Thursday, March 31, 2011


I see that Indiana is on the verge of passing one of the most restrictive abortion laws in America, a law that would ban abortion after 20 weeks and require deceptive "counseling" on the supposed link between abortion and breast cancer. Via Zandar, I see that an amendment offering a rape and incest exception to the bill was voted down after a Republican state representative, Erik Turner, said that would lead to a lot of women to lie about being raped.

In Arizona I see, via Balloon Juice, that the GOP-dominated government has solved a non-problem:

Arizona is the first state in the nation to make sex- or race-selection abortions a crime.

Gov. Jan Brewer on Tuesday signed into law House Bill 2443, which makes it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion based on the sex or race of the fetus.

Opponents of the measure have questioned whether such a practice was really occurring....

The law allows the father of an aborted fetus -- or, if the mother is a minor, the mother's parents -- to take legal action against the doctor or other health-care provider who performed the abortion....

Pro-choicers see all this and despair. Anti-choicers know that this kind of thing can go on indefinitely -- whether they understand it consciously or not, they've figured out that a "death to abortion rights by a thousand cuts" strategy won't be stopped, or even slowed down, because of just-world thinking: that is, because every time a new law of this kind is proposed, the people who might actively oppose it think to themselves, "Well, that wouldn't necessarily affect me. I'm sure I'd deal with a problem pregnancy long before 20 weeks. I'm sure I'd grit my teeth and just ignore the lies in the 'counseling.' I'm sure I could swing three sick days if I had to travel for an abortion and my state imposed a 72-hour waiting period."

This is human. It's understandable.

It's why I think that, in purple states where teabaggers are on the rise but where there's still a healthy percentage of liberals and pro-choice moderates, I'd like to see pro-choicers forcing votes on full abortion bans -- bans that would take effect in the event of a Roe overturn. I'm not sure even that would have an impact unless we were on the verge of a Republican presidency. (But, given President Obama's recent poll numbers, is that necessarily so far-fetched?)

I really don't think Republicans outside deep-red states want to vote on an outright abortion ban -- based on their declared principles, they'd have to vote yes, but they know it's what would motivate activists on our side. So I think they'd bottle up a bill of this kind wherever they could. But efforts to force such votes might be worth a try. I don't see what else will wake up the pro-choice population.

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