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Thursday, October 05, 2017

Meanwhile, the crusade against women continues

by digby

Amanda Marcotte gets us up to speed on the latest assault on women's fundamental human rights. I'm fairly sure most people don't care but it will be a big deal for women who are forced to endure pregnancy and childbirth to deliver children with fatal anomalies or harm their own health, all to appease people who believe that potential humans are always more important than the full humans within whom they gestate.

Anyway, here's the latest:

In the endless chaos of the Trump-era news cycle, reproductive rights activists owe a small debt of gratitude to Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania. Not because he did anything good, mind you. Murphy, like most of the Republican delegation to Congress, has no regard for the well-being of any humans outside of the GOP donor class. No, it's because Murphy's behavior has been so outrageous that it helped bring attention to congressional malfeasance that might not have otherwise caught much media attention. 
Murphy is one of the co-sponsors of a bill that would ban abortions after the 20th week that House Republicans, 98% of whom are men, passed on Tuesday night. This was mere hours after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Murphy's former mistress, Shannon Edwards, castigated him for posting anti-choice messages on Facebook shortly after encouraging her to abort a possible pregnancy that resulted from their extramarital affair. 
The story helped draw much-needed media attention to the fact that Republicans are once again trying to deny women the kind of health care that allows women to have the kind of sex that Republican men clearly enjoy. The word "hypocrite" got a lot of mileage in subsequent coverage, an understandable choice under the circumstances. 
But the grim truth is that what Murphy and other Republicans are doing with this 20-week ban is far uglier than garden-variety hypocrisy. This bill is, at its core, about promoting a vicious and misogynist stereotype about sexually active women: That they're dumb, lazy or oversexed and therefore don't deserve either health care or sympathy.

Sadly, this view of women is entirely consistent with Murphy's treatment of his former mistress, a woman he talked down to as if she were dumb. In the text messages to her that have been released, Murphy tries to play off his anti-abortion Facebook message as if it were some kind of staff error, as if he didn't have a long and easily verifiable history of undermining women's reproductive rights
To be clear, Republicans are smart enough to pretend that the 20-week ban is not about demonizing women. The official excuse for this bill is some fake science about "fetal pain" that persists despite repeated debunking, in no small part because it wasn't offered up in good faith in the first place. 
The real value in these 20-week abortion bans is propagandistic. Getting the phrase "20-week abortion" into the news cycle helps perpetuate the notion both that these kinds of abortions are common and that women who get abortions are lazy or thoughtless. This notion is flat-out false and downright defamatory. 
“It’s important for people to understand that people aren’t just having late-term abortions because they feel like it. There’s usually a very good reason for it," Missouri resident Rachel Goldberg told Salon. 
Goldberg should know: She had an abortion at 26 weeks after enduring multiple medical tests and weeks of waiting to determine that the fetus growing inside her had serious defects that also threatened her own health.
“They had trouble finding his stomach," Goldberg said of her ultrasound. "There were other organs they had trouble finding or that were underdeveloped.”

“The only reason I would continue the pregnancy was because I wanted the baby and not because I felt like my son would have a good quality of life," she continued. "I felt like I was just going to ask my son to suffer for my own selfish reasons, and that was something that we couldn’t really ask him to do for us.”
The reality is that abortion after 20 weeks is not common at all. More than 98 percent of women who get abortions have the procedure done before that point — and 89 percent of women get the abortion in the first 12 weeks. Many women who abort that late, like Goldberg, have serious health reasons for doing so. Others are enduring difficult or even traumatic situations that cause them to show up at the doctor's office halfway through a pregnancy. 
A 2013 study published in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health by researchers Dr. Diana Foster and Dr. Katrina Kimport found that women who abort that late often had logistical problems — frequently financial in nature — that prevented earlier abortions, or had mental health issues or were in high-stress and often abusive relationships. 
When women need an abortion around 20 weeks but can't get one, they often end up "tethered to violent men, and they’re also more likely to be in poverty," Dr. Sarah Roberts of the University of California, San Francisco, explained to Salon. more ...

Yeah well, they obviously deserve it.

As with unfettered gun rights the anti-abortion crusaders will never give up. They are engaged in a hundred year war if that's what it takes. I don't even think they know why they're doing it anymore. It's just what they do.

This issue is considered "identity politics" at the moment so it's unlikely that we'll be seeing the kind of opposition that's required to beat these incremental degradations of fundamental human rights. Unfortunately, this is one issue which economic determinism is inadequate to address.  If your fetus has a fatal anomaly, money can't fix it. If your husband beats the crap out of you, income redistribution is probably not going help. There is more to the human experience than greed and avarice.

Hopefully we will find room on our list of concerns to beat this back. The gratuitous misery it's going to cause for women and their families who are already in terrible distress is just cruel and inhuman.