Friday, June 27, 2014

Shalom, shalom, we all love our children

Sometimes, a news story gets you unusually upset and depressed, even by the standards of US news.  Such was the case with this story, about the Supreme Court striking down Massachusetts' "buffer zone" law that prevented anti-abortion zealots from getting riiiiight up in women's faces and shrieking obscenities and barely-veiled death threats.  'Cause, you know, FREE SPEECH!  Link provided to this series of anecdotes from a clinic escort, if you wanted to know exactly what these things are like.  The sheer depravity of people makes me feel sick and helpless.  If I weren't going to be living outside the country for the indefinite future, I feel like I ought to be an escort, but honestly: I don't know whether I'm brave enough.  My respect for the people doing this work knows no limits.

So here's the thing: abortion rights are the single issue on which liberals/democrats/leftists are most likely to be squeamish.  A lot of talk about what a complicated issue, real ethical questions, &c (never mind that these Profound Moral Questions are younger than the Happy Meal).  But here's the thing there are no reasonable anti-abortion activists: anybody who's "reasonable" and anti-abortion must be strongly pro-choice.  'Cause if you're not, you're allying yourself with the psychopaths vomiting poison at clinics.  No, seriously, you are.  The anti-choice people would have no traction without them; they are the movement.  I'm terribly sorry if you want to have a Reasoned Discussion about the issue (I'm actually not convinced that any anti-abortion people have a leg to stand on, but that's a meaningless concern at this point--no one other than the terrorists have any voice), but, well, you can't.  Yeah yeah, it's not fair--but don't blame me.  I didn't whip up them up into a froth; I didn't command them to enthusiastically throw aside their basic humanity in the name of that quasi-sexual thrill of self-righteousness.  The people you want to blame for that are right there on your right.  It's really the same situation with the much-vaunted Responsible Gun Owners: unlike the Responsible Anti-Abortion people, I know they actually exist, but they're in the same position: there's no responsible recourse but for them to be strongly pro-gun-control (and in left blog comment sections, you'll see many who are).  

Could there be a politically viable anti-abortion movement that doesn't feed on hatred and violence?  Well, before that could come about, it would be necessary to burn the current movement down for the nails, and once you've accomplished that impossible feat, I'm not sure there'd be enough people left to accomplish much of anything.  But SURE!  In theory!  Only this movement would recognize that it'll never get abortion down to zero, and it would have to respect the fact that sometimes women want or need them.  Instead, it'd be focusing on massively beefing up sex education and universal access to all kinds of birth control, while at the same time working to improve the country's infrastructure such that no woman ever feels that, economically, there's no other choice but to have an abortion (though of course, she still can if she wants--you've reeeeaally got to risk the urge to go authoritarian on us at any point--you're meant to be reasonable, remember)?  If you did this, you'd reduce the abortion rate substantially, in a way that restrictive laws never will.  You totally would!  There is zero question here!  And you'd probably have a lot of success, since most leftists--me included!--would support you, even if we don't particularly care about decreasing abortion rates.  I mean, we support these things already.  It's just good practice.

Buuuuut back to reality, where, as you may have noticed, today's anti-choicers vociferously oppose all of those things.  Maybe on some level they actually want to reduce abortion rates, but if it's a choice between that and Holy Warrior-Hood?  Pfft.  You and I both know that they made their decision long ago.


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