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Doubling down on US restrictions against choice August 10, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Some depressing news recently in the US with relation to restrictions on abortion provision.

As most of us will know, there’s the particularly grim case of the 10-year-old victim of rape from Ohio who had to cross state lines to get an abortion, a case that the right-wing media initially denied the veracity of and then where those who aided this victim were threatened with legal issues. But Slate in an interview with Mary Ziegler, Professor at the University of California, Davis School of Law and a preeminent expert on the history of abortion in the United States, charts how the anti-abortion side shifted from a situation where exceptions for rape and incest and other issues were part and parcel of political platforms right up to Trump to a point where they were simply jettisoned. And those who were pragmatists of sorts in the anti-abortion movement rapidly shifted to the most hardline positions. As in the following example:

As a result, what used to be considered fringe views are suddenly mainstream.

When the 10-year-old child in Ohio was raped and forced across state lines, the person we saw defending the idea that she should carry pregnancy to term was Jim Bopp. He had previously been the leading figure of the cautious, pragmatic wing of the movement. He had flown down to Ohio to testify against a heartbeat bill. These are the pragmatists. This is not the fringe of the movement at all.

The reason for the shift? The changed composition of the Supreme Court from 2018 onwards. And with that a sense that Roe was finished. 

There’s a particularly chilling line in the last response here… 

Do you think they’ll stick with that position [that if some women die because they’re refused care, that isn’t a certain death, there isn’t intentionally going to be a death, so that’s the lesser of the evils in that situation] even as we are overwhelmed with stories of women brought to the brink of death because they’re denied care for miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies?

I haven’t seen any sign that they’re going to change. From their own standpoint, they probably should. I don’t think this will do them any favors unless the democracy is so broken that nothing matters any more. If anything, what you see is a doubling down. The Idaho GOP’s platform came out opposing exceptions for the life of the pregnant person after these stories. If anything, the movement seems to be moving in the opposite direction.

Is US democracy that broken? Does nothing matter any more? Ziegler notes something very important. 

The GOP did change. It became much more beholden to the anti-abortion movement and much less concerned about competition because of a combination of political polarization, gerrymandering, limits on access to the vote. These are essentially one-party states. Republican politicians aren’t worried these positions will be unpopular with voters because voters wouldn’t elect Democrats anyway.

One doesn’t need to be alarmist, one need only look at our own history here on this island, to see that decades can pass where there is no scope for change. In some ways, the situation in the US appears to be worse positioned. The Republican Party appears to have taken a tilt towards directions that neither Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil did, however conservative they were or are. Our voting system is different, as is the relationship with the Supreme Court. Frankly, our size as a state is a positive in and of itself. This doesn’t mean that the situation is irredeemable, but one need only consider how another Republican President could shift the terrain further rightwards, the knock-on effects on the Supreme Court, the judiciary and so on.

There will, one suspects, always be states where abortion will be legal, though that’s not a given as this piece in Vox notes. 



1. Dr Nightdub - August 10, 2022

Somewhat related, came across this article on how Facebook/Meta handed over a teenager’s private data to police so they could prosecute her for having an abortion – and this was BEFORE the Roe v Wade decision

Liked by 1 person

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