January 18, 2006

Aborting America

Here is why the Democratic Party has such a huge problem.

Ann Coulter, the banshee of hate, eviscerates the Democratic Party members of the Judiciary Committee for their miserable, disorganized, purposeless performance in the Alito hearings. She doesn't merely pin on them the one-issue tag of abortion, she nails it on them.

What is being remembered from these hearings?

The long-winded speechifying by Democratic Senators, the lecturing, the hectoring, and a seeming obessisive concentration on the abortion issue. What made it worse were characterizations that made it seem as though abortion is, indeed, some kind of good thing, some exalted human behavior, something almost revered or sacrosanct. The Democrats are right about supporting a woman's right to choose, but they do it so clumsily and awkwardly it hurts their cause. Abortion is NOT a good thing, and anyone who believes it is a good thing is kidding herself. The Democratic Senators tried to make abortion into an American ideal, a mantra like the abolition of slavery.

Abortion is a hard, difficult choice women make and I believe they have every right to make that choice.

But we need to find a way to communicate why a woman's right to choose an abortion needs to be ensured, but not enshrined. There is a difference.

Language matters. And, although I hate to agree with Coulter, that's what I saw in the hearings.

On Saturday, January 14, our state capital, Montpelier, witnessed what was probably the largest march and demonstration against abortion ever. Four hundred people rallied to call abortion murder and claim that millions of murders have been committed since Roe v Wade. The anti-abortion movement in this country is more hopeful now than ever that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe. They believe Roberts and Alito will spearhead that process. For four hundred people opposed to abortion to rally in Montpelier is a big thing. For four hundred people to rally about anything in Montpelier is a big thing.

We must make these anti-abortionists accountable for the results of criminalizing abortion would bring to American society, its families, its schools, its churches, its police forces, and its judicial and penal system. If abortion becomes murder, then they must answer these questions:

Who will be responsible for arresting and prosecuting all of the doctors, physician assistants, nurses, nurses aides, and others who will secretly provide abortions to the millions of women who will still have abortions after they are criminalized?

Who will be responsible for arresting and prosecuting the millions of women who will still have the abortions?

Where are all the jails into which these people will need to be placed?

Who are all the prosecutors and grand juries who will bring the indictments and prosecute the cases?

Who are all the policemen who will be charged with investigating all these women and their accomplices?

What will be the sentencing guidelines -- life sentences? capital punishment? 20 years to life?

Can you even imagine what America will become if this happens?

It is worth your time to watch this extraordinary 6:47 film from ATCenterNetwork where anti-abortion demonstrators are asked what should happen to women who have abortions once abortion has become illegal.

Just what will it mean for America if abortion is illegal?


Kvatch said...

You bring up 8 excellent points that we'll have to contend with if/when the right is successful in criminalizing abortion, but this is way too complex an argument for the 50.5% of America that agrees with Coulter, agrees that we should "fill the jails"!

I wish I had some kind of solution other than, this is a topic that needs to--dare I say--religiously avoided while we try to change the tone of the debate.

We need to hang the label "criminals" around the neck of the right, and we can't do that with subtle or complex arguments. Choice is just way too complex a topic.

Hume's Ghost said...

How about we start distributing the Handmaiden's Tale and ask women if that sounds like a place they want to live. Ask fathers and mothers if they want Pat Robertson deciding what the role of their daughters will be in society.

Hume's Ghost said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hume's Ghost said...

In essence, we should be reminding people, with the force of sound argument, that denying women their reproductive freedom has been concomintant with denying them self-autonomy and equality.

But not only this, we need to stress that outlawing abortion will not make abortion go away; it will make it worse. If we want to reduce the number of abortion we need to work on the factors that correlate with mothers who are more likely to have one (e.g. poverty, sexual education, etc.)

MidlifeMutant said...

Although I do support a woman's right to choose, I do think abortion as a birth control method is wrong.

I have to tell you that 5 years ago, I was NOT pro-choice. Then my daughter became pregnant at 17 with other complicating factors. It was then when I realized that choice is important.

Well written.

Thank you.

Hume's Ghost said...

Sorry, for clogging the comments, Stephen. Thoughts keep coming to me after the fact.

Another suggestion is to get politicians reading George Lakoff and learning how to frame (honestly, mind you) the abortion debate so that its not about "killing babies" versus not killing them.

Lee said...

Thanks for mentioning our video of the anti-abortion demonstrators. Your readers may also be interested in our newest release, Pro-Warriors: In Their Own Words a documentary about the pro-war movement. It was shot at the big peace demonstration in D.C. last September. Like the abortion demonstration video, it reveals a lot about the people who are in favor of the war. It can be viewed online at www.pro-warriors.com

Kvatch said...

How about we start distributing the Handmaiden's Tale and ask women if that sounds like a place they want to live.

If there is anything that is true of the right, it's that irony is wasted on them. "The Handmaid's Tale"? Are you insane? Don't give them ideas. Sheeeesh! :-)

Gouda said...

I was thinking...

If abortion becomes a criminal act, why should women bear the brunt of it? The creation of an unwanted child is the spawn of a man and a woman, the woman just happens to be carrying it.

If the fetus is unwanted by both partners, and an abortion takes place, why not punish the man and woman equally?

I wonder how this issue would play out if it was the man who carried the fetus.

Progressive Traditionalist said...

I don't see why the Dems continue to harp on abortion when other, more important, issues are on the table.

Were the Christian Right to come out and openly denounce female orgasm (they've never been comfortable with it, they're not sure if it's of God, etc.), people might grow more concerned; but this is simply playing in to the propaganda of the Right.

Progressive Traditionalist said...

I realize, belatedly, that I should have been more clear on this, but other forms of health care are also being priced out of the reach of the people who could benefit the most from them.

enigma4ever said...

Sadly the hearings were focused on the wrong issues- the Kings' Powers, the Civil Rights issues should have been given much more weight- but alas- the Right wants the Religous Battles...yet- the funny thing is that the abortion issue should not be about religion it is about HEALTHCARE for women...As a nurse I have horror stories- esp. from ER days...and also I have been working too long...because even after the WvR was put in place there were still alot of illegal abortions and horrible incidents in those first five years...It is a medical issue....As a woman I think only women should be allowed to vote on it...that would certainly make things interesting( I know that is not realistic)...But the idea of someone like Hastert, or Bush, or Delay making decisions about my body just makes me want to throw up...

Angel, librarian and educator said...

Hmm, handing out _Handmaiden's Tale_? Now there is an idea. Assuming they can get through the book. Then again, knowing that much of the nation is now run by people who are not, shall we say, the sharpest tools in the shed, they might actually think it is a blueprint. At any rate, these people are just doing their best to erode our individual freedoms and rights a little at a time (or maybe not so little at a time). If we don't denounce them and fight them, who will?

enigma4ever said...

Handmaiden's tale - again we are making assumptions that They know how to read....

Hume's Ghost said...

kvatch corrected me, its "Handmaid's Tale".

You know, for a post on my blog I had to wade throught the nightmarish hate that is Stormfront.org, and I came across a post in which one forum member was recommending 1984 as a how-to manual.

Hume's Ghost said...

Check out Carter on abortion (about half way down the page.) He's very on point.

solitaire said...

During the second wave of the feminist movement, we had a saying: "If men could get pregnamt, abortion would be a sacrament."