How the Democratic Party is Defining Deviancy Down

A Statesman’s Concern About Deviancy Has Become Reality

In 1993, the late sociologist, statesman and U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) published an article called Defining Deviancy Down expressing his concern about the growing tolerance for certain deviant behavior in American society. Moynihan cited examples of behavior such as the misguided way American’s chose to deinstitutionalize the mentally ill, an increasing tolerance for alternative family structures including single parent households and normalizing of the rise in violent crime. Moynihan told us that “what once was seen as deviancy has provided opportunity to a wide spectrum of interest groups that benefit from redefining [these problems] as essentially normal.” Sadly, if Senator Moynihan were with us today, he would likely add his own Democratic Party’s position supporting taxpayer funded abortion-on-demand to this list. That is because Moynihan once described this practice for late term abortions as “infanticide.” Unfortunately for America, the Democrats and their progressive positions on abortion effectively make infanticide a central plank in their Party’s platform.

Progressive Democrats Continue to Move the Goalpost on Abortion Policy.

For the 23 Democratic candidates who have entered the 2020 Presidential race there is now almost universal agreement on the abortion issue. Their position goes something like this: “healthcare is a fundamental right… abortion is part of healthcare… therefore, abortion is a fundamental right… and you as a taxpayer must pay for it whenever a woman demands it.” This position is a creative non-sequitur, meaning the conclusion does not logically follow from the premise. Instead, this is just constitutional blather that carries no legal or moral weight. This is purely an emotional argument being pushed by progressive Democrats to court a political base that sees themselves as victims. This includes many poor women who want someone else to pay for their elective abortions.

The Democratic Party Did Not Always Hold Such Extreme Positions on Abortion.

Today, the Democratic Party’s standing argument on abortion departs from what they adopted for more than 30 years following Roe v. Wade. Three years after the 1973 Roe decision, Congressman Henry Hyde (R-IL) sponsored legislation that would prohibit the use of federal funds to pay for elective abortions. The “Hyde Amendment” was a bi-partisan compromise attached annually to Medicaid appropriations bills that, until recently, was not considered controversial. A minority of progressive Democrats fought against the amendment from its earliest days citing the issue of fairness to poor women who could not pay for abortions. However, mainstream Democrats at that time understood the distinction between a “choice” that was granted by Roe and a “fundamental economic right” to have the procedure paid for by someone else. For example, President Carter was once asked at a press conference about the fairness of poor women being unable to pay for abortions. Carter’s position was very clear. He said “there are many things in life that are not fair, that wealthy people can afford and poor people can’t. But I don’t believe that the Federal Government should take action to try to make these opportunities exactly equal, particularly when there is a moral factor involved.

The Last Moderate Democrat Has Now Abandoned the Hyde Amendment.

The Democrats most recent convert to taxpayer funded abortion-on-demand is Joe Biden, who last week abandoned his 40-year principled commitment to the Hyde Amendment. With this conversion goes any pretense that Joe Biden is a moderate Democrat. He has publicly stated that both healthcare and abortion are fundamental rights, but he is morally and constitutionally wrong on both counts. Politicians do not get to determine what rights are fundamental by a simple declaration. Biden is simply pandering to the progressive wing of his party whose support he needs to get the Democratic nomination for President. In doing so, it raises the obvious question as to whether he was ever a moderate or mainstream Democrat in the first place.

Constitutional Jurisprudence Requires a Balance Between Fundamental Rights.

Abortion is an issue that reflects a conflict between fundamental rights. Clearly, the right to life, even for the unborn, is fundamental and inalienable as expressed so well in our Declaration of Independence. Likewise, privacy should be viewed by conservatives as a fundamental right, even though it is not explicitly stated as such in our Constitution. We saw an example why in May 2016 when President Obama issued an executive order pertaining to Title IX of the Education Amendments concerning transgender students. This order notified public schools that they would need to permit transgender students to use bathrooms and shower facilities of their choice or face cuts in federal funding. Conservatives were outraged at the notion that Mr. Obama would place the privacy of young women at risk by allowing transgender men to use women’s facilities. The Heritage Foundation even published an article entitled “Our Constitutional Right to Privacy Is Missing From the Bathroom Debate” to express this outrage. One can identify dozens of examples where a fundamental right to privacy applies in our society based on common sense even though such a right is not reflected explicitly in the Constitution. Fortunately the Ninth Amendment guarantees us that the people retain other fundamental rights, whether they be explicitly stated in the Constitution or not. Privacy is one of these rights, and it should extend in some manner to women concerning abortion, even if it is limited to situations involving rape, incest or when a pregnancy threatens the life of the mother.

Mainstream Democrats Once Believed in Constructive Balance, But No Longer.

President Carter’s position on federal funding of elective abortions was the mainstream position of the Democratic Party for decades until recently. During the past ten years, Democrats have been gradually defining deviancy down by suggesting that the limits on abortion imposed by Roe were too restrictive. For example, during the 2016 Presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton openly stated that unborn children have no constitutional rights, contradicting Roe. She has also expressed her belief that abortion is a fundamental human right while suggesting it is only a health care decision. Democratic candidates running for President in 2020 have expressed similar views. For example, Mayor Pete Buttigieg believes abortion through the ninth month is a “national right” and an “American freedom.” This shift on abortion within the Democratic Party demonstrates the stranglehold that progressives now have on their political agenda.

Progressive Democrats Are Working Hard to Define Deviancy Down.

Since their founding in the early 1900s, progressives have sought political power for an elite few who they believe they can orchestrate a more fair and just society. Historically, this has included undermining the rights of children and the unborn in favor of adult constituencies who can vote. For example, early progressives like Richard Ely and Margaret Sanger supported the practice of eugenics that advocated for controlled breeding to improve the genetic and economic conditions of the poor in American society. Today, we are told by progressive Democrats that abortion is a fundamental right during the entire nine months of pregnancy and must be paid for by taxpayers. In New York City, where these progressive policies are in effect, the result has been that more black babies are being aborted each year than born. If this is true, how are New York City’s progressive abortion policies any different from the eugenics that Ely and Sanger advocated?

Americans Have a Moral Choice to Make in 2020 on the Issue of Abortion.

Progressives have long believed that the Constitution is a frivolous annoyance, one that can be ignored in favor of majority rule. By ignoring constitutional restraints, they have tried to convince us that abortion-on-demand is a moral choice that supersedes an unborn child’s rights to live. But this position lacks credible constitutional balance even when measured against a woman’s personal privacy rights. Therefore, if Americans want to live in a country that they believe has moral purpose, we might do well to heed the words of that great Lutheran Minister and anti-Nazi activist Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer once reminded us that “the ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.” Does anyone seriously think the modern-day Democratic Party can pass this test?

Would You Like to Learn More About How Progressives Are Undermining Our Constitutional Protections?

To understand more about American exceptionalism, free markets, and the constitutionality of abortion rights, there is something that you can do. Read a copy of Conquering the Political Divide – How the Constitution Can Heal Our Polarized Nation. This book provides the grounding we all need in basic civics, economics and the important issues of the day. Order your copy today by clicking here. If you would like to suggest a topic for a future blog, or to provide us with feedback on this commentary, email us at: [email protected]

Eric A. Beck
Free Nation Media LLC
Greenville, SC


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Eric Beck


  1. Paulette Coronato on June 13, 2019 at 4:20 am

    Hi Eric,
    This article is excellent and i intend to pass it on. Maybe you could consider a future essay on the homosexual agenda, backed by Democrats and leftists, over the past 50 years and how it has reshaped the definition of marriage and the family as the foundation for a civilized society in relation to the consequences we face today.

    Paulette Coronato p.s. We miss you in NJ!

  2. Rick Moessner, SC COS Upstate Region Captain on June 27, 2019 at 11:11 am

    After last nights debate, you’ll need to update and add male abortion to the approved list of deviant procedures.



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