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Tuesday, June 05, 2007
(8:05 AM) | Stephen:
Anti-Choicers Fighting Each Other

My wife and I have decided that one of the hardest things about being parents is consistency when disciplining our children. It's so easy to let something slide, either because we know that our daughter is really just tired and doesn't mean to act out, or because we're tired and don't feel like putting in the effort to discipline her - our son gets pretty much a free pass because he's only 9 months old. It's hard work, but we've prided ourselves, probably too much, on how well we've managed to become consistent both between us and individually.

Part of this dilemma, and one that becomes increasingly difficult to address as our children get older, is making sure that we don't inadvertently associate unrelated things as punishment. For example, we sometimes do send C to her room as a punishment.

Sending our children to their rooms is a delicate strategy, at least with our daughter. C's personality is characterized by the distilled essence of an extrovert, and she doesn't like to be by herself, much preferring the company of even her parents. While her mother and I are also extroverts, we've learned the value of C being able to entertain herself, and we've made sure she has a great room in which she can attempt to do so. C has a large room with lots of toys, and my wife has worked hard at organizing it, with an art table, a dressup area and other "stations." Since we want her to play in her room, though of course not exclusively, sending her to her room as punishment seems to associate the room with punishment and not fun. I'd even be ok, for a little while at least, if C would go ahead and play with her toys when we send her there as a consequence rather than viewing her room as just a place for punishment.

This may seem trite, but this is the type of thing that plagues the anti-choice movement regarding pregnancy. Depending upon what they're trying to do or say at the moment, a pregnancy can be either the most wonderful thing in the world, a gift from God that highlights the wonder of being his creation and his goodness, or pregnancy can be a consequence - a punishment - for immoral behavior. This type of thinking accords pregnancy the same status as gonorrhea, syphilis, AIDS, even HPV and the cervical cancer it causes - which is why people are actually opposed to the HPV vaccine that was recently developed; apparently 10-year-old girls are either going to run out and have sex immediately or, when they're 16 and fumbling around in the back seat, they will succumb to Johnny Football Hero's advances, thinking, "It's ok, I got a shot of Gardasil six freaking years ago."

There's an article in the WaPo that discusses a rift forming between various factions of the anti-choice movement, specifically a full-page ad taken out by various Colorado Springs and anti-choice leaders in the Colorado Springs Gazette, criticizing James Dobson specifically and other anti-choice leaders generally for abandoning the core principles of being "pro-life" and supporting a Supreme Court decision about the D&X (partial-birth) abortion ban that doesn't actually stop any abortions.

That's highly interesting, because that's what the pro-choice movement has been saying: the D&X abortion ban will not stop a single abortion, instead making certain medically necessary abortions more dangerous for women. The complications associated with using other methods when D&X is called for means that women who want to have children will be denied that opportunity, because their uterus could very well be destroyed in the process of the medically necessary abortion.

Let me take a moment to say that D&X abortions are not performed for convenience. It is an extremely rare procedure used when something terribly wrong has gone wrong with the fetus, the pregnancy in general or everything. It's true that most D&X abortions are performed after 20 weeks, the supposed point at which a fetus becomes "viable." If by viable you mean "it might live long enough to get it into the NICU, which will be its home for many months, while surgeries are performed regularly and each day consists of nonstop monitoring and intervention in the hopes that the newborn won't die and will actually be able to develop lungs, a fully functioning brain and immune system." It's great what our doctors can do, but don't fool yourself into thinking that the last 20 weeks of gestation are just superfluous, meant to punish the Daughters of Eve for their foremother's sin in the Garden of Eden or something. And if your hospital doesn't have a NICU or Trauma Center, forget it at 20 weeks. Your baby will die.

Getting back to the fight between the anti-choice factions, instead of being pretty much useless, Tom Minnery, Focus' vice president, said that this ban is just one part of their strategy to attack reproductive rights one-by-one until they are all taken away. Plus, to Focus on the Family, the increased danger that women will face is a feature of the ruling and their overall strategy, not a bug:
Doctors adopted the late-term procedure "out of convenience," Minnery added. "The old procedure, which is still legal, involves using forceps to pull the baby apart in utero, which means there is greater legal liability and danger of internal bleeding from a perforated uterus. So we firmly believe there will be fewer later-term abortions as a result of this ruling."
If women are more likely to face dangers such as "internal bleeding from a perforated uterus," then doctors won't want to do an abortion at all, which will force women to complete the pregnancy and bear a child. The anti-choice movement wants all pregnancies to come to term and all women who get pregnant to bear a child. Period, the end. You get a pass if you miscarriage, but that's it. It doesn't matter what problems the fetus might have and it certainly doesn't matter what problems the mother might have.

Women are able to be subordinated to the "rights" of the fetus in a large way because pregnancy is viewed this way, as a punishment for having illicit sex. Which is why the anti-choice movement will never, ever talk about married women, especially married mothers, who choose to have an abortion. Their strategy relies so much upon the idea that pregnancy is a just, God-ordained punishment for being a dirty, nasty whore that to admit the existence of married women getting pregnant and seeking an abortion is, to put it mildly, extremely inconvenient.

Of course, once they've ensured that the dirty whore will actually be forced to carry the pregnancy to term, it suddenly becomes this wonderful gift from God, the blessed and loving Creator of Life. Even if the pregnancy is the result of rape/incest, or with an abusive monster, it's still cast in this way - but only after the birth of the child is assured. Until that point, the rhetoric centers around consequences, "she shouldn't have had sex if she didn't want to be pregnant", the "rights of the child," and so on.

And remember, once the dirty whore has completed the terms of her punishment and fully participated in the glorious mystery of participating in creation with God, then she can just take her brat and herself and get the hell out of the face of the anti-choice movement. No, she can't have welfare, she needs to get a job (so they can condemn her for not being a stay-at-home mom). The child, only a few hours before a blessed gift of God, is once again a consequence for bad behavior, the dirty whore's responsibility and no other. The people who argue so passionately about the "life" of the child and how it needs care and protection while in the womb abandon it completely upon birth, making sure that more of their precious tax dollars are spent building bombs and tanks and occupying sovereign nations, and less of their God-given wealth is wasted upon children, breathing, living, hungry children.

Because to the anti-choicers, it's not a child.

It's a consequence.

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