America’s lawmakers on the bench have chosen to ignore. One in five pregnant people experiences a significant complication. ... My pregnancies could have killed me, but at least I chose them.

The excerpt: My two pregnancies left me disabled, a word I am still struggling to come to terms with. They put my life at significant risk. Some of my doctors have made clear that they do not think I should bear a child again. Still, if I got pregnant, I would likely be forced to carry to term in much of the country, despite how sick I was, despite all the damage and pain I endured.


From “What George Soros Gets Wrong,” by Rafael A. Mangual in City Journal.

The context, from the author: “Progressive” approaches to law enforcement carry a steep price for the victims of violent crime.

The excerpt: (George) Soros highlights the statistic that “Black people in the U.S. are five times as likely to be sent to jail as white people.” This is, he says without explanation, “an injustice that undermines our democracy.” Such a contention is meant to persuade the reader that these incarcerations are mostly (if not overwhelmingly) illegitimate — the product of racial animus more than anything else. What else could it be? Well, how about disparate rates of criminal offending? A Bureau of Justice Statistics study of homicides between 1980 and 2008 found that Blacks commit homicide offenses at a rate “almost eight times higher than the rate for whites.” Presenting a disparity without any mention of what its causes might be is not a responsible way of arguing that “injustice” is afoot. ... I wish Soros were as interested in even starker, more persistent disparities: namely, those regarding violent victimization. (In 2020 in the United States), the Black homicide victimization rate was almost 10 times the white rate.

From “Which Is More Scandalous: The Training for Armed Teachers or the Training for Police Officers?” by Jacob Sullum in Reason Magazine.

The context, from the author: On average, the minimum requirement for cops is about 650 hours, compared to about 1,300 hours for barbers.

The excerpt: The notion that a few months of training (if that) is enough to prepare people for a job that presents myriad opportunities to wrongfully detain, interrogate, search, arrest, assault and kill people is risible. Americans would be safer if states took those risks more seriously than the danger of a bad haircut.

From “The Pro-Life Generation: Joyful and Just Getting Started,” by Charles Hilu in The National Review.

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The context, from the author: That relief (that the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade) must have been palpable for the young pro-lifers, as they were all conceived in a world in which they could have been aborted.

The excerpt: The most active members of the pro-life generation have seen the vitriol from abortion supporters firsthand. From these experiences they derive their resolve to build on the successes of their predecessors. Those who came before them secured their right to come of age in a world without Roe. Now, grateful to their forebears, these young people will secure the right of all Americans to be born. With students like these on the front lines, abortion will not be around for much longer.


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