I’ve argued with many a conservative over the years. No matter what the argument, be it violence against women, kids in cages, killing old people to save the economy, etc., the right-wing extremists will always try to bring up abortion. They do this for two reasons: they can’t possibly justify their base’s cruelty, and they falsely believe they have the moral high ground on the abortion issue. They don’t. I don’t tolerate it when they try to pull this after they lose an argument, and no liberal should either.
Five-hundred-and-forty-five children. That’s the number of kids who have now been permanently lost by this administration. Migrant families who fled civil war and violence in Central America, in part because of policies our government enacted, had their children taken away for the “crime” of seeking asylum in the United States. Jeff Sessions openly stated that he was deliberately targeting the children. “No matter how young,” added Rod Rosenstein. Toddlers were intentionally traumatized after this administration separated them from their parents and crammed them in filthy concentration camps without a system in place to reunite them. This acted as a “deterrent,” according to Donald Trump’s own words. And now, eight school buses full of children can never be reunited with their parents. Let’s call this what it is: evil.
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Yet the evil man the so-called “pro-life” crowd calls their savior is handed a pass on this. They’ve already excused his sexual assaults, his abuse of power, his administration’s trafficking in racism and incitement of violence, his submission to Vladimir Putin, and the list goes on. Well, I’ve had enough. If you’ve had enough of these arguments as well, follow me.
Pro-lifers are many things, but principled they are not.
There are primarily two conservatives arguments use when talking about abortion: the religious argument and the moral argument. We’ll go over both.
For whatever reason, the most vile people I’ve ever come across—who tend to be friends of friends—love to declare their religious piety. They are seemingly in competition with everyone over who is the most “Christian,” apparently forgetting this passage in the Bible. These people are the ones who usually use religious arguments in any given abortion debate, even though the religious justification is just plain stupid since this country isn’t a theocracy. Even so, it’s still a loser.
Essentially, the overarching claim is that abortion is wrong because … Jesus. There is always some extrapolation from religious text, but never from the New Testament. That’s because Jesus never once mentioned abortion, even though it existed in his era. (Midwives knew how to induce abortion.) As an aside, homosexuality existed as well, but Jesus also said not one word about it. He had plenty to say, however, about many things, including divorce. He also brought up the evils of excess wealth in every book. Of course, divorce and greed are two areas where evangelical leaders excel, so these are often excused and don’t draw any such passion from the religious right.
It’s not that the Bible had any trouble discussing women’s bodies, of course. It covered everything from prostitution to menstruation, and rape. (If a woman is raped and doesn’t cry out, she gets the death penalty—Deuteronomy 22:22.) The Bible has a lot of death penalties for sexual sin, but not for abortion. If a miscarriage happens because of a fight with a man, the man will just get fined. No big whoop. After all, life begins at birth—otherwise known as when a baby draws its first breath (Genesis 2:7).
When I find myself in a debate with an anti-choicer who leans on religion, I also like to point out that the modern day pro-life movement is completely fake. Did you know that the Southern Baptist Convention actually endorsed the 7-2 Roe v. Wade decision when it came down in 1973? The entire abortion controversy to which all of us have been brutally subjected was decided on a goddamned conference call with Jerry Falwell and other evangelical leaders. They were looking for a new issue to rally their flock behind—because they’d finally accepted they lost their war in support of racial segregation.
Thus these religious “leaders” created the pro-life movement by hiring a filmmaker named Francis Schaeffer to create a propaganda film that would flood evangelical churches. Jerry Falwell admitted that the pro-life movement wouldn’t have happened without Schaeffer; Schaeffer now calls that film the biggest regret of his life.
The “moral” plane is where I will focus much of my attention. As stated above, there is no such thing as a principled pro-lifer. These forced-birthers don’t give a f— about children, or babies. They don’t. Period. They care about sexual control. It’s about power.
Every single year I find more examples to prove my point, and 2020 is no different. Let’s roll the tape.
In September, a licensed practical nurse, Dawn Wooten, blew the whistle on migrant women being forced to have hysterectomies and other “dangerously unhealthy practices” at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Ocilla, Georgia. Anti-choice advocates initially cried “fake news,” but every outlet, even Fox News, covered it. Since such an atrocity cannot be justified, anti-choicers just don’t talk about it.
It’s bad enough that “pro-life” Republicans have supported violent and racist policies against migrants and their children for the past few years, but what happens when we learn that a sadistic doctor was channeling his inner Josef Mengele on every woman who was brought before him, and nothing was done? Not one Republican leader—not one—has spoken out against this cruel crime imposed on these women. These women will never be able to have babies, but that’s fine with white anti-choicers, because those women are brown.
This is exactly the kind of bigotry and hatred these people argued when confronted with children in cages, or babies being taken from their mothers. It’s their fault for trying to declare asylum here: They should lose their child to traffickers, or have their uterus removed. It’s only logical. The silence on this is deafening. My old boss and ex-friend excused this state crime because she equated immigrants to criminals; I responded that she’s a Nazi sympathizer who’d learned how to dehumanize people she didn’t like. This is the same person, mind you, who argued contraception is evil because it interferes with God’s plan for life. She couldn’t see the irony. Tell me that’s not f—-d up.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Clinics
Last year, Alabama legislators passed an arcane law—that was supposedly all about “protecting the sanctity of life”—banning all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest. Even third-world religious fundamentalist nations that ban abortion allow exceptions for young girls who are raped. Yet in Alabama, they are forced to give birth, no matter how young they were when they were attacked. After all, it’s the only moral solution, Alabama citizens were told. There is no circumstance were fertilized eggs could not be terminated without it being an abomination before God. Well, actually, there was one little exception: the thousands of fertilized eggs destroyed daily at IVF clinics.
This wasn’t an oversight: Rich white women love fertility clinics, and the clinics make big money. So an exemption was specifically carved into the law to allow them to operate unimpeded. It’s okay, as the bill’s sponsor, Clyde Chambliss explained, because the egg is “not in a woman.” It only counts if there’s a woman suffering in the equation. If there’s no woman to control, “pro-life” concerns suddenly disappear.
Fetal Tissue Research
Trump devastated vital medical research by virtually shutting down fetal tissue research in 2019, while the anti-abortion crowd cheered. For decades, they’d claimed that fetal tissue research was akin to a criminal act. Patrick Delaney, of the American Life League, called it a ”killing of an innocent human person in the embryonic state of development.”
But then their orange godking needed a fix.
Here’s that Guardian article the tweet mentions.
Eric Scheidler, executive director of Chicago’s Pro-Life Action League, is vehemently against contraception and fetal tissue research—but he made an exception for Donald Trump’s use of Regeneron once he learned he used it to fight COVID-19. This cocktail was created from testing on a cell line taken from the kidneys of an aborted fetus. Here’s how Scheidler justifies it:
In the case of President Trump, the doctors who are providing those medicines to him, those treatments to him, they were not involved with that abortion that took place decades ago. They didn’t assist in it. They didn’t choose for it to happen.
So because Trump and his doctors weren’t personally involved in that particular abortion, it’s whatevs. Abortion is much like Trump’s sexual assaults—it’s okay as long as he does it.
Almost 50 years later, the most fundamental protection granted women—the right to control their own bodies—will likely be struck down with the help of Amy Coney Barrett, the extremist, activist judge recently appointed to the Supreme Court in a Republican race to the bottom. The protections granted under Roe v. Wade will soon disappear, but hey, don’t worry, the rich and powerful will always have access to abortion. Their problem is just with poor people having that same access. Even for the poor, however, abortion won’t stop—it will just become more dangerous. Yet right-wing leaders, who want and need abortions to be available for their daughters, wives, and mistresses, will go wherever it’s legal. “Pro-life” Republican Congressman Scott DesJarlais tried to force his mistress to have an abortion. Same for “pro-life” Congressman Tim Murphy.
These men, along with many others like them, believe that the state can and should force women to give birth to a child. Yet they also believe that the state shouldn’t provide any type of assistance for that child. Somehow, it’s okay to take away a person’s autonomy while absolving themselves of all responsibility when it comes to the consequences.
The woman thus bears all of the cost and shoulders all of the burden for having the baby, and if she is ill-equipped to do so, that forced birth will only ensure more needless suffering for both mother and child. We’ve seen how little the anti-abortion squad actually cares about suffering children at the border, but they are also almost always the most vocal when opposing things like children’s health care, SNAP benefits, day care subsidies, or any possible thing that could make the mother’s burden just a little easier. They truly don’t care what happens once the baby is born … only that the woman be forced to bear it.
Regardless of what happens with Roe v. Wade, abortions will continue. This isn’t a bad thing. Despite the religious right’s indoctrination, abortion isn’t evil. A fetus is not a child any more than an acorn is an oak tree, and terminating a pregnancy is not, nor has it ever been, akin to “murder.” Abortion is basic health care, pure and simple, and should be treated as such. Deep down, anti-abortion protestors know this too. After all, there is a phenomenon of anti-abortion protestors having to get abortions, which they always justify by claiming that their particular situation is different from everyone else’s. The abortion providers, without fail, treat them with the same dignity and respect for their privacy that they give everyone else, which is a decency the protestors can’t ever seem to afford their fellow patients.
It’s not surprising that so many of them get abortions, of course, because abortion is not at all uncommon. Around 40% of American women have had abortions. That’s quite significant—so perhaps abortion shouldn’t have such a negative stigma attached to it. The stigma should only be reserved for those who attack women for wanting to control their own bodies.
The decision, whether or not to bear a child … is something central to a woman’s life, to her dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. And when the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a full adult human responsible for her own choices.
– Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Anti-choicers are about control, not life. If they truly cared about “babies,” you’d see them volunteering at orphanages or adopting children themselves. They rarely do this. It’s more fun to lurk outside clinics in order to harass and punish women.
The right to reproductive choice is a topic that the right wing has absolutely no moral ground to claim, and it’s one that Democrats should take up immediately upon assuming power. Reproductive freedom hangs in the balance.