Today in Abortion Nullification

As Kay said the other day, when Republicans lose in Congress, they go to the courts. And when they lose court, they come back later with bullshit pseudo-science. Two examples:

* A Clinton-appointed Federal Judge in Arizona upheld a law banning abortions after 20 weeks. This law is based on the bogus “fetal pain” notion that fetuses can feel pain prior to the third trimester.

* A South Dakota law requiring physicians to counsel patients that abortions lead to suicide and suicidal thoughts (not true) was upheld by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. Numerous studies have shown that the rate of suicide among women with unwanted pregnancies are pretty similar no matter whether they get an abortion or not.

I don’t know about Arizona, but I’m pretty well acquainted with South Dakota, and the net of forty years of post-Roe sand in the gears is that it was easier to get an abortion in South Dakota when abortions were against the law than it is now.






35 replies
  1. 1
    Unabogie says:

    Because forcing insurance companies to cover the pill is a gross violation of freedom, while forcing women to give birth against their will is god’s plan?

  2. 2
    gene108 says:

    What liberals don’t get is conservatives have an agenda and they are willing to push for decades until it can come to fruition. There are very wealthy monied interests, who want what they want and are somehow aware they can get it, if they keep trying.

    They don’t take a defeat in one arena as a reason to stop pushing for their ideas elsewhere.

    Privatize Social Security died a fast death in 2005; no problem, they just re-framed it via the Ryan Budget and the Bowles-Simpson commission.

    In the words of Kyle Reese: Listen, and understand. That terminator conservative is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead enslaved to the Galtian overlords.

  3. 3
    amk says:

    Unless the women, especially in these deep red states, start voting for their own interest, the thugs will continue this war on them.

  4. 4
    Kay says:

    I just really wonder how this plays out as a practical matter. Most late-term abortions are due to some unusual circumstances, a really compromised fetus, or a really compromised pregnant woman who waited so long for some reason. If those seeking a later-term abortion cannot get one, we have the situation where a woman who has made the decision to end the pregnancy is forced to carry to term. That’s reality. That woman is not going to get any “special help” with what is a really untenable situation, she’s all alone with it. It’s not going to be “identified” in any concrete way, because we just don’t and won’t acknowledge the situation.

    It took decades (and tragedies) for the denial around post-partum depression to be addressed, because it goes against all the powerful cultural norms that say ALL new mothers are like mothers on greeting cards, soft-focus, dreamily smiling, thrilled and quietly content. My biggest complaint with the anti-abortion movement is how sappily sentimental they are, how “Motherhood” always has a capital “M”, when the truth is “women” and “motherhood” is really complicated and at base, REAL. It’s not a greeting card.

    Imagine THESE women, how isolated they’ll be. I’m afraid for them. Is there anything more powerful, culturally, than the shunning of “bad mothers”?

  5. 5
    Miki says:

    “Easier” has nothing to do with “safer.”

  6. 6
    jim filyaw says:

    i was in law school when roe was decided. i thought it was bad law then, not because i opposed a woman’s right to choose, but because it stretched the right of privacy to the breaking point. here we are, forty years later, and the decision has been disastrous for progressive politics. it helped create and galvanize the religious right. its like reagan’s apocryphal welfare queen and phone booth stories, or like the macdonalds hot coffee case. its used as a bludgeon to destroy the very rights it tried to establish. there are times i wonder what would have happened had the case been otherwise decided and the choice left to the states. i suspect the abortion-criminalization laws would have gone the way of the dying death penalty laws.

  7. 7
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    It’s sad, the GOP doesn’t even need to undo Roe anymore. They’ve basically legislated it into obsolescence on the state level until abortion is functionally illegal, and it’ll take nigh onto decades to undo it. And by that time, we’ll probably have a total conservative federal gov’t because the country can’t suffer ‘hippies’ to live.

  8. 8
    Thomas F says:

    Does anyone have a link or links to literature addressing the issue of fetal pain? Merely asserting that the notion is bogus is not an argument. I had read somewhere not so long ago that there was evidence fetuses were capable of sensing pain beginning anywhere from nine to twelve weeks. I have long wondered how pro-choice advocates maintained a certain level of denial in the face of increasing proof that abortion affects what are increasingly recognized as sentient beings. However, I’d honestly like to educate myself more on the subject, so my request for any literature on the subject was made in good faith.

  9. 9
    SteveM says:

    the net of forty years of post-Roe sand in the gears is that it was easier to get an abortion in South Dakota when abortions were against the law than it is now.

    I’ve occasionally had the thought that the only way to save access to abortion in the red states is to let it become illegal again, and let the Prohibition begin. Not sure I really believe that, but what we got ain’t working.

  10. 10
    Miki says:

    @Thomas F: So go ahead – educate yourself. Start with this – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neonatal_perception -, for chrisakes, and follow up by reading some of the citations.

    What the fuck is wrong with people that they can’t bother to even try to answer their own questions? Oops – my bad – I keep making the mistake of taking them seriously.

    Sheesh ….

  11. 11
    Miki says:

    @Thomas F: So go ahead – educate yourself. Start with this – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neonatal_perception -, for chrisakes, and follow up by reading some of the citations.

    What the fuck is wrong with people that they can’t bother to even try to answer their own questions? Oops – my bad – I keep making the mistake of taking them seriously.

    Sheesh ….

  12. 12
    Miki says:

    @Miki: Oops – didn’t mean to repeat the rage, but if it helps ….

  13. 13
    liberal says:

    @Thomas F:

    Does anyone have a link or links to literature addressing the issue of fetal pain? Merely asserting that the notion is bogus is not an argument. I had read somewhere not so long ago that there was evidence fetuses were capable of sensing pain beginning anywhere from nine to twelve weeks.

    IIRC, even at 20 weeks the thalamus isn’t connected to the neocortex. Sensory stuff mostly goes through the thalamus. Circuits not wired = no pain felt.

    ETA: from the Wikipedia article linked to by Miki: “There is an emerging consensus among developmental neurobiologists that the establishment of thalamocortical connections (at about 26 weeks) is a critical event with regard to fetal perception of pain.”

  14. 14
    liberal says:

    @Thomas F:

    I have long wondered how pro-choice advocates maintained a certain level of denial in the face of increasing proof that abortion affects what are increasingly recognized as sentient beings.

    I don’t want to be nasty in light of your claim to be good-faith’ed about this, but where’s your citations to the literature?

  15. 15
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Thomas F:

    However, I’d honestly like to educate myself more on the subject, so my request for any literature on the subject was made in good faith.

    It’s sad. Despite obviously having Internet access, I too am for some reason unable to use Google, and thus have to ask perfect strangers to do my research for me on subjects on which I want to educate myself.

  16. 16
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @jim filyaw:

    there are times i wonder what would have happened had the case been otherwise decided and the choice left to the states.

    Cynthia Gorney made a similar point in a piece at Harper’s back in 2004 during the so-called “partial birth abortion” cases. The fact that Roe was a privacy ruling, as opposed to the legislative victories won to guarantee abortion rights in other countries, set in place the dynamic for this incrementalist clawback from from the religious right, which is now manifest in onerous requirements on both providers and people seeking abortions, all of which rise and fall on the whim of Justice Kennedy, who thinks abortions are icky and that women aren’t necessarily capable of agency.

    But as Gorney rightly notes, the decisions in other countries took place in the context of universal healthcare where abortions are covered procedures, even if they’re often provided privately. That’s not going to happen in the US for a while, even though it should.

    @Thomas F:

    I had read somewhere not so long ago that there was evidence fetuses were capable of sensing pain beginning anywhere from nine to twelve weeks.

    Merely asserting that you have read such a thing is not an argument, but it does have a certain whiff of trollery.

    For what it’s worth, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK released two reports in 2010 covering recent studies, and they found nothing to alter the medical consensus on 24 weeks.

  17. 17
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    I’ve got a comment in moderation, but here’s the RCOG’s overview from 2010: all studies show sufficient neural development to sense pain only comes around 24 weeks.

    The whiff of troll is strong with this one.

  18. 18
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Thomas F:

    You are precisely the sort of person who should be covered under a retroactive abortion legalization statute.

    If you don’t like abortions, don’t have one.

  19. 19
    OhSuzanna says:

    I think the campaign is simply having a meltdown….a complete meltdown.
    Unfortunately, all of this crap doesn’t seem to be having much of an effect on his poll numbers. What’s up with that?

  20. 20
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Thomas F:

    I have long wondered how pro-choice advocates maintained a certain level of denial in the face of increasing proof that abortion affects what are increasingly recognized as sentient beings.

    It’s nice that you’re starting to be willing to accept that adult women are sentient beings and not the walking womb-vessels that you imagined them to be. It would be even better if you could eventually accept them as full human beings who have the same kinds of thoughts and feelings that men do, but I’m sure you’ll get there eventually.

  21. 21
    AndoChronic says:

    It’s so cute when Republicans play scientist.

  22. 22
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @OhSuzanna: National polls combine results in Alabama and California as if they are equal. So 80% in Alabama and 80% in California carry equal weight. Obama leads by a large margin in the Electoral College where Presidents are elected.
    http://www.examiner.com/articl.....projection.

    Currently, most of the Electoral Vote-rich states are Democratic: California, New York, New Jersey, Michigan-that’s a lot of Electoral votes Romney has to find elsewhere.

  23. 23
    Interrobang says:

    @Thomas F: As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter whether the fetus is sentient, non-sentient, or an alien being from the planet Mrglpltz; the woman, you know, the actual living breathing adult human being surrounding the fetus, doesn’t want it in her body anymore for whatever reason, so she should get to say whether or not it stays.

    Tell me, what’s your position on “castle laws”? And if you’re in favour, why does it make sense that I can summarily execute someone for B&E use lethal force against an intruder in my own home, yet not against an intruder in my own body? Personally, I think my bodily integrity is way more important than my stuff, which can, you know, be replaced. My body, not so much.

  24. 24
    Haydnseek says:

    @gene108: Exactly this. Citizens United money plus massive voter suppression plus media-aided propaganda equals wingnut victory, unless we adopt their tactics. Ugly, yes, but it’s our only chance.

  25. 25
    blondie says:

    @Interrobang: You got it!

    Additionally, those who favor forced birth policies must also favor granting rights to the unborn which are never enjoyed by the already-born.

    To wit, no person who has been born has the right to force another person to supply all of his nutrients, blood, oxygen, etc., at a literally physical cost to that person.

    Yet, those who would deny a woman the right to personal autonomy and bodily integrity are perfectly happy to grant an unborn just that. Or maybe they just don’t care too much that some unknown vessel woman is the one who bears the burden.

  26. 26
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @jim filyaw: Who knows, right? I think we should have a right to medical privacy and quite frankly all of these attacks on Roe are attempts to insert the state and some crazy busybodies in between patient and medical provider. Also, it’s an attempt to practice medicine without a license, something all MDs ought to take umbrage at.

    Whether it’s birth control or employers trying to get access to our medical records that they oughtn’t have (in this middle of this right now), Americans DO have a right to a private life (as affirmed in Lawrence v. Texas) and there is quite frankly NO compelling state interest in private reproductive and medical decisions.

    The fact that the reich wing always brings up Red China in these discussions is one more example of It’s Always Projection.

  27. 27
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Now an exception to medical privacy is that there IS a compelling state interest in performing medical exams on transportation workers, b/c if they slip into a diabetic coma PEOPLE DIE. So they are subject to periodic exams according to certain regulatory guidelines.

    The same case was also made for illicit drug use, although it’s used to justify firing people for smoking pot on their day off, which is absurd.

  28. 28
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Thomas F: Cats are sentient beings and they feel pain, but we still put them to sleep by the thousands.

    I do think this whole argument is crap and ultimately irrelevant. The whole issue is that originally late term abortions were banned in many areas unless for medical necessity BUT THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH for moronic busybodies who have now put on their robe and wizard doctor’s hat and are now trying to legislate medicine.

    They’re wrong, and sooner or later someone is going to die because of it.

  29. 29
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @SteveM: They’re a step ahead of you, bro. Personhood laws make it illegal for women to “go on vacation” and have a “miscarriage”.

    This shit is truly vile and must be stopped.

  30. 30
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @blondie: A woman isn’t a “person”. She is the slave/womb-incubator of the man who impregnated her and she is now obligated to “bear his seed”, at the cost of her life if necessary.

    Oh, why say “she”, I mean “it”.

  31. 31
    shortstop says:

    mistermix, are you in SD now or did you grow up there and move elsewhere? Just spent a week hiking the Black Hills and Badlands…phenomenal trails and wildly varied scenery. Loved it all. (Also, what is with the western South Dakota obsession with homemade pie? I had to avert my eyes all the time to avoid being tempted by all that lusciousness.)

  32. 32
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Thomas F:

    I have long wondered how pro-choice advocates maintained a certain level of denial in the face of increasing proof that abortion affects what are increasingly recognized as sentient beings.

    Personally, I have long wondered how forced-birth advocates maintained a certain level of denial in the face of increasing proof that abortion restrictions affect what are increasingly recognized as sentient beings able to make their own choices about their own bodies. I.e., women.

  33. 33
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Thomas F:

    Does anyone have a link or links to literature addressing the issue of fetal pain?

    Here you go:

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=fetal+pain

  34. 34
    BobS says:

    @SteveM: Do you know off-hand whether it would be legal for abortion providers to establish clinics on reservations?

  35. 35
    shortstop says:

    Isn’t this Thomas F. character the same guy who comes in here to earnestly assure us that, the actions of the bishops notwithstanding, the RCC is just like the American political system and democracy reigns?

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