Abortion foes are winning, folks

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 22:  A pro-choice advocat...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Will women in the U.S. soon be unable to have a safe, legal abortion? That scary possibility becomes more likely every day. Does anyone really understand the pre-Roe v Wade horrors which abortion foes want to see returned? Not really. That’s because huge numbers of women who could have told the horror stories died at the hands of back-alley abortionists, and those of us who did survive are dying off fast, unheard.

This space welcomes writer John Leland’s front page article in today’s New York Times to the voices crying in the wilderness — just in case someone other than Nancy Keenan might care to listen.

At least 11 states have passed laws this year regulating or restricting abortion, giving opponents of abortion what partisans on both sides of the issue say is an unusually high number of victories. In four additional states, bills have passed at least one house of the legislature.

In a flurry of activity last week, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi signed a bill barring insurers from covering abortion in the new insurance exchanges called for under the federal health care overhaul, and the Oklahoma Legislature overrode a veto by Gov. Brad Henry of a bill requiring doctors who perform abortions to answer 38 questions about each procedure, including the women’s reasons for ending their pregnancies.

It was the third abortion measure this session on which the Legislature overrode a veto by Mr. Henry.

At least 13 other states have introduced or passed similar legislation this year. The new laws range from an Arizona ban on coverage of abortion in the state employees’ health plan to a ban in Nebraska on all abortions after 20 weeks, on the grounds that the fetus at that stage can feel pain.

Fetal pain is a subject of debate in the medical community, and the United States Supreme Court has recognized the government’s right to ban abortions only after a fetus becomes viable, which is more than a month later.

“Fetal pain” is just one ploy; its determination can easily go from 20 weeks backward to ban the morning-after pill. Other ploys? Forcing a pregnant woman to look at ultrasound pictures, prohibiting a physician from discussing fetal abnormalities with his/her patient, and “in Utah, after a pregnant 17-year-old paid a man $150 to beat her in an effort to induce a miscarriage, legislators passed a law that would allow a woman in such circumstances to be charged with homicide.”

Unwanted pregnancies happen. When they do, the man involved can simply walk away, as countless millions have done and will continue to do. Why, then, should so many men purporting to have such omnipotent wisdom be empowered to eliminate a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body?

It’s going to get worse. Unless people — and that includes males of the species who still have brains and some concern for the future of womankind — start paying attention, and standing up to the fundamentalists of all stripes, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the religious factions who claim authority over all women, it’s going to get worse than many people in today’s society can even begin to imagine.

Opponents of Abortion Advance Cause at State Level – NYTimes.com.


  1. Sounds like the author wants women only to pass laws affecting women,but are women allowed to pass laws affecting me??
    I think that would be a yes because not many women DONT believe they know better then men on most subjects.
    Ask our wise,Latino, female judge????

  2. Well, seriously, corporatism runs amok, and corporations see abortions as raising the price of eventual labor.

    The religio-tards have their own axes to grind.

    No one thinks of the children. Women who actually love kids don’t birth their fetuses into this cesspool. They abort them and let them escape.

  3. you americans seem to have a lot of problems with the jesus freaks . here in australia they seem to keep in their place and dont have such power but i do notice a lot of the hardcore anti everything jesus freaks do have american accents lately.i do hope we dont get all your small minded wierdos moving over here and trying to cause trouble here. this is the best country in the world and we dont want small minded yanks buggering it up for us.hopefully you can lock em up before they can emigrate

    1. There’s no need to drag Jesus into it. Abortion presents rather obvious human rights and equality challenges if you’re really committed to thinking about and answering the hard questions.

  4. There have been ploys kicking around the abortion debate for decades. Here are just a few examples:

    — “Fetus” instead of “baby”

    — “Embryo” instead of “child”

    — “Tissue mass” instead of “human being”

    So, why the outrage now?

    1. Outrage, and a little sadness, now only because I know the other side of the story, what it’s like when access to safe, legal abortion is denied. When the right to make their own choices is taken away from adult women, many of them will die along with those embryos. It’s not a pretty picture, and I’m sorry so many — largely adult men — are unable to see it.

      1. There’s good reason to be sad anytime someone believes they must risk their life to solve their problems, because something’s clearly gone terribly wrong.

        What’s not clear is why we all feel sad for the mother, but we are told by one side of the debate to feel nothing for the life that’s ended no matter where the procedure is performed: the baby’s.

        In addition, on what premises can one conclude that the moral question can only be answered by women in general or young women in particular?

      2. I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree, Chris. I think of myself as a moral person who struggles to learn & to change when appropriate, and who tries to listen to and understand the views of others, including abortion opponents, many of whom I know are truly good and ‘moral’ people. Even if my sense of ‘morality’ differs. I do feel sadness for loss of any life form, certainly including a fetus. Perhaps it will some day be possible for those wishing to eliminate access to safe & legal abortion also to feel sadness — even if not empathy — for women told what they must do with their bodies.

      3. If you feel like you have nothing to learn then there is no point in discussing it.

        It’s odd to me, however, that you offered a post lamenting how you’re losing ground in the court of public opinion, but when given an opportunity to go beyond the sloganeering and emoting that worked 30 years ago–but is now clearly being rejected by Americans–you resort to more sloganeering and emoting (and the subtly sexist innuendo that men just can’t grasp the problem).

      4. I would simply drop all pretense here and pose the question directly: Does a woman have the right to kill the life that she is carrying within her of her own volition?

        As an engine for life, humans have the right to create life and destroy life within themselves. That is the practical boundary of the state’s ability to exercise control over an individual. It cannot, practically speaking, reach into a mother’s body and protect the unborn from a mother that does not want the child. It can elect to turn such a woman into a criminal after that fact, but to what effect?

        The reason why we feel more for the mother is that with very few exceptions, there is no one who, again practically speaking, is in favor of killing unborn babies. So it’s easy for us to empathize with a mother, who, when confronted with that choice, decides to end a life and carry the burden of that decision with her. Regardless of any morality we might carry with us, I think we can all agree that a decision like that must be one of the most awful things in the world to face. There is not a woman in the world who has gotten pregnant with the objective desire of taking pleasure in killing her unborn child.

        Personally, I could not imagine the struggle and the burden of that decision. But that said, there are practical boundaries here. So rather than attempt to legislate morality, I believe the best course for society is to protect the space in which every woman has the liberty to confront that decision on her own terms and with her own beliefs.

        You can argue otherwise, that men can answer this moral question, and to an extent I would agree with you, but only for themselves. The beauty of living in a secular society is that the state protects each of us from religious, or moral, prosecution. And where the rubber really meets the road is not when we try to legislate our own morality, but protect liberties of those with other beliefs and moral values.

      5. We legislate morality all the time. Even simple rules about not parking near a fire hydrant are based on a moral choice: that it’s better for a driver to have to look elsewhere for a parking space than to block the hydrant and risk lives and property.

        The question is even more fundamental than you have imagined, and it goes something like this: “What rights do (unborn) humans have, when do they get them and why do they have them?”

      6. Actually, I’m much in favor of killing unborn babies, if only to spare them from lives of misery.

        “The death of a child is never really to be regretted, considering how much he has escaped.” (Thomas Hardy)

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