My take on abortion

(This started as a comment at Uppity’s place)

I was in junior high when Roe v. Wade was handed down. I remember the issue being debated in class. There is nothing quite like a bunch of virgins debating reproductive rights. It’s kinda like the Vatican, only with kids instead of old farts.

Some people thought the abortion issue was settled once and for all time. They were wrong.

Now, almost 40 years later, here’s my take:

Most Republicans don’t really care all that much about the abortion issue. They nominally oppose it but they really don’t want to fight about it. They have other priorities.

The same goes for the Democrats but in reverse. The fact is most people really don’t think about abortion very much or very often. It’s not a subject you deal with on a daily basis.

Both sides have a minority that cares passionately about abortion. In order to keep that minority happy, both sides pay lip service to the issue. Every election the issue gets dragged out of wherever they keep it stashed and put up for everyone to see – just like Christmas decorations. Then when the election is over it gets boxed up and put away.

In fact, it’s kind of a game the Republicans and Democrats play. Every once in a while a red state fundamentalist politician will introduce some bill proposing a draconian new restriction on abortion. Left wing advocacy groups swing into action, sending out emails to rally the troops and requesting donations to fight against the bill.

Usually the bill gets voted down or amended to remove the objectionable stuff. Occasionally the bill gets passed and is then vetoed. On rare occasions the bill makes it into law and is then appealed. It’s been a while since any significant new restriction on abortion made it past the courts.

Here’s the dirty little secret – neither side wants to win this fight. As far as the Republicans and Democrats are concerned it’s win-win as long as the fight continues. They both use abortion as a shiny thing to distract us from other issues.

And that’s my take.

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35 Responses to My take on abortion

  1. myiq2xu says:

    Todd Akin reminds me of someone’s grandpa. He says something stupid and nobody argues, they just roll their eyes and change the subject.

    Except Akin wants to be a senator.

  2. lyn5 says:

    Totally agree with you. Abortion is a chain around our necks!

  3. DandyTiger says:

    Exactly. Both parties bring the issue out to sort of blackmail their constituants. “If the other party wins, this is what will happen.” Boooo. Be afraid. The last thing either party wants is for the issue to really be settled either way. It’s amazing to me how it keeps working.

  4. yttik says:

    Economic opportunity has a lot to do with social changes, perhaps even more than our silly beliefs and claims of moral superiority on every issue.

    One of the most effective ways to reduce the need for abortion is to help women gain economic and political power. You would think both Dems and R’s could come together on this one part of the issue, but no, it’s too beneficial for them to create divisions.

  5. Oswald says:

    Guess who?

    Let’s talk about the Republican party. It’s not really a party anymore. It’s really a frenzied, irrational mob that is being lead by a small evil group of manipulative conmen who have access to more money than God. That goes for the former Democrats who fled to the Tea Party after 2008 as well. You’ve been had.

    Yet somehow they keep winning elections.

    • DandyTiger says:

      Both party machines are run by the same people. I know, I’ve met some of them. If you think either party is on your side or to believe either part is good or evil, you’ve been had.

      • Anthony says:


        BTW, Romney went to the Bilderberger meeting, Obama did not. My jury is out about the significance of that, as it is with the theory about the Council on Foreign Relations. But somehow, the two make me wonder more than I think I should.

        Bottom line – the 2 party system is a sham. The sooner we see it that way and use it to our own advantage, the better.

      • DeniseVB says:

        I don’t understand those on the left who still think Republicans are evil yet they say they don’t support Obama either. Where were they in the past two years getting behind a candidate to primary Obama ?

  6. Oswald says:

    I’m pretty sure this ad is racist:

    It mentions Obama and welfare, and everybody knows that’s racism.

    • DandyTiger says:

      And on top of being racist by just mentioning Obama and welfare, showing Bill Clinton is racist, because he’s a racist (just like Hillary). We know that because Obama’s campaign said so, and all the Obot followers told us so. They wouldn’t lie would they?

  7. Oswald says:

    In a phone interview this morning, Mitt Romney told National Review Online that Representative Todd Akin’s recent comment on rape is “inexcusable.”

    “Congressman’s Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong,” Romney said. “Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive.”

  8. I couldn’t agree with you more myiq. Worse, this issue is used to corral women for their votes and define what’s important to women. And once each party pays its biennial lip service to this issue, all women’s issues go back in the closet. Here’s another idea:

  9. “Both sides have a minority that cares passionately about abortion.”

    The percentage on either side who are willing to march in the streets and chain themselves to clinic doors is definitely a small one. But women (51% of the population) are not a minority, and virtually ALL of us can and will get pregnant at some point, so we think quite a bit throughout our lives (and the lives of our daughters, sisters etc) about unwanted pregnancy (and wanted pregnancy of course too). It’s not true that we “don’t really care all that much” about this issue.

    The sheer number of new restrictions being proposed in most states has meant pro-choice groups have had a heck of a time batting back at them, and some “significant new restrictions” certainly have made it past the courts.

    In Arizona just last week the state Court of Appeals upheld that pharmacists can choose not to dispense RU-486 and only licensed MD’s can perform abortions (nurse practitioners are fully trained and much cheaper at providing many termination procedures). YMMV but severely limiting access to RU-486 is a significant restriction –also draconian and misogynistic IMO.

    A graph of the number of new restrictions that were PASSED by state legislatures, by year, since 1985. That year there were 19 proposed restrictions. In 2011 there were 80.

    • DandyTiger says:

      What is the percentage of women who are for vs. against choice? At least in cases other than rape and incest?

      Good point about how there has been legal movement towards making abortions harder. Though I think the point is still valid that the last thing in the world either party wants is for the issue to be settled.

    • tommy says:

      Darragh, I read ezra kleins article. This was about republican states. Duh…..most republicans are pro-life. They were elected by both men and women. Yes, 51% of the population are women. But around 25% are conservative women. Shouldn’t their choices and wishes be honored?

      • Sure– I never said conservative women’s votes and opinions shouldnt count. I said that women care a lot about reproductive choices and options and we arent a minority. When I say “women” I mean “women,” not “some women.”

      • catarina says:

        Shouldn’t their choices and wishes be honored?

        Wait, is someone advocating forced abortion?
        Women can always make the individual choice NOT to have one..

      • It’s not a “duh” issue at all.

        t’s not true that most Republicans are pro-life. 70% of Republicans believe abortion should either be generally available or available with stricter limits. For Democrats that number is 78% in favor of abortion being generally available or avail with stricter limits. Only 28% of Republicans and 21% of Democrats want an outright ban.

        The numbers can be looked at and analyzed many different ways, but as a country we are pretty unified on the subject. And it’s when dipshits like Aiken expose how epically ignorant they are that women across the political and social spectrum tend to close ranks.

        Shoulda listened to Sarah Palin indeed.

  10. gram cracker says:

    If Roe v Wade were to be outright overturned by the Supremes and all abortion outlawed then a significant source of fund raising for both the Dems and Repubs would disappear. Outright overturning is not likely to happen.

    Instead state requirements that abortion providers have privileges at local hospitals has effectively ended legal abortions in several states. And some states have made it illegal to transport a female across state lines for purposes of obtaining an abortion. So in effect abortion access is so restricted that it is as though Roe was overturned. If I remember correctly that is what has happened in states like Mississippi and South Dakota.

    • WMCB says:

      Clarification: some states have made it illegal to transport a MINOR across state lines for an abortion without parental consent. I am unaware of any such laws applying to adult women.

      Parental consent is a sticky issue where I part ways with many of my pro-choice friends. I have problems with 14 year olds getting medical procedures without parental knowledge. Yes, I know that there is the rare case of the girl whose horrible parents will kill her. But we don’t take away and stomp on the rights of every other (largely responsible) parent in the country for the sake of the exception. You make laws for the MAJORITY, and find some other “out” for the occasional exception.

      • angienc says:

        There are ways to get around parental consent in cases where a young girl has legitimate obstacles in obtaining parental consent for whatever reason (maybe it is the dad/step-dad who has been raping her & how she got pregnant, for example). In those cases, a Judge can give the consent with a court order.

        • Agreed Angie — I think even the most burdensome parental notification laws allow for a judge or some other authority to take the place of the parents and give permission for an abortion.

          But for gods sake how likely is a young girl who is being raped (most likely repeatedly) by her father or some other close relative going to have the courage and/or resources to find a lawyer or other advocate, especially since states like Arizona are doing their best to “shut that whole thing down” wrt health and repro services for poor girls and women, such as Planned Parenthood.


          Sorry, my anger is not directed at you but at the sputtering assholes of ignorance whose inexcusable stupidity makes the rape and impregnation of vulnerable girls more likely.

          • angienc says:

            Yeah, I’m not defending anything here, just stating the fact on how the laws re: parental consent are designed. There are arguments on both sides that have valid points, IMO.

  11. catarina says:

    20+ states require women seeking abortions to have mandatory ultrasounds.

    Not sure how many of those states passed legislation after Republicans took control of state legislatures in 2010, but I’m guessing at least half.

  12. HELENK says:

    whether or not you are for abortion, if the economy stays as is or gets worse, abortions will go up

    • Lulu says:

      If one of the super-PACS can get a witness to Obama calling Rubio “boy” and trash talking him, he would have enormous trouble. They probably won’t but this does indicate Obama was expecting Rubio and they have been game planning for it for a long time. Ryan selection threw them into chaos. Obama et al really are linear thinkers and very rigid.

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  14. gxm17 says:

    Here’s the dirty little secret – neither side wants to win this fight. As far as the Republicans and Democrats are concerned it’s win-win as long as the fight continues. They both use abortion as a shiny thing to distract us from other issues.

    While I agree with you that it’s a wedge issue that both sides trot out during elections to rouse their base and create the illusion of opposing parties, I don’t think that’s the entire picture.

    A big part of the picture that most people can’t see is that both “sides” are part of a cultural system that depends on women’s free labor. A way to keep that labor free is, of course, to limit economic resources and a very easy way to limit women’s economic resources is to restrict her reproductive choices. It’s a Catch 22. Women can’t have economic parity without reproductive choice and unfettered access to reproductive health care. (I’d go even further and say that women can’t have any real parity without reproductive choice.)

    And I think the point darraghcmurphy touched on that might have been missed is that this is an issue that is very meaningful and personal to women on all sides of the choice debate. It’s not an abstract for us. It’s a battle in which the battlefield is our very flesh.

    Please know that I say all this as a woman who refuses to allow Democratic and “liberal” men to beat me up with the abortion stick. I loathe scum like Michael Moore who think they have the right to shove their shit choice of a candidate down our throat by threatening something as fundamental as our reproductive choice.

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