ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES: THIS IS A BIG ONE
Conservative state legislators all over the country are loudly escalating their anti-abortion agenda. Yes, for years we’ve seen waves of ridiculous regulations targeted at abortion providers making it almost impossible for them to practice. Today, however, the tenor has changed. Now states are flat out banning abortion in very real ways. The most notable is Alabama’s complete ban. Conservatives are now functionally banning abortion using the false pretext of so-called “heartbeat laws”.¹
An outside observer might conclude that the United States does not have legal protections for abortion at the federal level. Indeed, that is a largely correct conclusion.
Upon the hard-fought appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade was effectively dead as a legal construct. We all know it. The right didn’t fight so hard to get a possible sexual predator with a history of binge drinking on the High Court for nothing. He was the final nail in the coffin for Constitutionally protected reproductive choice.
At this point, a Supreme Court reversal of the seminal decision is nothing more than the formality of pulling the plug on a protection that has been on life support for a generation. And there is no doubt, at this point, that the plug will be pulled, is there?
Come on. The deciding vote is John Roberts. Yeah. It’s possible that he’ll do the right thing, but is it really likely? No. No, it’s not.
We all see it coming.
These repressive, anti-woman laws will either be challenged all the way to the Supreme Court, where they will be used as a pretext for overturning Roe, or activists will hesitate to push the case. Either way, whether through formal, legal processes or via attrition, Roe is, effectively, no longer relevant as a legal protection for women’s’ reproductive rights.
We are well on the way to a society in which women, upon conception, become nothing more than vessels for the unborn.
As a side note, elections have consequences. Polls show that a majority of Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. True enough, rhetorical devices such as referring to repressive legislation as a “heartbeat” bill does have an effect on public opinion so long as the public remains uninformed, but only about fifteen percent of Americans want to see a blanket ban on abortion like the kind of legislation we’ve seen Alabama, Missouri, Ohio, Georgia, Kentucky, and Mississippi. This is why the anti-abortion right has had to use deception and tangential attacks against abortion facilities to push their agenda. Denying women reproductive choices is just not popular…especially when the real consequences are made clear.
Yet, here we are. A right-wing minority is now drafting our laws.
I remember back in 2016 hearing from a multitude of liberals and moderates who decided not to vote for Hillary because she wasn’t trustworthy, or she wasn’t progressive enough, or because of Wall Street speeches and the Clinton Foundation or any of a number of arguably valid excuses for not voting for her. True enough. She wasn’t a good candidate. However, if she were the President, we wouldn’t be contemplating the return of wire-hanger, back-alley abortions today. We’d have Merrick Garland and a solidly moderate Supreme Court, and our daughters’ and granddaughters’ reproductive rights would not be a question.
We need to remember this as the right whips up its most ardent base with very real regressive accomplishments to point at.
- At this point, it should come as no surprise that the rationale for so-called heartbeat laws is premised on a lie. It’s specifically designed to conjure images of a teeny-tiny baby suddenly quickened when her heart, by the grace of God, starts beating. In fact, identifiable cardiac activity at this stage of development is not the result of a sudden pulse emanating from a fully developed heart, or even anything resembling a heart. The first identifiable cardiac activity happens upon a thickening of the fetal pole, a four-millimeter area of tissue next to what amounts to a yolk sac. This, as with almost all premises for denying women their own medical choices, is a flat out misinformation tactic–a lie.