The fatal politics of pro-life fanatics

By TheCriticalMind | 26 June 2022
Daily Kos

Protests continue at the Supreme Court on the day after the opinion in Dobbs overturned Roe v. Wade. (Photo: Victoria Pickering / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

There is a fact that obliterates the rationale underpinning the pro-life position. Banning legal abortion does not stop abortions. It merely pushes them into the shadows, forcing women to get abortions outside the guard rails of professional medicine. Not all women, mind you, only the poor who are often minorities.

Women with money will become abortion tourists. They will travel from states with Sharia law to states that respect personal liberty. In turn, this will provide an economic boost for those welcoming states. This travel will inconvenience these fortunate women. But they will not have to carry the millstone of a child fathered by a rapist or family member. However, these women are not the usual abortion recipients.

Anti-choice crusaders would like the citizens to believe that abortion is a procedure embraced by flibbertigibbets to terminate a pregnancy resulting from a casual fling. It is a lie. There is a c.50% chance that an abortion recipient lives below the poverty line. And 59% of the time, a woman receiving an abortion already is a mother. The reason these women get abortions is that they cannot afford another child. Also, note that unwanted pregnancies cause 100% of abortions not performed because of fetal abnormality or to save the life and health of the mother.

Pro-lifers will deny that and claim that other people in the woman’s life – perhaps the fetus’s father or family members – have railroaded her into getting an abortion. I cannot say that never happens. But I have not heard of a mass protest by women who say they have been victims of that kind of coercion. Besides, if that were an issue, a few questions added to the existing abortion screening protocol would reduce that concern.

We can also dismiss the genocide claims of anti-choice activists. Black women do get a disproportionate share of abortions. But they do not get them because they are Black. They get them because they are poor. So if there were a genocide it would be due to conservative policies which impoverish minorities, not abortion. And there is no genocide, as Black mothers have 2.4 children on average – while white mothers have 2.2.

A silver lining to this dark, dismal cloud of misogyny is that today, unlike in the pre-Roe period, medical abortion is an option for many women. Abortion-banning states will do their best to stop women from getting the medication. But that will not work any better than attempts to stop people from using other illegal drugs.

One strategy these theocratic states are eager to deploy is ripped from the playbook of the Stasi secret police of the erstwhile Godless East Germany. That loathsome tool of tyranny employed, using cash or coercion, thousands of snitches to spy on their neighbors and even their own families. Texas has already enacted this ‘dollars for dirt’ strategy to get Texans to grass on their fellow citizens. Other states will soon follow. It seems that the lust for control makes for strange bedfellows.

Pregnant women would also be well-advised to use the incognito mode on their computers if searching for medical abortion information. I am sure anti-choice sadists will soon enact laws allowing computer searches for women suspected of exercising physical self-autonomy.

There will still be times when women will need surgical abortions. Shutting clinic doors will force poor women to risk their health and life to get an abortion wherever they can. As 50% of abortions performed in the US are surgical, this will represent 100,000s women facing the risk of death or severe injury.

The solution to this is simple. Mandate comprehensive sex-ed with no opt-out. And make contraception free and readily available. The beauty of this is that the cost is low – and the effects immediate. But nothing is guaranteed. Mistakes happen, and even with the best intentions, conception can occur. In that case, ensure the pregnancy is wanted. Give pregnant women the means to afford their child. Provide a financial and medical safety net, as they do in the Scandanavian countries. And more women will carry to term.

But your pro-lifers, besides being sanctimonious, are also parsimonious. They will not spend the money. Because while they demand others live by their rules, they do not want to pay for their enforced morality. And because, while there are foot-soldiers in the religious, imperialist army who genuinely believe they are pro-life, their leaders are only in it for the power and the sadism.

One key to raising populations out of poverty is giving women reproductive autonomy. Family planning is a vital step in lifting the Third World out of its financial chasm. First-world countries understand that reproductive rights also allow women equal opportunity in advanced economies.

But American religious zealots are cut from the same cloth as Middle-Eastern potentates – with their medieval outlook on gender roles — and tin-pot dictators everywhere, who express their conscience-free sadism with torture. In the case of dissidents, by electric shock, nail pulling, and beatings. And in the case of poor women, with enforced motherhood.

Conservative Christians are using the tactics of the secret police of a Godless regime to achieve the goals of fundamentalist Muslims. That’s irony.

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