The Pro Life Lie

“Babies like yours are generally not comfortable enough to sleep.”

That’s just the beginning of the explanation Kate Carson received from her doctors about the deformity effecting her unborn child. The child would never walk, talk or swallow. Her child could potentially survive for a couple of years in hospital, while undergoing a battery of sustaining surgeries and organ transplants, but continued survival was impossible.

Her medical dilemma could have been resolved with a safe, simple procedure performed by her local doctor. Thanks to the interference of calloused, ignorant preachers and politicians, the family would have to travel across the country to end her late-term pregnancy in a procedure that would cost thousands of dollars borrowed from her parents’ retirement fund. The medical facility was protected behind razor-wire, a measure made necessary by threats and assassinations carried out by “pro-life” religious nuts. Welcome to the loving arms of the so-called pro-life movement.

Carson’s experience, like that of other families in this rare and terrible situation, has been aggravated by men like Senator Ben Sasse, who built their careers around abortion mythology. Last week, Sasse failed in his second bid to pass what he called the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would mandate lifesaving health care for infants born alive from a failed abortion.

In a concern-trolling op-ed in USA Today last month Sasse explained the rationale for his bill, “Infanticide shouldn’t be a partisan issue.” It isn’t. He continues, “Picture a baby that’s already been born, that is outside the womb, gasping for air, that’s the only thing that today’s vote is actually about…Today, an extreme pro-abortion lobby is advocating for abortion anytime and for any reason  — even after the baby has left the womb.” That would be a terrible situation if it were real. It would also already be a crime several times over. Ben Sasse is lying. He’s OK with that, because he’s convinced that his religious superstitions are more important than medical science, your civil rights, your health, and your family.

Why are abortion opponents promoting bills to protect “born alive” infants? They are trying to mainstream a conspiracy theory about the abortion process. Sasse’s bill was organized slander, an effort at write a blood libel into law.

Needless to say, it is crime to kill a baby. A fetus, removed from the mother’s body, is a baby, already protected by law just like anyone else. But it gets better, Republicans have already passed a version of Sasse’s bill in an earlier wave of attention-whoring on this non-issue. The Born Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002 is the same bill, banning the same already illegal non-practice, to promote the same idiotic mythology. Why propose a virtually identical bill? Merely pointing out that a bill already exists wouldn’t get Sasse on TV, or warrant an op-ed slot. Sasse isn’t protecting anyone or anything besides his own career.

Pro-life activists lie because the truth won’t sell. It is a bad idea to replace the skills and expertise of doctors with the mysticism of TV preachers. That gets people hurt. But “pro-life” activists don’t care who pays for their ambitions.

All this lying suggests that pro-life activists are perhaps motivated by something other than their unquenchable love of babies. The truth behind the pro-life lie is that pro-life activists have no interest in actual human beings. Blinded by their superstitions and comforted by sanctimonious mythology, they spread misery without conscience. A pro-life movement would care whether children had access to health care after they were born. It would care about children being gunned down in schools. A pro-life movement would loathe a man like Donald Trump. Out in the real world where theology meets consequences, the pro-life movement is nothing more than a campaign to ensure that women stained by sexual activity cannot escape their rightful penance. The pro-life movement promotes births, not babies, and certainly not the interests of full-grown humans, who are entirely disposable. Pro-life activists are committed to the protection of every human life from the moment of conception until just before some man has to start writing a check.

Pro-life activists have been lying to the public for fifty years. They lie about their motives. They lie about their history. They lie about their ambitions. They even lie about easily disprovable details of the medical process. Finally, after decades of hard work inside the Republican Party, they found a President who isn’t bothered by lies, a President who will embrace their most outrageous and damaging cult legends from the dais of the House Chamber.

After half a century, pro-life activists have found a leader corrupt enough to embrace their movement, and they revere him. Ben Sasse tries to be the smiling, sane face of Republicans and the pro-life movement, but he’s telling the same lies as his leader of his party, drafting in Trump’s wake. Neither Sasse nor the GOP will escape the stain of their compromises. Donald Trump is the Pro-Life President. Their movement deserves the reckoning that lies ahead.

In the Gospels, Jesus warned his followers that “false prophets” would seek to lead them astray. He advised that, “You will know them by their fruit.” Here’s the fruit of the pro-life movement:

34 Comments

  1. OT but of interest here, we have 12 GOP Senators who decided to defy Trump. I’m surprised it was that many. I also hope Tillis, Ernst, and Gardner, who are vulnerable next year, pay the ultimate political price for trashing their oaths of office.

  2. I absolutely agree that the pro-life movement is full of hypocrites and nut jobs. Many first trimester abortions that are usually for family planning reasons and not medical reasons could easily be prevented by making birth control easily available, free of charge and by offering health insurance to everybody, but these nut jobs fight this simple solution out of bigotry.

    That being said, not everybody that questions the morality or ethics around abortion is automatically a “pro life activist”. I know, because I really struggle with this topic myself. My daughter was just born last month and I still remember seeing the 16 week ultra sound and thinking to myself: That’s already a human being in there, I can see a face, hands, feet, hear a heartbeat, etc. And at that moment I felt very strongly that unless there were absolute medical reasons, I would not be in favor of aborting a fetus like that. That does not make me part of the “pro-life movement”. But it still makes me cringe when I listen to people who I usually agree with politically talking about abortion as if it’s not a big deal with the main argument “it’s my uterus, i can do with it whatever i want”.

    Even in medical cases like Chris describes that are absolutely tragic, I think it can still be seen from different angles without being a bigot. If it becomes a health risk to the mother, I can see the moral justification. But if it is a child that would later on have a disability (e.g. down syndrome) I also wonder how it can be ethically and morally reasoned that an abortion is “ok” but that it is not “ok” to euthanize a child after a terrible accident where you could also argue that the quality of life is gone and maybe even worse that that of a child with down syndrome.

    Of course it all boils down to two questions:

    1) When does life begin? (conception, heart beat, brain activity, viability outside the womb, birth, etc?) Of course the easy answer to justify abortion is to say “at birth” but even without being religious that just doesn’t appear right to me. My aunt was born at 6 months instead of 9 and she had no lasting negative impacts at all.

    2) After life has begun, should we allow euthanization and if yes then consequentially wouldn’t this also mean that euthanization should be available to everybody, no matter what age?

    Again, I’m no hard core religious bigot, I am not religious at all. I am against the death penalty, think we need tougher gun control, am for universal healthcare that covers contraception free of charge for everybody, absolutely trust the science around global warming, want to combat the issues of systemic racism and sexism in our society, etc. but this abortion topic is much more nuanced and complex to me than both the pro-life movement and the pro-choice movement, make it out to be and I am missing a quality dialog about this very difficult ethical grey area and right now I feel like neither side is helping the discussion.

    1. For question 1, I hope you mean ‘personhood’ rather than ‘life’. When life begins is beside the point as far as policy is concerned – it’s more important to stake out where the fetus becomes a legal entity with rights that may come into conflict with the mother’s own right to bodily autonomy.

      Chris wrote quite a bit on abortion on the old GOP Lifer blog, including the beginning of life (more to point out the difficulty of finding an answer rather than trying to arrive at one). You might be interested to check out some of his old stuff if you hadn’t seen it before. Here’s an article where he collects most of it together:
      https://goplifer.com/2016/04/04/talking-about-abortion/

      1. To be honest, I don’t like the term personhood either because it sounds like some detached legal term. Maybe life is not a good choice either because any cell could be described as life. So I would say, when does the blob of cell become a human being? That is the moral or ethical question, and the legal definition would then follow this moral guideline.

        It is a very difficult topic and I think it is important that sensible conversation takes place outside of “baby killer” and “its my uterus”.

    2. I see this issue, especially in the case of the story that Chris referenced, as a private medical decision that needs to stay with the family and their doctors. I see o difference in a choice to terminate a late stage pregnancy where there is no prospect for anything other than a short and painful life for the resulting child, and the case where a child is born with so many serious medical issues that the parents decide to “let nature take its course” rather than resort to painful and ultimately futile medical interventions.

      The dishonesty about late abortions disgusts me, and the lack of pushback on these liars disappoints me. If anyone pushing these bogus bills is being asked “Where exactly can a woman in the late stages of a VIABLE AND HEALTHY pregnancy get an abortion at whim, no questions asked?”, I am not hearing it.

      1. The better term to me is “viability “. There are states that have passed laws that require a woman to carry a dead fetus to term rather than allow a late term abortion. I’m with Fly in that this decision is best left with woman, couple, and physician. I have always been cynical about what these absolutist pro life people would do if their wife or daughter were in this situation. One of the absolute best books (novel) I ever read that beautifully laid out the complexity of abortion was “Protect and Defend”, by Richard North Patterson, an exceptional writer- lawyer. It tells the story about a trial in which a pregnant minor seeks an abortion due to viability issues and the ensuing legal challenges she and her pro-life father face.

      2. Remember this happening in TX?

        House Bill 1071 is also known as Marlise’s Law; it would allow a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order to be honored in the event of a catastrophic injury during pregnancy.

        ▪️At present, the pregnant person’s DNR must legally be ignored and they’re used as incubators for the fetus. It’s named after Marlise Muñoz who suffered a pulmonary embolism when she was 14-weeks pregnant with her second child; two days later she was declared brain dead. When her parents and husband instructed the hospital to honor Marlise’s wishes and remove life support, the hospital refused. Under Ch. 166 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, terminally ill patients are allowed to decide whether they want medical intervention at the end of their life — unless the person is pregnant. In that case, the person is stripped of their right to make the decision. Marlise’s family fought for 62 days to have life support removed. HB 1071 will ensure no other family has to go through what they did.

        ▪️ The primary sponsor is Gina Hinojosa (D-Austin), and the bill is currently in the Public Health Committee.

        ▪️ THE ASK: Call the office of committee chairperson Rep. Senfronia Thompson and ask her to give the bill a hearing. (512-463-0720)

    3. RHOU,

      Thank you input. The abortion debate has always been a tough one. I suggest prior to Roe v Wade, it was tougher. Coat Hangers, shotgun weddings and, sometimes, suicide.

      It’s reality versus the law.

      The latest ruling from the 6th court of appeals is somewhat disturbing. It could portend the it would be ok to make it illegal for doctors to perform abortions but not illegal to get one.

      As always, the rich won’t be too adversely effected. It is the people who can afford to jump on a jet plane to get an abortion.

  3. I’ll just say this: for most pro-life activists, life begins at conception and ends at birth. Once you’re born, they don’t give 2 shits about you. No candlelight vigils after you’ve left the womb no matter what your misery might be.

    But I have a big beef with the pro-choice movement, starting with its name. I’m not pro-choice. I’m pro-abortion. No, that doesn’t mean I want to abort every fetus. It means I think the procedure, when needed, is a *good* procedure. Most pro-choice people say something like “I personally would never get an abortion but I support the right of someone else to get one.” IOW, you’re tacitly agreeing with the pro-life movement that abortion is an abhorrent procedure that no “moral, civilized” person like yourself would get, but you do support the right of others to get one if they’re so depraved as to decide that’s the best option for them. If you cede the fact that abortion is a morally repugnant, “dirty, ugly” procedure to be done in ghettoized medical clinics, on people less morally upstanding than you, then you’ve lost the war. Is it any wonder that the pro-life movement has succeeded in overturning Roe v Wade de facto, if not yet de jure?

    This started with Roe v. Wade. I’m a pro-abortion supporter who vehemently disagrees with Roe v Wade (interestingly, I came to find out Ruth Bader Ginsburg is as well…) RvW made abortion legal on the basis of privacy. By doing so, it essentially ceded the argument that abortion is bad, but that it’s a “private” decision, and since people have the right to do morally repugnant things in private, abortion should be legal.

    That’s not what abortion supporters should have fought for. They should have fought to say abortion can be the morally correct decision in many cases, that women who choose it (and doctors who provide it) are no less morally upstanding than someone who chooses a cancer treatment or a heart transplant (the former causing far worse side effects on a woman than abortion, and the latter requiring an entirely new formulation of the concept of death — brain death — to allow harvesting organs from people previously considered to be alive). The basis for abortion’s legality should never have been privacy, because if you don’t fight back against the notion that abortion is repugnant, you will eventually lose the argument that it should be allowed in private. Pro-choice advocates lost the debate when RvW was passed. Unless we reframe the fight around abortion being the *best*, most moral choice in some circumstances, we will never win this war.

    I always compare the tactics of the pro-choice movement to the civil rights movement. Imagine if civil rights advocates fundamentally agreed that black people are lesser humans than white people, and then argued for protection on the basis of laws against animal cruelty. That is, no one is allowed to lynch or whip a dog, so no one should be allowed to lynch a black person either. In the short term, they might have even made more rapid progress: plenty of white people, even racists, would agree “No, I’d never be friends with a black person, but really, I don’t think they should be treated any worse than dogs”. And if they happened to have a black friend, they’d keep it super quiet and agree it should never be brought up in polite company. Ultimately that shortcut would have lost them the war, which is why civil rights leaders took the much harder but ultimately better road of convincing people that everyone should be equal regardless of race.

    Or take another civil rights issue, gay rights. Plenty of people tacitly agreed that whatever people do in the privacy of their bedroom is their business. Gay rights activists could have settled for that, and gone about enhancing that privacy right. But that’s not what they did. They argued that the love between two people of the same sex could be just as moral, worthy, and good as the love between two people of the opposite sex. And that gay people weren’t just weirdo freaks you had to tolerate, but could be your neighbor, your police officer, or other member of normal society. They even went so far as to start gay pride parades, which not just lampooned the idea of gay people being sexual perverts, but made it acceptable for gay people to come out in public.

    Now, they are getting a much more solid, lasting acceptance than they ever would have if they just kept pushing for enhanced privacy rights. How many normal, positive gay characters do you see on TV (not enough, true 🙂 )? And how many normal, positive female characters have had abortions?

    IMHO, abortion advocates in the 60s / 70s took the easy way out by pushing privacy as the basis of legalizing abortion rather than doing the much harder work of pushing for abortion to be considered a normal medical procedure, and fighting back against the moral judgement associated with it. And we’ve been paying the price of that shortcut ever since…

    1. WX, would you separate moral imperatives from health imperatives? Second, given your position on Roe, do you support its overturn? If yes, what would your fallback position be to protect women’s right to make her own healthcare choices? Is there a need or justification for legislation in this regard, and, what should it’s focus be?

      1. Repeal of the Hyde Act would be a start to protecting women’s right to make their own health choices. To which end, the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act, has been introduced in both the House and Senate. The bill goes further than simple blockage of the Hyde Act, it also stops federal, state, and local legislators from interfering with private insurance coverage of abortion. This makes the first time this act has been introduced in the Senate. It seems when women are elected in sufficient numbers, they are empowered to legislate more assertively on issues that matter to – women. This will add a new wrinkle in the challenges for passage of the budget bill, but it will allow female legislators to make their case in public on an issue deeply important to all women.

        Divided government, you’ve got to love it! Amazing the things you learn.

        https://rewire.news/article/2019/03/13/fight-to-end-hyde-amendment-come-to-senate/

      2. Mary (and RHOU)-
        I don’t think you can separate moral imperatives from health imperatives. Medicine has always been guided by a strong code of ethics ever since Hippocrates. When to treat, when not to treat, etc. have always had a large moral / personal values component, and that’s true whether it’s abortion or cancer treatment or whatever. And that’s my point (I think 🙂 ): by shying away from the moral debate, pro-choice activists ceded that ground to pro-life activists, and we’re paying the price for that.

        I agree with RHOU that abortion is almost always a difficult decision for a woman. But, IMHO, that doesn’t distinguish it from any other serious medical procedure. My mother underwent a lung transplant. It was an agonizing decision for her and my family about whether to put her through the arduous course of a transplant or whether we should let her pass in peace. On the one hand was the opportunity to improve her quality of life and extend it for several years, if not more. On the other was the possibility that we put her through a harrowing 6 months only to die waiting for a donor or perhaps on the table during the surgery.

        Yes, the specific moral questions at play are somewhat different with abortion than with say a lung transplant, but I assert it’s no less a difficult moral / personal values decision. And more importantly, there is no nationwide movement to insert Congress into that difficult decision “on behalf of the poor, dear person contemplating lung transplantation”. We trust that that hard, moral decision will be made between a patient and her doctor. And even more importantly, after that decision is made, we don’t second guess it. It was not a shameful decision to put my mom through the surgery for a lung transplant. Even if it turned out to be the wrong decision (e.g. she had died during the surgery), I wouldn’t have to be ashamed about choosing it, I wouldn’t have to hide it from my friends, I wouldn’t have some idiot congressman telling me I’m a morally less worthy person for having chosen incorrectly, etc. (FYI, she’s doing fine; turns out to it was the best decision we made 🙂 )

        This is what I mean by saying I’m pro-abortion. I’m pro-abortion just as much as I’m pro-transplantation. I’m not denying that the decision is frequently difficult. And I’m certainly not trying to deny the moral component of either decision. I’m just saying, why exactly is the moral component of abortion so much more controversial than the moral component of transplantation? That is the question pro-choice advocates should have addressed, rather than sweep the moral debate under the rug and pursue the easier path of pushing for privacy rights.

        I choose transplantation for a very specific reason, because it’s a *great* counterpoint to abortion. Despite all the concern about whether a fetus represents “life” or not, the truth is abortion has been around since at least Hippocrates’ time (it’s mentioned in the Oath). In contrast, organ transplantation is a brand new procedure that became technologically possible only in the 70s. But the only way organ transplants could ever be done is we literally had to redefine life at the other side of the spectrum: the traditional notion of when life *ends* has always been very clear. When the heart stops beating and when the person stops breathing. Until then, you are alive. But you can’t take organs from a patient after their heart stops and they’ve stopped breathing. At that point, the organs will have been damaged too much to be of any use. So we literally had to redefine death, something on which most of the human race has been in agreement on for millenia (and probably the same since our chimp ancestors millions of years ago), in order to harvest organs from people we previously would have considered “alive”.

        So we came up with the notion of “brain death”. That is, that due to modern technology we could easily keep the heart and lungs going indefinitely, but it was no longer “life” if the brain was dead. We didn’t pick the brain because it’s the seat of intelligence. We picked it because it’s not a transplantable organ so quite frankly we don’t care if/when it dies. In another world where brain transplants were valuable life-saving interventions and livers couldn’t be transplanted, I wouldn’t be surprised if they defined a concept of “liver death”. I’m being somewhat facetious, but only somewhat: the entire redefinition of death, something that has just as big a moral component as the definition of birth, and something around which there was far more solid consensus for thousands of years, was redefined for the utilitarian purpose of advancing medical care.

        So how did transplant advocates go about doing it? They didn’t shy away from the moral component of redefining death to be brain death. They didn’t fight to say the definition of death was a private matter. Instead, Carter appointed a medical commision to look at the conception of death. Every major religious group was engaged in the process, along with ethicists, medical professionals, and community representatives. They got agreement that the moral imperative to save a person with a transplant was *higher* than the moral imperative to save a “living” person who had no brain function. And ultimately, they got buy-in to redefine the end of life in a way that didn’t close off any legitimate chances for a sick patient to be cured, protected them from abuse by unethical organ harvesters, provided for their dignity during a very difficult time, and still left their organs in good enough condition to be available for transplant.

        That path was so stunningly successful that now, no one even bothers to recall that literally just a couple generations ago, people would have been aghast that a person with a beating heart would be considered dead and their organs harvested for other people. It was literally the stuff of horror stories just 50 years ago. But now, no major religion or other community group in the world is against organ donation. It’s gotten so routine that we’re now able to check a box on our drivers license to indicate whether we want our organs donated. And so morally justified that now it’s considered immoral to *leave* a person on a ventilator after their brain has stopped functioning, even if their organs won’t ever be transplanted.

        I assert that the moral and ethical component around the definitions of end-of-life were actually *harder* than the questions surrounding the beginning-of-life. But the transplant community embraced that debate, didn’t minimize it, didn’t shy away from it by saying “Well, *I’d* never pull the plug on my grandfather in that cruel way, but I support the right of someone else to make such a horribly bad decision”. They engaged full on by focusing not only on the dying person, but on the person who would benefit, the transplant recipient. And in the end, not a single supreme court decision needed to be made to protect organ transplantation (something, IMHO, more grotesque, harrowing, risky, and painful than an abortion) and provide it a much more secure footing than abortion, something that’s been done for millenia.

        This is the debate I wish pro-choice people would engage in. The Catholic church was asked simply whether the life of a brain dead patient with no hope of recovery was worth more than the life of a dying person who could be saved with a transplanted organ. And ultimately, they agreed that allowing the former to die so that the latter may live was the more moral choice. Why do we not ask the church the same question re: abortion? Regardless of whether you believe the fetus is alive or not, does the life of an unborn fetus override the life of the woman standing in front of you?

        Does a person who lives only because someone else died (i.e. an organ recipient) become morally unworthy? No? Then why does a woman whose current life is based on an abortion she had 20 years ago have to feel forever ashamed by that decision? It’s not enough to give her privacy to hide her shame. We need to tell her she doesn’t need to feel ashamed, that it was the right decision, and even if it turns out to have been the wrong decision for some reason, it’s okay (just like no one blames anyone if an organ transplant didn’t work out as expected).

        This is my problem with the pro-choice movement. The fact that you need a Supreme Court decision to protect a medical procedure that’s been done for thousands of years means we’ve already lost. That’s not a victory. That’s a last stand before conceding defeat.

        Mary, you asked am I for overturning RvW. The truth is, I don’t know. Perhaps a repeal may shake up the pro-choice majority out there and give the movement enough energy to do it right this time, and set abortion on a more solid moral foundation than merely privacy rights. Or the movement could fail, and we lose even the privacy fig leaf. But I will say this, for the majority of women in this country, RvW is already as good as overturned. Thanks to the constant chipping away at it, there are numerous states where there is not a single abortion provider practicing. Most insurance plans don’t cover elective abortions. And getting one requires traveling out-of-state, undergoing the trauma of some anti-abortion activist screaming at you while you travel to the clinic, and being forever scarred by your experience regardless of the outcome. Meanwhile, if you’re rich and connected, you can get your daughter or wife to an ob-gyn at a regular hospital who will quietly perform the procedure, perhaps even labeling it something else so it never goes on your medical record. This is not that different from the pre-Roe days when poor women had back-alley abortions with coat hangers while rich women had quiet procedures done safely in a hospital. Yes, an abortion in an clinic is physically much safer than the backalley procedures of yesterday. But the emotional and psychological trauma is probably no different these days.

      3. Sorry for my incredibly long replies. I guess the tl;dr version is that I distinguish between the intrinsic moral / value component of the decision itself, and the external moral judgement of the person making that decision. Both transplants and abortions (and almost any big medial procedure) have a large intrinsic moral component, which can be incredibly difficult / emotionally draining. But only with abortion do we outsiders then judge people as bad for making that decision. The short-term way to fight that is to say outsiders shouldn’t have the right to judge (i.e. privacy). The long-term way to fight that is to welcome outsiders’ judgement and declare that yes, indeed, it was the right decision and the woman who made it can pass external judgement.

        Transplant recipients don’t need privacy to shield them from judgement. Most of them are proud to have survived the ordeal and will gladly share their experience with you. They’re judged by external society and found to be morally upstanding, regardless of the outcome of that decision (i.e. if they died during the surgery; that means not only did they not benefit from it, but that organ was “wasted”. And yet no one judges them poorly for making that decision).

        Pro-life activists say that’s because abortion involves killing a baby. But transplantation involves killing a person too. Someone who 50 years ago we’d definitely consider alive. Yet no one calls transplant recipient grandfather-killers because someone had to die for them to live.

        So how do we get abortion on the same footing?

      4. WX, Thanks for making me think about the organ transplantation as well. I agree that the redefinition of where life ends is similar, but there are two main differences for me that make it not very comparable to abortion for me:

        1) the individual that has their organs taken from them has consciously agreed to it (at least as far as I’m aware unless you are on an organ donor list, they won’t have the right to take them)

        2) the person whose organs are being taken would otherwise live maybe another day or two whereas an abortion could result in a full life time taken from a baby.

        I absolutely agree that carrying an already dead fetus to term is ridiculous, or that having a late term abortion when the mothers life is at risk is justified. For rape I think it is even more difficult, purely from. The perspective of the unborn child it does not make a difference how it was conceived, but the psychological torture of having to carry a baby to term that will daily remind you about being raped, I just cannot imagine anybody wanting to force that onto another human being

        As you can see I don’t have a super clear opinion. I didn’t have much of an opinion or thought about it much until the first time when I saw the 16 week ultrasound of my daughter and since then it has been on my mind a lot, but I just can’t find a super clear conclusive answer. My hope would be that abortions for family planning purposes become obsolete because people have access to birth control and we have a social safety net that will not make a family chose an abortion because they feel they can’t afford having another child… I think this should be the common ground of the Pro choice and the Pro life movement, to not even put women into the situation where they have to make these tough decisions.

  4. Sorry Ryan, you are dead wrong. If people will not mobilize to save democracy in the U.S., I strongly doubt they will to stop the religious fanatics.

    Sure, there will be pockets of sanity, as you said, Blue states. But you know what will happen to a woman that crosses state lines to have an abortion? Or to a NY doctor that heads to Georgia for a holiday? (though I have no idea why anyone would go to that hellhole).

    No, the crazies have won, because insane people are typically more committed to their cause than sane people.

  5. An interesting post. It brings back memories. In my senior year of high school, 1962-63, I was on the debate team – see I am an old foggy. The question we had to debate was whether abortion should be legalized or not. The core arguments have hardly changed, just some of the details.

    But Ryan’s comment is totally on the mark. That is exactly what would happen.

    Washington State legalized abortion by referendum several years prior to Roe V. Wade, then reconfirmed it by an initiative several years ago. The second law is still on the books and would immediately become operative if SCOTUS overturned Roe v. Wade/

    1. This out today that shows the extent to which the GOP is doubling down on gender issues and abortion. Red states are submitting “trigger” legislation that will automatically void abortion in their states subsequent to Supreme Court void of Roe v Wade. They are organized around this issue, I’ll give them that.

      https://rewire.news/article/2019/03/12/legislative-lowlights-texas-gop-finds-new-and-inventive-ways-to-legalize-lgbtq-discrimination/

  6. I’m so weary of this insane, small minded pro-life argument. It’s really simple unless your agenda is not pure: practice whatever personal belief you have and allow others the same option. This movement is sick in its rabid reach – shooting doctors at Planned Parenthood Centers? Legislating women’s choices as to birth? The charade of “life must be protected at all costs” unless and until they’re born and starving, or black or brown…Some babies matter more, you see. I wish I could talk with pro-life folks rationally but where is the starting point with people whose arguments extend beyond their own bedrooms? Yet, in administrations like this, the crazies run wild and this time they have a seat at the table.

  7. In the more innocent times of my youth, I recall discussing this issue with friends to the left of me- they were convinced pro-life was 100% about controlling women, and I had countered that some of them were acting on a moral conviction (my position was, as it is now in that mushy middle that makes concessions/ compromises). I still think some of those people exist, but in far smaller numbers than I had thought. I also liked the concept of “the common ground” where both sides could agree that reducing unwanted pregnancies was a tangible good we could all work towards. But after seeing the Devil’s bargain so many of these people made, I have no desire to engage with them.

  8. Many people believe what that want to believe regardless of evidence to the contrary (maybe even a majority).

    Though rare, I have ran into hard core politically right people who are willing to accept a challenge of allowing me to present an opposing view point.

    For example, someone once insisted that George W Bush was reducing the national dept.
    I was able to show that was clearly not true by referencing the data provided be Bush’s own Treasury Department.

    I suggest if we refuse to engage/challenge the other side, we are just perpetuating the problem.

    Yes it is frustrating, but we have to try. At least I have to.

    1. dfcord, I would love to know the circumstances under which you could use this argument. If you were talking to rational people, of course. But you are not.

      These religious fanatics are way beyond the reach of reason and logic. These are the same people that believe that global warming is a hoax, and vaccines cause autism. They look at the Handmaid’s Tale not as a warning, but as a how-to guide.

      And soon, very soon, those religious fanatics will roll back Roe v Wade.

      1. Stephen, it may be a small minority, or it may be a large minority. It is pretty much irrelevant. Whatever the size, they now control the levers of power, via the Oval Office, Senate, DOJ, 30 plus state legislatures, and, or course, SCOTUS.

        Roe v Wade will die.

      2. >] Stephen, it may be a small minority, or it may be a large minority. It is pretty much irrelevant. Whatever the size, they now control the levers of power, via the Oval Office, Senate, DOJ, 30 plus state legislatures, and, or course, SCOTUS.

        Roe v Wade will die.

        Let’s assume you’re right and that SCOTUS does overturn Roe v Wade. What would happen?

        At least in the short-term, we already know. Blue states would move to relegalize it virtually overnight and red states would do precisely the opposite. Also virtually overnight, we would see a political conflagration of activism across this country that we haven’t seen in a generation.

        Republicans don’t assiduously avoid trying to bring abortion cases before SCOTUS because they’re afraid they’ll lose. They do it because they’re afraid they’ll win. 2nd Amendment absolutists aren’t the only one who would go batshit insane if they felt their rights were suddenly taken away. Women all across this country would never rest until legalized abortion was the law of the land again, and they’d likely take down scores of Republicans in the process.

        And so the GOP’s stuck. They can’t shake the grip of the ‘pro-life’ movement to moderate their position, so all they can do is pray that that some short-sighted idiot doesn’t accidentally hand them a winning hand.

      3. Good article Mary. To me packing the court is not a prudent move as it would further ignite partisanship.

        I personally believe that a preferable approach would be to change the terms of the Supreme Court justices to one 18 year term and staggered so that one justice would retire each biennium. That way each president would appoint two justices per presidential term and each Congress would confirm one justice. The only way a president would appoint three, would be due to death or unscheduled retirement. In that case, the appointment then would be to the unexpired portion of the term and would require confirmation by the Congress.

        Note, I used the term Congress. Mentally I am playing around with the idea of the advisability of changing the confirmation role from the Senate to the House or to requiring both houses to be involved in the confirmation process, as one way of reducing the power of the Senate as was discussed in one of Chris’ columns a few months ago. I think returning power to the House and implementing more aspects of parliamentarian government is an important reform. But I am still thinking about it.

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