California still believes in progress. Other places are heading in the opposite direction.
This piece by Irin Carmen about the new California law allowing non-doctor medical professionals to perform abortions ins a must read. This legislation was based upon real science and a genuine belief that the right to control your reproduction is fundamental and should be available to women who need to end unwanted or unhealthy pregnancies.
Unfortunately, that story of rationality and progress on this issue is all too rare:
This is going the wrong way in most of the country. Even as gay rights have become accepted at warp speed by historical standards, women's fundamental rights have been eroded in equal measure.
I hate to be a grudge about this, but I have to blame Democrats, including Democratic women, for being all too willing to accommodate the right's onslaught and allow their propaganda to flourish. The mere fact that we are simultaneously fighting over birth control should prove that this is not about squeamishness over abortion. And the people who continue to advise us that the best strategy is to enthusiastically support "pro-choice" politicians who insist that the goal of "zero abortions" is desirable and attainable if only we provide enough birth control and economic support are affirmatively helping them. Too many people only hear the "zero abortions" part and come away with the belief that members of both parties believe that abortion is so bad that we must try to eliminate it.
It would be nice to think that the old saw of "as California goes, so goes the nation" still applies. But it's a very heavy task trying to reverse the momentum on this issue. It's going at full speed in the other direction.
More here on the new "20-week ban" part of the strategy. I thought this bit of editorializing was especially interesting:
In the court of public opinion, however, 20-week bans raise relatively few hackles.
Right. They're no biggie. They only affect 1% of the population. Even though:
the circumstances of these abortions are often dire, as most fetal abnormalities are only detectable at 20 weeks, according to Planned Parenthood, a group that provides contraception and abortions.
Yes, that's a shame. They probably should have thought of that before they had a pregnancy with fetal anomalies. But what can we do? Now that it's been brought to their attention that it's ok to think abortion after 20 weeks is wrong, (and that some of the avatars of the pro-choice movement are on board) why shouldn't most people think the 20 week cut-off is perfectly fine?
And when the anti-abortion zealots move the goalposts again, I'm sure there will be many Democrats telling us that we can't draw any lines in the sand because people are uncomfortable with abortion. And over time, step by step, their dream will be realized: we'll have "zero" abortions.
Or, I should say, "zero legal abortions."