Monday, December 07, 2009

David Kurtz is Confused:

An odd exchange on Fox News a short time ago. I know. That never happens, right? But this one has me really confused. Genuinely.

The host was Alisyn Camerota, and she was doing a panel on health care reform where Bob Beckel was playing the liberal going up against Kate Obenshain of the conservative Young America's Foundation.

The discussion turned to abortion restrictions in the health care reform bill, and of course Obenshain is opposed to any federal funds going to abortions, even indirectly via insurance policies subsidized by federal dollars.

At which point Camerota asks her, "If there is no federal money used to subsidize abortions for low-income women, doesn't that mean there will be more low-income babies, and do any of these amendments talk about the health care for them then?"

Obenshain sort of does a double take and stumbles through an answer to the question. She is clearly put off her game, or confused, or maybe horrified. I was mostly confused.

What's not to get? Sometimes Babies are a moral good that evil, slutty, poor, feminist women refuse precisely because they are good and the women are bad. Sometimes Babies are seen as some kind of luxury that evil, slutty, poor, feminist women are trying to access without paying the appropriate luxury tax (like getting married, or having lots of money). Sometimes Babies are thought of as the natural punishment and consequence of evil, slutty, shiftless/poor, and feminist behavior which women try to avoid because they won't accept responsibility and accountability. Each of those positions on babies and their temporary vessels necessitates a different attitude towards abortion--and towards the kind of women who get abortions.

Basically The Fox position, and the conservative one generally, is that the only people who need abortions are poor, minority, sluts who shouldn't be allowed to become mothers anyway. This gets complicated when it comes to informing public policy because Fox and conservatives are only against abortion when abortion is seen as something the wrong kind of woman wants, for the wrong reasons. When abortion is something that women really don't want, its going to end up being a cornerstone of things conservatives want. You might say the whole discussion is analogous to the one we've been having with conservatives about torture, or rape. Things that normal people are opposed to on principle conservatives are opposed to only when they are happening to the "wrong people" or done for the "wrong reasons."

In fact, if having a baby were an entitlement and thought of as a luxury the Fox news team and the entire conservative movement would oppose it and mandate abortions for poor women. You watch and see--if we were ever to even hint at universal pre-natal care and fully government funded family leave for all women Fox and the conservative party would insist on sterilizing all poor and minority women--and they'd do it on both moral and fiscally conservative grounds.

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