Tuesday, June 12, 2012

GOP M.O.: Selling new fears around abortion

There are a variety of complaints and concerns about abortion. And once you get passed the many outright lies about abortion, you could have a social debate.

But for some reason, conservatives seem to not want to move passed lies and rhetoric and stay in a fictional worlds of evil abortionist. In this case the villainous lot are out madly engaging in gender-selective abortions. These are when abortion is sought only because of the sex of a possible child.

Now, there is a certain amount of this going on in some parts of the world, generally where females are considered undesirable, or a disadvantage (for property rights, dowries, inheritance issues, etc.). This is, obviously, something that is troubling to most people. It makes a good headline, or a frightful op ed piece.

The real interest to me is why is this a big problem now for conservatives in the United States? If you look at gender selection issues around the world, it does exist and have an effect, but in the U.S., not so much. There are no indications, barring attempts by conservative agents to make damning videos. So, before even addressing whether or not it should be allowed, we need to realize it is more myth, a new conservative urban legend (Like the foreign president, or Tea Party Reagan.).

But it sounds bad! And that is all the conservatives who thought it up as an issue wanted.
Partial Birth Abortion! My, god! That sounds horrible! ...What is it exactly? Does it actually happen? Is it medically valuable? May it save a mother's life? Why are we asking questions? It sounds horrible, so you don't need to think on it in the least. You are morally right to be outraged. Get the pitchfork. Light the torch. March on the castle. Move! Move! Move!!!
That is the magic that conservatives love. Outrage. Buzz words. Villains! Click here to donate.

And the results, in attacking concepts from medical services to government budgeting, has helped place law on the books and people in office that have done little good for us. They play at crusading hero, they file a laundry list of bad bills, work to block serious work, and complain about how the system isn't working.

And that is how the GOP has been running itself for more than a decade now. It has coarsened our politics. While, yes, politics has already had coarse qualities, it has moved us down a damning path that presents dangers to our systems long term viability.

Skepticism is important here. We have to look passed trick words and concepts. We have to see passed engendered fear. And we have to shine a light on reality.

What is the result, if they actually press Democrats to pass laws on gender selective abortion?

If it's a federal law, it means a new restriction nationally on access. It also means a question of enforcement, and fear for doctors. Will they be baselessly accused of gender selection, as fundamentalist seek ways to shut them down? How do they prove otherwise? It would be a nightmare. And conservatives love that.

How about on the state level? It will then be a state by state issue. And it's hard to imagine they won't only worsen the mess we are dealing with now. Doctors will be scared out, for fear of witch hunts (Conservatives love their witch hunts.). And it will, if a "sound" process is created to determine intent, it means yet another hurdle, and probably expense, for women seeking legal abortion.

This is all about putting strains and threats on women's backs. As it is, states are banning abortion after 20 weeks, putting an ever shrinking egg timer before women seeking aid. In some states ridiculous restrictions are being placed on any facility that would offer abortion service, making it difficult, if not impossible to stay open. This can include having hospital admitting privileges, which can be easily denied, particularly if hospitals are trying to avoid trouble. And the result is Mississippi is about to drive the last facility offering abortion services out, without having to actually ban abortion.

Republicans have been allowed for too long to drive fear and lies into the abortion discussion. They have turned a real medical service, that goes back to the bible, into some horror story. We need to change this. People do know better, I believe. But they have been convinced that the "common sense" approach of conservatives is making things safer and better. It is only eroding rights, and putting women at risk.

You'd think they wouldn't want to do that.

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