Abortion: Unifying Issue

    There are some who focus on class and economic issues, others who look at social fairness and identity politics. Abortion rights are critical to both.

    A UCSF study notes "Women who attempted to get abortions but were denied are three times as likely to fall into poverty than those whose efforts were not blocked," adding " one of the main reasons women sought abortions in the first place was monetary: 45 percent were on some form of public assistance and two-thirds had incomes below the federal poverty line".

    So cutting access to abortion is an attack on the poorest classes,and a direct cause of increased poverty, "statistically more likely to wind up unemployed, on public assistance, and below the poverty line" as well as more likely to stay in an abusive relationships.

    Views on abortion have become a litmus test for the Supreme Court, 31 abortion clinics closed in 2016, as have 75% of clinics open in 1990, especially accelerating since the 2009 assassination of George TIller and the GOP's full-court press 3 years later.

    Any "principle" to the opposition was renounced with evangelicals switch to opposing contraception over the last years. Hillary Clinton famously tried to split the middle to reach out to the religiously outraged, with making abortions "safe, legal and rare", but this reasonableness was met with derision on the left and increased legislation from the right, including unnecessary restrictions on medical abortion (RU-486 or mephisteron).

    Up to 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage before week 20 - discharge of the egg or death of the fetus or embryo. Believers in "life begins at conception" must then accept that God murders innocents at a rather alarming rate.

    Abortion has typically been limited to the first trimester. It's not unreasonable that as we learn more about embryo development and ability to feel pain, we might decrease the time allowed for abortions, but then by logic we *should* make sure that painless, invasion-less medical abortion and "morning after pill" are readily available. But instead the oppositie happens - rather than ensuring abortions "safe, legal and rare", the opponents want them not just illegal and never, they want them unsafe when chosen, with a "view awful movies of abortions" requirement to shame and disgust women. Meanwhile more and more women find themselves hundreds of miles from the nearest abortion clinic.

    And did I mention 2/3 of women seeking abortion are below the poverty line? The myth of the "welfare mother" is really much more often "responsible but realistic poor women trying to get an abortion to forestall an unmanageable burden on themselves and the state" [and that child].15 million children - 21% - live below the poverty line, while 43% are considered in "low income families".

    Abortion isn't just a side issue in a campaign - this is key core compassionate Democratic platform item to support the underclass and women as an often-abused majority sub-sector.. In 2009, Ben Nelson led a Catholic charge to deny abortion payments under Obamacare - something the Administration then papered over.by figuring out other ways abortion might be handled. Yet again, the women who need this benefit are left out in the cold.

    More than disenfranchisement of women's voting rights, access to abortion is a major determinant of many women's survivability even in the post-industrial,late computer age. There are certainly reasons to be concerned about a foetus' health,but any candidate who can't make a reasonable pitch for sustaining women's beleaguered status in society even if concerned about ethical or religious issues around abortion, simply hasn't thought the issue through, and likely doesn't deserve our support, whatever their qualification. Especially men, as males are often the ones who shirk child-raising responsibilities and engage more in domestic or outside abuse. The burden falls on *them* to tell us why this basic need should be infringed on.

    Want to remake the party? Find the core issues that can unite all of us. Abortion is one of them.


    I tried to bring myself to a point where I can understand the ¨derision of ´those on the left´ ¨ had for Hillary´s  position that abortion should be safe, legal and rare.

    But failed.

    Personally my whole hearted endorsement of her position  required me to decide that the people whom I most admired because of  personal behavior and (otherwise) inspiring  values, were wrong. The pro life people among whom I lived  -in a third floor walk up behind the divinity school- had impeccable views on racial justice ,income distribution , press freedom, you name it. But were pro life.

    I sadly renounced them because of that.

    That leaves me per force a member of a community a  large share of whom derided  her position.

    Hi guys. Can we talk?

    I put on the table  that I not just accept but fully support the mother´s complete right -without any qualification -to decide- until her embryo becomes a child- whether  that happens.

     We agree that abortions should be legal and safe. Let´s get to the disagreement.

    She said ¨Safe , legal and rare¨.  Since you and I and Hillary agree ¨the destruction of an infant in the womb¨ should be safe and legal  what´s your objection to  desiring that it should be rare?

    To declare an interest, my mother gave birth to me and immediately handed me over to the Catholic Church. Fine. Or if her life would have been better to have aborted  me instead, equally fine. 

    My disagreement with ¨some of those on the left¨ is whether Hillary was right in adding  ¨and rare¨.  I won´t deride in advance your arguments for why they shouldn´ t be rare .But

    I´d  like to hear them.

    Or really I´d like to hear you´ve changed your mind and Hill was right.






    Fact: there will always be abortions, the most famous and influential physician in antiquity described methods.

    Recognizing that reality, they must be legal to be safe. Common sense would conclude it best they be rare.

    There should be no purity tests or purity czar for Dem candidates.

    The right to abortions is not going to be decided by a congressmen or the Mayor of Omaha. That is an issue only important for prez candidates.

    Dems backbone should be on safety net programs, civil rights, jobs/education and rich paying a fair share.

    It's state legislatures that have been the largest force in limiting access to abortions. While a president appointing a pro-choice supreme court justice might have ruled against some of those laws the battle ground is mostly in the states.

    I'm talking federal. Dems fed or state don't vote for the crappy GOP abortion scams, maybe a Dem doesn't run bigly on pro choice to win in a red 'values' state. Don't care if they win and stick with the Party platform.

    Yeah, on the federal level congress doesn't matter much, except that if there were enough pro-choice dems they could overturn the Hyde amendment.

    It's funny to me as an example where Hillary came up with simple, concise phrasing that should be fairly unobjectionalbe - "safe & legal", i.e. rights & needs preserved, but "rare" - i.e. do what's possible with contraception & education & rape prevention so that women and older girls don't get in the unpalatable situation of having to decide for or against an abortion. And she was blasted mercilessly for this, as if 1) everyone looks forward to an abortion, and 2) she was giving away the crown jewels, sacrificing Roe v Wade, and 3) there's no ethical concern about say 4th month abortions, that anything that happens in the womb doesn't concern the rest of society until the baby crowns its head.

    In short, Hillary messaged well and her own purity party trashed her for it, and then they condemn her for having a campaign where she doesn't message well. Damned if she does, damned if she doesn't.

    [vs. Mello, who's supposed to get a pass because his sponsored legislation was "necessary" or we're all Big Tent now, unlike those unacceptable DOMA & Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell compromises 25 years ago]

    But the reality of the situation is worse - from HuffPost, "Number of women in the US impregnated against their will each year in the U.S. as a result of rape: 32,000" - and if one of those "women" is actually a 15-year-old girl living in Kentucky with 1 abortion clinic in a state 380 miles wide, and unable to drive herself and dependent on her parents' permission (possibly even a rapist father's permission), she's quite likely not going to have that procedure, and will instead by saddled with an unwanted child not her fault. If she's the 1 in 4 or 5 young women raped in college, she might have it together enough to get that abortion, but she may not - sometimes women go into emotional shock and have trouble coping, or may be conflicted with the societal pressure re: when life begins, abortion being the end of the world, etc., especially but not only in the good ol' South.

    Add to this women in an abusive or untenable relationship, etc. - Hillary's definition of "rare" would no doubt be much higher than a handful, but the point was simply to bring down the *necessity*, not the availability.

    And if we can learn to message and educate on sensible policy positions across the board, and not commit internecine warfare each time we do, maybe we can come up with a platform that communicates acceptably to the media talking heads who think that the supposed non-message that cut through the year of Trump crap and won 52% of the vote was just an awful performance.


    Poll out says Trump would win the popular vote due to defections of Dem voters if election held now.

    liberals are 9 points more likely than moderates and conservatives to stick with Clinton. Similarly, nonwhites are 10 points more likely than whites to say they would not support Clinton again, with more than a third of them heading to the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson.
    Gary Johnson, was, of course, the don't worry about climate change as in the long run the sun will explode. X million voted for that.
    It would seem Dems need to say, attack, accuse, promise, bluster (lie?) whatever it takes to win. 
    No purity.
    District by district. Politics is local. Whatever the locals want to hear. The ones we need to reach are not going to read policy papers at your website.
    Dems are running against the very well funded organized crime syndicate called the Party of Trump  pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth...and lying...b-i-g-l-y.

    Have you been watching 7 again? Sure mail them a head in a box, whatever it takes.

    Wait, minorities are defecting to Gary Johnson? Not sure this fits any of our theories of what is going wrong with the Democratic party. 

    All Brad Pitt's fault? The Libertarian wing of the Dem party has awoken chrysalis-style? ¿Gen X'ers got confused with Gary *Newman* or Gary *Coleman*? Awright, I'm out of chops.

    Where rare = unrestricted access to birth control, which is the requirement in PPACA. When women have agency over their own bodies women can more easily support the family they plan.

    Agree 100%. An example of great messaging coinciding with a great message.

    Yet, as PP notes, she was attacked from left and right for this. The attack from the right is to be expected, but the attack from our side? Inexcusable.

    To ocean-kat, elsewhere, Hillary's formulation is an example of a "compromise" on abortion that had real potential. It covers the left flank completely (perhaps accessible needed adding), but also says that needing an abortion is not a desirable state to be in. It's something to be avoided. Avoided for any number of reasons.

    I liked Hillary's formulation of safe, legal, and rare but it wasn't a compromise with the anti-abortion groups. At most it was a compromise between the far left pro-choice and moderate pro-choice groups. It wasn't any sort of compromise that the so called progressive feminist anti-abortion groups would find acceptable. If democrats win it wouldn't be too hard to come to compromises within the moderate democrat and liberal wing. We're about to see if the republican party can compromise between it's hard right and moderate wing. Atm the moment they're not doing too well with that which is why they aren't getting much done.

    You mean the "far left" or progressive pro choicers WANTED people to have abortions as some sort of good in itself? I think Camille Paglia takes that position, but...it's hard for me to see why anyone would want someone to be in a position where they decided or had to have an abortion. It's not fun for anyone.

    As I understand it, making it rare has nothing to do with limiting access to abortion in any way. It has to do with education, the dissemination of contraception to help people avoid being in that position to begin with. I guess you could say that if you're helping people avoid X, you're stigmatizing it to some degree. Mystifying...to me.

    I don't know that far left is the best term. I'm struggling to find some word to describe the extreme pro-choice wing. Suffice it to say that there are some number of people who claim that using "rare" is stigmatizing and implies there is something wrong with getting an abortion. We even had a long discussion here on that point some months ago and one of the dagbloggers was adamant that progressives shouldn't say abortions should be rare or in any way imply an abortion was of any more consequence than say, a tonsillectomy. Mystifying to me as well.

    There needs to be a distinction between the positions we take on issues on the merits...and how those issues play out in a primary and, especially, in a general election. I'll use abortion as an example, because we're here.

    When we're by ourselves, as it were, it makes sense to clarify our positions to a high degree. Hash out everything and come to the "right answer."

    So, abortion should be legal, safe, and carry no social stigma whatsoever. We don't stigmatize people who go in for other necessary, or elective, procedures. No one says face lifts should be legal, safe, and rare, as if there were something wrong with getting a face lift. Same thing for abortion.

    But as soon as we propose to take our support of abortion (or any issue) into an election, we have to look at it, at least potentially, in a different light. Why? Because we know, going in, we will NEED the votes of people who don't see our issue in the same way, not to mention others who reject anything close to our position entirely.

    So we could say that "legal, safe, and rare" is a compromise with those people who have certain qualms about abortion. They want it to be legal and safe, but they'd rather there be fewer of them than more of them. And we specify how we plan to reduce the number of abortions.

    This is a compromise with people who do NOT share our views on abortion. Not a compromise with folks who are strictly anti-abortion, but with people who don't like abortions per se, but don't want to make it illegal.

    So we have to treat our issues in two different ways and for two different purposes. The first way is to come to the right conclusion; the second way is to use the issue in an election and attempt to move things in the world.

    Now, some people will say, with some reason, that we can't give up any ground or they're roll all over us. But I don't think the legislative record will show that. Brown paved the way for the Civil and Voting Rights Acts. DADT paved the way for gays serving openly in the military and for gay marriage. SS that excluded black people and menial laborers led to everyone being covered. This is the arc of justice, and it's a long haul.

    And we have to be clear where the front line is. AA's article on medical abortions via a pill was very illuminating. Embedded in it is real danger and real opportunity. Real danger because once you take the doctor out of it, women become the perps and they can be jailed, and not for piddling times. In fact, they are already being jailed, I think in small numbers. And all those laws giving foetuses personhood become very scary.

    However, there is also real opportunity. The more mainstream anti-abortion forces have made a living out of depicting the woman as "victim." It's the doctors who are committing murder. Very few people want women going to jail for having an abortion. So the doctors become the scapegoats, and since there are fewer and fewer willing to risk their lives to do abortion, it's really easy to scapegoat them as the Devil's assistants.

    But what happens when the scapegoat goes bye-bye? That leaves only one murderer in the picture, the woman. There are no longer abortion clinics to protest or doctors to kill. Abortions are happening in the privacy of peoples' homes. Now, how do people feel about the police getting a warrant to search someone's home? How do they feel about the authorities opening anyone's mail (and discovering all them sex toys sent under brown paper cover)? Or digging up someone's yard looking for foetal remains?

    And how does the public feel about ponying up for the massive resources that would be required to launch and maintain this kind of law enforcement effort? Suddenly, every home and apartment is a potential abortion clinic. Suddenly, every box in brown paper wrapping is an abortion "doctor."

    Think of the elaborate ruse WhatsHisName had to pull off to make those Planned Parenthood videos. Compare that to the ease with which a woman's husband or partner could take video of the police entering (perhaps forcibly) their home and searching it? Or questioning the woman about the most intimate matters? Or digging up their beautiful, award-winning garden in search of telltale goop.

    Then multiply the number of those videos going viral around the world in seconds with faces and names there for all to see. Advantage: us.

    Abortion clinics don't go away, but the need for them goes waaaay down. And if you're not going to jail a woman for murdering her own foetus, it will be harder to jail a doctor who is only brought in when there's an emergency. Suddenly, anti-abortion protesters look foolish for hanging out at abortion clinics when everyone knows that most abortions take place at home.

    The drugs could be banned, but how is the war on drugs working out for ya? You're already busting a nut trying to stamp out cocaine and heroin use and importation. Now, suddenly, everyone between the ages of 13 and 48 becomes a perp in potentia scouring the landscape for any possible route by which she can buy her "fix"? And it isn't just the women, but also their male partners, friends, and family members, who will be in on the transactions. In fact, maybe we get smart and half the drugs are mailed to men. Now you have almost the entire population of people between 13 and 99 to surveil. How easy is that going to be? It will be impossible.

    At that point, if it's not too late, the country can engage in a discussion about abortion without the threat of force (jail time or death) or shame hanging over peoples' heads. Most likely, the issue just goes away for all intents and purposes. It becomes solely a private decision which I predict won't make it any easier for the people involved.

    Nice and thorough thought experiment Peter! Sounds about right to me

    I do suspect with medical abortion easier and easier, that in 100 years or earlier, a significant amount of ages-old horror will go away, as memories of coat hangers fade and societal religion changes, even though some questions of where life begins will remain.

    The problem with tackling the abortion issue these days, as a writer on the Supreme Court issues, Irin Carmon, argued well in a WaPo op-ed/analysis the other day, is that the whole playing field on abortion has really been changed radically by abortion drugs like misoprostol. Anyone who feels strongly on the topic of political action on abortion should read it.

    Her article really did strike me like this: Peracles's thread is doing your grandfather's debate on abortion that doesn't matter much anymore. Especially if one is talking first trimester. Most notably, the terrain of the fight will probably change from enforcing laws on doctors and clinics, to prosecuting woman themselves. It's really a whole new world out there in abortion.

    As for abortion after first trimester, was it ever really that easy to get? And was it ever something that a significant number would support?

    From a not-quite-grandpa (I surely hope), sadly this debate didn't end where it was supposed to. I shook my addled brain, thinking I'd addressed the medical abortion issue recently in more depth than "Abortion has typically been limited to the first trimester. It's not unreasonable that as we learn more about embryo development and ability to feel pain, we might decrease the time allowed for abortions, but then by logic we *should* make sure that painless, invasion-less medical abortion and "morning after pill" are readily available. But instead the opposite happens..."

    But it wasn't my piece on abortion last fall - it was 1 1/2 years ago, you still on sabbatical, when I addressed the limitations on getting RU-486/mifepristerol and the other attacks despite abortion getting safer.

    Yes, by now the coat hanger biz should have been put to rest, and we should be discussing real terms, physiological facts tied to health and social good. But we won't, just like global warming will never be discussed in calmness. But here in the EU, even the Irish are moving on to accepting abortion rights (and the Council of Europe provides pressure/demands from top down), while the Poles are taking to the streets to prevent a total abortion lockout. Will I still be providing grandpa's framing for the situation in 10 years?

    And the GOP brings another anti-abortion, anti-conception, anti-planning, anti-facts nutcase to direct the gov's family planning function. Self-fulfilling prophecy that a government run by morons will function moronically.

    I woulda thought that witnessing the rogues' gallery of appointees Trump has put up would've cured the purest heart of the purest purist of any thought of not supporting the D candidate despite his faults.

    But...not so.

    In fact, I have one "friend" on FB who has said outright that his goal is to destroy the "establishment" Democratic Party. Actively. He couldn't quite bring himself to vote for Trump, but he might as well have.

    Do you want to go down the tubes faster or slower is basically his political mantra.

    Not to be a downer--oh, okay, why not?--but Bernie and Hillary found a way to divide us on almost every other issue. I'm not sure abortion was even brought up.

    Puzzling, because on the substance of what they wanted to do--instead of what they stood for personally in the eyes of themselves maybe and surely others--they were virtually identical.

    And when you factor in what would've become of any of their proposals en route to becoming law, they were identical for all intents and purposes.

    In 1933, according to  Harold Ickes, Dean Acheson was confirmed Deputy  Secretary of Treasury despite  happily acknowledging during his  hearing his lack of qualification.

    .It ´s a  baseball cliche  ¨the ball will always find the player out of his position.¨

    And sure enough the Secretary wasn´t able to function because a family problem, FDR attempted to stimulate the economy by devaluing the dollar, Acheson feeling that was dishonorable treatment of dollar holders, objected , FDR was infuriated and one morning Acheson opened the paper to read that he had resigned and the newly selected Deputy would temporarily  take office immediately.

    The following day FDR opened his paper to see a photo of the swearing in of the new   Deputy, behind whom could be seen the unmistakable  bowler hat and vsage  of the just unappointed Deputy.

    A couple of years later FDR fired another appointee .He responded by fierce complaints to the media.

    FDR was  heard saying  ¨Someone should get a hold of  X and tell him to learn from Dean Acheson how a gentleman  properly leaves an Administration.¨

    Hillary , in 2008, and Bernie last year each  fiercely fought their corner  and when they lost demonstrated how a gentleman leaves a primary. 

    That's a matter of opinion. Many of us feel that Bernie didn't acknowledge his defeat like a gentleman nor did he work to unify the party until late in the general election and even then rather weakly. While his hard core supporters cheered him for his fighting spirit others saw him as a sore loser.

    I like the phrase ¨good enough¨. As I´ve written here occasionally , in the late  50s  the prevailing (Freudian)  medical position- that autistic children were the fault of their ¨refrigerator mothers¨- was rejected by a couple of psychologists who recognized that most mothers are ¨good enough¨ and if a child became autistic there had to be some other reason for it.

    Bernie was a good enough defeated candidate.    




    Pence doing a victory lap already - screw that bastard.

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