The Forever Bullshit War on Abortion

The article John posted yesterday from Jezebel about the New York Reproductive Health Act (RHA) is worth a read. It addresses the cloud of bullshit around abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy which, as anyone who cares about women’s health instead of policing uteri knows, is a rare procedure only used in cases of severe, unsurvivable fetal abnormality or risk to the mother’s life:

The RHA now ensures that people in New York will have their constitutional right to an abortion; that includes the right to abortion after the 24th week in pregnancy if the pregnant person’s life or health is threatened by the pregnancy, or if the fetus has a condition incompatible with life. Prior to this legislation, I have had patients find out about a fetal anomaly who then had to travel long distances to other states to get the care they needed. Abortion later in pregnancy is not what patients anticipate for themselves; it’s not how they see their pregnancies unfolding. I had one patient who couldn’t afford to travel outside of the state and so she continued the pregnancy and the baby died shortly after birth due to a brain malformation. Years later, she is unable to tell her story without tears.

Before Ralph Northam’s blackface revelations, he was part of a faux controversy over a similar law in Virginia.  Northam is a pediatric neurosurgeon, and here’s the answer he gave to a radio station on the issue of abortion after 24 weeks:

“[Third trimester abortions are] done in cases where there may be severe deformities. There may be a fetus that’s nonviable. So in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen,” […] “The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

I’m sure it could have been phrased better, but he basically spoke the truth.  Babies who are severely deformed may live for a few minutes, hours or days, but they’re not going to live long. It’s a sad fact of life, but just speaking it summons a screeching hoard of anti-abortion dementors who pick apart the wording of whoever spoke the awful truth.

These zealots are winning – soon the Supremes will effectively do away with affordable abortions, if not all abortions, in red states.  They’ve have been enabled by people like Trump, who know that their children or mistresses will be able to get a safe, legal abortion because they can pay for it.  It’s only the poor who suffer, as always.






82 replies
  1. 1

    I can’t read much about the abortion wars without going into white hot rage. This was a battle I thought we won decades ago, but persistent, dishonest, quasi-religious action threatens to damage us again.

  2. 2
    Paul W. says:

    “These zealots are winning – soon the Supremes will effectively do away with affordable abortions, if not all abortions, in red states.”
    I’ll agree that the status quo is dangerous and in the favor of anti-abortion extremists… but to say that they are “wining” is a bit of a stretch considering that states are actually taking steps back from extreme laws (like NY that was in the actual prompt for this post), while the same radical states keep trying to ratchet themselves closer to outlawing abortion entirely. The danger is more real now because many of the fruits of 40 years trying to load up courts are coming to bear but it isn’t a change in their direction, also I think the backlash would be incredibly intense. Another 5-10% of the population would wake up to just how extreme these actions would be.
    /optimist

  3. 3
    laura says:

    Let 10,000 Becky Bell’s bloom.
    Your daughter, your niece, your granddaughter, your coworker, your friend, your sister.
    The womens bodies will once again start piling up in emergency rooms, dorms, homes . . . .

  4. 4
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Years later, she is unable to tell her story without tears.

    I had a little brother who lived for 52 minutes. None of us kids went to the funeral. As a 5 yr old I never questioned any of it. To this day I don’t know where he’s buried. My mother never did talk about it except to say, “That pregnancy was wrong.”

    Years later they thought my oldest son had cystic fibrosis. The sweat chloride test kept coming back borderline. (this went on for months) It runs in my family and my wife was adopted. The docs wanted to look at James Matthew’s records to see if there was anything that might help them. Ma just flat out refused. No amount of reasoning or pleading would move her.

    That was the first I realized how deeply scarred she had been by the experience.

  5. 5
    Jerzy Russian says:

    One wonders how many abortions Trump has paid for. On the one hand there are probably some mistresses who became pregnant at awkward times. On the other hand, Trump is known for not paying his bills and for stiffing contractors and the like.

  6. 6
    Nicole says:

    Ohhhh… so that’s what all the “Northam killing babies outside the womb” was based around. Good grief.

    Maybe physicians who go into politics should be trained to follow up statements like these with, “I know I sound unemotional, but as a doctor who has actually been in these situations, you have to learn to emotionally disengage, because I have a responsibility to give the mother and fetus and family the care they deserve, the best care I can. I go home and grieve for them afterwards.”

    I know as a patient I really don’t want my doctor weeping along with me.

  7. 7
    oldster says:

    So when do we need to stockpile Plan B? Will they go after that, too?

  8. 8
    JPL says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: A knew someone who wasn’t even allowed to see her child, and only had another child because of sonograms.

  9. 9
    WereBear says:

    More bullshit brought to you by the people who incited the murder of Dr. Tiller.

    I read a tale of a woman whose pregnancy turned tragic because of a brain malformation, and her turning point was when she asked the doctor something like, “So she will just sleep a lot?” and the doctor said, “In my experience, they are not comfortable enough to be able to sleep.”

    Then she had to come up with thousands of dollars on short notice and travel to somewhere that would do the procedure that would save her and her baby incredible suffering.

    Bottom line: they hate women.

  10. 10
    Kay says:

    I’m a big fan of babies, but I also like mothers, so I wonder if it might be worthwhile to actually discuss the mother’s health at some point.

    In medicine, death is a reality. But in obstetrics, where patients are relatively young and healthy, the death of a mother should be so rare that you might never see one in training. However, that is not the case in this country, where the maternal death rate is the highest among all developed nations.
    I traveled to Washington recently with Dr. Eve Zaritsky, my supervising physician, to join more than 600 other obstetrician/gynecologists to push for bills that would address this crisis. It seemed that every one of us, from veterans to young doctors still in training, had a patient story to share.

    I have a real issue with anti-abortion people never talking about mothers. I was literally shocked in the 2008 election when John McCain did his sneering dismissal of anything regarding the mother’s health because this country doesn’t take very good care of pregnant mothers and other countries somehow manage to, and I’d like to know why this isn’t a huge story like misrepresenting what the physician said about babies is a huge story.

    Maybe the reason our maternal health stats are so bad is because we don’t listen to physicians and instead listen to cable news celebrities and Ben Sasse. I want a real doctor, not these clowns with their loud, uninformed opinions.

  11. 11
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Nicole:

    I know as a patient I really don’t want my doctor weeping along with me.

    That actually happened to me once**. Extremely uncomfortable..

    **My surgery was put on hold for over an hour due to an ER situation. Finally the anesthetist comes in apologizing for the delay. I tell her it’s no big deal, shit happens. Next thing I know she’s bawling her eyes out, great heaves of grief. All my wife and I can do is sit there and wait for her to pull herself back together. A part of you wants to comfort even tho you don’t know this person or wtf is going on or what would be the proper way….

    As it turned out a toddler had fallen into a pool and they worked on her for the hr+ and couldn’t save her. Understandable, but still…

  12. 12
    Yarrow says:

    Would a situation like the one in Ireland where the woman died because they weren’t allowed to abort the fetus change anything? It would have to be a young, white, attractive married woman, I’d guess.

  13. 13
    Kay says:

    @Nicole:

    I know as a patient I really don’t want my doctor weeping along with me.

    Thoughts and prayers. It’s become the Right’s reflex to anything real. The lawmaker made the tragic mistake of actually treating pregnancy and childbirth like something other than a soft-focus Hallmark card and that’s forbidden.

    They essentially bully women into going along with their fantasy that this whole process is conducted on some abstract plane of their religious beliefs when it’s not.

  14. 14
    Nicole says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    A part of you wants to comfort even tho you don’t know this person or wtf is going on or what would be the proper way….

    That’s the rub. Someone else cries and any reasonably empathetic person’s response is to try to make them feel better. Which takes energy, and if you’re the person who is there to be taken care of, it’s better to not expend any more energy than you have to.

    That and people don’t always make the best decisions when they’re emotional. I’d prefer to feel my doctors are always in a state of mind to make good decisions about my care.

    That said, I totally feel for that anesthesiologist, and I see how it could have been too much for her in that moment. But yeah, I would have felt like you did- very uncomfortable.

  15. 15
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Yarrow: young, white, attractive married woman, the daughter of a Republican Senator finished tfy.

  16. 16

    people like Trump, who know that their children or mistresses will be able to get a safe, legal abortion because they can pay for it.

    Honestly? I don’t think they think it through that far. The women assume that they are Too Virtuous, even the ones who have already had abortions. The men literally don’t think about it at all. It’s a problem for women, and when they think about problems women have at all, it’s because they find it funny to make those problems worse.

  17. 17
    Damned at Random says:

    My step-daughter had a trisomy 17 scare (abnormal triple test) and had to have an amniocentesis and chromosome count. Trisomy 17 is considered “incompatible with life” and has a life expectancy of about a week (for the minority of babies born alive). I advised her to have an abortion if the chromosome count was abnormal because I wasn’t sure a 22 week fetus had the neural development to experience pain, but I was sure a 40 week baby did – so abortion was the humane option.

    People need to understand that ultrasound in performed for a reason and that reason is not to determine what color to paint the nursery. Let the family make any necessary tragic decisions based on their own values.

    By the way, the granddaughter’s chromosome count was normal and she is a healthy 8-year-old

  18. 18
    Gex says:

    @Yarrow: I’d have to guess no. Our mortality rate isn’t the highest in the developed world without having this exact situation happen to a young white attractive mother.

  19. 19
    Kay says:

    @Yarrow:

    There are cases like that in the US. Lots of them. For some reason they don’t get the 24/7 coverage that pretending this physician is a cold-blooded baby killer gets.

    I don’t want any of these people anywhere near me if I’m having a baby. I think they’re dangerous.

  20. 20
    JGabriel says:

    [Individual 1] mistermix @ Top:

    These zealots are winning – soon the Supremes will effectively do away with affordable abortions, if not all abortions, in red states.

    In all states.

    Maybe the 5 Conservatives on SCOTUS will restrain themselves to leaving it a state decision, but I see no reason to believe we can rely on them to do so.

    Remember, no one asked for Citizens United to go as far as it did. It could have been decided very narrowly, and was expected to be. John Roberts expanded that decision to the atrocity we know today all on his own.

    And even if the SCOTUS Conservative extremists do restrain themselves, the rest of the zealots won’t. As soon as they have the red states covered, they’ll go after the blue ones.

  21. 21
    Cermet says:

    @Yarrow: No, it would have to be the daughter of one of the right wing loons.

    As for woman having choice, the bible itself supports that; in that silly book, the god demands that woman who are still pregnant be executed even though waiting would allow the child to be born first – but no. Also, that crazy book tells the priest how to create a drink (basically temple dust from the floor) that will cause a woman to lose the child if it isn’t her husband’s.

    This was and is a made up issue that was created purely as a fake battle because tax laws were changed that hurt religious orders.

  22. 22
    Kay says:

    @Yarrow:

    They collect plenty of stats. They are, after all, science based professions:

    As Catholic-owned hospitals merge with or take over other facilities, they impose restrictions on reproductive health services, including abortion and contraceptive services. Our interviews with US obstetrician–gynecologists working in Catholic-owned hospitals revealed that they are also restricted in managing miscarriages.
    Catholic-owned hospital ethics committees denied approval of uterine evacuation while fetal heart tones were still present, forcing physicians to delay care or transport miscarrying patients to non–Catholic-owned facilities. Some physicians intentionally violated protocol because they felt patient safety was compromised.
    Although Catholic doctrine officially deems abortion permissible to preserve the life of the woman, Catholic-owned hospital ethics committees differ in their interpretation of how much health risk constitutes a threat to a woman’s life and therefore how much risk must be present before they approve the intervention.

    We’re just not permitted to discuss any of them because it’s offensive to anti-abortion people. These facts.

  23. 23
    The Moar You Know says:

    However, that is not the case in this country, where the maternal death rate is the highest among all developed nations.

    @Kay:

    the highest
    the highest
    the highest
    the highest
    the highest

    USA! USA! USA! USA!

    #1 at something no one should aspire to be #1 at.

    I would say it’s appalling but that is utterly surpassed by the shamefulness.

  24. 24

    @Kay: I have friends who are physicians, the way they speak about medical cases may sound clinical to non-physicians but its not because they don’t care. Whether it be gun shot wounds or ob-gyns talking about pregnancy and childbirth. You want doctors to be clinical and rational because if they are not, the results are fatal. Hence the unwritten injunction about never treating your family members. My SIL who is a pathologist did not diagnose my FIL’s cardiac arrest, she wasted time giving him first aid for a heat stroke and they lost precious time in calling the ambulance. He passed away after weeks on the ventilator.

  25. 25
    Yarrow says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Maybe, maybe not. It’s funny when something becomes the thing that breaks through. I thought Sandy Hook would be it for school shootings. Nope. It was Parkland–yet another high school shooting.

    @Gex: Yeah, but it somehow has to get in the press, It becomes a big story.

    @Kay: There are, just like there are lots of school shootings. Some of them break through and become big deals. I figure at some point some unfortunate young woman is going to be that person.

  26. 26
    Yarrow says:

    @Kay: They weren’t permitted in Ireland either. And then that story broke through the noise.

  27. 27

    @Kay: Our media is a handmaiden of Rs. They are worse than useless.

  28. 28
    Nicole says:

    @Kay:

    They essentially bully women into going along with their fantasy that this whole process is conducted on some abstract plane of their religious beliefs when it’s not.

    And of course, the moment they, or their daughter or granddaughter gets pregnant, it’s amazing how it suddenly moves into the realm of reality and abortion is okay in this circumstance only because shut up that’s why.

    It’s funny how this issue (which is not even mentioned in the Bible), thanks to some nifty redirection of racism by the Religious Right back in the late 1970s, completely takes over a certain kind of mind. It especially grates on me when I have to listen to religious friends and in-laws who are divorced, start up about it. I mean, the Bible is super clear about divorce- unless your spouse was cheating on you (and not the other way around), it’s not okay. I am really not interested in having someone who claims to be a Christian despite having flunked Bible Rules 101 lecture me about religious beliefs and taking away women’s rights to their own bodies.

  29. 29
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Sorry to sound harsh but red states keep voting for Republicans so what do they expect when they vote for forced birthers? I’m not sure what else to say about this issue than stop voting for Republicans if you support choice.

  30. 30
    Yarrow says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Agreed. Looking forward to the media’s role in the whole Russia story to be shown.

  31. 31
    The Moar You Know says:

    As soon as they have the red states covered, they’ll go after the blue ones.

    @JGabriel: There was a psychopath name of Neal Horsley (the Nuremburg Files guy who got Dr. Tiller, among others, murdered), thankfully dead, who had attained some sort of elective office in Georgia. He had a website back in the early 00s. He was running for Georgia governor on the platform that, once elected, he would have the National Guard seize a local missile site, secure a nuclear weapon, and blackmail the United States into making abortion illegal or he’d nuke Washington DC.

    Someone else is going to get that idea. Someone who can maybe pull it off.

    They’re willing to go there, at least some of them.

  32. 32

    @Nicole:

    in this circumstance

    And as you know, afterwards most of them go right back to abortion being evil and never acceptable.

    thanks to some nifty redirection of racism by the Religious Right

    There’s a lot of racism still involved. Palin let it slip at one point. They have some ugly myths about black women. Abortion is a perfect evangelical cause. It combines racism, misogyny, forcing others to live by their fantasies, and is easily described in terms that let them pat themselves on the back for being virtuous while unleashing their hate to its fullest.

  33. 33
    [Individual 1] mistermix says:

    @JGabriel:

    In all states.

    What I’m anticipating is that the Supremes green light state law that makes ridiculous rules that cause abortions to be unaffordable. In states like NY, with the RHA, abortion would remain legal and available. I don’t see how a Supreme Court decision upholding state laws that (practically) ban abortion would affect the RHA and similar laws in blue states.

  34. 34
    Yarrow says:

    Another issue that intersects with Russia and the abortion issue is how much Russian money has gone into evangelical organizations. Just like the NRA was laundering Russian money, evangelical organizations have been doing the same. Maybe the Mueller investigation will have some impact on how much those organizations can spend on pushing anti-abortion issues.

  35. 35
    satby says:

    @Yarrow: it wouldn’t have had an effect of the Magdalene laundry stories about all the babies who died in them hadn’t mortally wounded the Catholic church’s ability to pretend they had any moral authority on the question.

  36. 36
    Bobby Thomson says:

    This SCOTUS will eliminate abortion rights in blue states, too, with a decision that gives zygotes due process rights outweighing the rights of the mother.

  37. 37
    waspuppet says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: What I can’t get past is that after all these decades, this is all still based on the notion that there are or ever have been women out there who are like “Yeah yeah whatever I’ll just bang as many men as I want and if I get pregnant I’ll just kill it and if I want to keep it but at nine months I get too bummed out because I can’t fit into my favorite clothes I’ll just kill it then.”

    I mean, I’m a straight white guy in my mid-50s, and the contempt and casual slander behind all this leaves me speechless. Women must want to set fires nightly.

  38. 38
    WereBear says:

    @Yarrow: Maybe, maybe not. It’s funny when something becomes the thing that breaks through. I thought Sandy Hook would be it for school shootings. Nope. It was Parkland–yet another high school shooting.

    I think Sandy Hook set the stage for Parkland to make such an impact. Most people live in these sealed bubbles of what they have decided is true. Takes several blows to shatter it.

  39. 39
    Scott Brady says:

    @Jerzy Russian: Which might be relevant–if he were arguing in favor of abortion.

    And oh, yeah. If it were true.

  40. 40
    satby says:

    @Patricia Kayden: and if they vote for Democrats those Democrats will be destroyed.
    Win-win.

    Fundy Evangelicals HATE Catholics. They believe the Pope is the Anti-Christ and that Catholics are apostate. But they made common cause with their enemy on the abortion issue, which started (and continues) as a white supremacy issue. And these evil people seem able to outsmart us.

  41. 41
    satby says:

    @oldster: they have been going after Plan B since it was licensed for public distribution. Plan B is why they now conflate birth control pills with abortifacients.

  42. 42
    Nicole says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    There’s a lot of racism still involved. Palin let it slip at one point. They have some ugly myths about black women. Abortion is a perfect evangelical cause. It combines racism, misogyny, forcing others to live by their fantasies, and is easily described in terms that let them pat themselves on the back for being virtuous while unleashing their hate to its fullest.

    Oh, absolutely, but the thing is, when Roe v Wade was first decided, other than the Catholic Church, most branches of Christianity, including Southern ones, wrote it off as something between a woman and her doctor. Then Jimmy Carter’s administration went after private religious schools that were de facto excuses to have all-white schools, and the Religious Right decided they wanted him defeated in 1980. And abortion was the issue they settled on as being able to rile up their base. There are a couple of good articles out about it- here’s the Boston Globe, from February of last year:
    https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2018/02/05/race-not-abortion-was-founding-issue-religious-right/A5rnmClvuAU7EaThaNLAnK/story.html

  43. 43
    The Moar You Know says:

    And these evil people seem able to outsmart us.

    @satby: They know us better than we know them. Most importantly, they know how to distract us and how to turn us on each other. Hats off to them with real respect (the same kind of respect you give rattlesnakes and white sharks) because they’ve done a great fucking job of it over the last four years.

  44. 44
    tobie says:

    The Supreme Court indicated just how far they were willing to bend the law to suit Talibangelicals when they decided in the Hobby Lobby case that it was enough for company owners to think a birth control method was abortifacient to justify them not covering it in their health insurance plans. They essentially said we will protect certain Supreme Court approved ignorant positions, facts be damned.

    Have you noticed that the GOP, with media and bot assists, has gone full bore attacking female Dem candidates for President with the exception of Tulsi Gabbard? It’s ‘but her emails’ all over again.

  45. 45
    satby says:

    @Nicole: and that total beyotch Hillary Clinton was an early investigator of the segregated academies in the south. Which put her on the radar for almost 40 years of slander at the hands of the right wing. Ably aided by “progressives”.

  46. 46
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @satby:

    Plan B is why they now conflate birth control pills with abortifacients.

    No, they’ve always done that.

  47. 47
    Barbara says:

    I hate the way people talk about abortion. Even Obama, whose basic ideology was “I trust women,” which I agree with 100%, used to say things like “every abortion is a tragedy,” which I don’t agree with. Once a baby is born, of course, you have to do everything in your power to support them and make their lives good, but I know of more than a few situations where abortion would likely have been the best outcome possible.

    Some yo-yo Catholic priest used to hold a pro-life Sunday service in which he kept a bunch of seats open to reflect the children who weren’t there because of abortion. He didn’t even consider the number of kids who might not be there if their parents had been forced to have a child earlier in their lives.

    Most women who have abortions fall into two camps: women who already have all the children they can handle, or women who want to delay having a family. The overall birth rate is not going down because of access to abortion. Instead, the impact of abortion is on allowing women to have kids when they actually have the wherewithal to take care of them in the way they want, after they have finished their education and so on.

  48. 48
    Ohio Mom says:

    Because I am interested in disability, I know a little bit about ways in which fetal development can go wrong — fetuses can be missing all sorts of parts, no brain or no kidneys, cyclops babies with one eye in the middle of their face and no nose, the list goes on and on, and the photos of these poor beings are not for the weak of stomach.

    I know we all think it’s horrible when forced-birthers wave around giant posters of aborted fetuses but I sometimes think we should be waving around pictures of very deformed newborns so people can grok exactly what “incompatible with life” really means.

    We have a sense of privacy and a sense that we would be exploiting these families so we don’t do this.

    The result is, people think we are talking about things they’ve heard of, like Down Syndrome or cleft palates, which are disabilities that can be remediated or repaired. Um, no.

  49. 49
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @[Individual 1] mistermix: The extreme case would be declaring fetuses persons under the 14th Amendment. Even if they don’t do that, they could set the stage for Congress declaring all abortion illegal by statute the next time they get a Republican trifecta (the Bush-era ban on intact D&E being the model here; they’d probably have to lift the filibuster if we haven’t done it first).

  50. 50
    JGabriel says:

    @[Individual 1] mistermix:

    What I’m anticipating is that the Supremes green light state law that makes ridiculous rules that cause abortions to be unaffordable. … I don’t see how a Supreme Court decision upholding state laws that (practically) ban abortion would affect the RHA and similar laws in blue states.

    I think that’s most likely scenario too. I just don’t discount the possibility that Supreme Court’s Republican justices will decide, on their own, to go way overboard in some way, as they did in Citizens United. And even if they rule the way you and I expect, the rest of the anti-abortion zealots will focus all their attention on blue states once they have their pounds of bloody coat-hangers and women’s flesh in red states.

  51. 51
    catclub says:

    nobody pointed this out? or maybe they got auto-banned

    screeching hoard of anti-abortion dementors

    horde – like a large group of Mongol raiders on horseback
    hoard – of gold under Smaug

  52. 52
    catclub says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    The extreme case would be declaring fetuses persons under the 14th Amendment.

    so birthright citizenship applies only up until delivery? Then they want to cancel it.

  53. 53
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    Of course, these same forced birthers will complain heavily about the increased welfare costs for those who are born and their mothers (s).

    A suggestion: Can we have a special front-pager talk about this issue? Late abortions are done for pretty difficult reasons, but there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to tell people about all the factors.

  54. 54
    colleeniem says:

    @waspuppet: Have you read the slate article from a couple of years ago about Linda Taylor, the original “welfare queen”? There probably are some women like you describe, but like the monstrous Linda, whose whole life of crimes were much worse than mere mooching, they are vanishingly rare. But we nearly set up a system to prevent the worst things, no matter how many people outside the monster zone can be helped. For righteousness. I laugh because it’s better than weeping.

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:

    @satby:

    And these evil people seem able to outsmart us.

    I’m not quite sure that “outsmart” is the right word given that they win by creating simplistic propaganda that pushes emotional buttons. One of the ways Trump won was by appealing to the racist lizard brain of white voters on an emotional (non-thinking) level so they wouldn’t stop and think about all of the contradictory memes they were being fed (like “we must defend Israel to the death!” vs “Jews are manipulating up into war!”)

    The abortion thing is all lizard brain appeals about “baybeez!” that is deliberately designed to conceal or downplay fatal birth defects and maternal death. I actually ran into a guy on Twitter who thought that because babies with anencephaly (brain never fully develops) can sometimes breathe when they’re born, that meant that they would grow into normal adults. He kept ignoring the phrase “inevitably fatal” in the article he cited as proving that because, emotionally, he did not want to believe that some babies are born with fatal birth defects that mean they will only live for a few hours or days. It was too painful to believe that it happens, so he denied the facts in order to feel better emotionally.

  56. 56
    trollhattan says:

    @The Moar You Know:
    It makes a nice twofer along with the only advanced Western nation with the death penalty. “Death is our profession.”

  57. 57
    rikyrah says:

    @Kay:

    They essentially bully women into going along with their fantasy that this whole process is conducted on some abstract plane of their religious beliefs when it’s not.

    Tell it, Kay.

  58. 58
    Karen says:

    @WereBear:

    Bottom line: they hate women.

    Correction: They hate women having sex other than procreation.

  59. 59
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Mnemosyne: When you consider how complex fetal development is, it’s rather amazing that any of us end up having all our parts in their proper places.

    Some very deformed newborns, at their parents’ insistence, are put on life support and stay that way for years. I don’t know how often that happens but it is certainly an illustration of how deep denial can run.

  60. 60
    Nicole says:

    Jon Pennington, who did a PhD thesis on the pro-life movement: “Another woman I interviewed told me, ‘Most pro-life women oppose abortion with four exceptions: rape, incest, the life of the mother, and me.'”

  61. 61
    gratuitous says:

    I think the other thing that drives anti-choicers bats (battier?) is that these laws expanding the rights of women to full health care are all constitutional. They don’t get overturned by the courts while their bullshit obstacle courses keep getting demolished on judicial review.

    But really, while it’s literally life-and-death to the people involved, for the anti-choicers, it’s just a game to be played so they can attract donations from well-meaning but gullible low-information people who want to “save the babies” and other, more sinister fuckheads who want to punish slutty women.

  62. 62
    J R in WV says:

    As my mom spent her last 5 years slowing dying from COPD, caused by PallMalls, one afternoon I spent with her on a beautiful summer day, she told me something, after first telling me I could never tell my father.

    She told me that she, a lifelong sensible Republican who supported integration and gay rights, had begun cancelling my Dad’s [also a lifelong sensible Republican who supported integration and gay rights] vote by no longer voting for any Republican.

    Her reasoning was that the Republicans had gone mad regarding abortion rights, and thus had lost their right to her vote. I’m pretty sure, though she didn’t explicitly say so, that she lost one of her best friends, or perhaps even a beloved cousin, to a botched abortion back when they were all illegal most places.

    My mom was the most compassionate adult I knew as a youth, and I knew a lot of compassionate people growing up. This slightly sad story took place in the mid 1990s, and I’m pretty much over the sadness I felt when Mom died, she was ready, had made her peace, and had told Dad to never call 911 again if she had problems, that if he couldn’t deal with being with her he could go to the other end of their long house and wait a good long time. Instead she died in his arms quickly at 5 am one morning, as they both would have surely wanted it to unwind.

    She was a strong supporter of women’s right to choose their health care options, of women’s right to have an abortion if necessary. She was born in the early 1900s, not quite early enough to have been a suffragette. I’ll always miss her, and I’ll always support reproductive rights for all women. Not on account of Mom’s convictions, but it is the right position to hold close!

  63. 63
    Gretchen says:

    NYT has an article this morning about how Trump distorted the law about late abortions. The whole comment section is people who have heard that babies sometimes survive at 22 weeks, don’t realize that most don’t and most that do have disabilities, and ask why they don’t “just” keep the baby alive. Like someone who goes septic at 22 weeks hasn’t thought of that. They all seem too think that mom just noticed that her pants don’t fit and wants a recreational abortion. Then there’s the guy who thinks there are lots of late abortions for mental health reasons, and asks why they don’t “just” do a csection. There’s a reason why lawmakers think doctors rather than these people should be making the decisions.

  64. 64
    J R in WV says:

    @Karen:

    @WereBear:

    Bottom line: they hate women.

    Correction: They hate women having sex other than procreation.

    No Karen.

    They hate women, all of them!

    Except when they find women handy to do as they’re told, whether that’s cleaning the toilets, fixing a meal, of lying down to have sex on command. They like ownership of a woman, or women, but they hate those women at the same time.

    Sorry to burst your bubble, they hate women, they’re just willing to use them, just as racists hate the “other” but are still willing to feed them enough so that they can work very hard for their racist owners.

  65. 65
    Martin says:

    Not going to win in California. Women in CA have a constitutional right to choose whether or not not have children. (BTW, it was Reagan who signed our law legalizing abortion just as he signed the first gun regulation in the nation.) Medicaid does cover abortions in the state. The feds cannot block funding for abortion because they structured Medicaid as a block grant, which means the money is controlled by the state, and the state constitution says that abortion funding cannot be blocked. In case anyone was wondering *why* ⅓ of the abortion providers in the nation are in California – that’s a big part of it.

    BTW, it would be nice if CA wasn’t the only state in the nation to constitutionally enshrine a woman’s right to choose whether to give birth or not. Not only does it protect abortion access, but it also ended forced sterilization and other practices. States aren’t powerless against the feds. California has singlehandedly blocked a fuckton of efforts to undermine climate change and clean air laws. We’ve basically succeeded equally on abortion rights, but other blue states refuse to take the measures needed to fight at the state level. It’s a little infuriating.

  66. 66
    Kay says:

    @J R in WV:

    I don’t want a religious tribunal deciding if I get medical intervention in a pregnancy or delivery situation. I think they have weird ideas about women as woo woo mystical beings and they’re scared of us. Let’s just keep this on a medical level. I just don’t want to be involved at all in their theories. If that’s selfish then sign me up. I’m not their symbolic sacrifice.

  67. 67
    Gretchen says:

    @waspuppet: JenGunter is an OB/GYN who has done late abortions and has been commenting on Twitter about these laws, and the terrible circumstances that these abortions address. There was still a woman who weighed in with “why don’t they just keep their legs closed?” The whole thread was about wanted pregnancies that went horribly wrong, but she still went with slut-shaming.

  68. 68
    Barbara says:

    @Gretchen: The obvious rejoinder is that the primary reason someone is doing an abortion at 22 weeks is because the fetus is not going to survive even at 40 weeks gestation. For the relatively few women undergoing early intervention where the problem is with the mom, not the fetus, doctors DO try to save the fetus at whatever stage the procedure is undertaken. There are vanishingly few instances where the only way to save a mother’s life is to perform an abortion without any goal of saving the life of the fetus. It does happen, but it is almost always in cases where the outcome for the fetus is dire to begin with as well and it’s basically impossible to deliver the fetus alive, it’s just not quite as certain as, say, most kinds of trisomies or profound genetic malformations. I can deal with people who will tell me that it would be better for both the mother and the fetus to die than the fetus alone, but most people can’t bring themselves to even acknowledge that this is, in fact, the position of the Catholic Church, let alone articulate it as a positive good, so instead, they construct this fabulist universe in which all bad things can be avoided if you just try hard enough. Fuck them.

  69. 69
    Kay says:

    WASHINGTON — President Trump is planning to introduce an initiative on Thursday that will seek to help bring economic security to 50 million women across the world by 2025, a program that his eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, has hailed as a nonpartisan and “generous” approach to women’s empowerment.
    The plan, which the White House is calling the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, will draw from a $50 million starter fund from the United States Agency for International Development, and will team up with several private companies, including UPS and Walmart, Ms. Trump said. The White House is expected to officially announce the initiative on Thursday afternoon.

    The NYTimes printed another press release promoting Ivanka Trump. They’re actually getting worse at covering the Trump family. They’re worse than they were a year ago and if they follow The Trump Trajectory they haven’t hit bottom yet.

  70. 70
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Gretchen: I am always skeptical when people talk about babies and toddlers who were at risk for disability — say they were premies or drug exposed — and declare that these young children “are just fine!”

    Well, some of them are “just fine!” but there are disabilities that do not become obvious until later in childhood such as learning disabilities, attention issues, intellectual disabilities, emotional issues, and autism spectrum disorders. And being premature or drug-exposed or having other atypical developmental circumstances puts children at higher risk of these sorts of conditions.

    Not that there aren’t lots of interventions that can help kids with these various disabilities because they certainly are. It’s just that the people who insist “they’re just fine!” don’t ever seem to stick around long enough to see for themselves whether or not the kid in question really is “just fine!”

  71. 71
    Kay says:

    @Gretchen:

    The whole thread was about wanted pregnancies that went horribly wrong, but she still went with slut-shaming.

    The whole medical discussion about interventions in miscarriage complications is “wanted pregnancies” and it doesn’t seem to make a bit of difference to anti-abortion people. They don’t actually care what the woman wants because she’s essentially been completely removed from their analysis. And they’re asking me to trust their religious tribunals to make medical decisions? I don’t even exist. The state anti-abortion statutes are eerie – the woman disappears. To me, they could not make it any clearer that in that world the women comes second to the pregnancy than what’s expressed in the dry legal language they draft and promote and pass. Along about the second sentence she’s…gone.

  72. 72
    Chacal Charles Calthrop says:

    @Damned at Random: This. I remember reading about a third-trimester abortion where the fetus was diagnosed with both Down’s syndrome and a severe heart defect. The mother was willing to raise a child with Down’s syndrome but the insurance company would not pay for what, at best case, would have been a lifetime of heart transplants. The child, had it been born, would have lived its entire short life dying of congenital heart disease, and the mother chose abortion to spare her infant that lifetime of suffering.

    The idea that the insurance company would have been allowed to deny payment for an infant heart transplant, condemning the infant to a short lifetime of pure pain, but that the mother would not be allowed to choose to abort a child who had to be born into that situation, demonstrates that the entire abortion debate is about transferring agency from the woman to the men running the companies and institutions that would have the power to decide who lives and who dies.

  73. 73
    Gretchen says:

    @Barbara: Ross Douthat did a column the other day citing the summary of a study that said that most abortions after 20 weeks weren’t for maternal or fetal health. Problem was that the actual study was to see whether restrictions on early abortions were the reason for late abortions. They actually excluded maternal and child health reason abortions from the study, yet Douthat cited the misleading summary to bolster his position that the NY law isn’t necessary because the dire problems are vanishingly rare. As far as I know FTFNYT hasn’t published a correction or retraction.

  74. 74
    Barbara says:

    @Gretchen: By that logic, treatment for orphan diseases should be a non-issue because the diseases are vanishingly rare. Who cares if people die from unusual circumstances?

  75. 75
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Chacal Charles Calthrop: That’s IF there was an immediately available heart the right size, and IF the heart went to this baby and not another without Down.

    There is a lot of bias against giving DD (developmentally disabled) people organ transplants.

    One stated reason is doubt about whether they would be capable/wiling to be compliant with such things as anti rejection medication schedules. You can imagine the other, unstated reasons yourself.

    P.S. I believe heart and other organ malformations are frequent comorbid conditions in Down. Some are fixable, and as this story shows, some are not.

  76. 76
    Barbara says:

    @Chacal Charles Calthrop: You said:

    the insurance company would not pay for what, at best case, would have been a lifetime of heart transplants

    The limiting factor on heart transplants in general and especially in a case where the recipient has other medical problems would not be payment but a medical screening process that, whether honestly or not, would likely make it extremely difficult to get a transplant for such a child. An insurer would be hard pressed to decline payment based on the genetic status of the recipient if a heart transplant were otherwise covered.

    ETA: As Ohio Mom alluded to, there is a shortage of all organs for transplant, but babies in particular need tiny hearts.

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Gretchen:

    Then there’s the guy who thinks there are lots of late abortions for mental health reasons, and asks why they don’t “just” do a csection.

    IIRC, one of the reasons for the “mental health” exception is so that women who are carrying fetuses that will die shortly after birth from severe defects but will survive inside the womb can end the pregnancy rather than have to continue carrying a child that they know is doomed. The argument is that it would be detrimental to the mother’s mental health to force her to go through the entire process only to watch the baby die, and forced birthers are pretending that doctors are killing perfectly healthy babies because of the mother’s mental health. 🤬

  78. 78
    Chacal Charles Calthrop says:

    @Barbara: I’m just quoting the newstory; this was before the ACA, so the author or someone speaking to the author might have been confused about the reason why the heart transplants couldn’t be done.

  79. 79
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Mnemosyne: Another thing the quoted man doesn’t want to understand is that abortion is safer for the woman than a csection, which is surgery — and surgery is always a risky proposition, no matter how minor someone wants to pretend it is.

    Whether abortion, induced labor or a csection, the end result is the same, the pregnancy is ended (or you could use the words terminated or aborted). Essentially, his concerns are esthetic (to his tastes anyway).

  80. 80
    The Moar You Know says:

    States aren’t powerless against the feds. California has singlehandedly blocked a fuckton of efforts to undermine climate change and clean air laws.

    @Martin: The key is to look at WHY we have this ability in our state. It’s pretty simple: we got there first. All the CA clean air legislation is legal only because we passed our Clean Air Act before the Feds passed theirs. Had it been the other way around, CA would have to abide by Fed law.

    Now that we have, for now, gotten out from under the death grip the GOP held on this state’s politics since the 1980s, I’d like to see us start taking on issues that the Feds have not and getting out ahead, so to speak. Both so we can run this state in the way that the vast majority of Californians want, rather than a Federal government that is, at best, undependable.

    PS: not ever going to be in favor of any sort of California secession movement. They are schemes to either increase the number of GOP Senators, or to destroy California’s position of clout it holds over the rest of the United States.

  81. 81
    Zinsky says:

    And the simple fact that these mindless, screeching harpies never get is that making abortions illegal will not end abortion. No more than making alcohol illegal with Prohibition, stopped the consumption of alcohol.

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