The Obvious Misogyny of Abortion Rights Opponents

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A Pregnant Woman

Opponents of abortion rights hate women.

They like to claim that prohibiting abortion is good for women. In Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstadt, 579 U.S. __ (2016), the Supreme Court struck down Texas statutes regulating abortion clinics, advertedly, according to the State of Texas, to help ensure the safety of women undergoing the procedure. The Court found that the purported safety regulations imposed an undue burden on women seeking an abortion, to no real medical benefit.

That is, the claim to advance the safety of women getting abortions was pretextual, made up, bullshit, to use a term that judges do not use.

Now that the appointment of two more Catholics to the Court leads opponents of abortion rights to think that they can easily win reversal of the major abortion rights decision, Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) states are falling all over themselves enacting new restrictions on abortion, in some cases effectively prohibiting it entirely, laws that clearly violate existing law, but in doing so, offer easy pickings for getting a case up to the Supreme Court.

Comes now Harper’s Bazaar (how bad does it have to be for a fashion magazine to publish a straight up political essay?) making the quite reasonable observation that, in a nation with the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world — again, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world — forcing women to carry fetuses to delivery is too often a de facto death sentence, it is very hard to see how prohibitions of abortion in any way serve the interests of women.

Obsessing over abortion instead of working on reducing the maternal mortality rate is obvious misogyny in itself. Opponents of abortion rights see women only as incubators of babies. Any woman who is not pregnant is useless, so letter her die during or soon after delivery is not a problem.

The new statute in Alabama has attracted the most attention, even disagreement from the chair of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, who thought it should allow abortions for pregnancies that result from rape or incest. It does not. It does provide a penalty of up to 99 years in prison for any doctor who performs an abortion. The only exception it allows is to preserve the life of the mother.

It is still a hypothetical because the law has yet to take effect, but a similar statute in Ohio would prevent an eleven year old girl who is pregnant after multiple rapes by a twenty-six year old man from aborting the pregnancy. Presumably the Alabama law would have the same effect.

Maybe someone can come up with some explanation for how forcing an eleven year old girl to carry her rapist’s baby to term in any way benefits women, but it is very hard to see.

Then there is the point that, as many observers have pointed out recently, fertility clinics destroy fertilized embryos all the time, which, for fervent opponents of abortion rights, is no different than an abortion from a moral perspective, or if they see some difference, they need to explain it. But no one protests at fertility clinics. Why not? Why are fertilized embryos at those clinics not as worthy as the embryos women carry into abortion clinics?

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have an answer — no opportunity to harass women. At the end of the day, harassing women and trying to control their sex and sexuality is what prohibiting abortion is really all about. They don’t care about “the unborn.” They definitely do not care about the fact that the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world. Anyone who really cares about babies and “family values” would make the maternal mortality rate their first priority.

But opponents of abortion rights are all about misogyny, first, last, and only.

Written by

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

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