Friday, May 13, 2022

Abortion is murder; oh wait, no it’s not

Museum of Science & Industry

     Less than 48 hours after the draft of a Supreme Court opinion that would scuttle Roe v. Wade was leaked in the press, the Louisiana legislature moved a bill out of committee that criminalizes any abortion, from the moment of conception, as a homicide, allowing women who have such a procedure, or anyone who performs one, to be charged with murder.
     Meanwhile, at the same time, states like Illinois rush to guarantee the right of women to control their own bodies, and certain companies, like Levi Strauss, Yelp and Uber, announce they will pay for female employees to go out of state to have an abortion — raising the specter of a nation where a citizen doing something in one state can get reimbursed by her boss, while doing the exact same thing in another state lands her in prison.
     Unless it doesn’t. Late Thursday, after even anti-choice advocates protested that they were overplaying their hands, supporters clawed the bill back. For now.
     Punishing women who get abortions makes for bad optics and, besides, it implies that they are responsible for their own decisions, and not merely the playthings of men, who are the ones with volition and therefore the ones who should be punished.
     Louisiana tossing out harsh laws and then yanking them back is the kind of chaos we can expect in the months to come. Religious fanaticism and forethought do not go hand in hand. If you set your daughter on fire because you feel shamed by who she is dating, then you probably didn’t deeply consider that you won’t have a daughter anymore and might be casting an even greater shame on your family.
     Ditto for political fanaticism. If you bar immigrants because you are terrified at the thought of a diverse America, then the strawberries rot in the field, because we actually need immigrants to make the economy work — to be surgeons as well as pick fruit, I must point out.

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  1. Naturally I agree with your illustration of the hypocrisy of the poorly informed but you did raise an issue that has bothered me since I was a young man. Yes, we are giving immigrants an opportunity to earn more than they might in their native lands but their lives are still, by our standards, a meager existence.
    Are we not exploiting them so that the price of produce is reasonable and the profits of the farm owners are high? Cesar Chavez gave it a great effort but not much has changed since then. Most of us, including me, block that part out as we enjoy the fruits of their labor.

    1. And of course the "poorly informed" are well informed enough to realize that picking produce is a shitty job that nobody wants and they probably wouldn't mind letting immigrants take such jobs. What they object to is the Joe Martinezes and the Juan or Juanita Lopezes who are their co-workers or even bosses. Pa Finn in "Huckleberry Finn" said something to the effect that treating Black people as people somehow degraded him and he wouldn't put up with it.


    2. Of course, farm workers are exploited, as are pretty much all low-wage workers in this country. It's not hard to figure out why income inequality has increased so much in the past few decades.

      But I'm glad Neil mentioned surgeons as well as those picking the strawberries. Uh, the role of immigrants in the medical field is clearly quite significant and will only get more so, it would seem. Were we to rely solely on the pool of native-born, MAGA-hat-wearing, "anti-elitist" Muricans for our health care, we'd be in even worse straights than we are...

  2. While I imagine the Evangelicals and conservative Catholics who are the prime movers behind the movement to outlaw abortion bristle with regard to your reference to "the busiest abortionist," somehow they have no compunction about rhetoric implying that a woman who's been raped and has an abortion is a murderer.

    Given that over half of fertilized eggs naturally fail to develop successfully, "life begins at conception" is not the simple proposition that they wish to make it. Are they unaware of that reality, or do they prefer to pretend it doesn't exist? Some of both, perhaps.

    Abortion is not murder. A fertilized egg is not a person. If we were supposed to believe that abortion was a horrible crime, it sure seems to me that up to 20% of all recognized pregnancies would not naturally end in miscarriage.

  3. Wow, Mister S…no wonder you had to revise this column twice before it was okayed. You not only opened a can of worms, you opened a whole case of cans of worms. Progressive states will have employee-funded abortion access, even as the regressive Benighted Snakes of Amerika would send the same woman to the slammer. So now we will be two nations, in two different centuries…2022 and 1822
    Didn’t we already perform this evil-twin, brother vs. brother drama in 1857, starring Dred Scott? Which led to a sequel in 1860? The play that led to four years of spinoffs…blockbusters like North and South, Andersonville, Gettysburg, Glory, Gone With The Wind, Birth of a Nation, and so many others?

    At the very least, overturning Roe is going to create an entirely new American transportation system…not merely a north-south Underground Railroad, running up to Canada, but a whole new network of main lines, trunk lines and branch lines, running to and through New York and Illinois, up to New England, out to California, and down to Mexico. The Underground Spiderweb.

    Drivers, facilitators, enablers, clandestine hostels, hidden clinics, felon doctors, and more. Much more. Will there be checkpoints at every road that crosses a state line? Will the “shotgun seat” in vehicles take on a whole new meaning? And will every traveler be asked its final destination, like in Windsor or Tjuana? Will “Going to Chicago to see my cousins” or “Going camping in the Catskills” become the new excuse at the end of the Thruway or the Skyway… followed by a knock on a door and some eupehemism...the “Joe sent me” of the New Roaring Twenties?

    Speakeasies...with stirrups…

    The Soo-Preems have already hinted that abortion must be banned in order to halt the “shortage of domestic infants”…which translates into “native-born white babies, preferably male”…in order to counteract the changing demographics and white deaths outpacing white births. Native- born children of color and children of immigrants will not suffice. Never mind the shortage of strawberry pickers. Or new surgeons. If you’re a white woman, you must have that baby. Just like in Orthdox circles in Israel, where 10 or 12 kids arei the norm (Need those soldiers for the IDF, doncha know…the Palestinians are always restless)
    It’s a child, not a decision, until birth. Then, it’s the mother’s problem…the white woman’s burden…and mothers of other shades as well. Childcare, schooling, formulas, housing, healthcare…hey, what are you, some kind of leech? Quit mooching off Uncle already! But make sure the kid lives long enough to get to the church on time! Our church!

    Abortion today, birth control tomorrow, unmarried sex next week, gay marriage next month…where and how does it finally end? In 1422? The sleeping giant will probably not awaken in time. Waving signs is not enough. But what is? What happens when the Keep Abortion Legal signs are amended with By Any Means Necessary? I have long predicted that this issue, and not The Lyin’ King, will be the candle in the fireworks factory. I hope I’m wrong...again.But the outlook doesn't look promising... severe storms are already on the horizon.

    1. The crazy Ultra-Orthodox in Israel may have a dozen kids per family, but they don't get drafted, as that idiotic deal was made years ago & they're trying to change that finally!

    2. Thanks for the heads-up. Do any of the kids ever enlist? Probably not! At one of my class reunions, I sat at a table with two neighborhood guys. Both of them had emigrated to Israel. A total of 23 kids among the three of us..Twelve for Izzy, eleven for Moe, and zero for Grizz. They both seemed nervous and fidgety, as though being in America did not agree with them anymore.

  4. Doesn't surprise me that women's rights are under attack by the radical religious right, it's in the Bible. They actually taught it in Catholic grammar schools but I didn't see through it until reading Genesis in my 20's. You need not read the entire book, chapter two will suffice. Woman was not in Gods original plan of creation. Plan A was Adam in the Garden alone. Plan B was Adam in the Garden with the animals he got to name. Plan C was Adam and the animals and Eve in the Garden. Woman, and all our Mothers, were an afterthought. And while Adam was formed of the earth alone, Eve required a chunk of Adam in her dirt, kinda like a sourdough starter I guess. When God took Adam's rib, anesthesia of some kind was involved. So Eve issued forth, if just partially from Adams body. The rest of mankind would come through woman, but not painlessly like Adams experience, and often in great pain and too often at the cost of her very life. For most of History, even the pleasures of conception were mitigated by a mans' violence. So was this a story inspired by the Creator through his Prophet, or the imagination of a Bronze Age man totally ignorant of science? Whichever, women got wise eventually and took control last century. That their freedom might not last a full century should frighten us all. Bet you couldn't get that story printed in the Times, Neil.


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