MSNBC talking heads have compared the Republican Party to the Taliban because of the GOP's opposition to abortion, a comparison that has drawn outrage from veterans and pro-life leaders.
Network columnist Dean Obeidallah argued in a Wednesday article that pro-life Republicans who criticize the Taliban's mistreatment of women are hypocritical. Joy Reid, a primetime host on MSNBC, has for months drawn the comparison and once referred to GOP pro-life efforts as "Talibanism."
Rep. Mike Waltz (R., Fla.), who as a Green Beret fought against the Taliban in Afghanistan, said he found the comparison insulting and rooted in ignorance.
"I've witnessed the brutality of the Taliban as they fired machine guns on girls in schools, executed children as young as seven, and many other horrific acts," Waltz told the Washington Free Beacon. "They are brutal thugs with a completely warped sense of morality. They don't hesitate to use civilians as human shields. They execute innocent people with impunity. And they have no sense of what freedom is."
The liberal talking point has emerged as the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan in response to the withdrawal of U.S. troops in the region. A top staffer to failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D.) shared a tweet Tuesday from a senior writer for The Root that called the American Revolution the "US jihad" and compared the American government to the Taliban. The staffer later removed the retweet after a Free Beacon inquiry.
The Taliban has announced their political agenda for Afghanistan includes:
– Abortion is banned
– Gay marriage outlawed
– Rejection of science
– No vaccines (against their religion)
– No separation of church & state
– Religion taught in schools
— William LeGate (@williamlegate) August 15, 2021
The Taliban's pre-2001 rule of Afghanistan established sharia law, which barred women from attending school or work. Obeidallah and Reid have equated the GOP's emphasis on the importance of religious liberty with the Taliban's actions.
"In just the past few months, we've seen Republicans champion measures to deprive women of freedom over their own bodies, as well as oppose laws to protect women from violence and ensure that women are paid the same wages as men," Obeidallah wrote. "And they've done so, at least in part, to impose their religious beliefs on all others."
Republican-led state legislatures have this year passed the most pro-life laws since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide in 1973. Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, said that while the pro-life movement includes many religious people, it also includes agnostics and atheists who are concerned about the civil rights of the unborn.
"[Pro-choice advocates] refuse to acknowledge that the pro-life movement is varied and broad and inclusive of lots of different philosophies and people—we can't be put in a box," Tobias told the Free Beacon.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, noted that the United States has some of the most expansive abortion access in the world—aligning it more on this issue with China and North Korea than with most democratic countries.
"Pro-life lawmakers are to be commended for their courage in challenging this extreme status quo—and they should be emboldened by the truth that the majority of Americans are on their side, eager to humanize our laws," said Dannenfelser. "MSNBC does the nation a great disservice in allowing this piece to run, which exploits Afghan women, ignores their values, and smears pro-life Republicans who are fighting every day in Congress to defend the lives of American women and their unborn babies from the extreme agenda of the abortion lobby."
The United States is one of eight countries to allow abortion at any point during pregnancy. More than half of European countries limit abortion to 12 weeks, a limit the U.S. Supreme Court has deemed unconstitutional. Survey data from this year show that 47 percent of Americans identify as pro-life.
Tobias said that the attacks against pro-life Republicans are rooted in partisanship rather than sincerity, which has let the idea of women's rights become overly political. Organizations such as Planned Parenthood advocate for funding abortion overseas but overlook abuses of women's rights by groups such as the Taliban and the Chinese Communist Party, Tobias said.
"If the abortion industry is concerned about women and women's rights, they should be doing more than just trying to kill babies—look at some of the real problems women are having," Tobias told the Free Beacon. "I would argue, and I often do, that the abortion industry is not really pro-women."