This post was green-lit at The Smirking Chimp, which is currently in the midst of a fund-raiser.
Happy Birthday, Roe V. Wade!
On this anniversary of one of the wisest decisions ever to have come from The Supreme Court, I would like to impart some truth, especially to those of you who are here today to protest.
Rank-and-file so-called “pro-lifers” are clogging D.C. streets and subways for an ineffective, useless ruse. Movement leaders are not actually interested in stopping abortions.
Anyone who spends enough time on the issue would know and ought to tell you the truth about the abortion issue, which is this: There is no law and no court ruling that can prevent an abortion.
This is true. Abortion was not, as some would have you believe, invented in 1970. Women have probably been attempting to “get rid of it” ever since they started getting pregnant. Witness this seldom-quoted Bible verse from Genesis:
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived Cain, saying “Were that the Lord hath invented a stairwell, so that I might throw myself down upon it and miscarry. I am simply too young to be a mother, what with my hopes and dreams of graduating from Paradise Community College and having a successful career as a phlebotomist.”
All right, I admit it. I made that up. And, I’m probably going to Hell. But it’s not far from the truth. The abortion issue in the United States is probably as old as the United States. Historically, it wasn’t even an issue anyone gave a care about until the mid-19th century, when male doctors decided to shove the pharmacists and the doulas out. The fact is that this fight’s genesis has less to do with modern religious or ethical concerns than it has to do with the economic realities of epochs past. This is too often true when discussing prohibition.
There is no law and no court ruling that can prevent an abortion. Reproductive choice is the only naturally enforceable position because women among a rock, a hard place, and a clinic will most often beeline for the latter, even if the clinic is in the back of a VW Microbus. But preventing a return to those dark days and working to make abortion less needed do not have to be opposing purposes. Keep it safe. Keep it legal. Make it rare. That should be the ideal.
But instead of striving for this reasonable aim, so-called “pro-life” forces fuss at every turn to block options. They want to banish honest sex education programs in favor of dishonest, fantasy-driven “abstinence-only” fare. They want to give pharmacists the option of shunning professional obligations by refusing to fill a prescription for birth control pills—pills that sometimes are needed to alleviate other actual medical conditions. They bristle at more readily available prophylactics, championing instead the “Promise Dance.” No useful methods for actually preventing abortion are acceptable to these folks.
Human sexuality is a powerful force that cannot be contained by these attempted societal chastity belts. Witness the poster children of this fact, Bristol and Jamie Lynn, young women indoctrinated into “abstinence-only” but faced in their young lives with the second and more insidious denial of choice the so-called “pro-life” movement provides: Be a mother prematurely with an unplanned family; stress your body through childbirth just to give up your baby for adoption; or take the hose. That’s not much of a choice.
There is no law and no court ruling that can prevent an abortion. There are, however, concrete ways to curtail abortion rates in the United States under the current legal regime. I suggest to the protesters who nearly gummed up my commute this morning that you go back home, visit your local Planned Parenthood, and ask them what you can do.
Because all of this other bullshit is just a waste of time.