Sunday, January 22, 2006

"I'm WHAT!?" "You're Pregnant!"

Today marks the 33rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Couldn't tell it from the punditry.

William Saletan has the kind of
well-meaning article that makes me want to smack the writer in his bone head. The core of his argument is that the abortion rights movement is going about everything the wrong way:

The lesson of those decades is that you can't eliminate the moral question by ignoring it. To eliminate it, you have to agree on it: Abortion is bad, and the ideal number of abortions is zero. But by conceding that, you don't end the debate, you narrow it. Once you agree that the goal is fewer abortions, the only thing left to debate is how to get there. As a politician might put it: "My opponent and I are both pro-life. We want to avoid as many abortions as we can. The difference is, I trust women to work with me toward that objective, and he doesn't."

Isn't that better than anything you heard from John Kerry?

Excuse me while I impart a hearty Fuck You on behalf of all my female friends.

Besides the nauseating and gratuitous slap at Kerry (who is not one of my faves, but that's just a cheap shot), once again we have a pundit telling Dems what they're doing wrong with no factual basis. And the starting point is the notion that (gasp!) abortion is bad.

Says who? You? You've never had to have one, Bill.

Absolutely, abortion is bad -- if your view of women is that they're pretty much baby mills. If you really think Every Sperm Is Sacred. If you can't wrap your mind around mitigating circumstances in a changing world. If you can't keep your damn hands off other people's lives.

There are lots of good reasons to have an abortion. If you've been raped or sexually abused, for starters. If you can't safely bear a child because of some other medical condition. If you find out early on that the child would have catastrophic birth defects. If you are in an economic or professional position that will not allow you to raise the child. If your birth control method fails. If you know you can't handle the responsibility of raising another life-form for eighteen years.

(The moral folk pooh-pooh at this point, usually along the lines of, "Well, you had sex, you're responsible for the results." The idea of terminating an unwanted pregnancy -- sorry, killing a beautiful loving blessed child -- as a responsible act is completely beyond them.)

I don't know if Mr. Saletan has bothered to notice, but the same religious psychos who don't like abortion also don't like birth control. In fact, they don't like sex. And they don't want anyone else to like it, either.

They can't even be honest about it.

Again, this isn't about saving babies. It's about controlling women, legislating God, and sanctifying birth (never mind pre- or post-natal care).

People are going to have sex. We are at least medically in a situation where we can prevent many of the physical problems of sex, and, as much as the religious types may hate to hear it worded this way, one of the problems of sex is an unwanted pregnancy.

A fetus at the outset is not a baby. And treating it as if it is, with rights equal to or greater than the mother, is ludicrous.

The problem to adress, as usual in this age of screwed-up Puritanism, is a combination of the definition of abortion as a necessarily bad thing, the inability to admit that people have sex for reasons other than procreation, and the need some people have to impose themselves into other people's private lives.

I want to eliminate the *need* for abortions, i.e., unwanted pregnancies.

Sex ed, easy access to contraception, better financial support & childcare for poor &/or single &/or working mothers, elimination of rape & incest (yeah, I know that's going to be an uphill battle), that sort of thing.
Complete agreement, Eli. I just suspect it's not gonna happen, not entirely, so I want to get rid of as many stupid impediments as possible. One of those would be William Saletan. ;)
In some ways, I can agree with the statement "abortion is bad" -- just like any medical procedure is bad, only in some cases it's less bad than the alternative(s).

Plus, abortion has the additional problems of each woman having to decide for herself whether a fetus is a baby, or a potential baby, or what. Therefore, I'm with Eli (and you) in wanting to minimize the number of abortions needed.

I'm also in favor of abortion remaining legal and as safe as can be managed.
Exactly, Janet. I'm a guy. It's not my decision, and I don't feel I have any right to interfere with someone else's decision about it. I'd probably be pretty vehement if the pregnancy put a good friend or family member at health risk, but that's not the same thing... and if that friend or family member was bound and determined to go through with it, I'd support them.
On behalf of catlin, who was having trouble posting, we note that Sunday, the 33rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, was decreed by Dear Leader to be National Sanctity of Human Life Day.

Insert your own disgusted shriek of outrage here.
Required dissenting shriek of outrage:

It's a wasteful solution to a rather temporary problem, rather like swatting a fly w/ a bomb. There are birth control pills available, if you're going to have sex, take them. Use a condom. Do both if you're paranoid. Take a morning after pill. Birth your unplanned baby & sell it off to a rich couple who want to adopt an unspoiled newborn. If you're planning to get pregnant, drag your mate to a doctor & get the proper bloodwork done.
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