Republicans Will Overreach on Abortion

“Rolling back abortion rights is rare in democracies and is a sign of democratic backsliding,” this lady says, and I believe her. Among the dumber arguments some righties are making today is that overturning Roe puts the abortion issue back in the hands of democracyPaul Waldman effectively shreds that claim.

Michelle Goldberg writes that The Death of Roe Is Going to Tear America Apart. I believe her, too. Most righties have no idea what they are about to unleash.

Righties — I refuse to call them “conservatives” — have become so extreme, so cut off from humanity, that they cannot even fake not being sociopaths. They are preparing to make abortion illegal in all circumstances, no exceptions. The raped 12-year-old should just suck it up and give birth, already. They are preparing to make it illegal to send medical abortion meds through the mail. They are writing laws that would stop women from crossing state lines to get abortions elsewhere. They are, in short, behaving like the monsters they are.

And women will die. Women will die all kinds of ways. They’ll die of back-alley abortions. They’ll die because they couldn’t get abortions to save their lives. I don’t expect large numbers of deaths (although I could be wrong), but there will be gut-wrenching deaths.

It’s often said that the beginning of the end of abortion bans in Ireland was the death of Savita Halappanavar, who died from sepsis in 2012 after her request for an abortion was denied on legal grounds.

After Savita presented at Galway University Hospital in severe pain, a doctor examined her and told the couple that “the cervix was fully dilated, amniotic fluid was leaking and unfortunately, the baby wouldn’t survive.”

The doctor, according to Praveen, said it would be over in a few hours, but the fetal heartbeat continued for three more days.

“Savita was really in agony,” Praveen said. “She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby.

She was at only 17 weeks’ gestation, so there was no possible way to save the fetus. Even so, the hospital staff understood that Irish law required that nothing could be done until the fetal heartbeat stopped on its own, which took three days. As soon as the heartbeat could not be detected the contents of her womb were removed, but she died of sepsis a few hours later, in spite of the antibiotics they were pumping into her.

The case shocked Ireland, and a series of reforms were enacted as a result. Since 2018, elective abortion is legal in Ireland to 12 weeks’ gestation, and there are considerable exceptions after that. Back in 2018 I explained why the 12 week gestation limit is workable in Europe but not here. As Katha Pollitt explained in The Nation:

Here’s what’s really different about Western Europe: in France, you can get an abortion at any public hospital and it’s paid for by the government. In Germany, you can get one at a hospital or a doctor’s office, and health plans will pay for it for low-income women. In Sweden, abortion is free through eighteen weeks.

Using tax money to pay for abortions is a nonstarter for righties in the U.S. So here we are.

Women are going to be prosecuted for having abortions. They’re going to be investigated after miscarriages. Indeed, a lot of women may avoid seeking medical care after miscarriages. We know this is true because it’s been true in other countries where abortion is illegal and prosecuted. And it’s happened here already.

Back to Michelle Goldberg:

The right won’t be content to watch liberal states try to undermine abortion bans. As the draft of a forthcoming article in The Columbia Law Review puts it, “overturning Roe and Casey will create a novel world of complicated, interjurisdictional legal conflicts over abortion. Instead of creating stability and certainty, it will lead to profound confusion because advocates on all sides of the abortion controversy will not stop at state borders in their efforts to apply their policies as broadly as possible.”

The fiction they’ve pushed for years is that they just want the abortion question to be decided by the states. That makes it more democratic, see. An intellectually dishonest twit writing in WaPo today tries to make that argument — “The promise of a post-Roe democratization of abortion policy is that the representative institutions of each state can identify policies consistent with the views of its residents.” The states’ rights crowd used to make the same argument for desegregation.

But in truth they aren’t going to leave it at that. Indiana and Missouri won’t be content to allow Illinois to keep abortion legal, I can promise you. Senate Republicans are already pushing for a nationwide ban.

Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he expects a push for federal abortion restrictions.

“Just take my state of North Dakota. Having a North Dakota child killed in the womb in Fargo versus Moorhead, Minnesota, you know, on the other side of the Red River — I don’t find a lot of solace in that just because it didn’t happen in my state,” Cramer said. “I think you could expect that pro-life activists would push for federal protections. I mean, I wouldn’t take that off the table.”

Related — here’s your ideal Republican candidate, who just won a primary in Indiana —

A Lebanon man accused of killing his wife in March and dumping her body in a creek is among the candidates to advance in a local election after Indiana’s primaries Tuesday.

Andrew Wilhoite, who’s suspected of fatally striking his wife with a gallon-sized concrete flower pot, secured a spot Tuesday as one of three Republican candidates in the race for a seat on the Clinton Township Board.

The 40-year-old has been incarcerated in the Boone County Jail since March after police said he told investigators he threw a concrete flower pot at his wife, Nikki Wilhoite, the night before and dropped her body over the side of a bridge.

Hey, it was only a wife. Nobody important.

10 thoughts on “Republicans Will Overreach on Abortion

  1. She was at only 17 weeks’ gestation, so there was no possible way to save the fetus. Even so, the hospital staff understood that Irish law required that nothing could be done until the fetal heartbeat stopped on its own, which took three days. As soon as the heartbeat could not be detected the contents of her womb were removed, but she died of sepsis a few hours later, in spite of the antibiotics they were pumping into her.

    Anyone who doesn't understand why viability is a bright line in the abortion debate needs to think about this. In a sensible health care system, knowing a fetus at 17 weeks – long before viability! – is going to die anyway is more than sufficient cause to induce a therapeutic abortion.

    This case illustrates the problem *perfectly*. But it should also raise other questions. For example, what if she could carry the fetus to term, but, she wouldn't be able to have more children afterward? Should she have the right to decide that a 17 week fetus, that isn't likely to survive, is worth the living children she might give birth to later? A lot of people might make a different choice than a woman in that situation, and any specific woman's desires might seem entirely wrong to another woman.

    Pro-choice is not pro-abortion – pro-choice means "it's not my choice, so it doesn't *have* to be the choice I'd make. I can't say it's the wrong choice, for this particular woman." (And remember, I'm not specifying *which* choice – merely acknowledging that different choices will be the right choices… for the right people.)

    • Much of the "pro-life" movement is NOT pro-life;  they are for forced-birth and the consequences do not matter.

      Almost all of the "forced-birthers" are so because of their religious beliefs.  I am old enough to remember when "freedom of religion" meant freedom from having a religion force their dogma on all Americans.

  2. Women have been having abortions since humans figured this whole sex thing out.  Eventually, they figured out that having sex can = having baby(ies).

    In modern times, we figured out how to make abortions very safe.  And we made having an abortion legal.  

    But RepubliKKKLANS/KKKonsevatives want to turn the clock back to when having one was neither safe, nor rare. And make getting one, or attempting to, illegal.

    Here's a sign I would carry if I could still march:  "RepubliKKKLANS For 'Forced Labor.'"

    When Roe was being decided, I was 14 or 15, and my Father – who I tried to use as a model; and so I read the NY Times, and watched Uncle Walter C. on CBS with him – asked me if I had to choose between my wife and the baby, which would I choose to have live.

    "The baby," I said.  My logic was, 'I love my wife, but she's already lived.  The baby hasn't.  So I chose the baby.'

    My Father gave me some old Ukrainian advice.

    "Picture you're a serf (a slave in Russia).  Would you still make the same choice?"

    "Sure.  Why wouldn't I?", I retorted.

    "As a serf, you work in the fields from before sun-up, and past sun-down.  You can't feed the baby, so who will?  You can't nurture, you're out in the field.  You can't take the baby out in the field with you."

    And then he gave me a long list of reasons for choosing your wife over the baby.

    It made sense to me back then.  And it still make sense now.

    If you are shocked by today's RepubliKKKLANS/KKKonservatives, you haven't been paying attention over the last half-century.

    They want total control over everyone, and everything.

    They must be stopped!

    I'm glad I live in a sane state:  NY.  I feel for the people of states with out-of-their-minds GQP legislatures/governors.

    I still think we'll be having a civil war in one form or another relatively soon.  

    It would be a shame if the United States dis-united.

    But better that than living in some cracker Theocracy!

  3. I really agree with the title and I'd like t to expand on it with w few things I've seen on social media and read in the media.

    1) Roughly half the states will effectively ban abortion through laws they will or have passed. Most of the states that allow abortion will pass laws to prohibit cooperating with states that banned abortion in future efforts to police residents of red states who crossed state lines to get a legal abortion in a blue state.

    2) I have seen links to a youtube video w/ instructions on how to make an abortion pill – the key ingredient is a chemical commonly available through a veterinarian supply. I saw a link to a doctor outside the US who will ship the abortion pill(s) to the US.

    3) I shared a cleverly worded meme suggesting that if you had a need to go "camping" out of state and you needed someone to drive or support you in your sudden desire for "camping", they'd happily assist, no questions asked. That's the rudimentary beginning of an underground railway. I suggested that if Democrats were to make the effort to educate citizens about nullification, enforcement of these draconian laws through a jury trial might become a real problem. ONE juror can hang a jury! (But people have to know that nullification of a law is the citizen's RIGHT!) 

    4) I have still not seen an answer whether an abortion clinic on N/A land (AKA reservation) would be legal in a red state because it's land under federal – not state – jurisdiction? 

    5) I'd dearly like to see Democrats propose legislation that any woman flying out of the US be tested before and after – take away the rich man's exemption to abortion laws. Because the male anti-abortion zealot wants to be able to reverse the pregnancy of his wife (when it's not his baby) or his mistress (when it is his baby.)  

    6) The media is going to be poised to advertise every tragic forced pregnancy in the news. As Maha's post suggested, this is a powerful way to change public opinion – which is already in a firm majority opposed to ending Roe.

    The end game has to be to create enough support to pack the court. The five who will strike down Roe know they are in the minority and do not care. They will apply the reasoning that they are leaving it to democracy at the state level when they strike down Roe, but they apply the exact opposite reasoning of protecting state's rights when blue states codify protection for a woman's right to an abortion AND medical privacy if she goes out of state.  So we will (I predict) soon see that only red states have state's rights. 

    Prohabition was created by Congress and reversed by Congress. The USSC will not restore Roe in my lifetime UNLESS Congress packs the court. For that to happen there has to be a LOT of public opposition to this extreme court.

    • Expanding SCOTUS would only be one [more] move in an endless game of tit-for-tat.  The problem is not that "conservatives" have a numerical majority of this or that body.  The problem is that "conservatism" is imagined to be legitimate, because its true nature (as pseudophilosophical scaffolding for secondary manifestations of infantility) is not understood.  

      • Allow me to unfold some history for you. The last election won by a Republican in the Electoral College AND the popular vote was George Bush in 2004, the second term. IMO, he was riding the Sept 11 wave as a wartime president and still only won by a half-percent of the popular vote. To find a Republican who won with both the popular vote AND the EC before that, you have to go to HW Bush in 1988 against Dukakis. 

        You said there would be tit-for-tat if the Democrats pack the court. Republicans will need simultaneous control of the WH, Senate and House to counter-pack the court. (It takes a law from Congress signed by the president.) They'd be doing this with the obvious intent of re-banning abortion, and attacking gay rights, and pretty much the spectrum of civil rights, which isn't popular and will be LESS popular after the impact of striking down Roe is felt.

        Strategically, Republicans can only re-pack the House if they get the presidency, which will be possible (and they know it) through voter suppression and gerrymandering, both of which would be struck down by the Democratic USSC. (I don't like the phrase 'Democratic USSC' as the court should not be partisan. But this is the GOP court enacting a political agenda. The court that undoes that agenda will be Democratic.) 

        If the US Supreme Court ever makes elections free and fair in the US, the GOP will have to move to the center to win control – ever.

  4. Was it George Carlin who once said anti- abortion is really anti-women?

    • Well, and that's also an interesting point.

      Most anti-abortion people are acting out of misogynist impulses. That doesn't mean all are misogynists. It means misogyny is so baked into society that it doesn't stand out.

      For example, in the 70s, a common reducto ad absurdum argument was "if abortion is made illegal as of the moment of conception[1], people would have to outlaw some forms of birth control!"

      People scoffed and scornfully said that it would never happen. Et viola, just like a violin, only different… no, wait. Et VOILA – and there you have it.

      It's worth noting that most forms of birth control that are said to "maybe" prevent a fertilized egg from implanting *can't*. The timing is all wrong.

      See, we tend to imagine sperm swimming up to a waiting egg. The actual timing is such that the egg has to drop into the (tired after their long journey) sperm. It takes time for microscopic critters to swim the few inches from vaginal canal to the uterus. and they only last a few days.

      So: Plan B might stop a fertilized egg from implanting *if* sex happened several days ago. If taken as expected – "the morning after" or within a brief window – it prevents the egg from being released, and the sperm will die a natural death of old age. Similarly for low-hormone contraceptives – these were also considered a similar risk.

      Mind you, I'm not saying a Catholic person will want to use those forms of birth control, but, again, that's why it's called "pro-choice" – the woman chooses what matters *to her*, not to a bunch of presumptuous, mis-arrogant, bullying morons who managed to win elections.

      [1] It's impossible to make "abortion" illegal from the moment of conception. As of conception, the woman isn't pregnant – there's no pregnancy to abort. Now, a short time afterward (I don't know how long) the embryo will implant – hopefully in the uterine wall! – and then pregnancy begins.

  5. WASHINGTON — Republicans have spent decades attacking the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, but with the toppling of Roe v. Wade seemingly imminent, their leaders in Congress and around the country have grown suddenly quiet on the issue, part of a bid to avoid a backlash against their party ahead of the midterm elections.

    They are overreaching, and McConnell knows it. It doesn't help that the leaked Alito draft repeatedly cites a 16th century misogynist in William Hale to buttress his opinion, which just drives home the point that this is bigger than abortion; its about men having control over women's bodies, as well as generally threatening the right of people to run their lives without government interference, something the right screams about, but only when it suits them.  Its rights for me but not for thee.

    Its obvious now that under republican control, the supreme court has lost perspective.  Rather than an impartial final arbiter of justice based on the Constitution, its become an unabashedly partisan, political arm of the right, devoid of ethics and integrity.  Its unavoidable now that Alito, Kavanaugh, Barrett and Gorsuch lied in their confirmation hearings.  That Thomas can get away with not recusing himself to rule to apparently protect his wife and her movement to undermine the government without consequence.  Speaking of Thomas, so arrogant is he, steeped in the corrupted power on the highest court in the land, that he recently said the court cannot be "bullied" into a "preferred outcome," e.g. citizens should not protest whatever the court decides.  

    As an institution the court doesn't have ethics rules, and that was probably because it was thought that anyone that sits on the court would be of the highest integrity and ethics.  

    The ONLY way to fix this is by expanding the court to neutralize the extreme partisans placed there by the GOP.  Democrats need to for once play long game politics and work to get the pieces in place to do just that.  This means motivating people to come out to vote for democrats to gain control of the House, Senate and Presidency and make court expansion a top priority.

    The pushback from the democratic establishment is that it is a "radical move."  But its hardly as radical as what the GOP has done to the court.  We just need to have the political will and the leaders with the courage and common sense to work for it.


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