Quote of the day--remember, laws are for the proles edition

>> Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Part of me suspects that conservatives like Bachmann and Cain get all muddled up on the details of what abortion bans would actually look like because they really aren't as invested as their most hardcore followers in a national ban that's strongly enforced. There's a reason why the holy grail of the anti-choice movement has been an overturn of Roe v. Wade and not a constitutional amendment banning abortion. Sure, pretty much every anti-choice candidate out there supports a constitutional amendment banning abortion, but that support has mostly been symbolic. The lion's share of money and time has been spent on grooming a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe. Should that happen, abortion will be legal in much of the country, but not all of it. For instance, my state of New York actually legalized abortion prior to Roe, and would continue to have relatively liberal abortion laws even without Roe in place forcing the issue. This means that the family members of wealthy red state politicians, such as Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain, would have all the access they could want to legal, safe abortion. It's just those of you who can't scrape together the money for a plane ticket, hotel, and medical expenses at a moment's notice that would be up a creek if facing an unintended pregnancy. Poor people make awesome scapegoats for our national anxieties about female sexuality, but the daughters of the privileged, not so much.
-Amanda Marcotte, "Bachmann Slips Up on Late Term Abortion",
Slate, October 25th, 2011

Exactly, and maybe this is something pro-choicers need to be clearer on: at least some of the allegedly "Pro-Life" politicians out there are playing a shrewd game by being opposed to abortion access for poor people, which is what "leave it to the states" really means when you get right down to it. Indeed, there's really an even larger section of the allegedly "Pro-Life" crowd that is implicitly all about diminishing all access to reproductive choice for poor people, possibly because of a certain amount of shoddy or lazy thinking; they're certainly not worried about their daughters having access to birth control, because where there's a will, there's a way, but all those poor people need to stop screwing and if they can't learn that the easy way, maybe they can learn it the hard way by being saddled with an unwanted child as punishment for their transgressions.

Because that'll solve everything.

That's not to say the entire anti-choice crowd is just that cynical; there are, I'm sure, people who are quite sincere about their idea that abortion is an unjustified and impermissible murder. Those would be the folks calling for a nationwide ban and/or Constitutional amendment to overturn Roe and force the states to adopt a single policy. (How do some of them reconcile that with the belief that the Federal government is too powerful? Shut up, that's how.) But anyone who's saying they think abortion access (and other reproductive issues) should be left up to the states either isn't really against abortion and is cynically muddling their message to try to simultaneously (and incomprehensibly) appeal to the libertarian and religious fundie wings of their party, or they're just really, really dumb. States' rights in this context doesn't mean banning abortion, it means forcing poor people in the American South and parts of the West/Midwest have unwanted kids. (Or turning them into lawbreakers who are possibly endangering their own lives. There is that.)

I'm reminded, actually, of Sarah Palin's whole spurious affirming "pro life" story about being pregnant with Trig Palin. Palin ostensibly tells the story of finding out while she was pregnant that her son had a high probability of being born with Down Syndrome, and discussing her options with her physician, for the purpose of showing off her pro-life bona fides. The problem with this story being used for that purpose, as quite a lot of people other than myself have also pointed out, is that all Pro-Choice advocates want is for women in Sarah Palin's position to be able to fairly, truthfully and accurately discuss their pregnancy issues with their physicians and be able to choose between options as Palin was able to, whether their choice is to go through with the pregnancy as Palin did or terminate it for whatever reason. The thing about Palin's Trig story isn't that she discussed her pregnancy with her doctor and chose life, the thing about Palin's Trig story is that she publicly takes the position that no other woman should ever have the opportunity to have a similar discussion with her doctor ever again.

The related note here, which I'm not even sure I need to point out, is that if abortion had been effectively illegal in Alaska and Palin had wanted to terminate her pregnancy, it seems reasonably likely that she would have taken a plane down to one of the states in the lower forty-eight and done whatever it was she felt she had to do, and that she wouldn't be using it as an inspirational yarn, either.

The message, I guess, isn't so much about the sanctity of life or the importance of personal responsibility as it is that you shouldn't do anything unless you're rich enough to game the system. So it's sort of like everything else Republican politicians do and say, come to think of it. And some people will accuse them of being inconsistent!


Janiece Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 5:56:00 PM EDT  

Yet another reason why the far right makes me apoplectic with rage when it comes to women's reproductive choices. They'll stay out of MY uterus, because I can afford to cross state lines if the need arose...but not that of my working-poor sisters.

Tom Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 2:13:00 PM EDT  

So the solution for Republicans is to force poor possibly brown people Republicans don't really want around to make more poor possibly brown people Republicans don't want around? Maybe if we re-purposed pro-choice as limiting the possibility of poor possibly brown illegal immigrants to create legal American citizens we could get Republicans to sign up for it?

Seth Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 11:11:00 PM EDT  

The New England Journal of Medicine has some pretty good numbers backing up your point. The ability to get an abortion, without Roe, basically becomes a function of distance and money.

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