What we pro-choicers said would happen

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

Clayton DykstraYoung “pro-lifer” Clayton Dykstra helpfully explains to me how lazy women would rather stick coat hangers into their cervixes than drive a few miles to obtain those super-easy-to-get abortions in places like Tennessee.

In case you missed it, a woman in Tennessee has been charged with attempted first degree murder for attempting to perform an abortion on herself with a coat hanger.

After losing a great amount of blood, Yocca was taken to the hospital — where she delivered a 24-week-old baby boy. His puncture wounds from the hanger will likely leave him permanently hooked up to an oxygen tank, according to local reports, and leaves Yocca facing attempted homicide charges.

These charges, which will bring Yocca to court on December 21, are based on a state law originally introduced to protect attacks against pregnant women. Tennessee is one of 37 states in total that have “fetal homicide” laws on the books. But, according to reproductive rights groups, these laws have morphed into a tool used by anti-abortion state legislators to punish women for seeking abortion.

For years anti-choicers have sworn that abortion restrictions: a) would not lead to women resorting to the black market or self-induced procedures, or b), if they did it was too bad but abortion should be illegal anyway, or c), it wouldn’t be any worse since legal abortion is so terribly unsafe! (All those claims are made here.)

Furthermore, the very idea that women would be prosecuted for abortion under bans was a preposterous defamation of the anti-abortion movement invented by desperate pro-choicers!

What an ingenious strategy from the National Institute for Reproductive Health and their friend Anna Quindlen. Only the best inside-the-Beltway political gurus could route out such a good fear and panic-tinged wedge issue. But alas, their complete cognitive dissonance when it comes to understanding abortion opponents will defeat them. They hope to prop up the stereotype of abortion opponents as harsh, uneducated, unfeeling Neanderthals who either want to punish women or who are legal idiots not willing to accept the consequences of their position.

But “Just pray for them” is exactly what will continue to emanate from the “national conversation” they seek to ignite. Compassion for mother and child will continue to dominate YouTube and any other outlet where Quindlen or her friends hope to “out” abortion opponents. My guess is that as soon as this happens the “conversation” will go mute.

The fact of the matter is that compassion for women before abortion was legal and compassion for them after unborn protections are enforced will drive the law. The focus of such laws is on protection, not punishment. Women were not punished by the legal system before 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision and there is absolutely no drive to punish her now. While the position may be counterintuitive to some, it is clearly a uniquely American case of handling a delicate and tragic situation with sensitivity.

Long and short of it is, anti-choicers lied. And I’m straight-up calling it lying because there is no other explanation for what can only be called a gleeful reaction whenever a woman is arrested and prosecuted under the restrictions they insist are intended to protect women, such as this one by Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger.

“There are plenty of places for her to go. Every state has at least one abortion clinic. There is no excuse for that. Every state has a number of pregnancy help centers that offer free help to women who are pregnant. So you know for a woman to feel like she has to self-induce there is no reason for that in America today. We all have to obey the law whether they are convenient or not convenient. If she felt like she didn’t want to drive a couple of miles down the road to the nearest abortion clinic, she would rather self-induce, then she should be prosecuted,” said Sullenger.

“There are plenty of abortion clinics in Tennessee. I find it annoying that when a woman breaks the law if it’s related to abortion then pro-aborts want to cry and say it’s because we have too restrictive abortion laws,” continued Sullenger, who said she counted seven abortion clinics in Tennessee, and Tennessee “is not that big of a state.”

Sullenger is a fascinating choice to be interviewed on this topic considering how she is a convicted terrorist but her comments are similar to many I’ve seen from anti-abortion advocates about the Tennessee woman’s prosecution. They really want you to believe that women in places with an abundance of abortion restrictions are simply choosing to insert sharp objects into their bodies (which goes against every human instinct) or to take drugs that will make them violently ill rather than wade through a few trivial “inconveniences” to get those easy-peasy earlier abortions safely in a clinic.

What’s truly horrifying about this relentless dishonesty by anti-choicers is how insidiously and profoundly it influences people – everyone from hospital workers, to cops, to people in the media to people in the “mushy middle” on abortion. to even pro-choice liberals who don’t pay a lot of attention to the true extent of attacks on (mostly) poor women’s ability to access reproductive health care. It seems to be making a lot of people who may not be anti-abortion activists willing to accept some damn harsh punishments to desperate women taking desperate measures rather than empathizing with them. Which I believe is exactly what anti-choicers have always wanted.

3 Responses to What we pro-choicers said would happen

  1. Donna, you were right and I was wrong. I thought the issue was settled, but it obviouly is not. I apologize for arguing with you about it.

  2. This wasn’t hard to predict. Still horrifying.