Photo of psychotic shooter courtesy of CNN
Recent events in Colorado, where a deranged lunatic decided it was his duty to shoot up a Planned Parenthood clinic, has brought back up to a boil the perpetually-simmering “conversation” about abortion in this country. Only it’s not a conversation; it’s two people on totally different planets, speaking at each other. The following is a post I wrote in 2012 after an attempt by anti-abortion absolutists in Mississippi to pass a “personhood” law, to make any newly-fertilized egg a “person”. Mississippi voted it down, but that hasn’t stopped folks, as you can see. Here’s what I wrote then, and it depresses me it’s still applicable:
With the recent defeat of the “Personhood” amendment in Mississippi, along with the continued support that the “personhood” idea has in Republican party and, most depressingly, in the Republican Presidential candidates, I’ve been thinking about abortion a lot over the past few months. I don’t want to; it’s a depressing topic. But there it is. And what I’ve come to is that anti-abortion folks will never see eye-to-eye with pro-choice folks.
For a long time, I totally didn’t understand the anti-abortion folks. Yes, they believe a fetus is a person, but the underlying assumption that women can’t be trusted to make this decision, or that women cavilierly just walk into a clinic and use abortion as birth control, just sickened me, honestly. How could a rational person actually believe that.
And then I realized that it’s because they believe a fetus is a person. I know you know that, but let me break it down a bit.
I think pro-choice people make a big mistake in how they frame the issue. “It’s about women’s health!” they say. “The health of the mother! Do you want to force a woman to bear the child of a rape, or incest, or that might kill her?” All those arguments make perfect sense to me, but they’re falling on deaf ears. Because from the moment it is created, the fetus is a person. Don’t you see? It a human being, with rights and privileges. And an abortion is, literally, murder.
So arguing that they shouldn’t force their beliefs on you strikes these folks as absurd; this is murder. Surely murder is one of the few areas where the rights of the state to enforce laws over-rides everything else? This is not (as Rachel Maddow puts it) “Wanting the government to regulate every woman’s uterus;” this is merely a logical extension of the government acting against a heinous crime, i.e. murder.
In this context, Roe v. Wade is immaterial; this is murder. Murder shouldn’t be allowed, period. Saying that if you support capital punishment but are against abortion is immaterial to these folks; capital punishment is the rightous punishment of the state for committed crimes. Abortion is murder, and shouldn’t be allowed. And any danger to the mother, or forcing her to carry the child of rape, or incest? It’s completely beside the point; killing that fetus is murder, so if a woman has to suffer to save that life, so be it. If the woman’s life is at risk to carry that pregnancy to term, that’s a risk they should be willing to take to save a life. That microscopic multi-celled creature is a person to these people, and aborting it is murder, and murder is evil. Period, end of discussion. Do you see?
And when you toss in that a good percentage of these folks believe that any sex not focused on procreation, any sex that is engaged in for pleasure only, is genuinely evil, well, it’s an easy call for them. (And clearly if non-procreative sex is evil, any woman who engages in it is clearly a whore, and deserves what she gets. I don’t think all anti-abortion folks think that, but I bet plenty of them do.)
Now as we saw in Mississippi, these folks are not even a majority of the population in one of the reddest states in the country, so they’re clearly a minority. But they’re a loud minority, and one which is never going to change their point of view, and which is (as we seen with the heinous murders of abortion doctors) very dangerous. I don’t know how to fix the problem, but I do know two things: we’ll never see eye-to-eye with them, and arguing about “women’s health” as a way to change their minds is simply going to fall on deaf ears.
The conversation post-shooting has been a perfect example of this. While not exactly condoning the shooter, the right-wing has been screaming about “baby parts” and Planned Parenthood “making a profit out of selling them”, something which is absolute errant nonsense, but which they believe. Some of these folks state publicly that all the other healthcare services provided by Planned Parenthood—i.e. the 97% of their services that aren’t abortion—are just a smokescreen to cover up their highly-profitable abortion-and-baby-parts-sale scam. And yes, I’m serious. And yes, it’s goddamn scary.
Arguing rationally with such folks seems to be a total waste of time. So what can we do? Support groups like Planned Parenthood, women’s health services, vote in politicians who don’t have their heads up their shorts on these issues, and do our best. Because these people, we’re just never going to convince them.
P.S.: I know I haven’t been posting much lately. Aside from selling our house and moving earlier in the year, I changed jobs about a month ago, so it’s been kind of a busy time for the ol’ family here. I’ll try to do better. Not that there’s been a huge outcry or anything.