Banning abortion is “brutal”? What about abortion itself? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez argued early this morning that it’s an act of liberation against the “patriarchy” that underpins “right-wing ideology.”
Or it could be that it brutally ends defenseless human lives, half of which are statistically likely not to be part of a “patriarchy.” YMMV on the power of those unborn women, I suppose:
Ultimately, this is about women’s power.
When women are in control of their sexuality, it threatens a core element underpinning right-wing ideology: patriarchy.
It’s a brutal form of oppression to seize control of the 1 essential thing a person should command: their own body.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 16, 2019
CBS picked up on Ocasio-Cortez’ comments on its website, but focused more on reactions from other Democrats in their morning television coverage. They also note that Missouri’s senate passed a fetal-heartbeat ban on abortions to much less fanfare overnight. Even with that, almost all of the attention has fallen on Kay Ivey and Alabama:
Alabama is now the first state in decades to make abortion a crime in almost every case. @GovernorKayIvey signed a controversial bill calling for doctors who perform abortions to face up to 99 years in prison. The only exception is if the mother’s life is at risk. pic.twitter.com/7YwV5YOaAW
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) May 16, 2019
Missouri’s Republican-led Senate has passed a wide-ranging bill to ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy, acting only hours after Alabama’s governor signed a near-total abortion ban into law.
The Missouri bill needs another vote of approval in the GOP-led House before it can go to Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who voiced support for an earlier version Wednesday.
It includes exceptions for medical emergencies, but not for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. Doctors would face five to 15 years in prison for violating the eight-week cutoff. Women who receive abortions wouldn’t be prosecuted.
Republican Senate handler Sen. Andrew Koenig described it on Thursday as “one of the strongest” abortion bills yet passed in the U.S.
The CBS This Morning panel offers a fair assessment of the trend in red states to pass these bills. They do miss that voters in these states elected officials who oppose abortion and aren’t likely to punish them for following through — at least not in the short term. This could present a problem in more purple-ish states such as Missouri when it comes time for the next presidential election, although it’s always tough to know just what will light a fire under voters and fuel turnout. Since all of these bills and the opposition to them will go to court rather than appear as referenda on 2020 ballots, the impact isn’t likely to be large either way — especially on a fully saturated issue like abortion in the US.
That’s what makes Academia-tinged word-salad arguments like today’s from Ocasio-Cortez not just a non-event, but a safe non-event. She’s not trying to convince anyone to support abortion; Ocasio-Cortez is just holding a virtual rally for all of the True Thinkers. It’s easy to poke fun at this, but in truth there’s a lot of that going around these days on all sides, and not just on abortion.
The pro-life movement has a broad spectrum of cases moving through the system now in which to fight the issue back up to the Supreme Court. Both Allahpundit and I are skeptical that this configuration of the Supreme Court will reopen Roe in full, which will doom the Alabama bill, but they may be willing to look at Casey and its ambiguous standard of “viability” in terms of “undue burdens” on acquiring abortions. That’s a minefield too, however. A fetal heartbeat can easily start before a woman realizes she’s pregnant, well before the end of the first trimester. Perhaps they might go back to Roe’s trimester approach and allow states to impose restrictions after the first 13 weeks, which would bring the US into line with practically all other Western countries on the practice of abortion.
Will they, though? John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh might be willing to incrementally swing the pendulum back to the states, but neither seem ideologically inclined to swing it as far as eight weeks, let alone to zero, or to simply vacate Roe and send it back to the states. Moreover, the court’s conservatives are similarly disinclined to have the judiciary establish those kinds of parameters, considering that the job of legislatures. Either they would send the whole thing back to the states by vacating Roe or punt on it altogether. Without five votes to vacate Roe, bet on the punt.
Addendum: David Harsanyi sees the Alabama law as philosophically defensible, but a strategic error nonetheless:
It’s true that Alabama’s new abortion law takes a philosophically consistent position in establishing the legal personhood of unborn children without exception. Abortion in cases of rape and incest are fraught with questions of personal autonomy and mental anguish, but, if you believe an unborn child is a human being deserving of protection from violence, it’s morally consistent to also believe that one tragedy shouldn’t compound another.
As a political matter, however, the Alabama bill creates a situation that allows pro-abortion advocates to concentrate their pushback on the approximately 0.5 percent of procedures rather than the 99.5 percent. In turn, pro-lifers, now accused of protecting slack-jawed incestuous child rapists, are impelled to make the most challenging arguments about the rarest cases rather than make the most convincing arguments about the most common ones.
So while debates over rape and incest exemptions shouldn’t be treated flippantly or dismissed, the Alabama law has given abortion advocates a reprieve from defending the barbaric practice of discarding thousands of viable and near-viable fetuses every year for convenience’s sake.
That would also apply to Missouri’s law.