Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Abortion Rights on the Ballot, Again

This popped up in the New York Times a week or so ago (10/12/08), and I flagged it for later consideration. (One of the nice features of ShareThis, which I have been using a lot lately, is that I can save items to my Blogger draft folder for later consideration. It only saves the link, which is kind of a nuisance, but perhaps there's a setting that I haven't explored that allows me to save the whole item.) If you get a sense of deja vu, go with it:

Abortion Rights on the Ballot, Again

Published: October 12, 2008
Once again this year, opponents of women’s reproductive rights have managed to get initiatives aimed at ending or limiting abortion rights on ballots — in South Dakota, Colorado and California. These measures, which violate women’s privacy and threaten their health, have implications far beyond those states. If voters approve them, they will become a weapon in the right-wing campaign to overturn Roe v Wade.

The South Dakota initiative is a near twin of the sweeping abortion ban handily rejected by South Dakota voters just two years ago. To make the ban seem less harsh, its backers have included language purporting to make exceptions for incest, rape or the life and health of the mother. But no one should be fooled. The exceptions were drafted to make it nearly impossible to get an abortion, even during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Ah yes. One loves how, on their "moral" crusade the great and good "Christians" who are so intent on shoving their point of view down everybody else's throats think nothing of lying to get their way (see "no one should be fooled," above), and have so little regard for the democratic process that the voters having decided a year ago to leave the decision up to families, and not the government, means nothing to them also. They will simply put a new picture on the yard signs, lie about what the measure actually means, and keep slugging.

But to what end? Locally, at least, it's near impossible to find any hard numbers, any way to pin the anti-choice crowd down on the salient question: Precisely how many "babies" will you save per annum by taking away families' right to choose their own medical options? One can hardly believe it is much of a number. I know, I know: If we save even one "baby," etc. I wish these people would devote half their energy to doing something about South Dakota's abysmal infant-mortality rate, one of the worst in the nation--a nation which has one of the worst infant-mortality rates in the industrialized world. I guess the real babies are on their own.

But as the Times rightly points out, part of the anti-choice crowd's lie is that they want to "save babies" here in the heartland. Balderdash. Since it stands to reason that South Dakota's abortion rate is pretty low (after all, we have only about 700,000 residents to begin with, and I know I have never had an abortion, nor ever will), one has to wonder why the big push here in the Mt. Rushmore State. And the answer:

The measure is clearly unconstitutional under existing Supreme Court rulings, and that’s just the point. The underlying agenda is to provide a vehicle for challenging Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion.

Ah, of course! The great "moral" folks behind the big lie wish to not only cram their anti-choice legislation down everybody's throat, they want also to thumb their snotty noses at the United States Supreme Court--for they have no regard for law, let alone democracy--in the hope of thereby imposing their will upon every family in the country.

Which sounds an awful lot like tyranny, not "morality."

But again, they care not. "Morality," "Christianity," "family values"--those are mere facades, cloaks which they don like KKK sheets in order to pass into whatever group they must pass in order to gain control over other people.

It's not about "babies." It's not about "morality," It's certainly not about God! It's about power. It's about them wanting to make sure that nobody does anything that they don't like.

And they're more than happy to purposely break the law--and then spend millions of taxpayers dollars to defend themselves--as part of their "moral" crusade.

Tyranny, yes. Also grand theft.

Several weeks ago I was driving a carload of soon-to-be high-school freshmen out to darkest suburbia. I had a copy of Newsweek in the car, to wile away the time whilst waiting for the aforementioned freshmen. One of them--who I happen to know is, like me, Catholic--commented on the photo of Barack Obama on the cover and inquired as to his fellows' opinions. A few noncommital words were uttered (how quickly we learn to avoid such discussions, but it is true that we live in a time--and, for me, a state--where putting the "wrong" sign in the yard cand and does end friendships and even employment), after which the originator of the "conversation" said that he likes Obama except that Obama "supports abortion" and "that just isn't cool."

It is not my habit to engage fourteen-year-olds in political discussions, and so I did nothing save utter a silent prayer of thanksgiving that he isn't old enough to vote.

But what I said to my son later (so I guess I do engage in political discussions with at least one fourteen-year-old) was twofold:

First, no one "supports" abortion. No one is "in favor of" abortion. No one thinks abortion is a "good idea." Not a single person. I believe, and am on record stating my belief, that abortion is a bad deal on many, many levels. But I believe that that is a reason to work to change the circumstances that put women and families in such a position that abortion is their only option--not strive to make a bad situation worse by making them criminals for pursing that course.

Second, to be pro-choice imposes nothing upon anybody else. I'm pro-choice: so what? It doesn't mean you have to do anything at all. It doesn't require you to get an abortion. It doesn't force anyone to do anything, ever.

But the so-called pro-life position...ah, that's something else again. It is in fact anti-choice, for it says that it is not enough for me to have my beliefs, but you have to believe that way too! And since I can't make you believe anything, well, I have to make sure that you act the way I want. It's not enough for me to say, I don't approve of X so I won't do it...I have to impose my will on you and make sure that you don't do X either, because I don't like it.

And, frankly, I think that "just isn't cool."

So. Back to the polls next month (what part of "no" do these people not understand). And, probably, again in two years.

Eternal vigilance, as they say.

No comments: