Before I start, I should note I am unapologetically pro-choice. I’ve been pro-choice for as long as I can remember. I recall thinking women should be able to have an abortion, if they want one, when I was just eight year old (1972-73).

(New Zealand’s Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Bill was making its way through parliament at the time. It was naturally controversial, and was in the news a lot. Thus, I was aware of the issue.)

As far as I’m concerned, if you oppose abortion, don’t have one. That’s your choice. But you don’t, or at least you shouldn’t, have the right to tell someone else what to do with their body. Even worse, you shouldn’t have the right to force your beliefs onto another person. I think it’s appalling that there are actually laws that make abortion illegal in so many countries (including New Zealand).

When I was a child, it just seemed fair to me. As I got older, and got to know more about the subject, my position became stronger and stronger. My opinion is now supported by multiple data, much of which I hope to cover in this post.

Now, on with the show.

 

Abortion and US Law

In 1973, in a Supreme Court ruling known as Roe v. Wade, US women had their right to an abortion established by law. However, ever since there have been attempts to get that right taken away again. Republicans have adopted this cause as their own. Thus where they control the state government (red states), women’s right to an abortion is more at risk.

Four years after Roe v. Wade, a law known as the Hyde Amendment came into being. It meant that federal money could not be spent on abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, or if the life of the mother was in danger.

This is obviously an absolute disgrace for multiple reasons, but there are two that I think are the more important than the others.

1. The Most Vulnerable Will Be Affected the Most

Cartoon: Bloody coat-hanger.Firstly, it means that if you’re vulnerable in any way, it’s much harder to get an abortion. So this law disproportionately affects women of colour, young women, those with a disability, etc. In short, those women who, in general, will have the most difficulty caring for a child. (Women who can afford to do so will simply go to another state to have their abortion.) It means many women will either be forced to continue with a pregnancy which may be physically or mentally dangerous or, in their desperation, they will feel forced to resort to dangerous abortion methods.

Some lawmakers, in their complete lack of compassion or understanding, have even introduced laws to make having an abortion first degree murder. For example, Vox reports that Texan Republican state legislator Tony Tinderholt has introduced a Bill there that would introduce the death penalty for women having abortions. Vox reports he, ” says it would make people “consider the repercussions” of having sex.

2. The Effect on Women’s Health Service Providers e.g. Planned Parenthood

Secondly, the Hyde Amendment makes providers of women’s health services, like Planned Parenthood, vulnerable to attacks from anti-choice activists.

Planned Parenthood receives half a billion dollars a year from the federal government to help fund the multiple health services they provide, mostly to women. However, anti-choice activists represent them as doing nothing but abortions and are constantly calling for their funding to be taken away. They’ve even had success in some red states in relation to that.

The reality is that only three percent of Planned Parenthood’s services relate to abortion. Further, the money they get from the federal government, while significant, only accounts for around 40% of their funding. All anti-choice activists do when they deny Planned Parenthood funding is ensure women, especially those who are poor or otherwise vulnerable, have less or no access to healthcare.

(Planned Parenthood graphic. Sourced via NPR)

Anti-choice activists know this, of course, but they don’t appear to care. Some even freely admit that they’ll do whatever it takes to get a win for their cause. Anti-choice activists call themselves pro-life (and I’ll get to why that’s a myth later), but some won’t even condemn the extremists within their movement who go so far as the murder of abortion providers. In fact, a small number not only endorse violence and murder, they raise money to support those who carry out such acts. Their opinion is they’re committing justifiable homicide. In the US at least, they’re almost exclusively conservative Christians, whose interpretation of the Bible is that God opposes abortion.

 

The USA Wants Roe v. Wade to Remain the Law

In the past, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has been a reflection of US society. When the issue of same-sex marriage came before them, for example, they were in large part reflecting the changing views of US society in making it legal.

Therefore, if any cases relating to abortion make it to the Supreme Court, abortion should remain legal too. According to Pew (their emphasis):

About six-in-ten U.S. adults (58%) said in a 2018 survey that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared with 37% who said it should be illegal all or most of the time. Public opinion on this question has been relatively stable over more than two decades of Pew Research Center polling, and there is little difference between the views of men and women.

Further:

When it comes to the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 ruling, about seven-in-ten Americans (69%) said Roe v. Wade should not be completely overturned, according to a survey conducted in late 2016.

Into the Weeds

There are demographic differences, all of which readers can probably predict:

1. Democrats are more likely to think abortion should be legal than Republicans.

Graphic of politics vs abortion views
2. The more educated you are, the more likely you are to think Roe v. Wade should not be overturned.

62% of those with a high school diploma or less;
70% of those with some college education;
74% of those with a college degree;
88% of those with a post-graduate qualification.

think Roe v. Wade should not be overturned,

3. The only area of the country where a majority think abortion should be illegal is the Bible Belt.

 

Abortion and the Republican Party (GOP)

The US Republican Party (GOP) has always been anti-abortion. Its official platform on abortion doesn’t even make exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother.

In the past, their attempts to completely take away a woman’s right to choose have been unsuccessful. There has been a lot of success in states that Republicans control though, making it more difficult for women to exercise that legal right. However, the election in 2016 of a misogynist who cares more about the anti-abortion Evangelical Christians that cheer him on than the wishes of the majority of his citizens is a worry for all of us who care about women’s rights.

Donald Trump and Abortion

Before he was a Republican politician, most of Trump’s views were more progressive. There was a time when he was pro-choice. But now that he needs to appeal to far-right Christian conservatives, that’s what he’s doing. During the 2016 election campaign, he was even heard to call for the punishment of women who have an abortion, just like the Christian abortion extremists he’s trying to appeal to.

Those in the Republican party who are anti-choice are taking advantage of having a sympathetic ear in the White House. As a result, they’re having some success in their moves towards making abortion illegal again.

A safe, legal abortion is a choice that should be available to all woman when faced with an unplanned pregnancy, or one that she doesn’t want to go ahead with because of the risk to her’s or the future child’s health or life. But, following the election of Donald Trump, that choice is increasingly at risk.

Why is Trump Supporting a Position a Majority Don’t?

President Donald Trump is a populist, and normally he attempts to appeal to the majority. However, abortion is different, for reasons I will get to.

Trump’s approval rating hasn’t made it to 50% the entire time he’s been in office. It’s never even been above his disapproval rating. He personally feeds off rallies where as many as tens of thousands act as if he’s a rock star, but those crowds are not a true reflection of the US population.

Trump Approval ratings Jan 2017 to Jun 2019

Trump Job Approval (Source: Gallup. Click graphic to go to source.)

 

Trump knows deep down that his win wasn’t down just to those Evangelical Christians. It wasn’t even due to a majority of USians. Help from the Russians in three key states was what got him into the White House. (The Weekly Standard article: ‘The Election Came Down to 77,744 Votes in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan’ lays the details out clearly.) Within the White House, staff know not to mention things like Russian interference in the 2016 election in front of Trump. He appears to view mere mention of the topic the height of disloyalty. Staff even warn others not to bring the subject up in front of him.

Therefore the few policy positions Trump and his enablers stick to fall into two areas. They’re either favourable towards Russia (e.g. GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell has gone so far as to block bipartisan legislation to stop Russian interference in the 2020 elections), or are those Evangelical Christians support. Opposition to abortion, of course, falls into the second of those two categories.

 

State’s Rights

Living in a country that doesn’t have separate states, I’ve always had difficulty understanding the issue of state’s rights. I’ve never seen the point of it. In the past I’ve thought of that as simply a lack of cultural understanding on my part. More and more though, I’m starting to see it as a dangerous way to run a country. (It’s not only the US where I see problems. Catalan independence in Spain, and the use of Sharia in Aceh province in Indonesia, are two other examples.)

US States'positions on ERA

(Source: Wikipedia. Click graphic to go to source.)

There are several areas where I see having separate states with separate laws causing problems in the US. This is not the place to go down that rabbit hole, but for me one of them is the effect on women’s rights. It is already appalling that women have less rights than men in what is supposedly the world’s leading democracy. What’s even worse is that women in some states have even less rights than their compatriots in other states.

Is is Really All About the Foetus for Activists?

I believe that attempts to deny women the right to control over their own bodies is as much about controlling women as it is about a belief they’re saving lives for many anti-choice activists. There are many reasons I have for that opinion, but one relates to the issue of state’s rights.

On the whole, the states that are trying to make abortion illegal again are the same ones that didn’t endorse the Equal Rights amendment to the US Constitution.  Take note on the graphic on the right of which states don’t think women should have equal rights to men, and you will see they largely correspond with those that are doing the most to try and prevent women from having control over their own bodies.

The Affect of States’ Rights on Abortion Rights

There are now six states that have only one clinic remaining that provides abortions thanks to anti-choice activism. They are: Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia. The last clinic left in Missouri may soon have to close. The only thing currently keeping it open is a court order against the latest state law putting impossible conditions on abortion providers.

These states (and others) make laws with unreasonable conditions that are so difficult to comply with, the clinics have no other choice but to shut down. In that way the states aren’t actually breaking the law that gives women the right to an abortion, it just means there’s nowhere for them to go to get one that’s safe and legal.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, there were 452 clinics in the US that included abortions as part of their services to women in 1996. By 2005 that was 381, and by 2014 it was 272. (There are no data available post-2014.)

 

Abortion in Republican-Controlled States

Red states have brought in literally hundreds of laws since 1973 making it more difficult for the women living in them to obtain a safe, legal abortion. Many other laws that sought to do the same have been overturned by the courts due to the advocacy of groups on behalf of women. However, the fact remains that women living in red states have less rights than those living in blue states (i..e. states where the government is in Democratic Party control).

Once again, this is obviously an appalling situation, and one that should not be acceptable to anyone. What should be happening is that women have the same rights across the country. Medical science, social science, and economics all tell us the best thing is for women to have the right to choose whether or not to continue with a pregnancy.

Making Abortion Illegal Increases the Number of Abortions

It’s also the best thing if you really want to reduce the number of abortions. There will be those reading this who object to the way I’ve been framing opponents to abortion as anti-choice. They will say this is about saving the lives of unborn babies. However, that is simply not true. All the evidence, from both the US and the rest of the world, shows that making abortion illegal actually increases the number of abortions. If you really want to reduce the number of abortions, the best way to do that is by making it legal. The leaders of the anti-choice movement know this. This is why they focus on the number of abortions taking place, rather than any other data. (More on this below)

Basically, where the Republican Party is in control of government, women are losing the right to control of their own bodies. Donald Trump, a man who changes his position on issues more often than he washes his hands (and he’s a germophobe), has actually kept one of his election promises, and is on track to keeping another. Unfortunately, both relate to making abortion illegal again in the US.

 

Trump’s First Promise in Relation to Abortion

Trump made a promise that he would only appoint justices to the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS), as well as judges to other courts, that come with the recommendation of both the Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation. That means (among other things) justices who oppose abortion.

Unfortunately, Trump has had the privilege of appointing two justices to the Supreme Court.

Neil Gorsuch

The first, Neil Gorsuch, was a replacement for justice Antonin Scalia who died during the presidency of Barack Obama. However, Republican senate leader Mitch McConnell’s (a Trump enabler) absolute refusal to allow a vote on Obama’s choice (Merrick Garland) to replace him meant it was Trump’s pick that took the vacancy.

Cartoon: Gorsuch stealing Garland's SCOTUS seat

Brett Kavanaugh

The second, Brett Kavanaugh was, if possible, even more controversial. It was clear he had a history of, at the very least, not treating women as equals. However, all Republicans, and even one (male) Democrat, still voted for him.

As a result, a majority Supreme Court justices are all personally anti-choice. This has led to a hive of activity amongst anti-choice activists in red states. Each wants to be the first to get a Bill from their own state attracting enough opposition from those who are pro-choice that it makes it through the courts to the Supreme Court level. At that point, they hope the Court will take the opportunity to make abortion illegal again.

This, they think will make them heroes in the anti-choice movement, which it probably will. Perhaps more importantly to many, they will feel they have done God’s will. That’s because for most of them, it’s their faith that informs them when it comes to this issue, not the facts.

Cartoon: Reproductive Freedom in the Trump Court

 

Abortion, God, and the Election of  Donald Trump

Abortion is one of the main reasons more than 80% of Evangelicals, and a sizable chunk of other conservative Christians, gave Trump their vote in 2016. Many even go so far as to believe it was God who made Trump president. The reason? God wanted Trump to stop abortion.

To believe that God made Donald Trump President of the USA sounds, well, unbelievable. However, you only have to do a Google search on the topic to find multiple links to articles and videos of people who believe this. And don’t be tempted to dismiss the belief as a coming from a small fringe element either.

Sarah Sanders

Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in an interview in January with the Christian Broadcasting Network:

I think God calls all of us to fill different roles at different times, and I think that He wanted Donald Trump to become president, and that’s why he’s there, and I think he has done a tremendous job in supporting a lot of the things people of faith really care about.

That interview continued with an exchange attacking Democrats for anti-Semitism.

(Here, I must compliment all those Trump-supporting a$$ho£€$ marching and chanting, “Jews will not replace us,” and “Blood and soil,” in Charlottesville in 2017 for how well they hid their affiliation to the Democratic party. /sarcasm)

Sanders on Abortion

Next the interview turned to the issues on the southern border. That led to mention of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) calling the wall “immoral”. This somehow enabled Sanders to segue to abortion:

I mean honestly, it’s very hard at this point to even take a lecture from Democrats on what is moral and what isn’t. People who are willing to allow legislation to pass supporting late-term abortion, the idea that they would take out, “so help me God in the platform,” the House Democrats have raised this week …

Sarah Sanders views on abortion an God when she was in the White House were by no means unique.

A note on late-term abortions

 

The Future of Sarah Sanders

The evidence is that Sarah Sanders is returning to her Bible Belt state of Arkansas in order to start campaigning to become its governor. Her father is former Arkansas governor and twice candidate to be Republican presidential nominee, Mike Huckabee. So her chances aren’t as remote as you might imagine. However, whether or not she gets the job, her particular set of principles are ones that are typical of a Bible Belt politician.

Governor Huckabee has clearly been a big influence in his daughter’s life. It’s obviously a good thing for a father and daughter to have a good relationship. However, when that father does things like blame the Sandy Hook massacre on the Bible no longer being in schools, you have to wonder whether some kind of intervention was in order.

He’s also always made his own opposition to abortion clear. This graphic is from one of his successful gubernatorial races.

And this is an example of a Huckabee tweet (iirc, I made the screen capture of this tweet in 2015):

To me, these views seem extreme, but they’re typical of the majority in the Bible Belt of the USA. I originally made a copy of the tweet above, and some others by the governor, because I felt an enormous amount of hate emanating from them. I thought about Christians, including the governor, telling people that Christianity is all about love, but I think they express a quite different mindset.

The unreality of thinking God will judge the US over abortion

 

What Does the Bible Say About Abortion?

As with so many things, it’s pretty hard to get a clear direction from the Bible on abortion. Besides that, Christians are pretty good at only following which parts of it suit them at the best of times. Eating pork, getting tattoos, and even decorating a tree to celebrate Christmas are all things that are forbidden in the Bible. However, you will also have no trouble finding web pages that provide arguments why it’s okay to do those things, no matter how literal your reading of the Bible.

If they want to do something forbidden in the Bible, they will find a way to make it okay. If they want to make a group of people the subject of their derision of hatred, they will.

Passage from'Conservative Bible' (mock document)

 

The Bible does appear to consider abortion wrong. However, unlike many anti-choice activists, it does not appear to consider it murder. The punishment in the Bible for murder is death. “A life for a life.” Women who abort a child do not face this punishment in the Bible. Therefore, I think it’s safe to assume that abortion is not considered murder.

When it comes to information about abortion, anti-choice activists would be far better off reading Valerie Tarico’s ‘Right-Wing Christians’ Hostility to Science Destroys Lives‘. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever read on the subject, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

 

The Attempts of Republican States to Ban Abortion Nationwide

There are now eight states in the US competing for the title of “Most Draconian Abortion Laws”. They are: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Utah. By no coincidence, those states have several other things in common. They’re all not only reliably Republican, they are all strong supporters of President Trump. All also have a larger than average conservative Christian population. (Alabama is the most religious state; Mississippi is third; Arkansas is fifth; Georgia is sixth.) Most are also among the most poorly educated states.

It’s not good for a state’s economy either. Most of these states are also very poor financially, and their stance doesn’t help that. Companies these days are putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to doing the right thing. Several states saw what happened when they tried to enact anti-transgender legislation. The same is now happening with anti-choice legislation. For example, AMC’s flagship TV show, The Walking Dead, is considering leaving Georgia after nine seasons. The reason? Georgia’s foetal heartbeat bill.

Republicans, Abortion, and Morality

Most countries believe the fallacy that being religious equals being moral. In most Western democracies a majority hold the belief that Christianity equals morality, though this belief is steadily declining.  The belief is stronger in the US than most, and conservative Christians in particular believe they have cornered the market when it comes to morality. Since Ronald Reagan’s call to the Moral Majority, Republicans have embraced their role as their country’s moral police. (This wasn’t a new role for them, but it became a greater part of their core identity with Reagan.)

Of course, the reality is that on most measures that society considers represent morality, it’s atheists that are, on average, the most moral US citizens, and a majority of them vote or lean Democrat. (I wrote about this, with the evidence, almost five years ago.)  We’re also constantly getting evidence that the so-called Moral Majority are, in reality, a bunch of hypocrites. It seems hardly a week goes by without another breaking story that exposes a leader of the Moral Majority. A recent one was Jerry Falwell Jr., president of the evangelical Liberty University. (You can see Rachel Maddow’s (MSNBC) excellent take on the events here.)

 

The Anti-Choice or Forced-Birth Movement

Those who are anti-abortion call themselves “pro-life”. This moniker could not be further from the truth. As mentioned above, making abortion illegal actually increases the number of abortions.

I am not refusing to refer to them as “pro-life” to get at them in any way. I do it because the term is simply not accurate. The terms “anti-choice” and “forced birth” are both more accurate, and that’s why I use them.

I also find it really, really annoying that many in the anti-choice movement represent women who have abortions as simply using abortion as a form of contraception.

Lack of Empathy

Another person, whatever their gender, cannot imagine what any individual goes through when they discover they have an unplanned pregnancy. Some forced-birth activists present abortion as if women use it as a form of contraception. They produce anecdotes of women casually having multiple abortions as if this is common.

The truth is very different. The fact that a woman has chosen to terminate the pregnancy does not mean the choice was easy. For most it’s one of the most difficult decisions she will ever make. On top of that, one of the things that makes it far more difficult is the stigma around that choice. And, it is anti-choice activists who create that stigma. They make what is already a difficult choice far harder. They speak of the emotional harm a women suffers for the rest of her life, but most or all of that harm is because of the rhetoric of anti-choice activists.

The Lack of Compassion of Anti-Choice Activists

What especially concerns me about many of those in the US who are part of the forced-birth movement is that their care for the foetus that can’t, in their words, “speak for itself”, does not extend to:

1. The cost of any care of the foetus’ (e.g. healthcare) before it’s born.

2. The cost of any care of the baby/child after it’s born (e.g. healthcare, education, housing, food). This is especially the case if the child they are forcing to be born has some form of special/high needs.

3. The cost of any of the needs of the mother either before or after the birth (e.g. healthcare, child care, interruption in education/career, mental health care).

4. The cost of the needs of the future child’s siblings. The parent/s may no longer be able to afford to help with the cost of tertiary education, for example.

5. The cost of any of the needs of the father (e.g. mental health due to the expectations around caring for a child or a larger family). The Guttmacher report notes that a large proportion of abortions are for women who already have several children. The abortion is because they feel they simply cannot afford another child mentally, physically, emotionally, or financially.

Anti-GOP Meme: No abortion and no help caring for child.

 

The Myth of “Pro-Life”

Those who oppose abortion say they are doing so to save the lives of all the babies who would have been born if there was no abortion. This is absolute codswallop. The stupidity of it perhaps makes me even angrier than the attack on women’s rights, That’s because of what the truth really is.

Making abortion illegal does NOT mean no more abortions. What it means is:

1.Women being forced by desperation into breaking the law.

2. Women DYING from what is a simple medical procedure when carried out by a properly trained medical professional.

3. More women, especially poor women, suffering long-term medical complications.

4. More women being trapped in poverty.

5. More children suffering because their parent/parents have more children than they can look after financially, physically, emotionally, or mentally.

6. People, especially women, being trapped in unfulfilling (or even abusive) relationships because couples stay together, “for the sake of the child/ren.”

7. Places like Planned Parenthood forced to close. That means a lack of information about, and access to, contraception as well as other healthcare needs. It also means women who don’t have an abortion, which is most of their clients, lose access to healthcare.

Making Abortion Illegal Increases the Number of Abortions

But most of all, the evidence is that making abortion illegal does NOT reduce the number of abortions. The US’s Guttmacher Institute produced a comprehensive study: Abortion Worldwide 2017 (pdf here). It states:

Abortions occur as frequently in the two most-restrictive categories of countries (banned outright or allowed only to save the woman’s life) as in the least-restrictive category (allowed without restriction as to reason)—37 and 34 per 1,000 women, respectively.

Yes, you read that correctly. There are more abortions where it is illegal or heavily restricted than where it’s freely available.

 

More Sex Education and More Contraception are the Best Ways to Stop Abortion

The Guttmacher Institute report concludes that’s because legal abortion usually goes hand-in-hand with better access to, and knowledge of, contraception.

What makes that second sentence important is that Christians from the far right usually not only oppose abortion, they oppose contraception too. Most especially, they oppose education about sex and contraception for teenagers. Their advice is to stay a virgin until you marry. Then,  you get to spend your fertile years either pregnant, or trying to get that way.

A Lesson from Colorado

Valerie Tarico’s article (same one referred to above) was written in response to an initiative in Colorado in 2015. It begins:

When a pilot program in Colorado offered teens state-of-the-art long acting contraceptives—IUD’s and implants—teen births plummeted by 40% [3], along with a drop in abortions [4]. The program saved the state 42.5 million dollars [5] in a single year, over five times what it cost. But rather than extending or expanding the program, some Colorado Republicans are trying to kill it—even if this stacks the odds against Colorado families. Why? Because they insist, wrongly, that IUD’s work by killing embryos, which they believe are sacred. This claim, which is based in bad faith and scientific ignorance, undermines fiscal prudence and flourishing families.

Cartoon: Irony of GOP being against contraception and abortion

Gloria Steinman was on CNN’s Amanpour recently. They spoke about Alabama’s new abortion law. She pointed out that before Roe v Wade, one in three women in the US had an abortion. Following it, that dropped to one in four. The US followed the same world trend: the more freely available abortion is, the less it occurs. Therefore, it’s likely that if the anti-choice activists succeed in making abortion illegal again, this will actually increase the number of abortions.

 

The Example of Nazi Germany

Like me, Steinman sees the current attacks on women’s independence as part of the international increase in white nationalism and authoritarianism. She noted that the first impulse of every authoritarian government she has ever studied is to control reproduction. That’s because it’s the single thing they can’t imitate.

Steinman further pointed out one of the very first acts of that most famous of authoritarians and white nationalists – Adolf Hitler.  When he first took control his bully boys were immediately physically padlocking all the Family Planning clinics. At the same time,  he made abortion an act against the state. Abortion doctors were given death sentences, and women wanting abortions were put in prison in order to force them to give birth. Those women he didn’t want giving birth (and the men he didn’t want fathering children) were either sterilized or murdered.

I’m not, of course, suggesting that’s this a path that Trump and the Republicans are going to go down. However, Trump makes no secret of the fact he believes he’s in possession of superior genes. And, the white nationalist movement thinks we’re already in a race war and embrace the theories of eugenicists.

 

Alabama’s New Abortion Law

When I see the photo (below) of Alabama Governor, Kay Ivey, proudly signing her state’s Bill making abortion illegal, wearing her Republican-red suit, I see the colour of blood. The blood of all the women who will die because of that Bill is on her hands. It’s also on the hands of the men in the Alabama senate who voted for the Bill. And I say, “men” for a reason; not a single woman in that senate gave it her support.

Governor Ivey notes in the tweet above that her faith is the reason for her opposition to abortion. As with most anti-abortion rhetoric, that’s misguided. Due to a life of being told that by her church, she probably believes that God opposes abortion. But, as so often with the deeply religious, there’s a failure of independent thought. Like so many of the deeply religious, it’s unlikely she’s read the Bible from cover to cover. She probably relies on religious leaders for her view on the subject. That’s understandable, but a bad example in a leader.

 

Exceptions for Rape, Incest, and the Life of the Mother

Most abortion bills have exceptions if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or if it would endanger the life of the mother. Notably, at least two of these latest bills, Alabama and Missouri, do not have rape and incest exceptions. This is apparently deliberate as the writers of the bills. They believe this is more likely to get them to the Supreme Court.

However, even most of those who are anti-choice and want to force women to give birth, also want to see an exception for rape and incest. They acknowledge that in these cases a woman should have a choice whether she carries the foetus to term. They can see that the choice of the woman, who is already a person, should take precedence over something that only has the potential to be a person. In such cases, they are able to empathize with the woman.

So, why do they feel differently when a woman becomes pregnant against her will but whose sexual activity was willing? This is often where conservative religion takes control of their thought processes. Sex was a choice, so suffer the consequences. The high failure rate of many contraceptives doesn’t move them. If they’re not married, they shouldn’t be having sex anyway.

The Role of Right-Wing Media

Further, thanks to right-wing media like Fox News, many who are anti-choice make the assumption that all women wanting an abortion are single. They think women are using abortion as a form of contraception and it’s something they do easily and casually.

This all gives them a picture of women who have abortions as young, sexually promiscuous, irresponsible, and, most importantly, not behaving in a manner that meets with God’s approval. In their eyes, such women should suffer in some way. An unwanted pregnancy meets that criteria; everyone will know they’ve been sinning.

(Here, we also see the danger of the Christian belief in free will. I won’t discuss determinism in this post. In the unlikely event you don’t know what it is, I recommend you look it up. Neither the women or the men, of course, had a choice whether they had sex.)

The interesting thing is, the abortion rate in many religiously conservative states are among the highest in the country. Women from religiously conservative families are able to justify their own abortions while still condemning all other women.

2015: Abortion Rate per 1000 women aged 15-44

Abortion Rate per 1000 women aged 15-44 (Click graphic to go to source.)

 

Why Are Women Wanting An Abortion Different?

Republicans think government should stay out of their lives and there should be as few laws as possible. This rule of no rules, however, doesn’t seem to apply when it comes to women. They, it seems, should have to put up with anything, especially if they’re pregnant. The Federalist Society doesn’t believe women should have the freedom to choose what to do with their own bodies. If a woman is pregnant, she should have to continue with the pregnancy no matter what the circumstances.

Cartoon Freedom from Big Government only for men

While the Republican party says it’s all about removing government from people’s lives, again, that doesn’t seem to apply to women. They insist they support equality for women, but the evidence does not support that.

T-shirt design: The elephant in the womb

Over and over again, when there is legislation in relation to women’s rights and equality for women, the Republican Party fails to support it.

List of women's rights legislation the GOP didn't support.

The Future of Abortion in the US

The GOP is constantly making itself harder to vote for. It has become the party of Trump, and his antics are chasing voter away. Women and people of colour in particular no longer feel they have a place in the party.

However, many voters say they don’t care about the things he says. All they care about is that the things he changes are ones they like. Conservative and Evangelical Christians are over the moon about a conservative Supreme Court for decades to come. Further, if they vote for him in 2020, there’s a chance he’ll be able to make another appointment given the state of Ruth Bader-Ginsburg’s health. There is plenty of evidence of religious hypocrisy in the world. No one should think Trump’s racism, misogyny, ignorance, narcissism, and all the rest, will stop them voting for him again.

The Democratic Party has to give voters something to vote for. Voting against Trump won’t cut it. Only with a Democratic administration can a woman’s right to choose start to become safe again.

 


 

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