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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

 
Someone actually said this:"A baby is not the worst thing that could ever happen to a rape victim — an abortion is"

by digby

Ed Kilgore writes about the Romney campaign's furious shaking of the etch-a-sketch on abortion
Former Sen. (and Romney surrogate) Norm Coleman has taken a slightly different approach with a Jewish Republican Coalition audience, per Evan McMorris-Santoro of TPM:
“President Bush was president eight years, Roe v. Wade wasn’t reversed. He had two Supreme Court picks, Roe v. Wade wasn’t reversed,” former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) told a Republican Jewish Coalition meeting in Beechwood, Ohio. “It’s not going to be reversed.”
Bush, of course, chose two Court nominees deemed almost certain to support reversal or at least a major modification of Roe. One of them replaced the retiring Chief Justice who had dissented from the original Roe decision. So the Bush years produced a 1-vote swing against Roe, one short of a majority. I gather Coleman’s audience doesn’t know those very basic facts, but Norm probably does.

More broadly, though, Coleman is suggesting to a socially liberal Jewish audience that Romney is continuing a Republican tradition of playing the poor dumb bible-thumper goyim for suckers. Let ‘em do the grunt work of the campaign day in and day out, dreaming of the day when the baby-killers will finally be put out of business. It’s like a mechanical rabbit keeping them running around the dog track, but it’s not real!
I happen to believe that Mitt is actually a committed anti-choicer, but that's neither here nor there. His shape-shifting on the issue should be enough for no one on either side to trust him --- which means you have to look at what he could do in power under pure pressure from the base. And I think it's clear that banning abortion is a very big litmus test on the right.

Plus, let's not forget his running mate:
WHEN DURING THE VICE-PRESIDENTIAL debate Martha Raddatz asked Paul Ryan what role his religion has played in his own personal views on abortion, Ryan was quick to explain not only the central role of religion in his life, but his family’s and his political party’s:
I don't see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do. My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, of how to make sure that people have a chance in life. […] Now, you want to ask basically why I'm pro-life? It's not simply because of my Catholic faith. That's a factor, of course. But it's also because of reason and science […] I believe that life begins at conception.
The “vulnerable” in Ryan’s charge, the “people” in need of a chance in life, were not women, but blastocyst embryos. Ryan was appealing to parens patriae (literally, “father of the people”), a doctrine which state courts have often used in the past to, among other things, compel medical treatment of in utero fetuses. This would not have been lost on the ticket’s radical ‘pro-life’ supporters, even if it was lost on the public at large. It was a high-five to a radical agenda that is pro-life when it comes to zygotes, but not to women involved in their conception.

Under parens patriae, the state has the power, and even the duty, to protect individuals not otherwise able or willing to protect themselves. If Roe v. Wade were overturned during a Romney presidency — an eventuality that Romney himself has made clear is his goal — abortion would be remanded to the states, exactly the way it had been before the 1973 Supreme Court ruling.

States could not only pass zygote personhood legislation without constitutional challenge (either by amending a state’s constitution or by making it a law), but, under parens patriae, could intervene in all sorts of medical and scientific cases, such as stem cell research and in vitro fertilization. There would be no limit.
An awful lot of people find the idea of abortion going back to the states to be quite comforting. After all, it's impossible that it could ever be totally banned, right?

Why people persist in believing that is beyond me. Look at that legal rationale spelled out above. Is it beyond the realm of possibility that the high court would not eventually adopt it?

That article details just how radical both Ryan and Romney are on this and how they plan to go about it. This was particularly striking:
What Ryan and Romney are after with “personhood” is to undo Roe v. Wade entirely. Personhood USA, the largest anti-abortion organization, counts Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum as signatories to their Republican presidential candidate pledge, which reads in relevant part:
If elected President, I will . . . to the best of my knowledge . . . only appoint federal judges and relevant officials who will uphold and enforce state and federal laws recognizing that all human beings at every stage of development are persons with the unalienable right to life.
It is a pro-life referendum machine that uses the tag line “protecting the pre-born by love and by law.” Their primary mission is to “serve Jesus by being an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves” — the zygotes. Personhood USA spokesperson Rebecca Kiessling explained:
As someone who really cares about rape victims, I want to protect them from the rapist, and from the abortion, but not the baby. A baby is not the worst thing that could ever happen to a rape victim — an abortion is.
It's hard for me to even read that utter bullshit without throwing something. (Or throwing up.) If it were just something said by a zealous egomaniac, I think I wouldn't be so angry. But that infantilizing logic has made its way all the way to the Supreme Court:
That abortion is bad for fetuses is a statement of the obvious. That it is bad for women, too, is a contested premise that nonetheless got five votes at the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

It was a development that stunned abortion rights advocates and that represents a major departure from how the court has framed the abortion issue for the past 34 years. The question on the day after the justices voted 5 to 4 to uphold the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act is where the court goes from here.
[...]
In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy suggested that a pregnant woman who chooses abortion falls away from true womanhood.

“Respect for human life finds an ultimate expression in the bond of love the mother has for her child,” he said.

Justice Kennedy conceded that “we find no reliable data” on whether abortion in general, or the procedure prohibited by the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, causes women emotional harm. But he said it was nonetheless “self-evident” and “unexceptional to conclude” that “some women” who choose to terminate their pregnancies suffer “regret,” “severe depression,” “loss of esteem” and other ills.

Consequently, he said, the government has a legitimate interest in banning a particularly problematic abortion procedure to prevent women from casually or ill-advisedly making “so grave a choice.”

If “a necessary effect of the regulation and the knowledge it conveys will be to encourage some women to carry the infant to full term,” Justice Kennedy continued, that outcome will advance “the state’s interest in respect for life.”
How anyone read that and come away still believing that there is no possibility that Roe vs Wade will be overturned or that abortion will never be banned nationally is beyond me.


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