One way to push the abortion conversation
Where moral outrage has failed, try getting really real
What the Supreme Court did Friday, killing abortion rights in what most prognosticators believe will eventually be 26 states — Oklahoma, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming — is abhorrent, awful, antithetical to equality and that’s just the shitty stuff that begins with the first letter of the alphabet.
It is all of those things for women who become pregnant via being the victim of a sexual crime, reported or not, because how many 12- or 14-year-olds are likely to report their incestuous abuser?
It is all of those things for teenagers who are having sex and, caught in the excitement and ecstasy of the moment, did not take any one of a number of precautions that might have made pregnancy unlikely, from pulling out, to using a condom, to contraception.
It is all of those things for 20- and 30-something women and men who until Friday knew, should their efforts to not create a pregnancy somehow fail, there was still a way out of the unwanted life-altering proposition of having a child, not to mention all the 20- and 30-something women and men who did not do their due diligence to not create a pregnancy — a list that includes most of us at one time or another — but still, all things being equal, were really just trying to have sex with each other, not have a child.
It is all of those things, too, for women in their 40s, who may have believed they were beyond becoming pregnant only to learn that wasn’t the case.
It’s probably right that Republicans, or perhaps the 50 (or 40, 30 or 20) percent of them that not only want to outlaw abortion but also vote in every primary, are petrified by liberated women, not that they would ever own it.
Because, though they want every pregnancy to become a delivery, they’re not so interested in paid maternity leave (and probably not that interested in unpaid maternity leave either). Nor are they for universal health care, even as they must know that many of the women who might have chosen an abortion but now won’t have the option are bound to be uninsured. Nor, in this state, at least, are they even for keeping guns out of the hands of boyfriends or husbands who might kill them with them.
You’d think the wives and daughters of Republicans, who are overwhelmingly Republicans themselves, might see things differently — and perhaps they finally will now that the issue’s become all too real — but Stockholm syndrome can be a very real thing, too.
Nonetheless, what Democrats tend to offer on the issue, from stilted and staged moral outrage, designed to make sure all already on their side hears them, to condescension about what’s right, hasn’t changed many minds.
There’s moral outrage on the other side, too. Not to mention, it’s all been heard before.
Thus, I suggest this.
Don’t try to be real.
Perhaps by demanding questions like this be answered:
“Senator, did you ever have unprotected sex prior to marrying your wife, with your wife or somebody else?”
Or, should that senator be Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, “with your husband or somebody else?”
Pretend they’re unwilling to answer.
“I ask because you oppose a woman’s right to an abortion, but I wonder if you have always been as perfect taking steps to avoid pregnancy as you’re now demanding everybody else to be?”
“What if it was your daughter?”
“What if it was your son’s girlfriend?”
“What if it was your son, whose partner is not his girlfriend?”
Or, if you’ve got the goods …
“What if it’s your mistress?”
Yeah, it’s a little shocking, but the point is almost every single voting age American has engaged in sex that could have led to an unwanted pregnancy and if you can’t normalize human behavior, how can you expect to normalize the politics and policy required to address it.
If Republicans want to come out for abstinence, let them and happily give away the infinitesimal voting block capable of living that dream who were never on your side to begin with.
Democratic candidates must be willing to go there and answer the question themselves.
“I, like everybody else, am not perfect.”
So shatter a glass house.
Live in the real world.
Expose those who live in the first and not the second for their hypocrisy, yes, but more than that, make their voters hear it, make them think about such possibilities in their own lives.
Should those candidates be as perfect and pure as Luke Holland portrays himself in his over-creepy ads, use that to make inroads on their voters, because Jim Inhofe’s heir apparent’s poll numbers suck, he’s so vapidly unrelatable.
You’ve got to start somewhere.
Might as well begin in the real world.
On this issue, it’s hardly been tried.
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