The Terrifying Rise of the Abortion Abolition Movement
April 13, 2019 12:18 PM   Subscribe

The anti-abortion movement itself appears to be taking more cues from its far-right fringes—groups that reject the term pro-life and call themselves “abortion abolitionists” instead. Not satisfied with the continuing assaults on women's healthcare going on in red state after red state, a new breed of pro-life activists are rejecting the title of pro-life in favor of "abortion abolitionist". To these activists, there are no exceptions, and women who abort should be charged with murder.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis (52 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
[Couple comments deleted - sorry, kicking off the thread with a very general sidebar about how the left has too much infighting is really going to take things away from the actual article, and toward a fight we've had many times anyway. Let's try to keep it focused on the link; thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:47 PM on April 13 [16 favorites]


I guess the weird thing I'm feeling about this is that treating women who have abortions as actual murderers is the logical conclusion you get to if the standard pro-life arguments over the last 50 years are taken to their logical conclusion. Should we deduct points for honesty?

I absolutely acknowledge that it's gross and inhuman, but anybody who followed the pro life movement and is now an adult knew this was the endgame.
posted by East14thTaco at 1:55 PM on April 13 [43 favorites]


Are we charging politicians who take away peoples' healthcare with murder, or no? Just curious.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 1:58 PM on April 13 [61 favorites]


Relatedly, Ashley Judd at the Women in the World summit, on reproductive rights and protesting Georgia's recent "Living Infants Fairness and Equality" Act (HB481, the six-week abortion ban mentioned in the article):
“As everyone knows, and I’m very open about it, I’m a three-time rape survivor. And one of the times I was raped, there was conception,” she told moderator Katie Couric. “And I’m very thankful I was able to access safe and legal abortion. Because the rapist, who is a Kentuckian, as am I, and I reside in Tennessee, has paternity rights in Kentucky and Tennessee. I would’ve had to co-parent with my rapist.”
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:00 PM on April 13 [71 favorites]


I would’ve had to co-parent with my rapist.

That is a level of bizarre personal hell that I have never even thought to begin to imagine. Dear lord!
posted by hippybear at 2:03 PM on April 13 [9 favorites]


The pro life movement has zero interest in the lives of children, only ensuring that women exist as brood mares and nothing more.
Every concern troll, every crocodile tear shed is a smokescreen.
posted by kzin602 at 2:52 PM on April 13 [55 favorites]


I guess the weird thing I'm feeling about this is that treating women who have abortions as actual murderers is the logical conclusion you get to if the standard pro-life arguments over the last 50 years are taken to their logical conclusion. Should we deduct points for honesty?

Only if you believe that most standard pro-life arguments over the last 50 years have anything to do with abortion being murder, instead of being about controlling female sexuality specifically and females in general.

When you remove rape and incest exceptions, you reduce a woman to an object, one that has no legal or moral control over her own reproductive organs. Full stop. There have always been a few zealots out there willing to go that far; right now, this movement is more culture war than anything else. People who feel that their own narrowly-defined hardline Christian beliefs make them the only ones justified in voting, defining the law or calling themselves Americans are striking back now that they feel they have the judicial muscle to regain lost control. And they want people who do not think and pray like them to suffer the consequences.
posted by delfin at 2:54 PM on April 13 [30 favorites]


A friendly reminder that all of this anti-abortion legislation is anti-Semitic because it reject the traditional Jewish definition of personhood in favor of these heretical extremist Christian beliefs.

And they presume that The Lord is an idiot and wastes time and resources installing souls when The Lord KNOWS which ones aren't going to full term.
posted by mikelieman at 3:51 PM on April 13 [50 favorites]


Only if you believe that most standard pro-life arguments over the last 50 years have anything to do with abortion being murder, instead of being about controlling female sexuality specifically and females in general.

I belive both that charging women with first degree murder for having abortions is the logical conclusion of the 20th century's pro-life arguments and that their goal is to control female sexuality. Both of these things can easily be true. It would be bizarre if they weren't.
posted by East14thTaco at 4:23 PM on April 13 [15 favorites]


This article is literally about pro lifers finally treating abortion like murder like they always said they would.
posted by East14thTaco at 4:30 PM on April 13 [8 favorites]


And the article is also literally about the mainstream pro-life movement allowing its hardline wackadoos more access to where the actual sausage gets made. This is hardly unusual in modern conservatism -- insert your own Tea Party joke here -- but it also carries with it the usual hardliner caveats, i.e. they're likely to go for a Huge Sweeping Ideological All-Inclusive Victory and get slapped down rather than the very successful tactic of nibbling at the edges and adding one burdensome restriction after another.

The chart I linked was meant to demonstrate that this no-exceptions persecution is something significantly different from historical mainstream pro-lifeism. This is zealotism, emboldened by Trump's rise. It's not that the "moderate" pro-lifer (i.e. the "MY abortion is moral but Jesus hates YOURS" crowd) is becoming more radical; it's that the radicals are getting the ears of the elected officials, because the elected officials themselves are far more wingnutty, IMHO.
posted by delfin at 5:16 PM on April 13 [5 favorites]


if abortion is murder, then surely these abortion abolitionists are pushing hard for the most effective method to prevent this mass slaughter of the innocents - easily available contraception and widespread education in using it.

And since life now begins at 6 weeks, pushing for any man who assaults a woman - who might be unknowingly pregnant - to be charged with attempted murder.

Oh. So they're just zealots who think freedom of religion doesn't apply to anyone but them, as usual.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 5:16 PM on April 13 [27 favorites]


Only if you believe that most standard pro-life arguments over the last 50 years have anything to do with abortion being murder, instead of being about controlling female sexuality specifically and females in general.
East14thTaco already noted that both can be true but I would also add the anti-abortion movement is not a single voice and it’s had decades and widespread support. Yes, the modern iteration may have been built as a wedge issue but there were always religious extremists who really believed the messaging and, as with the rest of the modern GOP, it seems to be increasingly dominated by people who are genuine believers and unaware of the cynical political efforts. That messaging pervades a fair chunk of the religious landscape and most them take it quite literally.
posted by adamsc at 5:22 PM on April 13 [5 favorites]


The pro life movement has zero interest in the lives of children, only ensuring that women exist as brood mares and nothing more.
Every concern troll, every crocodile tear shed is a smokescreen.


On one side of my family are a bunch of rural (middle of the U.S. farm country), extremely poorly educated (including lack of self-education about anything not directly-related to their jobs), conservative Christian, tea party idiots, who — while i did not grow up with/near them — i visited every summer growing up, had good relations with them as a child, and know them well as an adult. (The other side of my family is largely college-educated [including PhDs], atheist/agnostic or liberal Christian.)

I can GUARANTEE you that my dumbfuck family GENUINELY has emotional angst about babies “being murdered”. To assert otherwise is like some right-winger saying that people are only concerned about school shootings because it’s all “crocodile tears” and a “smokescreen” to deprive them of their “second amendment rights”.

Yeah, there are powerful people/organizations who are cynically using the abortion issue to further various agenda, but if people don’t understand that a large percentage of the population really believes that this is a moral issue that they are on the right side of, finding a way out of this mess will be even harder.
posted by D.C. at 5:24 PM on April 13 [49 favorites]


An interesting portion of the piece, and a note on Slate:
Now that legislators in Texas have shown the way, I predict that more politicians and activists will begin to change their public postures.
I'm not used to seeing I-statements in news articles, and the piece isn't called out (on the mobile site) as being an editorial or analysis. I'm a little unclear of the style rules being followed, and I don't like the ambiguity.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:27 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


I can GUARANTEE you that my dumbfuck family GENUINELY has emotional angst about babies “being murdered”.

... Whereas the smart side does not, because they are emotionless?

The crux of the "cares about the children" discussion is that it involves a more holistic approach, right? It's the question of the life of the child, and the question of the rights of the mother, and the question of caring for the child's needs one it has left the womb and the ambiguous pre-birth state. It's a very thorny multiprong issue, and if you have very strong feelings about one part (abortion is murder, women should be in the home, the government shouldn't pay for your kids) you can manipulate the others because they must all move in concert.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:36 PM on April 13 [8 favorites]


it's that the radicals are getting the ears of the elected officials, because the elected officials themselves are far more wingnutty, IMHO

They had their ears. They had their ears for decades. The only thing new about this is that they've stopped calling the piss on your leg rain.
posted by East14thTaco at 6:01 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


No abortion could happen without the involvement of some man. Yet I've never heard of any suggestion that the man in question should bear partial responsibility, should share in theoretical punishment.
posted by Western Infidels at 6:02 PM on April 13 [36 favorites]


I absolutely believe in zero restrictions on abortion -- no date limits, no needing to get multiple doctors to sign off, no legal limits at all -- but I also think that if anyone truly believes that abortion is murder then the only possible exceptions allowed should be life of the mother (which would fall under self-defense). If you think that rape and incest exceptions should be allowed, then you don't REALLY think it's murder, because being raped does not give you one free murder.

I can't say I'm happy to see that thought being enacted.
posted by jeather at 6:45 PM on April 13 [6 favorites]


Abortion abolitionists prize ideological purity over incremental wins. They fight, for instance, against the exceptions for cases of rape and incest that make anti-abortion bills palatable for more moderate voters.

This is not surprising because anti-abortion promotes many other fundamentalist beliefs. For example, it sets a standard about culpability, because if a fetus is pure and innocent, then an adult is the opposite and is guilty through living, deserving of nothing and requiring salvation. Also, if the parents have no say in the existence of a child, then someone else does, which is the root basis of owning people, which also requires a theocracy over their souls. The list goes on through the history of agrarian hierarchies, but a troubling aspect of anti-abortion idealism is the notion that someone can feel detached enough to not care what happens to the child when born, but is morbidly excited about overruling the mother's objections (who instinctively cares most about the child's future prospects, as her progeny). The point is that the bystander is subconsciously proud of their irresponsibility as a surrogate parent, which is to say that they may experience psychotic joy as it is later taken advantage of, or dies of starvation.
posted by Brian B. at 6:58 PM on April 13 [8 favorites]


The point is that the bystander is subconsciously proud of their irresponsibility as a surrogate parent, which is to say that they may experience psychotic joy as it is later taken advantage of, or dies of starvation.

This kind of statement is entirely not productive. People who are anti-abortion aren't psychotically joyful about children who are suffering. They generally don't enact governmental policies which will help these children, but this hyperbolic statement is ridiculous.

I do wish anti-abortion advocates also backed governmental action which led to all children who are born being secure in housing, food, and healthcare until old enough to venture into the world and fend for themselves, but they don't do that. This feels like me to be a basic hypocrisy in their expressed world-view. But then, I don't share their world-view and so I can't entirely understand why 9 months is long enough to be protected by law and then after that it's "watch out for the wolves".
posted by hippybear at 7:08 PM on April 13 [6 favorites]


I do wish anti-abortion advocates also backed governmental action which led to all children who are born being secure in housing, food, and healthcare until old enough to venture into the world and fend for themselves, but they don't do that.

In some countries, pro-life people will give mothers of unwanted children the financial and emotional support to go to term, so it's not unheard of.

The real kicker is how they explain that if life begins at conception, what happens to the 50% of fertilised eggs that don't make it past the next menstrual cycle.
posted by Merus at 7:26 PM on April 13 [7 favorites]


I can GUARANTEE you that my dumbfuck family GENUINELY has emotional angst about babies “being murdered”. To assert otherwise is like some right-winger saying that people are only concerned about school shootings because it’s all “crocodile tears” and a “smokescreen” to deprive them of their “second amendment rights”.

No, they don't. If they cared they would be voting for progressive causes that actually improve child mortality rates and support pre-K initiatives. But I'm going to bet they do not, they vote R because the cruelty is the point.
posted by kzin602 at 9:47 PM on April 13 [22 favorites]


Once again I would urge folks to Google Fred Clark of Slacktivist + abortion, because he has done a lot of writing on this.

His basic thesis:

As late as the 70s the Evangelical churches had no coherent stance on abortion, and no opposition to it
Abortion became an issue because a. It was a useful ground from which to attack feminism and b. It allowed a group that had, by backing segregation, been shown to be on the wrong side of history to once again see themselves as moral heroes.

At no point did true concern for actual children or women have much to do with it.
posted by emjaybee at 9:57 PM on April 13 [55 favorites]


At no point did true concern for actual children or women have much to do with it.

That's been obvious for decades for any observer who looks at the debate around the issue from any kind of impartial viewpoint.
posted by hippybear at 10:10 PM on April 13 [4 favorites]


Once again I would urge folks to Google Fred Clark of Slacktivist + abortion, because he has done a lot of writing on this.

This is an important thing to bring to this discussion, yeah. Here's one good link Clark wrote about this. At the top, this is an invented issue, within living memory for many people.

if people don’t understand that a large percentage of the population really believes that this is a moral issue that they are on the right side of, finding a way out of this mess will be even harder.

I agree with this, but not because anybody should believe these people operate in good faith. They don't. I don't think they even know how.

My take on the matter also comes from reading Fred Clark for years. He often writes about the notion of the anti-kitten burning league. The gist of it is that 'moral' issues really do have an emotion heft to the participants, but the thrust of it is about being better than someone else.

Talking about saving babies lets these people feel like they're doing something good and important without having to do anything they don't want to. They get to be the good guys without paying higher taxes, (and are oblivious to the societal issues with gutting social safety nets due to the aforementioned dumbfuckery). Even better, it lets them stick it to their godless enemies, punishing people they hate anyway.

So yeah, this is an emotionally charged issue, but it's basically about twisting something that should be altruistic - helping children - into an issue of punishment, control and abdication of responsibility for the societal fallout resulting from indulging those impulses. It's completely internally consistent.

tl;dr: It's not psychotic or cynical, it's selfish, cruel, short-sighted and emotionally stunted, which... well. The examples of this behavior speak for themselves there.
posted by mordax at 1:02 AM on April 14 [25 favorites]


To avoid abusing edit:

A lot of really bad decisions that we see in the current political landscape are readily understandable if you keep in mind that people are having a knee-jerk emotional reaction to something, then rationalizing their tantrums about it after the fact.

It looks like reasoning because a superficial scaffolding of reasoning is there, and so it's tempting to treat it like proper logic was involved, but that way lies madness because that's not what's going on.
posted by mordax at 1:13 AM on April 14 [5 favorites]


The real kicker is how they explain that if life begins at conception, what happens to the 50% of fertilised eggs that don't make it past the next menstrual cycle.

There's no practical use of logic against belief, but it is cathartic to point out things like, "If blastocyst twinning happens 10-18 days after conception, but ensoulment happens AT conception, how do we tell which of the twins is literally soulless, since souls are atomic and indivisible, and only one was given at conception?"
posted by mikelieman at 4:14 AM on April 14 [27 favorites]


Talking about saving babies lets these people feel like they're doing something good and important without having to do anything they don't want to.

This. The conclusion I've arrived at is that the "omg the baaaaybeeees!" aspect allows people with a pathetically minute capacity for compassion--who cannot bring themselves to respect or care about The Gays, The Blacks, The Heathens, Uppity Women, whatever--to feel like they are good, caring Christians, just like Jesus called them to be, despite knowing deep down that they are filled with hate. Not every anti-abortion person is like this, but the harder an individual clings to "innocent babies!!1!", rather than simply coming out and saying they oppose abortion because [X ideological position], the more likely it's because they have absolutely no other claim to basic human decency.

They are incapable of feeling for anyone whose decisions they might not like, or whose beliefs might challenge theirs, so they focus on the only imaginable category of human who can't possibly ever run afoul of their worldview: literally a pre-viable collection of cells.

F*ck these people's feelings. Productive debate is not the goal here, not when they're actively trying to kill pregnant people. The only solution is to work steadily to constrain their (terrifyingly massive) political clout, then work to reverse the legislative damage they've done. And it will be the work of decades, if not generations.
posted by peakes at 4:37 AM on April 14 [14 favorites]


In Georgia, it's clear that forcing more people to remain pregnant means more dead people because Georgia has sky high mortality rates during pregnancy and immediately after giving birth. So fewer pregnancies will be aborted so that more beloved adults (many of whom are already parents of other kids) will die. What a victory for people who care more about slut shaming than actual lives.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:48 AM on April 14 [9 favorites]


The real kicker is how they explain that if life begins at conception, what happens to the 50% of fertilised eggs that don't make it past the next menstrual cycle.

Maybe you're thinking "Checkmate, I guess we've established that life doesn't begin at conception after all," but nope, the argument is likely to go in the other direction, i.e toward the criminalization of miscarriage. And let's not assume that society will never let that happen. Somebody's got to keep the prisons full if we're going to legalize marijuana. Looking up and/or effectively sterilizing poor and minority women while the "right" kind of women are forced into servile baby factory status, that's been the dream of eugenicist racist incel types for generations.
posted by xigxag at 6:04 AM on April 14 [11 favorites]


Having a fertilized egg fail to implant for further gestation is not miscarriage. These are two different things entirely.
posted by hippybear at 6:32 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


Having a fertilized egg fail to implant for further gestation is not miscarriage. These are two different things entirely.

We're talking about a group of people who think rape victims could prevent themselves from becoming pregnant by just thinking real hard about it. These scientific nuances are not going to help us.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:03 AM on April 14 [21 favorites]


Like, literally, nobody ever knows when a fertilized egg doesn't implant. It just floats around until it is expelled during the next menstruation cycle. It's as if the fertilization never happened because there are no markers that it ever happened.

You're dealing with hyperbole that has no place in actual reality.
posted by hippybear at 8:14 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


The gist of it is that 'moral' issues really do have an emotion heft to the participants, but the thrust of it is about being better than someone else.
I was reminded of this just now while getting breakfast at a diner. The two middle-aged white men at the table next to us had been talking business for awhile, agreed on some terms, and then had to establish their conservative loyalties before leaving. They did this by commiserating with Trump about the tax investigations — I’m pretty sure “everyone cheats” is in the Bible somewhere — and recounting some fairytale about a 9 month abortion (“how do liberals sleep at night?”, “why didn’t any of the nurses say something?”). This was very clearly bonding through shared hate but I really got the impression that both of them believed what they were saying was true, presumably because they didn’t spend time around anyone who would question it.
posted by adamsc at 8:37 AM on April 14


You're dealing with hyperbole that has no place in actual reality.

It is not hyperbole. If abortion is murder then a miscarriage could, potentially, be manslaughter. Should a woman be aware that an egg might implant? If so, does it matter if she tracked her cycle? How careful must a woman be to make sure an egg doesn't fail to implant if she knows it could? If she fails that has she been negligent? Has she been so negligent as to justify a manslaughter prosecution?

These questions are not hyperbole. They are the next steps.
posted by East14thTaco at 9:15 AM on April 14 [15 favorites]


A Gallup poll with 15% of respondents in both 2010 and 2018 stating that in the first trimester it should be illegal to have an abortion when the mother's life is endangered (see 1/3 down page). Here is cited the relatively low number of 2.3% of these cases, casually excluding any exception for the health of the mother, only endangered life. It should also be noted that anti-abortion hardliners consistently oppose free medical care for the same population.
posted by Brian B. at 9:17 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


Like, literally, nobody ever knows when a fertilized egg doesn't implant. It just floats around until it is expelled during the next menstruation cycle. It's as if the fertilization never happened because there are no markers that it ever happened.

You're dealing with hyperbole that has no place in actual reality.


It's quite real. There are people who argue against Plan B and IUDs on the basis that they make fertilized eggs less likely to implant and therefore "cause abortions."
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 9:33 AM on April 14 [22 favorites]


As a reminder, this Friday is Good Friday - a popular time for anti-abortion protests. You can check with your local groups (or just your local abortion clinics) to see if you can join a counter-protest. Being part of the pro-choice majority is good, being visible is better.

Also, this is a very good time to give to abortion funds in those states that have taken action to radically restrict abortion (Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio to start).
posted by dinty_moore at 10:53 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


If you do not have to worry about losing your reproductive rights, either because of your plumbing or because of where you live, it would be really nice if you would at least pause to think before calling the comments of those who do 'hyperbole'. They are literally debating the death penalty for people who have abortions in Texas. Multiple states are in the process of or have already enacted laws that ban abortion at 6 weeks, before most people know they're pregnant. Our fears of dying due to complications of pregnancy or an illegal abortion or of being executed for having an illegal abortion are very valid and very real. You are fortunate if they are not for you.
posted by hydropsyche at 11:22 AM on April 14 [23 favorites]


The "this is who they've always been, at least they're finally being honest" vs "this is measurably worse" thing is something I think about a lot. I think the age of Trump and the sight of Neo-Nazis marching in the street shows that they're both true. I've always been a, "you can draw a straight line from 'moderate conservative' viewpoint A to frothing-at-the-mouth-reactionary viewpoint B, just be honest about it, ffs!" kind of person, but we can see that these people being honest about it, finally following the logic to its conclusion, being bold, is actually, measurably, worse. It was better when they lied to us and, more importantly, themselves. In conclusion, I wish I were a sea turtle instead of a human.
posted by pelvicsorcery at 11:45 AM on April 14 [11 favorites]


I don't know if they've been measurably worse as much as more effective on the legislative level. Clinics have had to have heightened security measures for decades now due to threats and actual acts of violence. We (or at least the public consciousness) just happen to treat it as if it were nothing.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:38 PM on April 14 [1 favorite]


You're dealing with hyperbole that has no place in actual reality.

Yes, no place in actual reality at all.

As long as, you know, Mississippi, Virginia, El Salvador, and Indiana aren't part of your reality.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:05 PM on April 14 [10 favorites]


And before it becomes a "gotcha" thing, I am aware that none of the cases I linked has to do with a pre-implantation miscarriage. I posted them to show that anti-choice zealots are 100% gunning to criminalize miscarriage, and we have absolutely zero reason to believe that they will observe the fine points of biological science when they wish to punish any individual person or particular group of people.

People go to the doctor for severe periods, heavy bleeding; what will become of these people when doctors are obliged to report any unusual period activity as a potential illegally-induced miscarriage? And it's not like people having unusual period activity are outliers. I'm a person who has relatively stable and uneventful periods and even I have had one or two bad enough to send me to a doc; I would absolutely never have sought help if there was a chance it would land me in jail.

It's not a "slippery slope" argument when they are actively coating the slope in ice for everyone to see.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:30 PM on April 14 [22 favorites]


Anti-abortionism is such a powerful drug for Christians because it combines Jesus Christ's command to speak for the powerless with ignorance and laziness.

If children are seen as innocent, then unborn children are innocence personified. They are easy to love. And we are primed to defend the innocent.

Ignorance becomes a factor because they conceive of zygotes, blastocysts, embryos and fetuses as people. They don’t understand or care about ontogeny. They conflate papers that demonstrate zinc molecules within an ovum reacting with enzymes released from sperm as miraculous proof of ensoulment.

And laziness is a factor because being a Christian should be hard. It requires you to love people when you disagree with them, conduct yourself with humility because you have your own shortcomings, and give of yourself fully in service to others. The anti-abortion movement does none of that. It doesn’t address the social, economic or medical factors that lead women to choose abortion.

In particular, the current emphasis on late-term abortions exemplifies everything that is worst about the anti-abortion movement. It focuses on a very, very rare procedure that is undertaken only for the most dire reasons and rather than provide compassion and support, heaps opprobrium on mothers who are already devastated by learning their pregnancy has gone horribly wrong.

The end result, of course, is the suffering of everyone involved (including the unborn) is exacerbated. But they see none of that because of their myopic focus on “the innocent babies “.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 4:56 PM on April 14 [12 favorites]


I've always been pro-choice, but nothing crystallized that position more firmly for me than actually going through the experience of childbirth. Cause here's the thing: even if you want a child, even if it's something you've chosen and longed for, I tell you what, even if everything goes absolutely perfectly the whole experience is a cosmic shitshow and your body is never the same again. Never. And neither are you. Even if you gain barely any weight and bounce back to perfect shape with no effort. It's been 8 years since I breastfed and I still get a weird tingle in the nipples when I hear a baby cry *that* cry. If I have to pee I'd best do it post-haste because there ain't no holding it like I used to be able to. But all that stuff is details. What converted me from academically to passionately pro-choice was imagining all of the indignities I suffered, all of the pain, all of the permanent changes, as being the result of a child I didn't even want. Horrifying. I can only imagine feeling like a fucking farm animal. Distinctly subhuman. So here's the thing. When the people protesting outside of abortion clinics are throwing free condoms and birth control pills at the women trying to go inside, when they're petitioning their local politicians for paid maternity leave and subsidized childcare, only then will I actually believe they give an actual fuck about babies. If not, then the cruelty really is the point. And by cruelty I mean raging misogyny.
posted by Go Banana at 9:33 PM on April 14 [21 favorites]


Maybe you're thinking "Checkmate, I guess we've established that life doesn't begin at conception after all," but nope, the argument is likely to go in the other direction, i.e toward the criminalization of miscarriage.

I don't see this as checkmate at all. The approach I'd be likely to take is to raise some of these kinds of issues - the twin one is particularly fun - as a pretext to claim that this isn't about the facts of the matter because the facts of the matter don't make a lot of sense, but it is about feelings.

Like others have said, this is mostly a feeling argument, and I don't expect to convince people that feel like abortion is a sad thing that abortion is sometimes a logical choice, because honestly? It often is a sad thing. It's an act of mercy, or at least the way I see it.

The other thing it's often about is misplaced moral righteousness (I too read Fred Clark) and while I always expect that argument to become a stalemate, I'd like to get to the point where they're willing to admit that they think they're better than me as quickly as humanly possible.
posted by Merus at 11:53 PM on April 14


These fucks creep me out, so I'm going to go on a slight tangential flight of fancy as an mental cleansing exercise:

If no measure is too much to protect unborn babies there should be mandatory, universal vasectomies. From a brief googling, it seems that there's about a 70% chance of a successful reversal. But what is a 30% chance at permanent sterility vs. saving the life of even a single baby? And it's not like sperm can't be frozen. We've already established that the government has the right to interfere with the reproductive organs of a person. If you had it done at 13, it'd cut down on the number of teen pregnancies too. Make reversal free, submit a form declaring the intent to have kids, the government mails you a voucher for a reversal surgery. And the form should have to be co-signed by the partner, so that pregnancy can't be used as a trap. Also, it helps out with one of the MRA's boogiemen, the woman who gets pregnant to trap a man in a child-support relationship. Testosterone doesn't travel through the vas defrens, so it wouldn't interfere with puberty at all.

This would never fly, of course, but it really does emphasize the fact that testicles are needed for the creation of 100% of all fertilized eggs.
posted by Hactar at 1:27 AM on April 15 [8 favorites]


I'm with Go Banana - I was always pro-choice but pregnancy and childbirth made me even more so. Of course I loved my little blastocysts/fetuses in utero - I also was absolutely miserable and in actual pain for substantial portions of two pregnancies and being asked to weather that, and the impacts on my job, my relationships, my ability to parent my oldest, etc, if I did not plan for/did not want that pregnancy, would absolutely be cruelty when there is a safe way to make sure no one has to go through that.

Also - with my oldest, I experienced some bleeding at about 7 weeks. Turns out it was nothing, just the delayed arrival of implantation bleeding or something, but when I was very upset and calling my midwife about it she said "in the best case, you're fine. In the worst case, there's nothing we can do." And realistically, there isn't. But how does that conversation change, and how does the state-mandated but state-unfunded cost of medical intervention change, if that is "a person"? Are medical providers obligated to do... something? What? to try to save a 7 week pregnancy? Does that pregnant person end up on hospitalized bed rest until things have resolved one way or another? And who pays for that?
posted by olinerd at 12:59 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]


In Texas, current law demands postmortem prenatal ventilation if a fetal heartbeat can be determined. The law was designed to allow for women killed right before they were due to deliver. The way it’s been implemented is to force ventilation on corpses who were as little as 8 weeks pregnant, even overriding her written will, and the family’s wishes.

No viable baby has ever come from this intervention. None. The religious hospital in the most recent case, after losing in court, turned around and billed the grieving husband for millions of dollars in billing.

Nobody cares about the women or potential babies, they only care that we know our place as nothing more than brood mares.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 4:15 PM on April 17 [4 favorites]


When people say to stop slagging the Bible Belt... when they insist that religion is untouchable... this kind of garbage is my answer.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 1:00 PM on April 18


Carl Djerassi thought that maybe mass vasectomies would be a great idea. I'm with Hactar upthread. "Famed chemist Carl Djerassi, best known as the "Father of the birth control pill," envisioned a day when young men routinely froze their sperm and got vasectomies, sex could be just for fun, and babies could be conceived via artificial insemination, whether the couple was fertile or not." https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/nz5k9m/are-vasectomies-the-new-condom
posted by goofyfoot at 10:28 PM on April 18


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