Anti-Abortion Laws: A War Against Poor Women

Yves here. I’ve steered away from featuring posts on abortion because in the US, they are typically places in the “women’s rights” frame, when far too many self-styled feminists have sat pat as the right to an abortion has become effectively non-existant in large swathes of the heartlands because low and moderate income single women can’t afford to get them. Medicaid covers abortions in only 15 states. Many women don’t have health insurance or have a policy with a high deductible. Six states have only one abortion clinic (see here to get more detail on the degree of restrictions on abortions in various states). Not only does that mean that even going to a clinic would entail a day off work, but many states impose 24 hour cooling off periods for a doctor to give the pregnant woman a moralistic lecture about her fetus and make her sleep on her decision. How many people in low-level jobs can take two days off, both in money and “will they allow me to do that” terms?

Needless to say, I’m cynical about the hand-wriging by well-off women in blue states about the Supreme Court possibly reversing Roe v. Wade. Where have they been all these years while their supposed sisters in flyover effectively have no right to an abortion? Why didn’t they push during the years of peak feminism (in the 1970s) for legislation to enshrine abortion rights, as women in pretty much every other advanced economy save Ireland has done, rather than rely solely on the continued generosity of the bench? Of course, getting a bill passed would have required some compromise with the pro-life sorts, but the usual remedy in the rest of the world has been to limit the right to an abortion to the first trimester.

That is a long-winded way of saying that it’s time Americans wake up and recognize that abortion rights are much more a class issue than a social rights issue.

By Manuella Libardi, a Brazilian journalist and the content editor for democraciaAbierta Brasil. She holds a Masters degree in International Relations. Twitter: @ManuellaLibardi. Originally published at openDemocracy

The political fight against anti-abortion legislation is infact a class battle, and the reality is that abortion is only illegal for poor women. Women with resources can always interrupt their unwanted pregnancies. Either they know a doctor who performs medical abortions for an exorbitant price, they have the resources to travel to a place where abortion is legal, or they have the means to buy an abortion pill in their own country or elsewhere.

Restricting access to safe abortions keeps poor women in poverty, perpetuates the cycle that prevents them from social mobility and allows wealth to remain in the hands of the rich, particularly white men.

Deciding if and when to have a child is essential for a woman’s economic and psychological well-being: it has implications for her education and for entering the workforce. In a 2018 study based on interviews with 813 women in the United States throughout five years, researchers found that women who had abortions denied to them were more likely to be in poverty within six months compared to women who were able to interrupt the pregnancy. Women who were denied abortion were also less likely to have full-time work and more likely to depend on some form of public assistance. Both effects “remained significant for 4 years.”

The study concludes that “women who were denied an abortion were more likely than women who received an abortion to experience economic difficulties and insecurity for years. Laws restricting access to abortion may lead to worse economic outcomes for women”.

Latin America

In Latin America, this scenario is exacerbated by the huge inequalities of the region, which makes poor women and minorities invisible to those who are creating public policies. Indigenous women, for example, are disproportionately affected by adverse sexual and reproductive health outcomes.

The rates of unwanted pregnancy and teenage pregnancy are high among indigenous populations and indigenous women also face greater risks of complications related to abortion such as injury or death than the general public.

Poor, young and ethnic minority women suffer the physical and social costs imposed on them by the restrictive anti-abortion laws of Latin America the most. Latin America is home to six countries that criminalize abortion in all cases, even in situations where a woman’s life is at risk. In El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and Suriname, women have to carry a full term pregnancy even if it means they could die in the process, which is an explicit violation of their human rights.

This makes Latin America the region of the world with the strictest anti-abortion legislation. The only other two places that fully penalize termination, even if the procedure is medically necessary to save the woman’s life, is Malta and the Vatican.

El Salvador made headlines in 2019 when Evelyn Hernández was acquitted of a murder conviction related to the death of a fetus. She had been sentenced to 40 years in prison for giving birth to a dead baby, in other words, for miscarrying.

In this Central American country, at least 159 women have received sentences of between 12 and 40 years of prison for violating the country’s anti-abortion laws. About 20 remain in jail today, and none of these women comes from rich or economically stable families. All are poor.

The Race Factor

The political-economic order is made up of many variables, and race is among the first. In the United States, black women have the highest abortion rates in the country. This is a consequence of the serious wealth gap between white and black families, which remains constant even among poor families.

After the legalization of the procedure, the entry of black women into the workforce increased 6.9 percentage points, compared with 2 percentage points among all women.

A white family that lives near the poverty line generally has a yearly wage of around $18,000, meanwhile, black families in similar economic situations usually have a near-zero average wealth. While all women suffer the consequences of the battle against abortion, class reality means that women of color feel the effects disproportionately.

A large number of studies show that access to safe abortion in the United States had more visible positive effects among black women. After the legalization of the procedure, the entry of black women into the workforce increased 6.9 percentage points, compared with 2 percentage points among all women.

The legalization of abortion in the United States reduced adolescent fertility among all women. However, black women and girls experienced an increase in the high school graduation rate and college admission, while legalization did not improve educational outcomes for white women and girls. This is another indication of how inequality disproportionately affects women of color.

Restrictive Laws Do Not Decrease Abortions

The highest abortion rates are found in developing countries, specifically in Latin America. Leading the list is the Caribbean, with 59 per 1,000 women of reproductive age, followed by South America, with 48. As expected, the lowest rates are found in North America, with 17, and in Western and Northern Europe, with 16 and 18, respectively.

Given the amount of research that shows how ineffective punitive laws are in curbing the number of abortions women carry out, it is difficult to imagine any other reason that they exist, other than to keep women out of the workforce and in poverty.

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52 comments

  1. PlutoniumKun

    A slight correction, Yves – abortion is fully legal in Ireland (although full abortion rights were only guaranteed through the constitution in the last few years). Northern Ireland is the only region where it is expressly illegal (they have an exemption from UK laws), although that will change soon.

    Reply
    1. AbortoLegalYa

      Abortion is not fully legal in Ireland, it is only legal in very strict circumstances and with restrictions placed on those circumstances. It has not been fully decriminalised and accessing abortion is still quite hard because of the three day wait and refusal of care to name but a few.

      Reply
  2. jackiebass

    This to me is both a moral and economic issue. I believe a person has no right to impose their moral values on another person. As an economic issue one need to look at the cost to society of an unwanted child. These poor people don’t have the financial capability of caring for these children. It then falls onto society. Too often the antiabortion people are also anti public assistance. That means you are sentencing many people to a life of poverty. It has become a political issue just like guns. Politicians use both of these issues to create fear and promote their agenda. The madness has to stop. It is destroying our country and democracy.

    Reply
    1. Grayce

      Looking from the bottom up, there is always the radical notion “put your money where your mouth is” to advocates of other people’s children. For complete legislation, a small social solution is to fund the cost of childbirth (for everyone), fund the six-week leave for working women, and fund the home nurse visit as it is already done in England.
      Poverty does not preclude wanting a child.

      Reply
  3. Arizona Slim

    Story from the Arizona Slim file: My mother was from Buffalo, New York. Although both of her parents had jobs and were fortunate enough to remain employed throughout the Great Depression, the neighbors weren’t so fortunate.

    Mom told me the story of one neighbor, who found herself pregnant. Again. And that family was already struggling. They couldn’t afford to support any more children.

    So, the neighbor had a back alley abortion.

    There were complications, and, since they happened during the Great Depression when abortion was quite illegal in this country, she couldn’t go to the hospital.

    My grandmother stepped in, and she nursed that neighbor back to health. My mother never forgot that, and she grew up to be quite the pro-choice advocate. And so am I.

    Reply
  4. mle detroit

    Women, women, women, women. All these immaculate conceptions. If murderers can be found out using DNA information available online, why can’t we expand this conversation to include everyone involved?

    Reply
    1. Kurtismayfield

      Because women are given the choice. If you want to assign responsibility on the man involved, you would have to cede some of the power over the future of the embryo. Right now the pro choice argument puts all of that responsibility in the hands of the female

      Reply
      1. Plenue

        Which is exactly where it should be. No man should have any say in forcing a woman to carry a kid and give birth.

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          Absolution in life is unwise. Sure, it does reduces the need for often difficult discussions on wrenching subjects, but it is dehumanizing; doing away with the all the many bits that comprises the glorious messiness that is life does just that.

          No one should force a woman to have a child; no one should say that a man has no right to speak on the possibility of his having a child. The former reduces half of humanity to mere wombs while the latter reduces half of humanity to mere sperm donations.

          Which is why I really do not like the dogmatic bullpucky that I often see in pro-life and pro-choice adherents. Regardless of what the laws are, if you truly want to reduce unwanted abortions or give people in general, and women in particular, actual choices, it would help to guarantee access to birth control, quality daycare, good jobs that one can support a family on, healthcare, quality and lifelong education. You know the things needed to have a life including raising, or not, a family.

          Doing so would drastically reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. People would either not get pregnant or would be able to raise the child. Regardless of their personal beliefs most people do not want to have abortions. I don’t see the lower classes having access to any of that and nor do I see the Blue or Red states’ elites in any hurry to provide the necessary resources.

          It is virtue signaling by the upper classes using the pain of the lower classes.

          Reply
          1. Plenue

            “no one should say that a man has no right to speak on the possibility of his having a child”

            Incorrect. By definition his getting a child imposes a burden on the woman. Her body, her choice. Period.

            This isn’t complicated.

            Reply
            1. JBird4049

              “Getting a child?”

              I must respectfully disagree. Please note that I did not say that the final decision should not be the woman’s as she has the greater effort as well as risk. The greater risk, effort, responsibility, and therefore the right to make the final decision. It is her body after all.

              If it is done through violence, coercion or deceit, well the rapist, victimizer, or deceiver should have no say and the victim all of the say.

              However, If, as it should be, a man has the responsibility for conception, care, and raising of a child, he also has the right to have some say. Responsibility implies rights just as a right does responsibilities. It is his creation and his own life as well.

              Since it does take two to conceive, which is usually done freely and mutually by the couple, and usually to raise a child and so both should have a say. Neither person is without agency or responsibility. It is also called being a family.

              To do otherwise would risk reducing someone to a thing of no individual importance much like how women themselves were, and are still sometimes, sometimes reduced to just baby machines. As in thanks for being/doing the insemination now shut up.

              Reply
            2. kelley

              “Her body, her choice. Period.”

              In that case, you are against forcing men to pay child support when they want the woman to abort the fetus and she doesn’t?

              Reply
              1. Plenue

                Yes. At that point a third person is involved, who needs support. Whether he wanted it to get to that stage or not is irrelevant.

                Reply
          2. cgregory

            An Australian scientist back in the 70’s working on autoimmune diseases found out that implanting a male frog with a frog embryo (or the equivalent) resulted in the embryo becoming a parasite, converting the frog’s hormonal system in a female system. Further work proved that the same will happen with a human blastocyst, embryo, whatever into a human male.

            One of the consequences was that a lot of gay guys clamored to get pg. Ethicists shuddered around the world, and as far as I know, it hasn’t happened.

            So– any guy who wants to exercise his right to have a child can carry it to term.

            A group, RESPONSIBLE Right to Life, appealed for 30 years for so-called “pro-lifers” to end the need for abortion by adopting four children annually. It promised to award 10-year certificates of appreciation to those folks; the least it could do, it felt, for people who had adopted 40 children. Not one single so-called “pro-lifer” stepped forward.

            They are all members of a dysfunctional self-help group.

            Reply
            1. thene

              Your first paragraph is fake. No, human blastocytes do not work the same way as frogs (if even the frog part is true, which I doubt). Even heavily engineered, humanised mammal models used in biotech do not reliably mimic human biology. Anyway, look up how the human placenta works sometime. Or maybe ask yourself why this supposed marvel hasn’t been spoken of in the last 50 years of advancing gay rights (never mind the perplexing logic of it to begin with – gay men rarely dream of pregnancy, whereas many infertile women and transgender women do). Either way, quit spreading obviously fake stories.

              Reply
    2. scott s.

      Immaculate conception is a Roman Catholic doctrine that Mary was conceived without original sin (immaculate). It is not the incarnation aka “virgin birth”. I find the author’s idea that no reason exists for prohibiting abortion other than to keep women in poverty pretty amazing.

      Reply
      1. SRH

        How many times have I read that simple error? Possible the same number as reading that “Suffer the little children” means, apparently, “allow little children to suffer”.

        Reply
  5. CitizenSissy

    My Great-aunt, an ER nurse during the good old pre-Roe days, saw enough carnage from illegal abortions to make her a stalwart Planned Parenthood supporter.

    I find telling that many “pro-lifers,” while bleating endlessly about “life” and perfectly willing to bring the full resources of the state against women seeking abortions, are remarkably quiet about programs offering practical support to children and families.

    Reply
    1. Peter

      are remarkably quiet about programs offering practical support to children and families.

      O course, bleating about the protection of the unborn is a lot cheaper than programs to help mothers. Moral outrage doesn’t cost but makes you look caring…

      Reply
    2. Darius

      Oppression of the poor is a feature, not a bug. Even if it requires other working class people to be down there keeping their sisters in the gutter.

      Reply
    3. cgregory

      So-called “pro-lifers” exhibit a syndrome: While claiming to “care for” human life, they don’t. This is cognitive dissonance, period.

      I think Ernst Becker pointed out the reason they do this. In his book, Denial of Death, he stated that the human instinct to Iive is so overpowering that we all are faced with functional paralysis if we face the fact that we do, indeed, die. Our response is to adopt a strategy to pretend it won’t happen. Heroes, he says, willing risk or suffer death for a greater cause, and because they paid a price society specifies, they achieve a provable measure of mortality.

      I think the so-called “pro-lifers,” because they are so fearful of death, lack the energy to commit their time, talents and fortunes to rescue real children and real families. But as they want to deny their own death, they do so by trying to be heroes. Since they dare not risk their lives (they are extremely fearful of the known oblivion of death), they try to sell society on the idea that they are already heroes. Theirs is nothing more than a PR crusade, and they are really good at it.

      They are trying to be heroes on the cheap.

      Reply
      1. SRH

        Generalising about everyone who advocates keeping a pregnancy to full term is not a great argument. Many organisations here in the UK manage to be pro-life and pro-women’s rights, as has been the case since the Suffragette movement.

        Reply
        1. cgregory

          1. The US is not the UK.
          2. The problem in the US is that the so-called “pro-life” movement has, like the Trump tweets on just about everything, defined the field of battle, and the responsible side has always been sucked into fighting on their terms. Anybody who has tried to deal with an insane person knows that fighting on contrived terms never works. Americans have to realize that the non-neurotics in the movement are going to have to prove they truly care for human life.

          In my town’s annual so-called “pro-life” demonstrations 160 showed up for the first couple of years. I asked them face-to-face about adoption. The 160 had adopted a total of six kids; one family adopted one; another family (with an income of over $300,000) had adopted five. All the rest were there to pose as heroes.

          Reply
  6. John Beech

    jackiebass writes in part . . . “I believe a person has no right to impose their moral values on another person.”

    No offense but your morals (and mine, as it happens) are imposed on those who want to fondle children sexually, or who like to kill people, perhaps for sport or sexual gratification. How? by making both against the law.

    Are you offended at these two extreme examples? You should be because I was specifically seeking abhorrent ones to elicit revulsion expressly to help make my point, which is people in society have every right to impose their views on others. So just as a society we say it’s wrong to fondle the kiddies or murder folks and we (persons as collectively and defined as society) also say it’s wrong to murder members of society still in the womb. Basically, we’re both trying to impose our views on others, agreed?

    All this by way of suggesting you come up for air some time and try to look at the world through lenses which aren’t tinted in rose. The facts are others (me in this instance) can hold just as moral an opposing view regarding abortions, without being hateful monsters intent on sentencing anybody to a life of poverty.

    Specifically, your morals are abortions are OK with you and trump my morals, which hold life is a beautiful thing – and – that those who would flush a baby down the toilet (perhaps so they may continue partying with their friends, having casual sex without intent of procreating whilst gambling on the effectiveness of their chosen method of birth control, or maybe just because they’d rather buy a new television this week) are – in my view – saying murder is OK. That’s a long and winding sentence which basically says your view on abortion is ignoring the morals of a fair percentage of the members of society and I disagree with them. A percentage, by the way, which is presently trending against your views. Fortunately we live in a political world and this may change, but right now, you barely have the numbers and abortions continue to be viewed in the eyes of Federal law as fine and dandy. Stay and argue your point and try to persuade more members of society, or move to Europe, your choice.

    Note; I was once 100% pro-abortion. However then I was in the room for the birth of my child (or at least my wife assures me it’s mine, regardless, I was there). My daughter has subsequently given birth to two beautiful boys. Go figure but this is now a new fact; along the way I have come to realize I no longer support abortion. I vote accordingly.

    Finally; if you want to trot out arguments regarding the health of the mother, I will listen respectfully and defer to a physician’s opinion. But if you want to trot out arguments related to economic inconvenience, then sorry Charlie, I don’t buy it.

    Reply
    1. Anarcissie

      The issue, though, isn’t whether abortion is good or bad, nice or nasty, but the extent of the power of the state. Should the state have the power to take over and govern the bodies, even the internal organs, of its inhabitants, because they happen to be pregnant?

      Reply
      1. John Beech

        Did you know you can no longer just leave the United States by crossing a border. Now you have to ask permission. This, by way of answer to your query, is my response. In a nutshell, whether we like it or not, the state does have this power. Don’t like it? Vote. Persuade. But don’t just whine and offer up specious yelps regarding justice and economic circumstances whilst decrying prejudice as the fundamental cause. I would refer you to John 9:25.

        Reply
        1. Anarcissie

          We make the state. For me, the question is whether we want the state to have that power, and my answer, as well as that of a lot of other people, is ‘No’. It’s force versus force, and under the circumstances, which couldn’t be more basic, aesthetic and conversion experiences are unlikely to be persuasive to those who don’t have them.

          Reply
      2. SRH

        All states have power over the bodies of its citizens. Are you in favour of abolishing the power of arrest by police or the power of judges to impose imprisonment on convicted offenders? Often, such powers result in rape, illness, injury or death. Perhaps you ought to be focusing some attention on the vast amount of rape, mostly male-on-male, which occurs in US prisons.

        Reply
        1. Anarcissie

          I wrote something in which I tried to treat the class nature of anti-abortion politics, which I think is not immediately apparent, but unfortunately it seems to have been lost in moderation. Don’t know why.

          Reply
    2. WobblyTelomeres

      How do you feel about The Rape Question?

      [Whether a pregnancy as the result of rape can be terminated]

      Asking as one who escorted young women for 5 years at one of Alabama’s few clinics.

      Reply
    3. Eclair

      Thank you, John Beech, for giving us the tale of your conversion from a “100% pro-abortion” person to one who is anti-abortion. I am happy that your wife (in spite of the fact that you so jocularly refer to the chance of her unfaithfulness) and your daughter have provided you with healthy descendants. And, that this miracle of birth has convinced you that all women should be compelled to birth, fully-formed, the result of a male-implanted seed fertilizing their own ovum. They should all share in your joy.

      That you have categorized those women, economically disadvantaged women perhaps, who seek abortions as “those who would flush a baby down the toilet (perhaps so they may continue partying with their friends, having casual sex without intent of procreating whilst gambling on the effectiveness of their chosen method of birth control, or maybe just because they’d rather buy a new television this week),” reveals your rather limited view of sexual activity, as well as an unfortunately sour view of women in general. You have, perhaps, been too much influenced by the ‘Cadillac welfare queen’ meme.

      You know what, John? Sex is fun. It’s part of the great gamut of human relationships. And, the fact that human women are available and ready for sexual activity whether or not they are at the most fertile part of their cycle, does rather suggest that the ‘fun’ part of sex has had some evolutionary advantage. Like, getting males to the think about having sex rather than going out and killing someone. Refocusing those testoseronal urges. When sex is not fun, it is due to a disparity in power relationships. Mainly, women being forced or coerced into sexual activity.

      And, like jackiebass, I do not think that ‘The State,’ which in too many cases equals ‘old white men,’ has the right to impose its view of ‘morality,’ on my body. This view of ‘morality,’ in almost all cases, is not about right and wrong, it is about power. The power to prioritize the protection of their sperm, implanted in a woman, over the woman’s right to control her body. And, a fetus is a woman’s body part. It is not a human. It is not a functioning member of society.

      It irks me that we as a society can support mass incarceration with its soul-killing use of solitary confinement; the creation of ‘sacrifice zones’ where corporate air and water pollution slowly kill off generations of poor children …. I can go on and on here about the homicidal tendencies of our society. But we can drone on about the ‘immorality’ of a poor woman getting an abortion … for whatever reason.

      Reply
      1. SRH

        a fetus is a woman’s body part. It is not a human.

        Wow. I’m an atheist with no fixed opinion on abortion, yet even I can see how misguided that argument is. When does that body part become human with the right to life? At viability? At birth? Why? And please explain why medical staff instantly change their terminology from “foetus” to “baby” when a mother informs them she intends to go full term.

        Reply
    4. Plenue

      That’s a nice collection of ignorant conservative memes you’ve got there.

      The reality is that the vast majority of women who get abortions are not frivolous about it (which is one of the many reasons the people who protest outside clinics can go pound sand. It’s already stressful enough; women don’t need some bible thumper screaming about how they’re going to go to hell).

      Nor are the majority of women who engage in casual sex as frivolous as you clearly think (not that it would matter even if they were. Your attempts at slut-shaming are as pathetic as they are hateful).

      And speaking of morality, life itself is an existential nightmare. We’re born to die, and there’s a lot of misery and suffering in-between. The idea that it’s morally good, or even morally neutral, to impose existence in the first place is at best up for debate.

      And on top of that, we’ve freaking bred ourselves into at least civilizational collapse, and very possibly outright extinction. And if that’s too abstract, know that if you are having a kid now, in 2020, your kid is very likely going to die a premature death caused, directly or indirectly, by climate change.

      Reply
    5. cgregory

      The only person who has the power to say a life is human before a child is born is the mother. If you want to “rescue” a fetus, you, despite being a male, can carry it to term (see my earlier comment about male pregnancy). If you are not willing to do that, then you could perhaps sway the woman by offering to fund the $280,000 she’ll need to nurture it safely through life to high school graduation after you have paid someone else to be the surrogate pregnant.

      If you’re not willing or able to do either of those, then you have to do a self-check to see whether the sight of a happy baby has more to do with providing you a sense of comfort rather than a sense of duty you owe to see that baby grows up well.

      Reply
        1. cgregory

          We, unlike those primitives, prefer, thanks to the so-called “pro-lifers,” to have all of our fetuses at risk to grow up to be abused and neglected in the most horrid ways, with of course horrendous results for families, women and other children. As Ted Bundy’s mother was never in a position to consider abortion, from three to five dozen women paid with their lives for his malnurture.

          Reply
  7. coboarts

    Back in the early 80s one of my Geography professors brought his friend in to speak to our class. His friend was the then CEO of Weyerhaeuser. Through discussions we came to understand the strategy that they used to get housing developments done and avoid the onus of managed growth, where sidewalks, parks, schools and other services were included in the developers costs. They did that by forcing the issue into a binary growth or no growth political reality. That way, it required the electorate, election after election, to turn out to vote down the regularly repeating pro-growth measures placed on the ballots. The one year when the electorate might blink was the year that the developers got full rights to develop without the restrictions that a more managed growth paradigm would have required. I have seen since then that the abortion issue was being treated to the same strategy. The shrill requirement that abortion be treated in an all or nothing political reality. So ladies, your sisters who cry for all-or-nothing abortion rights are either working decidedly against your abortion rights or are useful egits carrying their water. Don’t blink.

    Reply
  8. ALM

    Religious belief has so informed the abortion debate that the ongoing political conflict shows no signs of abating in the foreseeable future. Coupled with our disgraceful social safety net, shamefully high maternal and infant mortality rates, squeamishness about robust sex education for our children, and the expense of birth control, yes I’d say there is very clearly a war against poor women.

    Setting aside our lousy treatment of the poor, the argument we are having is based on notions of personhood which have undergone a monumental and unrecognizable evolution over time. Because only a person can be murdered, it is nonsensical to talk about the murder of fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses prior to viability unless you believe that fertilized eggs, embryos, and unviable fetuses are persons. A lot of folks do believe it based on a religious conviction that personhood begins at conception. A lot of folks don’t because they reject such religious beliefs. As for Mother Nature, she isn’t religious at all because 2/3s of all embryos fail to develop successfully, and these “unborn children and babies” are treated as human waste and are, accordingly, discharged by the body into countless toilets.

    A much better understanding of human biology would surely help us reach a resolution. Most of us are idiots in that regard. Meanwhile and because there is no consensus yet except at the point of fetal viability, religious authorities and the state should back off because they have no standing to impose their will on women and otherwise usurp another’s freedom of conscience.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      What is the meaning of human life, or of organic life altogether? To answer this question at all implies a religion. Is there any sense then, you ask, in putting it? I answer, the man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life.

      Einstein

      Reply
      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Better physicist than philosopher.

        After Obama and McCain’s odd little theater with Rick Warren, I decided that a purposeless life was the wisest choice (vs Warren’s Purpose Driven Drivel).

        Reply
  9. False Solace

    What I find most frightening is the new wave of laws that sanctify embryos to the extent they jail women for daring to have a miscarriage. Given the fact that one-third to one-half of pregnancies naturally end in miscarriage this is especially heinous. Ohio seems particularly fond of these laws and has jailed at least one woman for the crime of miscarrying after the first trimester. Heaven forbid you have a glass of wine once or twice — or disregard your doctor’s advice and continue working to keep your job — or maybe aren’t even aware you’re pregnant. These ambitious prosecutors are only interested in scoring cheap points with the cruel and inhuman religious right.

    What is also quite frightening is the prospect of experiencing an emergency and being taken to a Catholic hospital which will refuse to do a D&C even if you’re in danger of dying from sepsis. Given the consolidation of the hospital industry you could very well end up in a region with no other options but the local Catholic hospital, and God only knows whether they’ll let you die out of convenience to their beliefs. A newspaper (once again I believe in Ohio) documented multiple instances in which women nearly died from this.

    As the article points out, these laws are only enforced against the poor. The rich can always buy what they want. We already know what the world looks like when abortion is illegal or hard to access — emergency room wards were full of their victims.

    Places that allow religious fanatics to pass these laws end up being truly horrific places to live.

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      Is nuts and often political virtue signaling. Miscarriages usually happens for no discernible reason and often before the woman knows that they are pregnant. The usual reason seems to be because of genetic defects causing a spontaneous abortion. Not to mention that what does or does cause a miscarriage is different from woman to woman.

      Maybe if the woman was smoking crack or something twenty hours a day you could make a case, but yes, it usually seems to be a poor woman not living purely or virtuous enough in some perceived way that gets nailed. Don’t give a person healthcare but do give them prison. What a truly screwed up society we have.

      Reply
  10. Aloha

    I totally agree that this is all religious and political theater to keep poor, lower middle class (and even some wealthier) girls/women down and out not to mention being dependent on their husbands. Until there is a birth control method that can be 100% effective and safe 100% of the time and free to all females of reproductive ages there should be no laws for or against how we chose on this subject let alone be anyone else’s business. I can’t believe that it is 2020 and we are still having to fight for basic rights. And if Obama had been true to his campaign in 06 & 07 it was very possible in his first couple of months in office many human rights laws including free healthcare would be in place today.

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  11. notabanktoadie

    A just economic system should minimize the number of abortions.

    Thus, to be truly pro-life one has to be pro-economic justice.

    Sadly, despite having the Old Testament as a guide, the churches are silent wrt this or mangle the message.

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      Of course, but neither the neoliberal Democrats nor the “conservative” Republicans think having an economically just society worth having even if it would reduce the number of abortions to near zero. And too many churches are preaching evil like the prosperity gospel, which is rather like neoliberalism and meritocracy.

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  12. cgregory

    the so-called “pro-life” movement is a dysfunctional self-help group. Not only do they falsely claim to care for “human life,” they are unable to. They adopt at a lower rate than the rest of the population, they are poorer than the average household, and their educational level is lower. Paralyzed by the terrible knowledge of the oblivion that awaits them when they die, they have constructed an allegorical battle, “rescuing” from death a perfect victim, one which cannot gainsay any claims made about its perfection (ask a social worker how many angels he/she is working with in a rehab facility). In this allegory, abortion is Death, the fetus is themselves and they are God. Their reasoning is that if they can “rescue” a fetus, God will “rescue” them from oblivion.

    They are so fixated on abortion, it makes them unable to truly care. That is why they focus on the one segment of the life cycle where they can do absolutely NOTHING to help a human in any way.

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