In an LGM comments thread about the imminent end of Roe rights, someone made the point that liberals have been asked since the 1990s to reach across the aisle. Respect that the right-to-life side is driven by sincere religious beliefs. Show we get it. Maybe compromise and allow a certain amount of restrictions, so that abortion is “safe, legal and rare” in Bill Clinton’s phrase. That way we can preserve the right to abortion and probably turn all those forced-birthers into committed Democratic voters!
Nobody ever suggests that the forced birth side should compromise and say, guarantee the right to abortion for rape victims as proof that they’re not anti-women. It’s always pro-choice who have to reach across the aisle (much like Democratic leaders are supposed to prove their independence by striking a conservative pose — nobody suggests Republican leaders should stand up to their voters by supporting gay rights or women’s equality).
And yes, the forced-birth side is indeed anti-woman. For all the claims that abortion is the American Holocaust, they aren’t willing to stop it by, say, making it easier for women to work and care for kids or making it easier to obtain birth control — that’s irresponsible! Better they take a stand against premarital sex that has no effect on abortion rates.
Nor do they give a crap about miscarriage, even though that means half of all children die in the womb (no, I don’t think they’re children, but going by right-wing logic …). They will, however, happily use miscarriages as an excuse to punish women.
Part of Mississippi’s argument is that with all the progress made in women’s rights, not being able to abort won’t hurt their careers or future plans. The evidence says otherwise. Amy Coney Barrett suggests that killing abortion is no big deal because it’s legal to give up your baby right after birth. But that won’t help with the costs of ob/gyn care, the emotional trauma of rape or incest or the health risks to some women of carrying to term. Let’s not forget, some Republicans believe that even if a fetus is dead or guaranteed to be born dead, women shouldn’t be allowed to abort. The right to give up the baby won’t help. Nor will it help if a court forces a woman to take bed rest or otherwise strips her of her rights.
The ever useless excresence Megan McArdle argues outlawing abortion is only an issue for elitists who worry about planning their career: the simple, working-class woman has has higher values than the option to have sex without pregnancy. And McArdle has a point — it’s not like an hourly wage worker would have money problems if they were off work for a couple of months due to an unplanned pregnancy. Of course, McArgleBargle claims poor people are all poor because of bad lifestyle decisions — a conclusion she argued showed her respect for the working class.
Justice Sotamayor has vented freely, asking “will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?” Of course, it is — Republicans have been working toward a court decision against abortion for decades. Through the rancid luck of 2016 and various other factors, they can now do it. Nevertheless, Reason magazine — nominally libertarian, conservative in lots of ways — thinks the real problem is Sotamayor’s uncivil language.
But she has the right to be uncivil: Barrett, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh all lied about their views on abortion when they were confirmed. This was always the right-wing’s dream. If there was ever a chance for compromise (I doubt it) it vanished long ago. Unfortunately too many Democratic politicians waited too long to realize it.
I’ll close with a reminder that anti-abortion as a major right-wing issue is younger than the Happy Meal.