It’s not a good week for abortion rights. The Supreme Court has agreed to take a case involving a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi. As detailed at the link, the concern is the court won’t openly nullify Roe v. Wade but it will give the go-ahead for states to ban abortions even before the fetus is viable (Brett “teenage rapist” Kavanaugh has no qualms ignoring precedent to get the right-wing-results he wants).
Texas just made a law that abortion’s illegal after six weeks, no exception for rape or incest. It’s also taking the radical step of not enforcing the law itself but instead empowering anyone who wants to sue the abortion provider, or anyone who helps the woman get the abortion. This seems batshit but thanks to Republicans pushing forced-birth judges into the judiciary at every opportunity, who knows if it won’t survive legal scrutiny?
Despite which I’ve already seen chatter on line that this isn’t that bad. Republicans don’t really want to ban abortion; it’s just one of their many tools for turning out the vote. Telling the suckers that if you vote for them, they’ll stop abortion has worked great to build support on the religious right; if they banned abortion, they lose a bargaining chip. I heard the same after the various extreme bills passed a couple of years ago.
Now certainly a lot of right-to-lifers are hypocrites. They have no problems rationalizing that their abortion (or their daughter’s, or their girlfriend’s) is totally justified and completely unlike all the sluts they met in the doctor’s office. And it’s true that conservatives in the 1970s didn’t at all think the fetus had full human rights. But no, the opposition to abortion (even when hypocritical) is not posturing. Abortion wasn’t what inspired the religious right to organize but a whole generation or two have grown up to believe it’s the moral equivalent of the Holocaust. That includes a lot of people in elected office and wearing judge’s robes.
Even if it was all a cynical posturing game, how would a permanent national ban on abortion hurt them? They’ve been running on “Democrats will take your guns” for decades even though nobody’s even trying to confiscate guns from legal owners. “Keep voting Republican or the Dems will abort your babies!” would work just as well.
And it’s not like they’re going to stop with abortion. Many conservatives hate birth control because the only birth control women should use is chastity; given a choice between more abortions and letting teens use birth control, they opt for more abortions. A few Republicans claim you don’t have to abort ectopic pregnancies (this is a lie) which makes me wonder if that’ll be the new frontier eventually. James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal and Ross Douthat have expressed nostalgia for the days of shotgun weddings — wasn’t that a better solution than stopping women from getting pregnant in the first place?
There’s lots and lots for the party of misogyny to whip up voters about.