Thursday, October 05, 2017

Here We Go Again: Banning Abortions

A ban on abortion after twenty weeks has passed the US House, with pretty much the Republicans voting for it and the Democrats against it.  Exceptions to the ban would be granted when the life of the pregnant woman is at risk and in the case of incest and rape.

The Republicans justify the ban on the grounds of fetal pain, arguing that fetuses can feel pain at twenty weeks of gestation.  Scientific consensus doesn't seem to agree.

All this is according to the usual Republican playbook.  The fundamentalist Christians and extreme Christianists vote for that party — despite the fact that its general principles are very much against the preaching of Jesus* — in the hopes that abortion would be made completely illegal** and the Republicans always deliver by offering various partial obstacles to abortions.

They don't want to actually make abortion illegal, because then they might lose those fundamentalists as voters.  They simply want to always "almost-succeed," never quite getting there.  That is a tricky game to play.

Here's another interesting game the Republicans are playing:  Justifying the timing of this bill with an appeal to the Las Vegas massacre:

In the aftermath of two recent acts of gun violence, the House GOP caucus has been inspired not to pursue gun control legislation that could prevent future mass shootings, but instead to crack down on reproductive rights.
“As we mourn the lives lost in Las Vegas this week, and welcome Whip Scalise back to Capitol Hill, we are reminded just how precious life is,” the GOP caucus writes in a blog post about new anti-abortion legislation approved by the House on Tuesday. “This message weighed heavily on the hearts of House Republicans as we spoke of the potential of life — especially lives cut short through abortion.”
So an older man kills at least fifty-eight people and the first thing that enters the minds of those Republican politicians is that they have to do something about all those women having abortions!  What interesting brains they must have.

But then something like 80% of white Evangelical Christians in the US voted for Trump, who was anything but the obvious choice for a believer.  What interesting religions people have...


*  Jesus wasn't exactly for free markets or for not paying taxes to the government, and he chased the money lenders out of the temple.

**  Given that the Bible doesn't even mention abortion, the immense focus on it among the fundamentalists is best explained by their strong desires to make this society properly patriarchal, with most women staying at home and their husbands deciding how many children they will have.

They also appear to heartily dislike the idea that women would have any agency about sexuality.  Women should be first virgins and then chaste (except when their husbands decree otherwise), and  all wanton women should face the proper punishment for an unplanned pregnancy:  to give birth.  There's so much weird about those values.

That's even visible in the exemptions the new ban would provide.  The three grounds given for exemptions: the life of the woman at risk, incest and rape, all seem to have different rationales.  The last two are hard to justify based on presumed fetal pain.  But so is the fact that no exemption is given to those children who are going to born into short and painful lives due to congenital abnormalities.