Thursday, May 24, 2018

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin: Two Republican US Senate Candidates Would Ban All Abortions.

Wisconsin's Republican US Senate candidates Kevin Nicholson and Leah Vukmir are fighting for the votes of the forced-birthers*.  They have both told a pro-life advocacy group that they favor a ban on abortions with no exceptions.

Kevin and Leah want American girls and women to have a future where they, too,  can be raped and then die giving birth to the rapist's child, as recently happened to a young girl in Paraguay.  And Paraguay's laws aren't even quite as stringent as the ones Kevin and Leah desire here:

They would allow no abortion, ever.

It doesn't matter if the woman dies.  It doesn't even matter if her death means that the fetus also dies.  The outcome to be avoided, at all cost, is the one where only the fetus dies by being aborted, in order to save the life of its "host."

I can think of various theoretical frameworks that might be used to analyze the values of Kevin and Leah.  We could use the idea of the "federal" personhood law which argues that a fertilized egg should have full human rights, and that therefore all abortion equals murder.

That way of thinking results in almost complete lack of human rights for the actual existing human being who is pregnant, because it turns her into a container, an aquarium, the "environment" for the growing embryo, something to be monitored and regulated.  It also allows Kevin and Leah, and others who think likewise, to regard her death as not killing when the means of killing her are not to give her the medical treatment that would save her life.

Another framework, a rather trivial one, is to note that if we changed laws so that Kevin and Leah were pleased, the objective risks of pregnancy would rise.  Fewer women might choose to have children, especially when they realize that their own value for the society is only that of a fetal aquarium, that medical practitioners might not intervene if the pregnancy turns very dangerous.

Finally, a very different framework might suggest that what's going on in those proposals might better be called the sperm personhood law, because extremists like Kevin and Leah would do their utmost to protect the chances that a sperm which has fertilized an egg will then result in the birth of a child.

My own emotional reaction to these news is to feel that for many forced-birthers women, indeed, have no intrinsic human value.


*  Ireland, also meanwhile,  will soon vote on the possible repeal of its constitutional ban on almost all abortions.  As Katha Pollitt writes, polls suggest that the repeal might win, but after the Trump and Brexit fiascos many people no longer feel that they can rely on the polls.

As she also writes, the Catholic Church has played a  role on the side which does not want to see the current ban repealed.  Religiously conservative groups are, in general, the base of various forced-birth movements.

It may not be an accident that such groups are male-dominated, often believe in the subjugation of women, and tend to have trouble with drawing the line where god-approved domination of women might become abuse.  Reproductive rights make women more independent, and that is bad news for such groups.