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Probably should have kept Sebelius in Kansas
June 23, 2011 8:57 PM   Subscribe

Kansas: The First Abortion-Free State? "The law also requires the health department to issue new licenses each year, and it grants additional authority to health department inspectors to conduct unannounced inspections, and to fine or shut down clinics ... the department wasted no time in drafting the new rules, issuing the final version on June 17 and informing clinics that they would have to comply with the rules by July 1. The new requirements require facilities to add extra bathrooms, drastically expand waiting and recovery areas, and even add larger janitor's closets, as one clinic employee told me—changes that clinics will have a heck of a time pulling off by the deadline. Under the new rule, clinics must also aquire state certification to admit patients, a process that takes 90 to 120 days, the staffer explained." Previously, George Tiller (2).
posted by geoff. (91 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
For some context, the article doesn't quite make this clear, but all abortion providers in Kansas are currently in the Kansas City metropolitan area. There are two in Overland Park, and one in Kansas City, KS. I would be surprised if any of those clinics were more than twenty minutes away from a Missouri clinic.
posted by geoff. at 9:07 PM on June 23, 2011


Hey Kansas, try banning some fucking tornadoes if you're so concerned about the loss of life.
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:11 PM on June 23, 2011 [37 favorites]


Why am I not surprised?

Which begs the question: Why am I still living in this state?
posted by Sweetmag at 9:13 PM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is awful but for what it's worth, as clever as the lawmakers think they have been here, they didn't find the loophole they think they did. If this came up on a Bar Exam the answer would be that this is a law designed to place unnecessary burden on constitutional rights, and that while laws curtailing the right to abortion don't receive strict scrutiny, they don't simply pass on a rational basis standard either. There will be no trouble at all finding someone with standing (Roe v. Wade being the originator of the phrase "capable of repetition but evading review") and it will be brought forth. The Tenth Circuit won't love it but they won't like being overturned on established law either, and SCOTUS won't even have to hear it.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:13 PM on June 23, 2011 [18 favorites]


No state will ever be abortion-free. None ever has been. Those who can afford to will take a drive, those who can't will get their hands on misoprostol.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 9:14 PM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hey Kansas, try banning some fucking tornadoes if you're so concerned about the loss of life.

I think you misunderstand, this has very little to do with loss of life and everything to do with dictating to women what they can do.
posted by geoff. at 9:16 PM on June 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


NOW do I get to post the DIY D&C instructions???
posted by mikelieman at 9:19 PM on June 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


No state will ever be abortion-free. None ever has been. Those who can afford to will take a drive, those who can't will get their hands on misoprostol.

FTFW: "Misoprostol is used for self-induced abortions in Brazil, where black market prices exceed US $100 per dose"

Yeah! Another drug to add to the war! Get the Judge on the phone. More no-knock search warrants!
posted by mikelieman at 9:22 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think you misunderstand, this has very little to do with loss of life and everything to do with dictating to women what they can do.

Tornadoes are given feminine names!
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:22 PM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


You're thinking of hurricanes.
posted by griphus at 9:25 PM on June 23, 2011


Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which is actually the law on these matters, having supplanted Roe v. Wade while cementing it's most valuable parts.

The most important part to take way from the wiki article is this:
The plurality also replaced the heightened scrutiny of abortion regulations under Roe, which was standard for fundamental rights in the Court's case law, with a lesser "undue burden" standard previously developed by O'Connor in her dissent in Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health. A legal restriction posing an undue burden was defined as one having "the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus."
This law clearly has the purpose AND effect of creating such an obstacle. It won't survive.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:26 PM on June 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


The right in the states is taking radical lessons from the 20th century, and turning them inwards, making them hella effective--this state by state, schoolboard by schoolboard, small local ordiances providing big changes, should be a model on how to defeat them.
posted by PinkMoose at 9:29 PM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


You're thinking of hurricanes.

D-:
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:30 PM on June 23, 2011


So glad I'm finally moving out of Kansas next month. Who the fuck amends the state constitution to ban same sex marriage?
posted by hellojed at 9:44 PM on June 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Good for you hellojed. I imagine a TON of intelligent, productive, forward thinking individuals will follow suit, and Kansas will suffer major losses in economic productivity if this falls through. I'm not well versed in the subject and can't provide any reference, but I believe reproductive rights and economic growth are well correlated.

I tend to support state's rights over federal control on the majority of issues, even though these backwards thinking type moves suck for people forced to stay in Kansas due to family, job, money, etc. As a Californian I'm happy to receive an influx of "career women" and other reproductive rights supporters, our knowledge based economy could use it.... your loss Kansas.
posted by oblio_one at 9:58 PM on June 23, 2011


oblio_one, I support your way of thinking, but we're not talking about career women, we're talking about teenagers here. This law all but keeps them in Kansas. (except that it will be taken to court and struck down, just not soon enough.)
posted by Navelgazer at 10:03 PM on June 23, 2011


Didn't the Supreme Court decide this 40 or so years ago?

Yes, let's keep fighting the same battles that don't really matter again, that way no one will notice the ones that do matter, like say, I don't know, secret ongoing wars sprinkled around the globe.
posted by IvoShandor at 10:11 PM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Agreed, I empathize deeply for teenager who can't flee this nonsense. On the bright side at least they would get to experience the joy of mandated "larger janitor's closets." from the few clinics that survive... How very adult and rational of the Kansas legislature to see to that. . .
posted by oblio_one at 10:12 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I imagine a TON of intelligent, productive, forward thinking individuals will follow suit

Well, it's basically stay and work menial jobs, or move to get better jobs. There aren't many game developers in KS (there's like 2 that I know of) and staying here was really detrimental to finding work. Had I not gotten hired at my next job (and since I'm getting laid off from my current job anyway) I'd be moving out to Seattle jobless based on the assumption that'd I'd find work based on my skills. (and the getting-laid-off was actually due to some state adjacency mismanaging funds and having their buget cut, and ours, as a result of the big Tea Party Small Gov trend) so if anything, the state is pushing me out.
posted by hellojed at 10:18 PM on June 23, 2011


I'd call for a boycott of Kansas, or join one, except who the hell would ever visit that hellhole by choice in the first place?
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:27 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


>> Hey Kansas, try banning some fucking tornadoes if you're so concerned about the loss of life.

I think you misunderstand, this has very little to do with loss of life and everything to do with dictating to women what they can do.


Not quite. The argument, at least at the surface level, is that tornadoes are an Act Of God. God is allowed to do things like killing people because God understands everything, even things we cannot comprehend. Abortion ends a human life but does so without God's permission, and is thus evil. Ultimately it's about ownership: God's ownership of human life, though, not mens' ownership of womens' sexuality.

Mind you, this framing compliments profoundly misogynistic beliefs, but the underlying theological and philosophical rationale for banning abortions is about who has the right to end a human life. Obviously, this raises a host of other contentious arguments, but it's important to accurately represent one's opponents' actual arguments rather than just jumping straight to the uglier subtexts and associations that are often tangled up in them.
posted by verb at 10:29 PM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Maybe divestment, then? What's made in Kansas - corn and misogynist outrages? I can live without both.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:30 PM on June 23, 2011


I thought we were fighting them over there so we wouldn't have to fight them over here... but now the Taliban have taken over Kansas? WTF.
posted by homunculus at 10:45 PM on June 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


So glad I'm finally moving out of Kansas next month.

Meetup?

Also, regarding the lol@kansas. Whether or not you think we're a bunch of cow tipping hicks is irrelevant. Sure I work with a bunch of smart people developing something I can't talk about (which seems like a cop out) but involves your favorite math related software suite. And yeah, they came back after living in hip cities. More to the point, there's two million people who live here probably don't have the ability to get a job wherever, and who don't have access to an abortion provider.

I will get off my soapbox. But the idea that the solution is leave Kansas is ... well elitist.
posted by geoff. at 10:47 PM on June 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'm sick of legislators that seem to think they can pass any kind of law they wish, regardless of how unconstitutional, and not pay any penalty. Get 'em up against the wall!
posted by Goofyy at 10:49 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, regarding the lol@kansas.

Leaving probably isn't an option for most, anyone with a brain gets that. But Kansas keeps leading the fight in stupidity and we're supposed to what? Let it go? Say nothing? All these smart Kansans, where are they on election day? Where are they when the fight is being fought? Developing something you can't talk about?

You want people to stop the lol@Kansas schtick. Then do something about it. As it is, the state looks ridiculous.
posted by IvoShandor at 10:53 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


And it's not about cow tipping hicks either. Over half of Kansas' population lives in the eastern part of the state, where the cities are. So what the hell man?
posted by IvoShandor at 10:56 PM on June 23, 2011


It's "elitist" to mock a state where a government elected by a solid majority treats women like chattel, is it?
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:03 PM on June 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


I brought up leaving Kansas more as a negative side effect the state will suffer, then a proposed solution. Solutions are complex, pointing out how very stupid this is is much easier.
posted by oblio_one at 11:07 PM on June 23, 2011


Okay well, whatever, let's not quibble. The people this is going to hurt the most are the people least likely to post here.
posted by geoff. at 11:10 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pro-abortion groups will fight this onerous abortion regulation in court. Anyone can support them with donations, don't need to be from Kansas.
posted by stbalbach at 11:16 PM on June 23, 2011


Everyone knows that Omaha is the thinking woman's great plains city anyway.
posted by Winnemac at 11:20 PM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


All these smart Kansans, where are they on election day?

*waves*

Hi, smart Kansan here. I'm in the voting booth on election day (every election day not just the big ones) and so are most of my fellow liberals. Just because the Republicans are winning elections here doesn't mean the Democratic Kansans aren't voting. We're not the majority, unfortunately, and we're even more outnumbered in my area (central plains) than in the more progressive northeastern part of the state.

Where are they when the fight is being fought?

I'm here on the front lines.

I've lived here all my life, except for my husband's stint in the Army, and we returned here because this is where our family lives. If every liberal left the state, what would that accomplish? Kansas needs more sane people, not fewer. Besides, I like to think that I can be force for good by helping to change some hearts and minds, or at least being a voice of dissent when the chorus of intolerance gets too loud.
posted by amyms at 11:37 PM on June 23, 2011 [32 favorites]


Meetup?

We had one a few months back and it was just me an Chara, actually. Sorry you couldn't make it, we spent a lot of time talking about...moving out of the state :/
posted by hellojed at 12:12 AM on June 24, 2011


If every liberal left the state, what would that accomplish? Kansas needs more sane people, not fewer. Besides, I like to think that I can be force for good by helping to change some hearts and minds

I certainly wasn't suggesting that every liberal leave the state, that's not really plausible anyway. But the hearts and the minds, they're not changing, and Kansas remains . . . . wait for it . . . . DOOMED. Not really, but it remains a kind of laughingstock and some people may point and laugh but I don't think that the point of posts like this is to point and laugh but rather to point out that things need to change. An assault on women's rights in Kansas, to me, is an assault on women's rights all over the United States.

Anyway, good on you for fighting the good fight. But as it stands there is little to defend about some of the policies being enacted in Kansas, while Kansans themselves are absolutely worth defending. And I know geoff. and other Kansans, such as yourself, hate that your state is seen in this light. I hate it to, but bad policy is bad policy and it should be called out wherever it occurs, even if that means that it appears one particular locale is being picked on unfairly.
posted by IvoShandor at 12:58 AM on June 24, 2011


I want a small government with no power, so long as it gives my gun more rights than my girlfriend. I clearly understand how things work.
posted by Mooseli at 1:16 AM on June 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


the underlying theological and philosophical rationale for banning abortions is about who has the right to end a human life
Hence the enormous correlation between those who are anti-abortion and anti-death penalty.
posted by fullerine at 1:47 AM on June 24, 2011 [21 favorites]


It's odd, but I have noticed one hopeful thing recently. My sister and her husband, who both work in Topeka for the state and are quite conservative — they read Bill O'Reilly books and went on a Newsmax cruise with one of the husband's relatives (A Newsmax cruise, for Christ's sake. Who knew there was such a thing?) — have started to grumble about the lengths the Statehouse has been going to lately.

Although they did vote for Brownback, who is behaving just the way everyone knew he would, and their objections most likely arise from self-interest, owing to what's happened with the Arts Commission, SRS and possibly the Board of Regents.

As for me, I was laid off in November and am now moving away from the one liberalish city in the state, but I'll still be in Kansas. It would be more sensible both financially and from a blood pressure viewpoint to move farther, but the past few months have been paralyzingly depressing and that just wasn't in the cards. Once I've securely held a job for a while and feel back to normal, that could be the next step.
posted by rewil at 2:32 AM on June 24, 2011


I hate it to, but bad policy is bad policy and it should be called out wherever it occurs, even if that means that it appears one particular locale is being picked on unfairly.

Oh, absolutely. I have no objection to you criticizing Kansas and Kansans. This state deserves to be picked on. I don't take it personally. My earlier response was in answer to the specific questions of "Where are the smart Kansans on election day?" and "Where are they when the fight is being fought?" because I do take it personally if people insinuate that liberal Kansans are just sitting back twiddling their thumbs.

But the hearts and the minds, they're not changing

They may not be changing in electorally visible ways right now, but they are changing. My kids' peers (young adults) all express more liberal and progressive viewpoints than their grandparents' generation. Of my kids' friends who voted in the 2008 election, the majority voted for Obama and were excited to do so.

As far as my own daily interactions in "fighting the good fight," you'd be surprised at how much value there is in talking to people who think of you as one of their own, and therefore their guard is down and they're more open and receptive to actually communicating instead of just reacting. I may not be making a statistically measurable difference, but I know I've changed a few minds, and that's better than nothing.

And, as I said before, there are a lot of vocal and active Democrats in Kansas. We sometimes even manage to pull ourselves together enough to get Democrats elected Governor. Then the Republicans double down and we get people like Brownback.

Being a liberal in Kansas sometimes feels like an exercise in futility, but we're here doing our small part to break through the fears and prejudices of our neighbors.
posted by amyms at 2:56 AM on June 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


I have a question: how much does this fighting over abortion cost? Like when the legislators in these states out in the middle of the country pass these crazy laws, what is the sum of the taxpayer dollars that pay for the state to defend it and the ACLU or whoever's money that pays for the pro-choice side to attack it in court?

I would guess that it is a lot.
posted by Aizkolari at 3:06 AM on June 24, 2011


Or, you could do what Indiana just did and cut-off all Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood (which happens to be the largest provider of abortions in the state.) A move which will have the effect of putting PP out of business fairly quickly here.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:55 AM on June 24, 2011


I try to stay out of abortion threads, but today's Tom the Dancing Bug was just too apropos.
posted by DU at 4:18 AM on June 24, 2011 [22 favorites]


DU, I'm usually not too fond of comic strips, bit that was a good one.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:58 AM on June 24, 2011


Girls dieing from back-alley abortions or attempted homemade attempts are going to skyrocket.
But that's ok. They're just sluts women anyways, right Kansas?
posted by Old'n'Busted at 5:00 AM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


God's ownership of human life, though, not mens' ownership of womens' sexuality.

What people say motivates them and what actually motivates them are sometimes two different things.

In order to apply this stance consistently, they'd also need to be Christian Scientists, but I can guarantee you all of them are just fine with using human medicine to interfere with God's apparent plan to wipe them out with cancer or heart disease.

It's a uniquely odd religious stance that just happens to fit perfectly with a misogynistic push to control womens' (and only womens') sexuality. This makes me doubt that the religious objection came first.
posted by emjaybee at 5:40 AM on June 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


Personally I'm pro-life. I wouldn't chose an abortion for myself unless my life was in danger (I have kids who need me.) I'm fortunate that I'm in a position where that isn't likely a choice I'll have to make.

Politically I'm pro-choice. I'm a religious person but I don't think my religious choices should have any bearing on another person's freedom to choose.

I don't understand how the same people who complain about the government interfering in their lives can support anti-abortion legislation. Apparently they're okay with the government taking away rights as long as those rights aren't theirs. "Don't take my gun control away but feel free to take away that woman's right to control her own body."
posted by TooFewShoes at 5:51 AM on June 24, 2011 [14 favorites]


I think "larger janitor's closets" will now become underground slang for where one can get a clean, safe and semi-legal abortion in Kansas.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 5:52 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think "larger janitor's closets" will now become underground slang for where one can get a clean, safe and semi-legal abortion in Kansas.

"Support Your Local Janitor's Closet" would be a great fund-raising slogan, along with "I Support Janitor's Closets" buttons for donors.
posted by amyms at 6:13 AM on June 24, 2011


It's okay, everyone. The $8 billion Abortionplex is under construction.
posted by secondhand pho at 6:40 AM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Kansas is a very nice state that deserves better. People once moved here in order to make a stand for liberal values, but I guess mocking Kansas from the comfort of a blue state metro area is a lot easier.
posted by mmmbacon at 6:43 AM on June 24, 2011


I am very neutral on the abortion "issue." I've never really understood this argument tho:

I think you misunderstand, this has very little to do with loss of life and everything to do with dictating to women what they can do. -Geoff

Can someone post a link or something that explains this? Because it makes a lot of sense to me to see this as a life vs death thing, and it seems very bold to assume that those grandmas who hold up signs saying "don't kill your baby" actually don't give a crap about the babies and just want to stamp out women's rights.
posted by rebent at 7:06 AM on June 24, 2011


Rebent, there's a chart that's floating around that'll be posted here within minutes basically laying it all bare. Basically it comes down to things like the ubiquitous exception for rape babies and lack of contraception education.
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:18 AM on June 24, 2011


The argument, at least at the surface level, is that tornadoes are an Act Of God. God is allowed to do things like killing people because God understands everything, even things we cannot comprehend. Abortion ends a human life but does so without God's permission, and is thus evil. Ultimately it's about ownership: God's ownership of human life, though, not mens' ownership of womens' sexuality.

So if a pregnant woman has a note from God saying "it's OK," does that work?
posted by delfin at 7:23 AM on June 24, 2011


Mind you, this framing compliments profoundly misogynistic beliefs, but the underlying theological and philosophical rationale for banning abortions is about who has the right to end a human life. Obviously, this raises a host of other contentious arguments, but it's important to accurately represent one's opponents' actual arguments rather than just jumping straight to the uglier subtexts and associations that are often tangled up in them.

god that pisses me off SO MUCH. how much longer until the world just accepts hard determinism and gets over this whole "Free Will" bullshit?!
posted by rebent at 7:27 AM on June 24, 2011


DoctorFedora: Thanks - that's what I was guessing. Like, if you *really* cared about life, you wouldn't have wars etc.

Is there a corollary i.e. if you *really* cared about woman's rights, you wouldn't xyz?
posted by rebent at 7:29 AM on June 24, 2011


rebent, sure. If these people were really "pro-life" they be inundating Planned Parenthoods all over the country with funds to cover birth control and sex education.
posted by lydhre at 7:33 AM on June 24, 2011


Rebent, there's a chart that's floating around that'll be posted here within minutes basically laying it all bare...

The aforementioned chart.
posted by JiBB at 7:57 AM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


but wait I still don't get it tho. It seems to me that just because a person thinks, incorrectly, that shutting down abortion clinics is the best way to save lives, how does that turn them into people who just want to control women's bodies?

America has a huge problem with fighting the outcomes with punishment instead of fixing the system. The economy, education, the environment - the message really is "if you screw up, then you are punished for it" rather than "Let's work things out so you don't screw up in the first place."

I fell like, following this logic, we should then say that anyone who wants to stop bad effects without fixing the system really just wants to control people's bodies?

So for instance, if someone proposes a law that taxes smokers but does not fund teen anti-smoking programs, all they really want to do is control smoker's bodies?
posted by rebent at 7:57 AM on June 24, 2011


it makes a lot of sense to me to see this as a life vs death thing, and it seems very bold to assume that those grandmas who hold up signs saying "don't kill your baby" actually don't give a crap about the babies and just want to stamp out women's rights.
posted by rebent at 9:06 AM on June 24 [+] [!]


Except for the very real disconnect between this attitude and the pro-war, pro-death penalty attitude common among the same people. It really isn't about carefully thought out opinions, or controlling women's bodies, or anything at all except post-hoc justification and being told what to believe. Even among the smart ones. I know them.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:01 AM on June 24, 2011


but wait I still don't get it tho. It seems to me that just because a person thinks, incorrectly, that shutting down abortion clinics is the best way to save lives, how does that turn them into people who just want to control women's bodies?

It doesn't, necessarily, but the high correlation between people who exhibit that line of thinking, and those who opposed the distribution of contraception, and those who readily back the state's power to end the lives of convicted criminals, lead one to conclude that the simplest hypothesis which explains all the known facts is the one at the header of the right column of the chart--opposition to abortion is about control of women, and not the rights of fetuses.

That is, of course, only true in aggregate; individuals opposed to abortion may in fact have more honest, less hypocritical stances. In my anecdotal experience, they tend to be an overwhelming minority.
posted by stevis23 at 8:08 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can someone post a link or something that explains this? Because it makes a lot of sense to me to see this as a life vs death thing, and it seems very bold to assume that those grandmas who hold up signs saying "don't kill your baby" actually don't give a crap about the babies and just want to stamp out women's rights.

This comment by Marsha56 from an earlier post sums up the profound hypocrisy of most "pro-life" supporters. If they don't believe in those things but are against a woman's right to choose, then at the very best they're merely pro-birth - not pro-human life.
posted by raztaj at 8:17 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've often wondered why the leadership of Left has taken a mostly hands off approach to the pro/ anti choice conversation; I know that the Right has successfully used this as a wedge issue for years, but for the most part the Left just doesn't discuss it and seems to hope that rational thinking will prevail.

More specifically, I wonder what it would look like if the Left made this An Issue, really digging into the aforementioned chart and calling the Right on the fact that the entirety of their platform isn't about saving babies, it's about being anti-women.

Really getting the message out there and hammering on it just as much as the anti-choice people do.

It would be ugly, but it might force people into defending some fairly indefensible positions, and reveal what a farce many of the anti-choicer's arguments and strategies actually are.
posted by quin at 8:21 AM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, if you really think that it is important that all pregnancies are brought to term then effective action to bring this about would be to reduce the number of pregnancies by boosting access to contraception, and secondly, to make bringing a pregnancy to term more attractive by supporting single mothers and removing the stigma on female sexual activity outside of marriage.

Effective long term action would be to support girls' self-esteem and non-traditional ender roles, so they are better able to withstand pressure to engage in sexual activity that they are not comfy with - either in or outside of marriage - and to support policies which make women more equal to men in terms of income, security, wealth etc, so bearing a child is less of a risk.

It is starkly noticeable that people who claim to be anti-abortion do not seek to pursue any of these (I think clearly effective) routes, which makes me doubt their sincerity.
posted by communicator at 8:30 AM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


the underlying theological and philosophical rationale for banning abortions is about who has the right to end a human life

Hence the enormous correlation between those who are anti-abortion and anti-death penalty.
There are of course Christians who do consistently advocate an anti-abortion, anti-death-penalty position: many Catholics have taken that position for years. Christians who support the death penalty point to a fairly well established precedent for executing people who do evil things in the Bible. Unless you're arguing that abortion is a means of punishing fetuses for sins against humanity.
What people say motivates them and what actually motivates them are sometimes two different things.

In order to apply this stance consistently, they'd also need to be Christian Scientists, but I can guarantee you all of them are just fine with using human medicine to interfere with God's apparent plan to wipe them out with cancer or heart disease.
I don't think you're being sarcastic, but there is in fact a considerable difference between, say, trying to save someone's life and trying to end a life. But the idea is that death is a consequence of sin corrupting the world, and that trying to prevent death is a generally worthy goal. From a traditional Christian perspective, ending a life requires some sort of moral justification -- punishment of wrongdoing or self-defense, for example. If you disagree that a fetus is a human life that's a separate argument, of course (and a worthwhile one).

Announcing that people are being internally inconsistent is fun, but it's just as easy to say that pro-abortion liberals should be HAPPY that female fetuses are being aborted at much higher rates in China. All beliefs have their complexities and their apparent internal contradictions. It takes a willingness to understand them on their own terms -- and then articulate why we still disagree with them to honestly engage.

Obviously, yes, people are often motivated by different things than they say they're motivated by. But the position against abortion that I outlined above (not one I hold, but one that I have spent a lot of time engaging with) isn't a post-hoc rationalization bolted onto an existing public debate. It's the argument that's been put forth pretty much since 'ending a pregnancy voluntarily' became a theological issue. Why it became a theological issue is perhaps a valid question, but the idea that people do not in fact own their own lives is monstrous enough that it can be opposed on its own merits, at least IMO.
posted by verb at 8:45 AM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Effective long term action would be to support girls' self-esteem and non-traditional ender roles, so they are better able to withstand pressure to engage in sexual activity that they are not comfy with - either in or outside of marriage - and to support policies which make women more equal to men in terms of income, security, wealth etc, so bearing a child is less of a risk.

It is starkly noticeable that people who claim to be anti-abortion do not seek to pursue any of these (I think clearly effective) routes, which makes me doubt their sincerity.
Well, yes.

The anti-abortion movement is interested in preventing sin. They believe that abortion is sin, and they're willing to talk about why it is a sin, but they are not willing to advocate other things they thing are sinful in order to prevent abortion. That's why things like distributing condoms and teaching single kids about safe sex are unacceptable responses to teen pregnancy for that movement: they see it as something like advocating money laundering to reduce violent robberies.

They're more than welcome to take that approach, but it should also keep them locked out of any discussions of serious public health issues: public health and safety is a desirable goal, but not as important as reducing sin. Making public policy decisions on the basis of sinfulness rather than desired heath outcomes is a pretty clear violation of the establishment clause.
posted by verb at 8:50 AM on June 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Ok, can we just take it as read that states with majority Republican elected officials do things we disagree with, but that doesn't mean they ALL are worthless wastes of space where no one with any brain would live? Cause this happens every time there's a state law discussed on the blue. Lots of us live in majority Republican states for lots of reasons, including the fact that we enjoy living in them in spite of the fuckwits elected to office.

I resent the implication that if I lived in New York or California that I would always agree with everything my state government did. Or that when bad laws are passed in blue states, they're the product of individual politicians or circumstance, but when it happens in red states, it's because the whole state is stupid, crazy, or backwards.
posted by threeturtles at 8:51 AM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Personally I'm pro-life. I wouldn't chose an abortion for myself unless my life was in danger (I have kids who need me.) I'm fortunate that I'm in a position where that isn't likely a choice I'll have to make.

That's actually pro-choice.
posted by Aquaman at 8:53 AM on June 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


"There are of course Christians who do consistently advocate an anti-abortion, anti-death-penalty position: many Catholics have taken that position for years."

For y'all's googling convenience, it's often referred to as "the seamless fabric of life" position, and it also involves supporting not just a living wage but a family wage; supporting unions; properly funding public education; adequate health care for everyone, but especially children; environmentalism; a comprehensive social safety net; etc.

I think Joseph Cardinal Bernadin either coined or popularized the term? There are many Catholics that are "seamless fabric of life" Catholics. There are also many that are anti-abortion but pro-death-penalty, in which case they are not in concordance with the teachings of the Church and they're super-fun to wind up because they're usually uber-Catholic and like to get all "YOU'RE NOT FOLLOWING ROME" at other people but choke on the idea that they might be out of line. (But possibly I'm a bad person.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:56 AM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


they're usually uber-Catholic and like to get all "YOU'RE NOT FOLLOWING ROME" at other people but choke on the idea that they might be out of line. (But possibly I'm a bad person.)

Would you like to join my club? We have a newsletter.
posted by verb at 8:58 AM on June 24, 2011


There are many Catholics that are "seamless fabric of life" Catholics.

Interesting. Can't say I've ever met one, and I grew up in a town whose chief attribute for a few decades has been a Catholic university.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:00 AM on June 24, 2011


The next time people on the left start complaining about how they're always losing they should really reread this thread, where we've learned that everyone with a brain should leave Kansas because its full of little old ladies who might think they're protecting babies, but are actually trying to control woman for the patriarchy.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:02 AM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Announcing that people are being internally inconsistent is fun, but it's just as easy to say that pro-abortion liberals should be HAPPY that female fetuses are being aborted at much higher rates in China.

Huh?
posted by goethean at 9:08 AM on June 24, 2011


You're thinking of hurricanes.

As in A Girl Named Andrew by Joanie Cash, for example...l.
posted by y2karl at 10:03 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Interesting. Can't say I've ever met one, and I grew up in a town whose chief attribute for a few decades has been a Catholic university.

I've met a lot of them. Back when I was in the pro-life movement, we considered them the crazy untrustworthy liberal hippie-nuns who talked about stuff like minimum wage and nuclear disarmament. But they still got respect because they'd been on the pro-life train long before any of the evangelical johnny-come-latleys.


>> Announcing that people are being internally inconsistent is fun, but it's just as easy to say that pro-abortion liberals should be HAPPY that female fetuses are being aborted at much higher rates in China.

Huh?


It's an 'Aha-GOTCHA!' statement often made inside Pro-life circles I'm still familiar with. Basically, if you start with the assumption that liberals believe that "Abortion is a woman exercising her rights, and that's good" then they should be happy about more abortions, no matter what. In countries where abortion is used for gender selection, it's a definite conundrum -- discussions on MeFi have demonstrated that even people who are pro choice have serious disagreements on whether this is a problem to fight, simply "the way things are," and so on.

Either way, the point is that pretending those differences of opinions are some sort of slam-dunk is disingenuous. It's taking a position you disagree with, extrapolating it in a direction you think is consistent with your opponent's beliefs but they believe isn't, and blaming them for disagreeing with you. At the very least, you have to do the legwork of explaining why it's inconsistent and deal with the perspectives they bring to the table.

There's far too much "Yeah, well I say they're lying about their motivations." Understanding the complexities of the social and theological underpinnings of the pro-life movement doesn't (in my opinion) make it any more correct in the long term, but it's more honest than simply collapsing it to misogyny. It's like saying that greed is the only reason that someone could support reducing taxes.
posted by verb at 10:39 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meta-meta-filter: I'm proud and happy to see the Mefites keeping it rational, friendly and on-topic. Compare the usual mudfest of flagitious comments following the original Mother Jones post.
posted by homerica at 10:47 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, to clarify, I'm not trying to make some variation of the Tone Argument here. I'm just saying that if we're serious about the "WTF? Why is this?" kinds of comments, honestly and genuinely learning and understanding the rationales of various factions of the pro-life movement is a necessary step towards affecting change.
posted by verb at 10:48 AM on June 24, 2011


are we moving towards a dystopian continent, with the flyover states becoming medieval fiefdoms of ignorance and poverty? sadly, the elected representatives in the Red states are making punitive, shortsighted, and regressive laws.
posted by ohshenandoah at 10:58 AM on June 24, 2011


I prefer to call it being "anti-choice" rather than pro-life, for all the reasons laid out upthread.

That is all.
posted by wowbobwow at 11:09 AM on June 24, 2011


Mind you, this framing compliments profoundly misogynistic beliefs, but the underlying theological and philosophical rationale for banning abortions is about who has the right to end a human life.

Yeah no, that's a load of bullshit that they use as an EXCUSE to cover up for their profoundly misogynistic beliefs, but it doesn't hold consistently to any of their other behavior. That methodology of using a belief system to reverse-engineer a justification for things you want to do is called, ironically, 'rationalization'. When in doubt about any of their excuses or justifications for misogyny, check the handy 'Pro Life Beliefs Chart'.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:29 AM on June 24, 2011


Yeah no, that's a load of bullshit that they use as an EXCUSE to cover up for their profoundly misogynistic beliefs, but it doesn't hold consistently to any of their other behavior.

That is, unfortunately, not true. It is comforting for those of us who are frustrated dealing with people who oppose abortion, but it is a convenient lie to pretend that they are simply people who hate women.

Some people are obviously motivated by misogyny, and their actions beyond simple political opposition to abortion demonstrate it. However, I know many people who opposed abortion until they had to come to grips with the impact their views had on women in the real world. If they were motivated by misogyny, that would not be the case.

Bear in mind that many "Pro Life" people only support a tiny handful of the positions outlined in the chart. Being able to speak to their actual beliefs -- rather than simply announcing that they're shitholes -- is a good starting point for discussing the problems with the positions in the chart.

"I understand that you care passionately about X, but the things you advocate are only accomplishing Y" is, in my experience, much more successful in personal conversations than "You hate women and you're lying."
posted by verb at 12:09 PM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


The argument that pro-lifers who would permit.abortion in limited circumstances are evidence that pro-lifers views are related to wanting women to suffer is off base because 1)plenty of pro-life people don't support these exceptions and 2)the reason support for those exceptions exists is because pro-lifers want to appeal to a more broad audience by seeming to.compromise, it has little to do with broad principles.

The other problem here is that you're.dealing with the interaction of unrelated beliefs. For instance, if you don't believe that welfare is an appropriate role of government, that will effect how you feel about welfare to the mothers' of children that you want to not be aborted. Same goes for birth control, plenty of prolife people also oppose both control for related, but independent reasons.

In general, I hate arguments based on telling your opponents what they really believe because it's impossible to get a handle on all the reasons why a large group of people believe what they do. Also, it makes you look like an ass, exactly like when people on the right claim that the Democrats are trying to use welfare to buy votes.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:17 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, for the record, I am a former member of the anti-abortion movement who published newsletters, interviewed "abortion survivors", drummed up money for fund raisers, worked with Protestant and Catholic charities, etc.

What slowly but surely convinced me I was on the wrong side was not being told that I hated women. It was heartfelt conversations with people willing to show me the difficult conflicts between two moral principles I felt were equally important: helping women have better lives, and avoiding the chance of ending a human life. (IE, the 'play it safe, don't allow abortion at all' approach.)

There are far more deeply conflicted people in the anti-abortion movement than either the movements leaders or its opponents are willing to acknowledge. In staunchly conservative areas like Kansas, it's exacerbated by the fact that many people who are conflicted never hear pro-abortion views articulated in a non-combative fashion, or get a chance to explore their own concerns in a way that doesn't feel like committing heresy in front of the faithful or admitting doubt in front of the heathen.

That's problematic -- really, really problematic. Although I oppose the anti-abortion movement vigorously now, and believe that its aggregate effect is to worsen already deep problems, I know for a fact that there are well-intentioned people who haven't grasped the real impact of the policies they support.

There will always be some people who will choose to preserve a single unfertilized egg at the cost of an adult woman's life, but many others are just as uncomfortable with that extreme as they are with the straw man of "unrestricted abortion and infanticide!"
posted by verb at 12:34 PM on June 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Meta-meta-filter: I'm proud and happy to see the Mefites keeping it rational, friendly and on-topic.

Even despite my grar from yesterday. I'd like to apologize for being a bit prickish.
posted by geoff. at 1:17 PM on June 24, 2011


The AP's reporting that the Planned Parenthood in Overland Park has apparently passed the inspection, so that's good. If it sticks.
posted by rewil at 1:29 PM on June 24, 2011


wowbobwow: "anti-choice" rather than pro-life

I've migrated towards "pregnancy coercion" / "pro forced pregnancy" for reasons outlined in the links. (I briefly tried out "forced birth/er," but that doesn't highlight zygotes, blastocysts or woman-as-person-not-dehumanized-incubator, so nah.)
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 3:15 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Germane to this issue, unfortunately. I'm gonna go throw up now.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:22 PM on June 24, 2011


Personally I'm pro-life. I wouldn't chose an abortion for myself unless my life was in danger (I have kids who need me.) I'm fortunate that I'm in a position where that isn't likely a choice I'll have to make.

This statement is very common, and it's always interesting/bewildering to me. The fact that you would only opt for an abortion if your life were in danger means that you personally understand it to be on the level of a life or death issue. You either believe the fetus to be a human life or you do not. I can assume which one you believe, but my point is that there aren't any other options; it's a simple binary.

You can't believe both options at the same time, and you can't believe them to be different for different people. Matter of life and death for you; matter of life and death for your neighbor. So how does the rightness or wrongness depend on the relative wealth/comfort/social level of the mother?

Rewind a couple hundred years. One plantation owner says he personally believes slavery is "not ideal" and would never hire slaves unless he couldn't make money any other way. But he considers himself lucky for being successful enough to have principles - to be able to hire freed men. At the same time, he's adamant that he would never support legislation forbid other famers in other situations from using slave labor.
posted by Cortes at 12:34 AM on June 25, 2011


Hey Kansas, try banning some fucking tornadoes if you're so concerned about the loss of life.

I think you misunderstand, this has very little to do with loss of life and everything to do with dictating to women what they can do.


So they should try banning hurricanes?
posted by straight at 12:48 PM on June 25, 2011


So they should try banning hurricanes ?

In Kansas ? No problemo.
posted by y2karl at 2:39 PM on June 25, 2011


To poorly paraphrase Dorothy: Totes not going to Kansas anymore.
posted by smithsmith at 3:22 PM on June 26, 2011




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