A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

Tag: abortion

Catholics Praise Obama As Pro Life, Hamburgers Will Now Eat People

by evanmcmurry

A writer for the National Catholic Reporter on the abortion politics of the two candidates:

There is no doubt Obama is pro-choice. He has said so many times. There is also no doubt Romney is running on what he calls a pro-life platform. But any honest analysis of the facts shows the situation is much more complicated than that.

For example, Obama’s Affordable Care Act does not pay for abortions. In Massachusetts, Romney’s health care law does. Obama favors, and included in the Affordable Care Act, $250 million of support for vulnerable pregnant women and alternatives to abortion. This support will make abortions much less likely, since most abortions are economic. Romney, on the other hand, has endorsed Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan’s budget, which will cut hundreds of millions of dollars out of the federal plans that support poor women. The undoubted effect: The number of abortions in the United States will increase. On these facts, Obama is much more pro-life than Romney.

Makes sense to me. Via Erin Gloria Ryan at Jezebel, it’s about time some on the right started realizing that the frequency of abortions is exacerbated, not eliminated, by prohibition:

Thinking you can reduce the number of abortions by making abortion illegal and then making life extra crappy for women so they’d be more likely to want to have abortions is sort of like a pitcher walking all of the batters in baseball so none of them hit home runs and then acting all confused when the score keeps increasing. Sure, some abortions will always be matters of “convenience” or “lifestyle,” two reasons for terminating a pregnancy often sneered at by the anti-abortion rights set, but many of those “convenience” abortions occur because it’s not very “convenient” when you’re a single woman trying to live on a minimum wage income and you’re not getting any help from anyone.

That it was a Catholic newspaper that brought this up—one that just finished up its defense of some of Catholicism’s less-defensible practices—is something. As Balloon Juice points out, you know you’re pitching something foul when an institution that backs pedophile-employers doesn’t want anything to do with you:

That’s some good reasoning, but it’s preceded by a defense of Cardinal Dolan that includes Canon Law justification of Dolan paying pedophile priests. In a way, that makes it even more remarkable, since even someone who can defend Dolan for that kind of stuff sees through the Romney/Ryan bullshit.

(via The Non Sequitur, with criticisms)

Virginia v Abortion Clinics, A Play In Infinite Acts

by evanmcmurry

After an ill-conceived experiment in Mississippi, states are back to using the cloak of “concern for women’s health” to pass non-sensical abortion restrictions. Yesterday, a Virginia law that would require all clinics that provide abortions—including the 20 clinics already standing—to meet the “strict architectural standards” of new hospitals just cleared an important administrative hurdle. The law’s implementation will force most of the existing clinics to close, as they could not possibly have been built in compliance with a future regulation. Which, of course, is exactly the point, but all parties involved are maintaining that the regulation is in the interest of women’s health:

“The women of Virginia deserve safety in any medical situation, abortion included…The abortion industry should want to provide the best standards of care for their clients.”  (via the Virginia-Pilot)

Note the lack of explanation. The “undue burden” part of Casey v. Planned Parenthood has been so narrowly applied by the courts that states need only invoke the motive of protecting women to pass any restriction they want, no matter how onerous, or how irrelevant to women’s heath. What forcing 20 existing clinics conform to regulations on new construction has to do with women’s health doesn’t matter; the claim need only be made.

This is the exact type of move that Mississippi may have endangered when it didn’t even bother to invent an excuse for its most recent abortion restriction that mandated OBGYNs who perform abortions have admitting privileges in local hospitals (the hospitals refused their requests, completing the trap). The bill was such a blatant attempt to close the last remaining abortion clinic in MS that a George W Bush appointed judge struck it down, citing a complete lack of evidence that it was enacted in the interests of women’s health.

The question now is whether Mississippi just accidentally tipped the entire pro-life movement’s hand—i.e., can the motives of a legislature that passes a bill like Virginia’s now be taken credulously, when their play is so obvious? It’s like catching someone at a poker table cheating; how much are you going to believe their next hand of four aces?

It will be interesting to see if higher courts strike down Mississippi’s law for good, and how broadly they write their opinion if/when they do so; they may decide Mississippi has gone too far, and that Casey needs to be applied more actively to all abortion restrictions. If so, it would be nice poetic justice if this bill Virginia just passed is struck down because it doesn’t meet the demands of a future law.

This Is Only A Drill, Romney Pro-Choice Running Mate Edition

by evanmcmurry

The Condi-Rice-As-VP balloon that rose untethered into the sky late last week was an obvious attempt to distract from Romney’s Bain pummeling. But there’s something too simple—and unanswered—about that explanation (it didn’t work anyway). Why a Condi balloon, as opposed to a Rubio or a Christie or a Portman? Nobody pulled her name out of a hat. If it’s one thing Republicans have learned not to do, it’s blindly select women people to be their VP nominees.

I suggested at the time that it might have been some conservative machinator’s attempt to let Romney know, early and forcefully, that there would be no selecting of a candidate who didn’t pass the social conservative litmus test. Condi Rice has described herself as “mildly pro-choice“—which I guess means she only approves of abortions for women who are “mildly” pregnant or only allowing states to “mildly” burden clinics with onerous restrictions. Sure enough, @socialconservatives, who didn’t get the memo that this wasn’t ever serious, lost their shit on Twitter.

Said chorus has since gotten louder:

Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission: “I contacted my contacts within the campaign and said, ‘You can’t do this…The key here is this is the first nomination in a proposed Romney administration,” he explained, “and it cannot be someone who’s pro-choice, because that reactivates all the old doubts about whether pro-life is a preference, or a conviction, with the Romney administration.”

Choosing Rice for the No. 2 job, Land added, “would deactivate some pro-life activists and contributors into being mere voters, and some mere voters into being fishermen” — meaning they wouldn’t bother to vote at all.

Other Christian leaders have echoed those sentiments. On Friday, Fox News host and former GOP presidential contender Mike Huckabee, whose own name has been floated for the job, declared it would be “a disaster” if Romney were to name Rice his No. 2. 

“They’d sit on their hands,” Huckabee said of his fellow social conservatives. “Absolutely they will.”

(Sitting on your hands is also what Huckabee’s crowd uses instead of condoms; they call it “second base.”)

So somebody wanted to deliver a message to Romney: choose a running mate who’s not a social conservative, and you can kiss our money and our votes goodbye. That somebody hit the pro-life alarm button, and the pro-life folks slid down the poll, already in their uniforms, not knowing that this was just a drill.

Which is too bad for Romney, as he really needs a woman or two to vote for him in the fall, and he has just received notice that he needs to pick a Veep who will be boldly anti-women’s health. For Romney, this just gets worse and worse and worse.

Adventures in Declarative Sentences

by evanmcmurry

From the syntax-makes-it-true file: “It is not invasive. It does not attempt to infringe in any way on the doctor-patient relationship, and it absolutely does not infringe on her right to have an abortion.” That, fetus, is your first grammar lesson.