Several ladies of the Leftist persuasion posted on their Facebook pages an article entitled “7 Badass Defenses Of Reproductive Rights To Explain Why A Woman Should Have The Right To Choose.” I looked at them and had my doubts about their badassery, so I thought I’d fisk the article just for a little Sunday afternoon fun.
As is often the case with fisking the Left, a short Leftist statement takes a lot of work to break down, because everything is flawed, from the facts through the underlying premise through the argument based on the erroneous facts and premise. The structure below is that I first quote the “badass” pro-abortion arguments and then counter with my own thoughts.
1. Male Lawmakers Sometimes Don’t Get It
Who could forget Rep. Todd Akin’s cringeworthy “legitimate rape” comment back in 2012? Unfortunate as the statement was, it highlights a larger problem in the argument to restrict reproductive freedom: Men, who are often out-of-touch with the problems that women face, are more often in positions to make decisions than women. For instance, Tina Fey dropped this truth bombin 2012 while speaking at the Center for Reproductive Rights Gala:
If I have to listen to one more gray-faced man with a two-dollar haircut explain to me what rape is, I’m gonna lose my mind.
Fey’s point of view drives home the point that too many people who make decisions about reproductive rights are out of touch with the actual impact that their decisions have.
Some male law makers are morons. So are some female lawmakers. The reality, though, is that we don’t insist that all women shut up because some are stupid. In our Bizarro World of sexism, though, the stereotype of an out-of-touch male is applied to all men, who are told that they should remain immured in the wood shop and no longer bother their female overlords (overladies?).
Moreover, this line of argument, which I see frequently on Leftie Facebook pages, denies that men have any interest in fetuses, babies, or children. In fact, men have two very strong interests: First, if the fetus/baby/child is a man’s, that man has the same interest in it as the mother, and that is true even though she is the vessel in which it is nurtured for the first 40 weeks from conception forward. In a moral world, the fact that so many fathers walk away from their children is a disgrace — and, one must say, an inevitable byproduct of a socialist government policy that, through welfare, makes father’s economically unnecessary, at least for those who were raised in and consider normal a fairly marginal economic existence. Fathers who express an interest in their biological child from conception onward should be praised, not told to shut up.
Imagine if this argument had been around in mid-19th century America. Famed white, free abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison, Henry Ward Beecher, or Harriet Beecher Stowe would have been shouted down before they even began their arguments about the morality of slavery: “You’re not qualified to speak about slavery because you’re not a slave. So shut up.” Morals are not tied to race, sex, or creed; they exist irrespective of those petty human dividers.
Second, men have just as great an interest as women in a healthy culture. To the extent that the Left’s sacrament of abortion is focused on death, not life, all members of our society have a say in the matter. I’ve long contended that the Left’s fetishistic obsession with abortion is a death cult. The videos showing abortion centers engaged in organ harvesting hasn’t changed my mind. Indeed, the whole thing is eerily reminiscent of other cultures that engaged in organ harvesting, allegedly for the greater good:
Every moral citizen, male or female or fluid or whatever, has a say in preventing our society from going Aztec.
2. Reproductive Freedom Is About Trust
Mark Ruffalo has become a strong supporter of reproductive rights and a particularly vocal male advocate because of his mother’s traumatic experience with an illegal abortion years ago. At a rally in Mississippi in 2013, he reminded us that to take away a woman’s reproductive rights is to take away her ability to make decisions for herself.
I actually trust the women I know. I trust them with their choices, I trust them with their bodies, and I trust them with their children. I trust that they are decent enough and wise enough and worthy enough to carry the right of abortion and not be forced to criminally exercise that right at the risk of death or jail time.
If this doesn’t make you want to throw up a “preach” emoji, I don’t know what will.
I misread that last sentence. I thought its comment on the Ruffalo post was “If this doesn’t make you want to throw up get a ‘peach’ emoji….” I wasn’t sure what the “peach emoji” reference, but I was actually on board with the “I want to throw up” concept. Re-reading it, though, I realize that the “badass” post’s author was applauding Ruffalo.
Full disclosure here: I can’t stand Mark Ruffalo as an actor. There’s something about him I find creepy, so hearing him go on about trusting women with their choices sounds smarmy, not supportive.
Once again, this “trust” argument is predicated on the fallacy that all women are wise. They’re not. Who can forget the woman who had a “selective pregnancy reduction” (i.e., aborted the overage resulting from her IVF procedure) so she wouldn’t have to shop at Costco? That decision showed a whole lot more class snobbery than wisdom.
I know a woman who had eight abortions before she tried, unsuccessfully, to become pregnant. Apparently after abortion Number 8, her body, Mother Nature, or God decided that she couldn’t be trusted with a baby.
In any event, the whole trust argument pretends that there isn’t another life involved here. What Ruffalo is arguing is that he trusts all women to be impartial arbiters capable of intelligently exercising the role of judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to the life they carry. Frankly, I don’t “trust” anyone to have that much responsibility, especially when there is self-interest at play.
3. Nobody Thinks Abortion Is Fun — But It Should Be An Option
Let’s get one thing straight here: No one is saying that abortion is a great thing, but it’s important that women have the power to make that choice themselves. Being pro-choice doesn’t mean you’re pro-abortion. That’s the point Whoopi Goldberg seemed to make on a 2007 episode of The View.
Very few people want to have abortions. … Most people do not want to have abortions. Most women do not have them with some sort of party going on. It is the hardest decision that a woman ever has to make, so when you talk about it, a little bit of reverence to the women out there who have had to make this horrible decision.
Is it just me or this observation irrelevant to whether our society should continue to allow wholesale abortion rights up to and even after the moment the infant is born? Whether a decision or action is hard doesn’t address whether it’s moral. The fact that I might find it a bit physically or emotionally challenging to off my mother doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.
Morals exist outside of our own perceptions of easy or hard. Either it’s wrong to have a culture that has killed more than 51 million people since 1973, with special weight on the deaths of African Americans, or its wrong to have that culture. Whether some of the people doing the killing are sad when they do it doesn’t make it more moral.
Abortion, birth control, Plan B — they’re all often considered taboo things to talk about in public, particularly around men. Yet some politicians have no problem criticizing women for trying to make their own decisions about reproduction in a personal setting. Ultimately, Ruth Bader Ginsburg summed up this train of thought excellently.
The emphasis must be not on the right to abortion but on the right to privacy and reproductive control.
As if we needed another reason to love RBG.
Ah, the reductio ad Ruth Bader Ginsburg argument. You see her come up a lot in abortion discussions. Just as I dislike Ruffalo, I really dislike Bader. Even when I was a Leftie myself I disliked her. Reading her Supreme Court decisions is torture. Her writing is awful, and her arguments, which always involve making sure the state wins, are convoluted, turgid, confusing, and often incomprehensible.
Turning conservative didn’t make me like Ginsburg more, especially when the woman sworn to protect the Constitution voiced a gem such as this:
“I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012,” Ginsburg said in an interview on Al Hayat television last Wednesday. “I might look at the constitution of South Africa. That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, have an independent judiciary. It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done.”
Ginsburg is so over that whole notion of individual liberty and limited government. The best Constitution is one that micromanages individuals for the good of the state.
(An aside: When I first heard the term “living Constitution” I couldn’t understand why conservatives had their knickers in a twist about it. You see, I assumed it meant that our Constitution is a “living” document because it states overarching principles that transcend time and place. It lives, because it is applicable at all times to all people in all places. I was shocked when I discovered that, to the Left, a “living” constitution is one that can be rewritten to the point of meaninglessness or, worse, to the point at which it is used in a way to destroy individual liberty and limited government.)
But back to Ginsburg’s statement about “privacy and reproductive control.”
Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 93 S.Ct. 705, 35 L.Ed.2d 147 (1973) is a most imperfect vehicle, having found an imaginary “right of privacy” to justify abortion. Even subject to this imaginary right, though, that past generation of Supreme Court tyrants . . . er, justices recognized that when there is more than one life at issue, the state has an interest in both lives.
Contrary to most people’s assumptions about Roe v. Wade, that case does not create an unfettered right to abortion. Instead, it established a delicate balancing act over the entire length of the pregnancy between the State’s interests and the woman’s interest in the fetus. In the first trimester, when the fetus is not viable outside the womb, the balancing favors the woman’s right to choose how she wants to handle her pregnancy. In the second trimester, as the fetus nears viability, the balance begins tipping in the State’s favor. And, in the third trimester, when the fetus is viable, the State’s interests may triumph:
With respect to the State’s important and legitimate interest in potential life, the “compelling” point is at viability. This is so because the fetus then presumably has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother’s womb. State regulation protective of fetal life after viability thus has both logical and biological justifications. If the State is interested in protecting fetal life after viability, it may go so far as to proscribe abortion during that period, except when it is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.
Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. at 163, 93 S.Ct. at 732.
A lot has happened since 1973, of course. Ultrasounds and imagery have established that, in the first trimester, the fetus is already a recognizable baby; while advances in medicine have made it entirely possible to save an infant born early in the second trimester. At the same time, the Supreme Court has continued to expand each lone woman’s decision-making power over the fetus, while decreasing the state’s interest.
The new Leftist position, which Ginsburg articulates, is that the state has no interest at all in protecting the unborn — a woman’s “privacy” right trumps all. While the Supreme Court may have worked its way to this position, that most certainly doesn’t mean that my right to privacy is a justification for my killing another human being. Imagine if Jeffrey Dahmer could have used this defense: “That search in the freezer violated my absolute right to privacy. Just as the Supreme Court recently found a new right to gay marriage dignity that wipes out the First Amendment right to religious freedom, that new right to personal privacy wipes out the Fourth Amendment’s implication that the government can engage in search and seizure activity for the greater societal good. The Fourth Amendment no longer exists.”
I guess the bottom line is that just because the Supreme Court has stretched its own inane constitutional holding to a point justifying unlimited abortion, that doesn’t make this a good, let alone a “badass” argument.
5. It’s A Socioeconomic Issue, Too
Just as the fight for reproductive rights is about more than abortion, it’s also about more than gender discrimination. It’s about equality in all aspects: race, socioeconomic status, gender, and more.
We will never see a day when women of means are not able to get a safe abortion in this country.
Leave it to Ginsburg to deliver two great one-liners about reproductive rights.
This is not an argument. It’s as meaningless as trying to counter that stupid campaign slogan of “the future starts today.” And Ginsburg is still awful.
6. Whatever Happened To Work-Life Balance?
No matter how much you love your job or your boss, it would probably feel weird if he/she tried to control your personal life. Again, decisions about reproduction, contraception, etc. should be made on a personal level, not a professional level. A representative from Nevada, Dina Titus made a compelling case for reproductive freedom from employers.
Employers should not be able to impose their religious beliefs on female employees, ignoring their individual health decisions and denying their right to reproductive care. Bosses belong in the boardroom, not the bedroom.
This is a re-hash of the whole “ObamaCare allows government to force businesses to provide birth control” argument, and it was fully developed during the Hobby Lobby debate, which is whether the government can force corporations to provide birth control.
In 1993, a Democrat Congress passed, and a Democrat president signed, the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (“RFRA”). RFRA holds in relevant part that the federal government may act in a way that substantially burdens the exercise of religion only if it can establish that its action is the least restrictive means of advancing a compelling government interest. Nothing in the Act distinguishes between individuals and corporations.
The administrative rule at issue is the edict from Health and Human Services (“HHS”) mandating that all corporations affected by Obamacare must provide their female employees with unlimited access to all contraceptives available on the market.
Hobby Lobby is a closely-held, family-run corporation. The Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, has a strong Christian faith, and is open about the fact that it runs its company in a way that is consistent with the family’s religious beliefs. These beliefs affect every aspect of the way in which Hobby Lobby is run, whether it’s the fact that even the least of Hobby Lobby’s employees gets paid an hourly amount that’s almost twice as much as minimum wage, or the fact that many of the store’s craft products come complete with little crosses attached to them.
Hobby Lobby has long provided comprehensive insurance for its employees. As part of this insurance, it makes available to its employees 16 different types of contraceptives. Moreover, Hobby Lobby has never said (a) that it would stop covering contraceptives entirely or (b) that contraceptives should be outlawed in America. Instead, it made a very narrow protest to the HHS mandate: It objected to the fact that the mandate would force it to offer, not 16, but 20 contraceptives to its employees. The additional 4 contraceptives are or can be used as abortion-causing agents. The Green family’s religious faith means that it is adamantly opposed to abortion, which it considers murder.
The HHS mandate put Hobby Lobby in an impossible position: It could either use its own money to pay directly for abortifacient drugs or it could pay $475 million a year in penalties. It was this dilemma, it argued, that constituted a substantial burden on its exercise of religion under RFRA. Put another way, Hobby Lobby argued that it faced a Hobson’s choice: directly fund something it opposes on core religious grounds or go bankrupt. On these facts, the Supreme Court agreed that Hobby Lobby had satisfied the “substantial burden” requirement under RFRA.
There was something else that the Supreme Court accepted as given: For purposes of the ruling, the Supreme Court accepted as true HHS’s claim that forcing corporations to pay for their female employees’ contraceptives (simply because the Obama administration says it’s unfair not to) serves a compelling government interest.
(As an aside, I was thinking about this “unfair” point. According to my Progressive friends, the demand that corporations pay for contraceptives arises because it’s not fair that women have to shoulder these costs, while men don’t. Let’s put aside the fact that the Progressive can’t explain why it’s fair that corporations must bear contraception costs. The really important point is that, if the reason to force corporations to shoulder the burden is so that women don’t have to pay more in costs related to their unique biology just because they are women, corporations should also be required to pay for tampons, sanitary pads and, most importantly, chocolate, all of which are costly menstrual necessities that burden women, not men. Additionally, corporations should be entitled to learn which employees have gone through menopause, so as to scale back on those uniquely feminine costs. And now back to the Hobby Lobby case…)
With the Supreme Court having accepted that Hobby Lobby had proved that it was being significantly burdened and that HHS had proved a compelling government interest, the sole issue before the Court was whether HHS was using the least restrictive means to advance its compelling interest. Based on this single, limited issue, the Supreme Court concluded that HHS’s birth control mandate did not meet the RFRA test. The Court had a very simple metric for proving this conclusion: HHS itself handed the Court proof that there was a less restrictive way to serve this compelling interest.
HHS created this less restrictive contraception mandate when religious non-profit organizations objected to paying directly for contraceptives and abortifacients. HHS said that religious institutions could avoid the mandate by signing a document stating that their religious beliefs prevented them from complying with the contraception mandate. With this document, the onus shifts to the insurance company to apply the mandate. (The Little Sisters of the Poor are challenging this workaround on the ground that it cannot apply to self-insured entities. Likewise, even if the religious entity has a third party insurance company, the insurance company will simply increase its rates, with the result that the money for the contraceptives and abortifacients will still come from the corporation that has religious objections. The Supreme Court’s eventual decision should be interesting.)
With HHS having already figured out a less intrusive method for getting “free” contraceptives to women, the Supreme Court held that the same workaround that applies to religious non-profits can apply equally well to closely held corporations if the owners have a sincere belief in a core religious issue. And that’s it. That’s the whole Hobby Lobby decision — and nothing in this allegedly “bad ass” argument counters it.
7. Religion Can Be Part Of A Pro-Choice Country
Regardless of your politics, it should be pretty clear that no discussion of reproductive rights is complete without mentioning Hillary Clinton. This quote, in particular, is important because it raises the point that faith can still be involved in the conversation about contraception and abortion if pro-choice policy is the law of the land:
These Democrats will never shame and judge a woman for decisions that are complex and deeply personal, decisions that belong between a woman, her family, her faith, and her doctor; not with her boss or a politician.
In other words, if your faith or belief system prevents you from getting an abortion, then by all means, don’t have one. But don’t let your belief system make the decision for a woman you don’t even know.
Again, this is a non-argument. It simply says that if I want to have an abortion, there’s nothing you can do to stop me. The fact is, every member of a society has a say in what kind of society they want. One that is dedicated to life or one that is dedicated to death.
Incidentally, those reading this may think that I’m totally anti-abortion and pro-Life. I’m not. Like a lot of Americans, I recognize that different circumstances call for different approaches. Like most Americans, I think a third trimester abortion is murder, unless the mother’s life is in imminent danger. Second trimester abortions are pretty damn iffy at a moral level, given that we can keep alive babies that are only 22 or 24 weeks old. First trimester abortions — well, they should be discouraged, but it’s possible to imagine situations in which they’re reasonable.
I should add here, as I always do, that having children changed my mind. Being pregnant and giving birth forced me to acknowledge that the zygote is a fetus is a baby — and at all times, that zygote, that fetus, and that baby is a fully-realized person. Killing a fully realized person is murder. And just as we recognize degrees of murder when it comes to the deaths of already born people (killing an enemy in war, manslaughter, second degree murder, first degree murder, etc.), we can do the same with those who are not yet born.
But that’s not what the Left wants. It wants wholesale slaughter in the name of feminism. And that’s just wrong — and we all have a say in that.