Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Oh, gag me.

South Dakota Senate passes abortion ban

Okay, that's bad enough. It's interesting to pass a law that you KNOW is contrary to the law of the land. But we had to see this coming after Alito's nomination. So it doesn't surprise me all that much.

What bothers me is the story itself! Some especially egregious quotes (my emphasis):

In its 1973 Roe decision, the Supreme Court struck down abortion bans across the country, legalizing the killing of the unborn in all 50 states.
Killing of the unborn? How slanted can you get? Okay, fine, but it gets worse:
The outcome of any case challenging Roe, Land said, will depend on how Justice Anthony Kennedy votes. Kennedy has affirmed Roe in the past but in 2000 voted in the minority with the court's conservative bloc to uphold Nebraska's ban on partial-birth abortion -- a procedure in which a partially delivered baby is killed when its brains are suctioned.
Oooh, that steams me. WAY too much misinformation about D&X (which I refuse to call a p-b a). Partially delivered baby: not true. These are usually done in the second or third trimester, generally well before the baby is to be delivered. Often, the baby is DEAD before the procedure, making the term "killing" wrong... forgetting the debate about when life begins.

Man. Get ready for the culture wars.

14 comments:

US West said...

Well, the reason this is coming up is because the US Supreme has agreed to re-visit the issue in October.

I have said it before and I will say it again. You cannot convince me you give a shit about the life when you stand against abortion while at the same time killing programs that are meant to help support parents, usually women who end up with unwanted children. NPR reported this morning that 25 million more Americans are getting food assistance now than 6 years ago. The report went on to say that "two of the largest groups that receive food from food banks, soup kitchens and shelters, are women and single parents." And these people are working, making $800 a month with rent at $750.

Respect for life? Like everything else they have to say is bullshit. If you refuse to take care of the people who are actually among us, how can you even say with a straight face you care for "the unborn?" How can you say with a straight face that you support a culture of life when 111 more Iraqis were killed today in insurgent attacks? Attacks your poor foreign policy made possible? How can you say that with a straight face when reports of prisioner abuse are all over the papers and global warming is speeding up and your response is to give tax credits to huge oil firms while furiously scrubbing EPA reports? Please spare me the absurdity.

Anonymous said...

Last weekend, I drove by a billboard reading "Choose Life." And I realized that the moron who put that up there is opposed to pro-choice people and thinks he's "pro-life." But "choose life" is a pro-choice slogan! The anti-choice folks are just that - they want to ban abortion, period. They are not interested in allowing women to choose life.

If you want women to choose Life, you are pro-choice.
 

// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about where the quotations Bell Curve cited are from. That does seem pretty slanted but did it come from AP or from "www.christians4bush.org" or something? 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

Ah.

It's from Baptist Press News , which circulates to Baptist newspapers. Should have known.

I'll check the AP article for slant too. 

// posted by Bell Curve

Anonymous said...

I didn't find any obvious bias in the AP story . Just so everyone knows.

By the way, I have at best mixed feelings about abortion. But is HAS TO BE LEGAL in case of rape or incest*. Has to be. So this law makes no sense to me.


-----
*Also when the mother's life is threatened. 

// posted by Bell Curve

Anonymous said...

Bell Curve: Why does abortion have to be legal in cases of rape or incest? There is nothing in logic or our law that provides this. If abortion is murdering a baby, then it is irrelevant how it was conceived, right? The only reason for abortion is if the mother will lose her life otherwise. The state does not prefer the child's life to the mother's, or vice versa.

The reason for this "exception" for rape and incest actually shows the true ugly reason why conservatives oppose abortion. They are motivated by of animosity towards women engaging in free sexual behavior the way men do - for pleasure, or outside of wedlock. Thus, if it is "not her fault" that she is pregnant (rape or incest) then she can have an abortion. Otherwise she should "live with her decision" to have sex for some purpose other than procreation.   Pregnancy is a form of punishment. Back in the 1970s, progressives and feminists used to communicate this fact more strongly. The more you think about it, the more you realize that is the only possible explanation for saying you are "pro life" but also permitting abortion if you don't like the father (e.g., rape, incest). Abortion laws, you see, are an attack on women's sexuality, plain and simple. And since those who support them try to cover up this motivation, they are massively intellectually dishonest. That is why Democrats oppose such laws and Republicans/conservatives support those laws. It is also why the term "pro-choice" and "anti-choice" are far, far more honest than "pro-life" is.

This basic anti-feminist position of the anti-choice folks also is the reason for the "contradiction" between the parties' respective positions on the death penalty and abortion -- it's about the power of the state over individuals. I wish the media (and Democrats) would explain this better!

I actually applaud the SD legislature for enacting a rare abortion law reflecting, at least on the surface, by a genuine conviction that abortion is murdered (this is the Catholic church's position). For that reason, however, the law will be viewed as "heartless" to women who are victims of rape or incest.

Sorry, BellCurve, you touched a nerve. The fact that you, a known liberal, "fell for" the conservative argument, reminded me of how many Americans have never been told the real reason for the anti-abortion laws. Hands up if you are still surprised that they were FIRST enacted during the Victorian period.  

// posted by LTG

US West said...

Bravo LTG. This is exactly it. Anti-abortion laws with "exceptions" and anti-abortion laws in general set my teeth on edge as a woman because they are hateful in nature to everyone, men, women, and children. But mostly they are misogynic. That is why in past posts, I used that very word to describe this administration and those who support it. My strong feelings on the issue have little to do with the fetus, and everything to do with the rights, dignity, and respect that women deserve. And I am in no small measure affected by what I saw own mother struggle with.

These "pro-life" programs basically say that women are second, or even third class citizens and children are just below them. Women are stupid, incapable of making sound decisions, and always responsible for what happens to them while boys are allowed to be boys. It isn't just about punishing the sexual activity of women. It is punishing women for being women. And, for the record, when you degrade women like that, you are also degrading men by setting up an unfair "stereotype" of them as irresponsible and uncaring. And in the end, they show a basic distain for the children. You want a child to be a punishment? Raised in poverty and all the problems associated with that? How many of the good , pro-life "Christians" have agreed to become foster parents to adopt a child? Everyone talks about "adoption" yet, adoption laws make that a cruel system on everyone with prospective parents preferring to go find children in foreign countries. We are all in this together and anyone who fails to see that when you treat one group unfairly, there are negative consequences for everyone.

Since statistics show that those who have abortion are more likely to be poor minorities, then, in effect they highlight an underground caste system. White men on top followed in descending order by minority (read black)men, white men, minority men, white women, black women. The you sprinkle in the economic status where appropriate. Rich White men, rich black men, rich white women, poor white men, poor black men, etc.

And LTG is correct that pregnancy is then used as a punishment in this country. And when it isn't used as a punishment, it is used as a serious medical condition. I would postulate that it isn't pregnancy alone that is a punishment, but parenting in general, especially motherhood. American attitudes toward these things are quite twisted when compared to those in Europe where there is substantial assistance for children and parents-to-be. In France, for instance, pregnancy is viewed, as a natural thing, respected by society as a whole and supported. There are subsidies for parents who have three children. (I wouldn't go so far as to say we should adopt such a thing. I find that distasteful.) In Scandinavia, both parents get substantial paid paternity leave.

Pregnancy is a disability. In California, (one of the more generous states) state law allows women to take 4 months of disability before or after a birth if there is a complication or pregnancy related illness. Their husbands have to take unpaid FML to help them.
• Under the Family Medical Leave Act, parents can take up to 12 weeks off, unpaid.
• Other leave depends on the generosity of the employer.
• Parents, usually women, who take time away from the work force to raise children are penalized in the social security system.

Then there is whole other argument that I mentioned in my previous post about poverty among single parents (usually women) and lack of childcare, etc.


Furthermore, the men who are responsible for unwanted pregnancies get off scott free. And this has always been, mind you. That is the hand of biology. But we can tame it with some laws and regulations. However, this administration has de-funded programs that help track down deadbeat dads to the tune of $8.4 mil. That was one of the hidden budgetary nasties that didn't get much coverage.

In addition to this, anti abortion advocates are completely ignorant of the actual factors that lead to abortion. And if they aren't ignorant, they are insensitive and perhaps fortunate to have never suffered similar deprivations and indignities. I don't see too many poor women out there on the "pro-life" battle lines. And that is the problem with activists. They usually have little understanding of what they are fighting for.

Anonymous said...

I see your point. But what is the conservative argument I fell for? Certainly not that abortion is murder. Not that a woman should somehow pay for having sex. I think you are taking my comment (which you agree with) and extrapolating falsely. 

// posted by Bell Curve

Anonymous said...

BC: I referred to your comment that there MUST be exceptions for rape and incest. No liberal should advocate that. Conservatives realize that those exceptions placate people's inherent revulsion at an abortion ban, without thinking about what those exceptions really mean for women. We should demand  that conservatives either own up to the fact that calling abortion murder means you ban it all, even in cases of rape and incest, or admit that they don't really believe that life begins at conception or any of the other "unborn baby" folderol that is so emotionally touching, that all they really have is a bunch of Victorian moral judgments about women and promiscuity.
 

// posted by LTG

Dr. Strangelove said...

LTG said it right: a legal exception for a fetus conceived by rape or incest is irreconcilable with the notion that abortion is murder--and the desire for this exception reveals, as LTG said, an "ugly" misogyny behind the abortion debate. (Furthermore, those who try to justify an exception for incest on the grounds of the risk of birth defects are, unavoidably but often unknowningly, asserting that even potentially malformed child has no right to be born... Eugenics, anyone?)

While I'm at it, one of my pet peeves has always been the question, "when does life begin?"... because life never ends. The sperm and egg are alive; the zygote is alive.

The real questions are, "when should a fetus be recognized as a distinct, individual living entity--and when should it receive the rights of personhood, equal to that of its parent?" And I think the most sensible answer is that, as in all things biological, the fetus' individuation and its accumulation of rights should be understood to occur gradually, in steps. After all, the full rights of personhood in our society do not inhere in the individual until at least age 18--the long progression to equality with the parent organism continues well past the moment of birth.

While the zygote can still be induced to divide to form twins or triplets, we don't even know how many distinct organisms it may eventually become. While the fetus cannot survive outside the womb--while it continues to exchange blood, complex chemical cocktails, and bacterial symbiotes with its mother--it is not yet a fully "distinct" individual lifeform. While the fetus lacks discernable brainwaves--while it lacks any complexity of neuronal connections--it has not achieved consciousness (probably not even unconsciousness.)

Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

I am not advocating exceptions in case of rape or incest. I just thought (wrongly) that everyone should agree that abortion should be legal in those cases. But LTG is right -- if you think abortion is murder, then you don't think it should ever be legal.

I will not support any law that puts more restrictions on abortion than are in Roe v. Wade. On the other hand, like most people (I think) I would like to see the amount of unwanted pregnancies in this country drop. Maybe government-subsidized condoms could be an answer? (Yeah, that'll go over REAL well). 

// posted by Bell Curve

Anonymous said...

I agree with both LTG's assesment of the issue and Bell Curve's latest advocacy of birth control. The Clinton motto on abortion was "Safe, Legal and Rare." I think that's the right tone.

But unfortunately, the same buch of misogynists who oppose abortion rights also oppose making birth control more available. And their implicit logic is much like that described by LTG earlier. Pregnacy is the punishment that deters people from having sex out of wedlock. If we make birth control more available (especially forms of it controlled by the woman), then there's no way to deter people from having constant, extramarital, wicked sex.

They can wrap it up in flags, talk about "rights" and cries of "who's going to think of the children." But when it comes down to it they are just a mob looking for witches to burn. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

A few notes on D & X. First of all, most of the legislation referring to it as "partial birth abortion" is broad enough to drive a truck through. The small (and getting smaller and more elderly) group of physicians who will perform late-term abortions are understandably concerned about civil and criminal liability for performing a number of abortion procedures.

Generally, the D & X procedure is used in pretty awful circumstances. Like anencephaly, where the fetus' brain and head does not develop properly. Life expectancy is minutes or hours. Or when the fetus' organs have developed outside of the body. Or when the birth is probably going to kill the women who got pregnant in the first place.

The class issue always gets me when I start thinking about abortion. Some pregnant woman with three kids in Idaho has to drive all over heck and gone, get all sorts of "counseling," and get shouted in front of the clinic by a bunch of people whose time would be better spent elsewhere. And if abortion was outlawed in this country tomorrow, all I'd have to do is max out a credit card and hightail it to Amsterdam.

-Seventh Sister 

// posted by Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Or Vancouver. I hear it's pretty this time of year. 

// posted by Bell Curve