NY Times Columnist Likes Governor Perry’s War On Women

By Donald A. Collins | 22 July 2013
Church and State

(Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

If you are paid to write something daily, you can’t help but have days really reaching for something intelligent to say. Thus the number of unintelligent offerings gets thrown at us often.

Such is certainly the case with the Sunday, July 21, 2013 NY Times’ OP Ed of Ross Douthat, “The Texas Abortion Experiment”.

Clearly this man is reaching very hard to find a good thing to say about Texas Governor Rick Perry’s signing of the new Texas abortion law which, as he notes, “bans abortions after 20 weeks and issues health regulations that could thin the ranks of state abortion clinics, making even first-trimester abortions harder to obtain.”

That latest enactment disaster is simply another attempt among many enacted rules since the historic Roe v Wade Supreme Court ruling in 1973 which was designed to block a woman’s human right to decide when and how and under what conditions she will carry a fetus to term!

Any humane and reasonable observer should agree that there should be no laws of this type allowed. Abortion rendered safely, on demand and with no restrictions and free of fees if necessary is part of that presently unfulfilled human right all women should have and do not.

However, Douthat has decided to compare that precious right with the incidences of poverty and other conditions women and men all suffer sometimes when he says,

The law’s actual impact may be less sweeping than critics argue. But suppose for the sake of argument that they’re right and that the legislation will dramatically curtail legal abortion. Then further suppose that it somehow survives the inevitable court challenge. What consequences are likely to ensue?

One possible answer is that Texas will make a forced march into squalor, misery and patriarchal oppression. Women’s lives will be endangered, their health threatened, their economic opportunities substantially foreclosed.

Good grief, Folks! Talk about setting up a phony straw man argument to attack so you can give Righteous Rick a right to rumble women!

Hey, here’s an easy question. What religion wants you to make sure abortions are done dangerously and too late? There are several we can think of quickly. Our OP ED angler gets to such a specific ID, but not before more chicanery.

And we should not fail to insist, Ross, that restrictions against abortion have lead to the creation of terrible facilities such as the one in Philadelphia where that miserable MD was convicted!

So let’s not talk about the ingenuity of women to survive difficult situations in life and say that if abortions were freely and properly available all would be great.

Case in point in my own family. My teen age granddaughter got pregnant and ended up going to one of those numerous phony places which pretend to offer abortion counseling, but are there to encourage young women to carry all pregnancies to term. These young women are by many obvious measures poor candidates to having babies at such ages, but by showing them fetal pictures and telling them phony facts about mental stress and cancer from getting a safe, early evacuation, these liars often succeed.

Seems to me, Governor Rick, you should get a law passed outlawing such false representations by these clinics which are doubtless more numerous than the present number of abortion clinics around the USA.

87% of US counties do not have an abortion clinic, which shows you the depravity of moral outlook of governments who, when passing such laws, would rather commit women to dangerous options than offer medically early, safe, even free services for mistakes which can only be made with male assistance.

Isn’t it ridiculous that these male dominated legislatures want to keep women without proper medical care after their sex has impregnated them?

Goes right along with male dominated religions which espouse the same philosophies.

Ross, Baby, no one on my advocacy side is claiming that providing this basic human right would universally lead women to end in “squalor, misery and patriarchal oppression”.

Take my granddaughter as example. She had a lovely little girl, now 7 years old, doing well in school and while my granddaughter’s life has been made quite different, it was her choice to continue the pregnancy. She paid the price so many such young mothers have of delaying or missing college years (she was a teen age National Merit Scholar) and having to take many jobs at very marginal wages, but she will graduate from college in her late 20’s and continue to strive to raise her daughter. She is now in a committed relationship with a man who has taken on a measure of responsibility for them, as he brings his own young son to the mix. Perhaps not a traditional way to create a nuclear family, but one which could well do fine.

But Douthat then in this reason tortured column embarks on the “see what other nations do about abortion” argument. Saying, as he does, that showing more or less abortions can produce conditions which are no worse or even better than here in the US.

Here is his refrain:

To the extent that this case (e.g. that making abortion freely available would fix poverty etc) rests on facts rather than fear, it’s based on cross-country comparisons. Around the globe, countries with abortion bans often do have worse outcomes — more poverty, fewer opportunities for women and, yes, often more abortions as well.

But there’s a problem with these comparisons: They don’t compare like to like, or control for the host of variables that separate, say, sub-Saharan Africa from the United States and Europe. They tell us that underdeveloped countries are more likely to ban abortion, but they don’t tell us whether those bans actually hold back progress and development.

To prove that case, you would need to look at how abortion restrictions play out in a wealthy, liberal and egalitarian society. Here two examples are instructive: Europe in general and Ireland in particular.

In the first case, many European countries already have versions of Texas’s late-term abortion ban on the books. France, Germany and Italy all ban abortions after the first trimester, and impose waiting periods as well.

Notably, these nations tend to have lower abortion rates than the United States, and none of them are exactly reactionary dystopias in the style of Margaret Atwood’s “Handmaid’s Tale.” So the European experience suggests that at least some abortion restrictions are compatible with equality and female advancement.

Talk about sophistry at its sad and unconvincing worst! From a NY Times writer! Former Times Managing Editor Bill Keller better come back and slap Ross’ silly wrist for this kind of drivel.

Douthat closes with citing how well Irish women do despite the abortion restrictions which historically have been imposed by the Catholic Church, as if that was proof positive we should use Ireland as our model! Please spare me your twisted rhetoric, but here it is in all its bald absurdity!

Meanwhile, international rankings offer few indications that Ireland’s abortion laws are holding Irish women back. The country ranks first for gender parity in health care in a recent European Union index. It was in the middle of the pack in The Economist’s recent “glass-ceiling index” for working women. It came in fifth out of 135 countries in the World Economic Forum’s “Global Gender Gap” report. (The United States was 22nd.)

Now it’s also true that Ireland, like most of Europe, is to the left of Texas on many economic issues. All the abortion restrictions described above coexist with universal health care, which Rick Perry’s state conspicuously lacks.

So perhaps, it might be argued, abortion can be safely limited only when the government does more to cover women’s costs in other ways — in which case Texas might still be flirting with disaster.

But note that this is a better argument for liberalism than for abortion.

It suggests, for instance, that liberal donors and activists should be spending more time rallying against Perry’s refusal to take federal Medicaid financing than around Wendy Davis’s famous filibuster.

It implies that the quest to “turn Texas blue” should make economic policy rather than late-term abortion its defining issue.

And it raises the possibility that a pro-life liberalism — that once-commonplace, now-mythical persuasion — would actually have a stronger argument to make than the one Texas’s critics are making now.

Ah, it took him the entire column to get to his main Catholic point: “pro-life liberalism” but he did.

Now Ross joins Charmaine Joist, President of Americans United for Life, and his other wunderkind pals who want to deny women a basic human right so it conforms to allowing a particular church’s teachings to dominate a state in governance, something which our Founding Fathers saw as the ultimate anathema to a successful republic.

Your arguments don’t even constitute a nice try, Ross.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA.

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