Well, here is what we can expect from our new Republican Congress: votes to try to restrict abortion. Some more that it’s already been restricted. Are we really having this debate in 2015, in the United States of America? Forty-two years after the issue was already decided?
It was in 1973, on exactly today’s date, that the Supreme Court decided the famous (or depending on your point of view, infamous) case of Roe v. Wade. Since then, people in opposition to the decision have annually marched in Washington on January 22nd, the anniversary of the decision. And today, the House voted 242-179 to permanently bar federal funds for any abortion coverage, including any aspect of coverage provided through the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). But before that they tried to push through a bill banning virtually every late-term abortions until a rebellion from the female Representatives inside their own wing brought that to a halt.
If you want a quick preview of why you should vote Democratic in the 2016 Presidential election, it’s because there will be more Supreme Court appointments to be made by the next President. If Ruth Bader Ginsburg even lasts that long. But don’t worry, we’re so politically off-kilter, that we could actually rescind in this century the hard won freedom — a freedom for both women and men not to procreate unintentionally — that we won in the previous century.
Talk about turning back the clock.
Even though now we have options that we never had before, especially in the “abortion pill” (mifepristone) that can take care of an unintentional pregnancy while the little one is still a blastocyst, or an undifferentiated group of cells with no feelings, no soul, and no traits of a human baby whatsoever.
In his book Freakonomics, Professor Stephen D. Levitt famously (or perhaps infamously) showed that the drop in juvenile crime that occurred after 1991 in almost all states, but especially those that did not interfere with the abortion decision, was not due to “community policing” or similar public safety initiatives, but was almost certainly due to the large reduction in unwanted pregnancies. Boy did that conclusion get some blowback.
No one (especially no one here) is advocating for abortion as a substitute for birth control. Certainly we should do what we can to educate our young people to the consequences of unwanted pregnancies, and we should all take care around that issue ourselves. An unwanted pregnancy is still a lot better than an unwanted child, especially a child that the parents (or usually the woman who is left “holding the bag”) are not actually capable of taking care of.
The Daily Show recently did a nice piece on Alabama, and how the legislature had passed a law that allowed judge to appoint legal representation for unborn fetuses. But they were struggling to find enough money to provide representation for indigent criminal defendants.
The punch line was something like “Alabama, where your right to an attorney ends when you are born.”