You’re Not the Boss of Ohio, Man

Well, it looks like Issue 2 got smacked down in Ohio pretty handily, but Democrats and liberals inclined to gloat or read too much into these particular tea leaves are invited to note that Issue 3, the one that makes it unconstitutional to mandate health care (i.e., the initiative to bypass the Federal health care law), passed by an even wider margin. The lesson: Ohio — it’s big and purple and apparently likes to flip to bird to anyone trying to tell it what to do. I’ll note Issue 2 was voted down in my own deeply conservative county, albeit by a razor-thin margin of just 57 votes. Don’t let anyone tell you your one vote might not make a difference, folks.

Outside of Ohio, it’s interesting to note that the Mississippi “Personhood” Initiative went down in defeat, and by a larger margin than I suspect many observers would have guessed: 58% to 42%. I suspect that tally might gut-punch efforts to get that particular sort of initiative to pass in other states; if that sort of thing gets shot down by a wide margin in the deep red deep south, it probably doesn’t stand a chance most anywhere else.

This is a thread for all y’all to talk about your thoughts about your own election days, if you like.

72 thoughts on “You’re Not the Boss of Ohio, Man

  1. When discussing election results in your own area or in others, remember to be polite to others and to keep your rhetoric on the congenial side of “foamy,” please. I am traveling this morning and will be displeased to pop into this thread when I get home and see a whole bunch of obnoxiousness. Thanks.

  2. Here in Manhattan, where I’ve lived for a little over two months, there were three things to vote on: local judicial races.

    One was a ‘pick five’ race; there were five candidates.
    One was a ‘pick three’ race; there were three candidates.
    One was a ‘pick one’ race, there was one candidate.

    I thought seriously about not voting. Then I decided to go and vote (so as to indicate interest in the concept of elections) but vote a blank ballot (in protest at only having uncontested elections). But I noticed that one of the candidates in the vote – five race was cross-filed, and I could vote for her as a Democrat or as a Republican. So I voted for her, to encourage cross-filing, as a Democrat, so as not to encourage the miniscule Manhattan Republican community.

  3. I think it would be a mistake for pro-choice people (such as myself) to read too much into the defeat of Mississippi “personhood” measure. There was concern, because of how the measure was worded, that it would (attempt to) outlaw IUDs, emergency contraception, and IVF procedures. There are people who oppose legal abortion that nevertheless are uncomfortable banning all those things as well. (This is analogous to a comment I made about Issue 2 on a previous post.)

    By the way, I think it’s a bit disrespectful to voters to present them with a measure whose legal impact is that ambiguous. I think Gov. Barbour is right that this measure would have had a higher chance of passing had it gone through the legislative process rather than the initiative process.

  4. Very boring local election here in Massachusetts. I voted, but most of the candidates were unopposed.

    Congrats to Ohio for remembering its union roots, and to Mississippi for showing some common sense.

  5. I voted today against receiving a 9% pay rise spread over the next 3 years.
    One of the (many) reasons being that my boss – the Commissioner of the Australian Taxation Office – will quite happily accept the 58% pay rise he is likely to get next year (taking him to $800k per annum. Meanwhile, I’m sitting here, marginally above the average wage even though I have nigh on 29 years in the same place.

  6. I suspect that tally might gut-punch efforts to get that particular sort of initiative to pass in other states

    Sadly, no. They’re gearing up to put it on the ballot in several other states. The goal, of course, is to get such a law overturned in the courts, go the the Supremes, and get a GOP-picked court to overturn Roe V, Wade.

  7. I’m glad Issue 2 got the smack down. Issue 3, very disappointed with those results. We’ll see how that plays out.

    A little dismayed at local Issue 96 passing for rezoning. WTF are they going to put in there? There’s all Wal-Mart not five miles west of the location and a Target, a very large, two floor model, practically up the street. What friggin’ big box retailer do they think they’ll bring in as an anchor? Super-K?? Highly unlikely. Meijer’s aren’t found east of Toledo. It’ll probably have to be something a bit more upscale, like Kohl’s.

    My reason for voting No on said issue was that they tore down friggin’ Cedar Center a few years ago. Sure, the building was old but it had several very busy merchants: Marc’s, an excellent Chinese restaurant, a RadioShack, and a Chipotle. They closed MY favorite Chipotle in the name of “progress” and all they have to show for it years later is a GFS. Now they want to develop this golf course into something more “special” with Cedar Center practically devoid of business and Legacy Village/ Beachwood Place/ La Place vying for people with mass amounts of disposable income.

    If there’s one thing I HATE about rampant retail development are half empty strip malls that are only a year or two old and some other developer start building a new one across the street.

    Why does…stuff…like this happen? One of the “benefits” touted for the issue was “job creation”. There were jobs destroyed when the Center was demolished. Those jobs haven’t been replaced yet, save for the handful at the new GFS. It’s about as irritating as a hospital giving a chest x-ray to an ER patient there for a broken toe (something I have seen done before).

  8. A fair number of Dems and liberals and such think having a mandate to buy health insurance — *not* the same thing as “mandate health care”, BTW — is obnoxious in the absence of a public option.

    Like me, for instance.

  9. I had, very nearly, nothing to vote for. One uncontested city council seat, and that was all.

    I was happy for most of the results outside of Michigan, however, and I would be more broken up about Issue 3 passing in Ohio if I didn’t think the supporters weren’t split between folks who don’t want a national health care thing and those who don’t think it went far enough.

  10. Low turnout / wide margin pass for the only thing on our local ballot, a 1 percent local option sales tax to fund school improvements, repairs and early building project payoffs. Woo hoo!

  11. David Klecha:

    Yeah, it’s … *interesting* how the opposition to RomneyCare has been nearly always cast as coming completely from the right. Ohio’s Issue 3 gets widespread (though predictably-shallow) media attention, but Vermont’s efforts to sidestep the federal reform in favor of much more substantial (and less corporate-friendly) reform? Not so much.

    There are some very good bits in it, no mistake, but the package as a whole sucks.

  12. Also, the Arizona state Senator who introduced SB 1070 (the anti-immigrant bill) was voted out in a recall election, and Maine defeated a measure to do away with same-day voter registration. John is right in that these results do not necessarily mean the country as a whole is trending more Democratic, but there does seem to be some definite pullback from the more extreme positions Republicans have taken lately.

    (For instance in Arizona, Pearce was defeated by a fellow Republican, but one who took a vocal stance against the kind of enforcement-only immigration policy SB 1070 represents.)

  13. So, off year elections aren’t much for “Get out the vote” efforts. (This despite Ohio having it largest off-year turnout in over a decade.)

    At 6:20 p.m., I get a phone call from a volunteer, wanting to remind me to get out and vote for/against something. I interrupted her at that point to say I’d already voted (on my way home from work). Does that really do any good, making those calls barely an hour before the polls close? (Polls in Ohio close at 7:30 p.m.)

    In other news, a friend of mine appears to have tilted the race for Kentucky treasurer to the (D) incumbent, who won with 49% of the vote. The main (R) challenger got 46%, and my friend, running on the Libertarian ticket, got a non-negligible 5%. I don’t always agree with his politics, but I’ve got nothing but respect for his willingness to step up and get involved in the political process.

  14. Just as someone who’s been involved in abortion politics for a very long time, I’m not really surprised by the vote in Mississippi. I would have been shocked if it had passed. I don’t think that it will “gut-punch efforts to get that particular sort of initiative to pass in other states”. The pro-life movement–and especially the personhoond movement behind these initiatives–considers itself to be a civil-rights campaign and compares itself to earlier movements like abolition, woman’s suffrage, and civil rights.

    Of course I’m aware that that’s *not* how they are perceived by others, but what’s relevant is how they see themselves. In that context: they are more than prepared for a long fight. I mean, look at how long abolitionists had to do their thing before slavery was ended. And if you link slavery and Jim Crowe into one, long battle than we’re talking on the order of centuries.

    Many pro-life advocates have exactly this paradigm in mind, and they are buoyed by polls that–in their interpretation–show that American public opinion is swaying slowly but inexorably in their direction. From the paradigm of an ever-advancing march of civil rights within human society, a setback like this is only minor.

  15. I’m sure that the anti-abortion folks will not be deterred. That particular initiative went far beyond prohibiting abortion. I expect them to learn from that and be more careful next time. Outlawing IUDs, in-vitro fertilization, surgery for ectopic pregnancy, and other procedures went well beyond the expectations of the less radical abortion opponents. Next time they will be more careful.

  16. @P A A Forbes: Horribly off topic, of course, but there’s a Meijer in Sandusky, which is certainly east of Toledo. Good place to get discount Cedar Point tickets.

    Back on topic, my ballot had only three issues, all local races: mayor, city council, and city clerk. I don’t think there was anything particularly surprising about the outcome, though the local Republican chairman has apparently said some uncharitable things about the independent mayoral candidate who “stole” something over 3% of the vote from the Republican candidate. Funny how he assumes people who voted independent would have voted Republican otherwise – I wouldn’t have voted for his candidate if she’d been the only person on the ballot, but I seriously considered voting for the independent just because he carried himself pretty well in the debates.

    To her credit, the Republican candidate did not agree with the party chairman.

  17. About Issue 3: Again, not the best idea when there’s no public option. And when it was retreated to by conservatives in a brave if misguided attempt to prove they still have grip in the wake of Issue 2, the guy I saw on The Ed Show last night (after Ed got done stirring the pot which was hilarious) said it best: “Yeah, I suppose I’d be saying that if MY ass just got kicked.”
    The Personhood Amendment is just creepy and punishes everyone, because it would outlaw IVF and could kill women with ectopic pregnancies. May it continue to keep getting defeated. Keep your laws off my body.
    The one I am happy about is the voting down of many, many blue laws here in the Atlanta area. I’m not religious, and sometimes Sundays are the only day I can get a breather to shop. It’s ridiculous that you can go to a restaurant or bar on Sunday to drink there, but you cannot buy alcohol to take it home to drink then or at a later date. So WOOT to the blue laws going down, and here’s to them all toppling!

  18. Issue 2 was voted down in my own deeply conservative county, albeit by a razor-thin margin of just 57 votes. Don’t let anyone tell you your one vote might not make a difference, folks.

    Your one vote did not make a difference.

  19. Pretty quiet here, just a proposed 0.25% sales tax to benefit the local fire department, low turnout as usual (~10%) when we’re not electing a president or state officers. The issue passed with 62% of the vote.

    I also don’t think the anti-abortion people are going away; it’s basically a religious issue and people don’t let go of that easily. Expect to see a lot of similar initiatives next year to bring out the Republican vote to oust Obama. This was done in ’04 in many states using gay marriage amendments, successfully.

    One wonders if Ohio Prop 3 is going to amount to anything, considering that the healthcare issue is going to live or die in the Supreme Court.

    FTM, I would not be at all surprised to see many states with Prop 3-like initiatives next year, to bring out the same voters for the same purpose.

  20. Well, as one of the token conservatives who occasionally post here, I have to say that while I would have voted the other way on Issue 2 if I lived there, I’m OK with Ohio going a different way. My only request is that if the decisions Ohioan have chosen to make prove to be unsustainable that they not ask me, as a non-Ohioan, to fund any of them. They made their choices, and need to live with the consequences, both good and bad.

  21. Well, it’s not hard to see why the personhood initiative failed given the prevalence of misinformation about it. The initiative wouldn’t have banned any abortions, IVF, or anything like that. Yes, it would have had ramifications that would need to have been worked out, but the opposition took the most extreme possible version of those ramifications and pressed them as if they were givens.

    Here are more reasonable interpretations of what would have happened.

    In the case of IVF, the only problem is discarded embryos. Current methods take a kind of shotgun approach, creating and implanting extra embryos and then going in after the fact and selectively aborting fetuses if there are too many. These practices would have been hard to rectify with a persondhood amendment, so it’s quite likely that IVF would have gotten more expensive, but there’s no reasonable basis for suggesting it would be banned outright.

    In terms of abortions, it’s not even clear that the law would have banned elective abortions. After all, Judith Thomson’s famous essay A Defense of Abortion starts with the premise that unborn human beings have equal human rights and concludes elective abortion is still morally permissible. This essay has had a huge impact on the abortion debate, and anyone who takes it seriously could simply argue that abortion is permissible even if the unborn human being has equal rights. In fact, prominent pro-choice feminist Camille Paglia takes exactly this position: abortion is murder and it’s also a basic human right. So it’s not purely theoretical.

    Even if you assume that these arguments wouldn’t win the day, however–and clearly the personhood activists do not believe they would–there is certainly no basis for assuming that the personhood amendment would have had clear-cut ramification for the hard cases of abortion: rape, fetal abnormality, and threat to the life of the mother. Threat to the life of the mother–ectopic pregnancies–seem very easy to justify on established self-defense grounds. Fetal abnormality and rape would have been up for debate, and I think the preponderance of public opinion would have easily decided in favor of a rape exception (which is not hard to justify morally or legally even if you allow for personhood) and, in Mississippi, I’d guess against fetal abnormality.

    In any case: the fact that the measure was actually relatively close (58 to 42 is quite good, I think) despite such widespread misinformation is going to seriously embolden the personhood movement. I think the real problem with the initiative isn’t that it would automatically trigger this kinds of dystopian scenarios–that really can’t be taken seriously–but just the uncertainty. People don’t like uncertainty, and since all these things would have had to have been worked out *after* the initiative passed, it’s not hard to see how a lot of people otherwise on the fence about the abortion issue could be persuaded that there were just too many unknowns. I think you should expect to see the personhood movement address this by passing laws like “IF we have personhood THEN the following laws will apply to abortion, IVF, etc.” Many states already have trigger-laws like this that go into effect automatically if/when Roe v. Wade is overturned, and so there’s good precedent for laws that only go into effect if some future constitutional change takes place.

  22. Skip:

    You’re aware that “red” states typically get more federal money than they pay out? Let’s not get self-righteous about unsustainability.

  23. In other curious election news, the voters of Holyoke, MA (pop: ~40,000) just elected a 22-year old to be their mayor, ousting the incumbent.

  24. Here in the other Washington (state), we voted down yet another initiative put forth by our favorite guy to hate on, Tim Eyeman. This guy had one successful venture years ago that rolled back the fees on vehicle registration.It was admittedly an out of control situation when your actual car tab cost was less than the amount of fees stacked on top of it. Since then he has gotten happy over all sorts of silly things. This time it was toll roads. Thankfully he was soundly defeated! On the other side of the coin I am quite sad to see that our liquor initiative passed. Which, while it means I won’t have to go to a state liquor store anymore, I will most likely have to go to either Costco or Walmart since only stores with a 10,000 sq ft footprint are allowed to sell booze. I worry about what this will do to our smaller wineries, one of the few economic bright spots in the state. Sigh.

  25. I don’t see any logical way a personhood law that wants to claim that human life starts at conception can be squared with IVF, etc. Oh, sure, you can say “all embryos implanted must be allowed to take their natural course and all fertilized embryos used must be used (they’re typically discarded after the parents are done one way or the other).

    What I don’t understand about laws like that is that typically the same conservatives who object to government telling them they have to buy health insurance are fine with legislating morality. It’s always seemed intellectually inconsistent to rail against government interference in one realm while using the government’s power to enforce your views in another.

    Where I live (WA State), the dismantling of the state controlled liquor system will be interesting to watch. I have some concerns around how smaller players will end up doing, but in general more degrees of freedom is better.

  26. Nathaniel: isn’t it the job of legislators to present legislation that is already ‘worked out’? I mean, I heard this exact defense of it yesterday by one its sponsors and I was confused by it then, too. Laws are not meant to be unspecific and vague. Speed Limits aren’t “Fast” or “70-ish”. There’s a reason we have multiple classifications of murder and manslaughter (which vary by state in the US); because the law covers specifics and variations, by design.

    We do this because an unspecific law is ripe for abuse. In your scenario, even assuming that every person is totally willing to use it as you expect, you’ve just generated tons of potential time and effort to support legal challenges, either direct against the law or as part of future court-cases where it ends up having to be a referendum on the legality of it. Regardless of what the law was about, a vague law is worse than no law at all. History has shown that ‘but nobody would ever abuse it’ is a terrible disincentive to evil people.

  27. One of the more culturally interesting results, if less significant in the grand scheme of things, is that in Georgia we voted to repeal the state law that prohibits alcohol sales on Sundays. The more conservative jurisdictions will of course turn right around and pass such prohibitions at a local level, but many purveyors of libations in Atlanta and elsewhere may now purvey them seven days a week. It’s a relatively minor arrow pointing in the same direction as the Mississippi personhood result.

  28. Out in my county in Texas (Hays) we just had a bunch of proposed property tax increases to fund our schools and water treatment plants and whatnot that failed. I voted for all of them because we have no state income tax and need bonds to pay for shit, but I don’t know why they wasted the time to even have us vote – tax increases always get voted down.

    And I’d like to thank the thread for ignoring Leonard’s trolling. Nice work people!

  29. Along the same lines as Marcos’s Georgia vote, the state of Washington has liberated the sales of booze from the State. Costco has spoken, so shall it be done. Oregon will likely follow suit in the next year, and most likely the rest of the country (wherever state-run “package” or “ABC” stores dot the strip malls). It seems like a common sense issue, and it will be interesting to track changes in consumption and sin-tax revenue.

  30. @Nathaniel: you are talking about a law, not dueling essays. Whatever prominence Thomson’s essay has in the world of the chattering classes, it has zero legal weight. If you define personhood as beginning at conception, that has a wide host of legal implications. To say “oh no, it wouldn’t ban IUDs or anything” is completely incorrect, and from a non-legal point of view, pretends there is no such thing as pro-life opposition to abortifacient contraceptives.

    This is what I find most disappointing about the organized pro-life movement; its coy refusal, for political reasons, to admit the implications (and in some case, intent) of its policies.

  31. I don’t have anything helpful to say other than, man I’m happy the personhood initiative got knocked down.

  32. There’s a difference between “Law X does Z” and “Law X does Y, which may or may not end up implying Z”, and it’s a distinction worth noting. I realize it’s a defense defense from certain criticisms (e.g. it would outlaw IVF) but it’s not an endorsement.

    The serious uncertainty around the initiative is a bug, not a feature, and WizarDru is absolutely right (“Nathaniel: isn’t it the job of legislators to present legislation that is already ‘worked out’?”) That is why I suggested that the pro-life movement is likely to start trying to pass trigger-laws that would automatically go into effect if a personhood initiative went into place. This is a way to fix the serious uncertainty-related problems with the current proposal.

    I want to address mythago’s point last (about the “coy refusal, for political reasons, to admit the implications (and in some case, intent) of its policies.”) First of all: I think it’s always important to give your political adversaries the maximal benefit of the doubt in terms of motivation. Personhood folks genuinely believe that it’s appropriate to enshrine a philosophical principle directly into law. I disagree. There’s a reason “all men are created equal…” is in the Declaration of Independence and not the Constitution (although conservatives often conflate the two). Even though I think it’s a bad idea (because it is vague), I still recognize that it comes from a sincere place rather than a cynical attempt to be vague for political reasons.

  33. Seen recently: photo of graffiti reading “Spread Anarchy” in red spray-paint. The words were crossed out in another color, with the message, “Don’t tell me what to do!”

  34. I wonder if Singing Wren’s Libertarian friend had a preference between the two candidates who got the vast majority of the votes, and if he is happy with the outcome.

    I don’t know about the three-candidate race parkrrrr describes. Is the Republican chairman incorrect in the assumption that his guy would have gotten all of the votes for the independent candidate? Often one has a pretty good idea. If Ralph Nader ran again, I’m guessing it wouldn’t be a mystery what his supporter’s number two choice would be.

    I have a proposal to ‘fix’ the third party problem, a modest proposal…. OK a downright silly one, but here it is:

    After the election compute each candidate’s proportion of the total votes cast, arrange them in a known order. Use a good uniform random number generator to select the winner based on the total proportion of votes. Get a D&D player to work out the details.

    Obviously a computerized pseudo random number generator wouldn’t be acceptable, but percentile dice could probably work. Numbers from 1 to 100 might not be sufficiently fine-grained, but you could used 4 10-sided dice to break it down by 100ths of a percent, or work up some kind of scheme using your state’s lottery equipment. One could always contact the folks at random.org. They have a service for certifying lotteries; why not one for certifying elections?

    Have a problem with a tiny number of votes in Florida? Round it down to the nearest quarter percent and draw.

    Of course this system will have some unusual properties to be sure. If the “chop down the Redwood Forest and turn it into one big Burning Man” party manages to get 0.25% of the vote in every congressional district then they can pretty much expect to get one candidate into the house of representatives. We might end up with a lot more parties, and the legislative branch might have to forge odd coalitions for various issues.

    It would mean that your vote always has the same weight whether you are voting for a leading candidate or a third-party candidate who won’t win anyway.

    If this system were adopted by the states, but we retained the electoral college it would affect which states candidates consider safe, and it might take relieve the citizens of swing states of the daze that comes from being shown wall-to-wall campaign commercials. The President would still come from a major party, unless it went to the House.

  35. Here’s my opinion of what happened with these votes:

    Independent of parties, right thinking Americans voted for their interests! Imagine that! How unusual is that?

    I think, as Americans, we’re better at governing ourselves than half the politicians we elect into office. There’s too much special interest money in politics today, and it’s killing the process.

  36. MIke, That’s a really interesting proposal, to be sure! At first glance I thought you were just suggesting standard proportional representation (the way most European parliamentary democracies work), but the random nature would lead to some very “unusual properties”!

    I think the simplest and best reform for our voting system would be to adopt IRV. In IRV (instant run-off voting) you don’t have to pick just one candidate to vote for. Instead: you rank all the candidates on the ballot in your order of preference. The advantage is that you get rid of the spoiler effect. For example, all those folks who voted for Ross Perot could have voted for George H. Bush as their #2 and, as a result, Bush would have won. Except that, in that scenario, a lot more people might have been wiling to vote for Perot. So maybe he actually would have won, or at least done so much better that it would have shaken up the system.

    See, with the current system of only getting to vote for one person people vote strategically. They have to balance who they want with who they think can win. So the votes don’t really reflect preferences. But with IRV people could vote their real preferences without hurting their safe, back-up candidates, and this would encourage a lot more third-parties to run.

    Now, if we could just get IRV and anti-gerrymandering rules in place, I think we’d have a much more modern and efficient democratic system.

  37. We had only two initiatives on our ballot: one to allow Sunday alcohol sales, and one for an education SPLOST. The fact that Sunday ETOH sale was on the ballot was HUGE for Georgia – the “religious” right have been keeping it off for a long, long time. I could say many things about why I think this is so and what I think it means, but I will instead only say that of the 111 districts that had it on their ballots, all approved it. (One was originally thought to have voted it down, but there was a problem with the counting software and a hand re-count revealed that it passed by fewer than 200 votes – what was that you said about votes mattering?)

    I think that the bigger thing for me, this day-after-election-day, is how few people chose to excercize their right to vote. That bothers me. A lot.

    I was raised to believe that voting wasn’t a right, it was a responsibility. That good men and women had died in order to assure that we could vote, that voting was the backbone of Our Way Of Life (TM).

    You know what’s funny? I believe those things. I tried to raise my children to believe them as well. So it’s only Sunday alcohol sales on the ballot? Only a penny sales tax? Those are still OUR decisions to make.

    I know that I’m dangerously close to telling those darned kids to get off my lawn (and at a much younger age than I expected to be – John, you and I are of an age). But although I see a lot of young people expressing their opinions through “Occupy (your choice here)” demonstrations, I saw depressingly few of them in line to vote. The volunteers at the polling place kept trying to get my elderly associates to sit until it was their turn at the voting machine. While I appreciate the youthful zeal that has these young folks demonstrating, I fear that in doing so they have abdocated their voices in the official and established ways that they can impact the systems that they wish to change.There is more than one way to skin a cat (apologies to all the kitties reading).

    Ok, off my soapbox now. Sorry for the digression.

  38. Leonard @ 9:39 am: Scalzi’s vote may not have changed the outcome of the election, but voting is also a rhetorical act, and his “no” vote strengthens the message. It sends a signal (albeit a fuzzy one) to politicians about what kinds of policies the electorate favors and opposes.

    Nathaniel @ 1:01 pm:

    There’s a difference between “Law X does Z” and “Law X does Y, which may or may not end up implying Z”, and it’s a distinction worth noting. I realize it’s a defense defense from certain criticisms (e.g. it would outlaw IVF) but it’s not an endorsement.

    I agree that this is a distinction worth noting, but it wouldn’t change my opinion of Law X, and I think it’s completely fair to bring up the possibility of legal implication Z as an argument against Law X. It’s the fault of the authors of Law X for not including a clause that specifically excludes implication Z from happening. Maybe that failure isn’t deliberate, but it’s still a major flaw of the bill.

    Mike@ 3:12 p.m.: Mathematician Jordan S. Ellenberg has made a similar proposal, although his proposal was formulated as a way to easily resolve close elections rather than provide representation for small parties. Indeed, in his proposed system, the probability of a candidate winning isn’t proportional to their vote share, but rather drops off quickly as the vote share goes significantly below 50%. (He explains: “Leading by 215 votes out of 3 million, as Norm Coleman was in his Minnesota Senate race against Al Franken? You get a 75 percent chance of winning. George W. Bush, leading by 537 Florida votes out of 6 million cast, gets a 90 percent chance.”)

    But instead of using a random number generator, why not send the top few vote-getters to Congress and weight the strength of their votes by their vote share. So, if candidate A gets 49% of the vote in a district, candidate B gets 44% of the vote in that district, and candidate C gets 5% of the vote that district, all three are sent to Congress with a vote worth 49%, 44%, and 5%, respectively. This would help third parties by avoiding the consequences of Duverger’s law.

  39. Nathaniel, runoff voting (instant or not) works great until that third party gets to be significant. Then you get, say, a moderate candidate securing 32% of the first-rank vote and everyone else’s second place vote… losing to two candidates who got 34% each. Things like this happen all the time on big important elections – not with IRV, but with a regular old runoff – in a French presidential election.

    Condorcet criterion-satisfying systems won’t have that bug. Rating voting qualifies, and is minimally abusable (even if you exaggerate, you’re still basically casting an Approval ballot, and that’s a fine system). Basically, each voter rates each candidate from 1 to 10. The candidate with the highest total score wins.

    Nothing but mind-reading can eliminate the potential for people to screw themselves over by trying a dishonest strategy (see: Arrow’s Theorem), but voting systems can discourage these strategies by making them more likely to produce the least desired effect.

  40. @Luke at 4:57pm

    Are you saying that the problem with run-off is that one of the 34% winners will win, even though everyone would be happy with the moderate? How are we worse off with run-off than we would be with first past the post where one of the 34% vote getters would win?

  41. @CLP – I’m in agreement with everything you wrote.

    @Luke – “see: Arrow’s Theorem” Are you a fellow economist? :-)

    Social choice theory and mechanism design were some of my very favorite topics, although in all honesty I’m not that good at them. I don’t think Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem is actually quite as strong as it appears because Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives isn’t a good model for realistic human behavior. In short: human beings aren’t actually rational and so several economic models of individual and social choice diverge pretty substantially from reality, I think. The Von Neumann Expected Utility Theorem has pretty much the same problem theoretically and in practice.

  42. And in Washington state, I can buy booze in a grocery store again. I’m from Cali, so the state-run liquor stores in WA and VA always flabbergasted me, especially since I typically only use alcohol for cooking. Better plan my menu in advance so I can be sure to have cooking sherry/brandy/whatever on hand for that Sunday night meal!

  43. Well as a resident non-voter in WA I was glad to see the key outcomes I wanted came to pass. Tim Eyeman got sand kicked in his smug face, again, and FINALLY, I can buy booze like an adult in the supermarket and not go out of my way to one of the states awesomely horrible state liquor stores. I’m concerned about the square footage issue, especially as I’d like to see some decent specialist stores – a whiskey one for example.

    However, based on the deals you can get on stuff in CostCo, I’ll be patronizing them a little more. Not that I’m an excessive boozer but I do like to know I’ve a decent Scotch and variety in the house should the mood for a cocktail or a drink take me.

    I don’t think it will hurt the local wine industry too much, anymore than the Californian Industry is hurt by having booze in supermarkets.

  44. Camille Paglia a feminist? Loudmouth, yes. Mediocre essayist, definitely. Rabble rouser, most definitely? But feminist? In what universe?

  45. ellid-

    I know she’s not in the mainstream of modern feminism, but I called her a feminist ’cause that’s what she calls herself. In reaction to your post I did a bit of Googling and it turns out to be quite controversial. I knew it was controversial, but I didn’t know it was that controversial.

    Thanks, I learned something new today.

  46. There’s a difference between “Law X does Z” and “Law X does Y, which may or may not end up implying Z”, and it’s a distinction worth noting.

    @Nathaniel, could you explain how this maps onto the law in question? What is the “Z” and “Y” in your example?

    I do believe in giving credit to those with whom one disagrees. Here, I am giving them credit for being intelligent, being experienced in the social and legal debate over abortion, and in the case of those with a legal background related to drafting the initiative or law we’re discussing, with not having gotten their law degree out of a Crackerjack box. Declaring personhood to have begun at conception has a number of very clear and obvious implications beyond surgical or chemical abortion. To assume that the people who drafted this proposed legislation were so naive that it never occurred to them that the law would clearly ban IUDs, or criminalize all kinds of behavior by pregnant women, is to assume that they are extremely foolish and also that these issues have not come up again and again in the context of similar laws. I’m not willing to believe that.

    Again, please understand I’m not presenting an opinion here on abortion; but it is disingenuous to the point of nonsensical to claim that any effect of the law beyond “abortion is illegal” is an outlier, unintended consequence that no reasonable and well-meaning person can expect to have anticipated.

  47. I’m just upset Ohio has stopped printing the actual language of the law we’re voting on. We only see a basic summary of what the issue is supposed to do, which is not sufficient.

    More specifically, Issue 3 essentially read as “Would you like to preserve your freedom?” which is not a value-neutral way to put the issue. In fact, I don’t think there is a possible value-neutral way to put it, so we just ought to have the full text.

    I understand it helps to have a summary, and not everyone wants to/has time to/is able to wade through the full legalese. It’s just that a ballot which does not include the full text of the actual law we’re voting on feels like being given just the signature page of a contract and being asked to sign it sight unseen. (Yes, you can go online in advance, and I did. But you shouldn’t have to.)

  48. Peter:

    Missouri does that too. One suspects it’s partially for political reasons, and partly because laws are often drafted as patches of existing law – e.g. “section 9 paragraph 6b is rewritten to strike ‘is not’” and so it’s damn near impossible to understand what it does without a summary and possibly a law degree.

    This is a bug, of course.

  49. mythago-

    could you explain how this maps onto the law in question? What is the “Z” and “Y” in your example?

    Good suggestion. I think being specific will help. So I’ll just use ones from your post: “the law would clearly ban IUDs”. I don’t think so.

    I have a good friend who is a research medical doctor. We got to talking about abortion one day–the practicalities of it–and he pointed out that even if it were banned the number of abortions would probably not decline much as a result of enforcement. “Why?” I asked. He explained that in the 1970s, before Roe v. Wade, we didn’t have nearly as many powerful drugs as we do today. Hundreds of drugs currently on the market could be used as abortifacients, he pointed out, and they include anything from cancer drugs to much more benign drugs that treat skin conditions. It would be easy for a doctor to prescribe such a drug to induce an abortion and practically impossible to prosecute (because of doctor-patient confidentiality, among other things). Basically every drug commercial that says “Do not take while pregnant or if you think you may become pregnant” has a good chance at being used to induce an abortion.

    Think about what this means: either all these drugs, and not just IUDs and Plan B, would be banned as a result of the personhood proposal or none of them would. What’s the basis for suggesting that they be banned? Because they might be used to cause an abortion? Guns might be used to murder someone, and they’re still legal. Not to mention knives, baseball bats, and rat poison. Because they might inadvertently cause an abortion? Automobiles inadvertently cause 40,000 deaths a year and swimming pools cause a couple of hundred. All kinds of household chemicals accidentally poison children every year. If no one is trying to ban guns (OK, skip that one!), baseball bats, rat poison, cars, swimming pools, and household cleaning products, what makes you think they’re going to start banning Rx drugs?

    Banning IUDs is not only not a “very clear and obvious” implication of the proposal, I don’t think it’s implied at all. And it’s worth pointing out that, even if I’m wrong, I think I’ve sketched out a clear and reasonable (which is not the same as “correct”) explanation for why personhood advocates could have thought their bill wouldn’t have had any of the implications you think that it had.

    So–to go directly back to the main issue–it’s not ” disingenuous to the point of nonsensical to claim that any effect of the law beyond “abortion is illegal” is an outlier, unintended consequence that no reasonable and well-meaning person can expect to have anticipated.” It’s quite reasonable, on the contrary, for a reasonable and well-meaning person to look at the personhood initiative and conclude that it won’t have any of the extreme implications that you suggest.

    Of course there was still some uncertainty. The chance that it could have resulted in banning IUDs or Plan B or even hormonal birth control was tiny, in my opinion, but non-zero. And the full list of every implication wasn’t enumerated, so there’s’ always the possibility that something comes up no one had thought of before. This uncertainty was bad both philosophically and practically, since it’s almost certainly the reason the proposal failed in such a pro-life state.

  50. “Think about what this means: either all these drugs, and not just IUDs and Plan B, would be banned as a result of the personhood proposal or none of them would. What’s the basis for suggesting that they be banned?”

    Because, unlike all those other drugs, the most vehement abortion opponents want to ban them and have tried to do so in the past. In the case of Plan B, they’ve tried to restrict access through the “pharmacists’ rights” movement, getting people hired in pharmacies who will then refuse to supply it when prescribed and claim they are exercising their First Amendment rights.

    This movement doesn’t run on the kind of logical reasoning that you’re using. The attempts to ban Plan B were based on the idea that it *typically* works by aborting an already fertilized egg, which is not true (the belief was probably helped by deliberate confusion between Plan B and RU-486). But it doesn’t matter that it’s not true.

  51. In the case of IVF, the only problem is discarded embryos. Current methods take a kind of shotgun approach, creating and implanting extra embryos and then going in after the fact and selectively aborting fetuses if there are too many. These practices would have been hard to rectify with a persondhood amendment, so it’s quite likely that IVF would have gotten more expensive, but there’s no reasonable basis for suggesting it would be banned outright.

    Actually, Nathaniel that’s not true in this specific case. Personhood advocates were quite open about stating that it would prohibit embryo cryopreservation (not just disposition, but the actual freezing process) and that doctors could attempt to fertilize no more than two eggs for most women. The medical realities of IVF make that a de facto ban, because IVF isn’t effective OR safe under those conditions.

    For example, prohibiting cryopreservation poses a serious health risk to the women who develop OHSS, a not-uncommon and potentially life-threatening complication which is made far worse by pregnancy (especially a multiple pregnancy). Women who develop OHSS often have ALL of their embryos frozen for transfer on a subsequent cycle once the condition has resolved. I personally spent almost a week in the hospital for OHSS in the beginning of my twin pregnancy — it’s a serious deal.

    As for the expense, it’s more than just making it “more expensive”. Currently, IVF has a pregnancy rate of up to 40%, at a cost of roughly $10-15K, with an average of two embryos transferred per cycle. Restricting doctors to attempting to fertilize only two eggs will push that rate down into the single digits, because up to 75% of all eggs won’t fertilize correctly or will stop developing prior to transfer. Most women won’t have any embryos to transfer at all. To have the same cumulative chance of having a baby, couples would be looking at undergoing 10 or more cycles, at a cost of over $100K.

  52. Also, it should be noted that the Personhood people were quite explicit that 26 would and should ban IUDs and Plan B, and even strongly implied that progestin-only oral contraceptives would be targeted.

  53. Matt-

    If you want to know the legal consequences of a law the private motivations of the people who voted for it are irrelevant. So even if pro-life advocates secretly hoped that the proposal would result in a ban of contraception, it doesn’t matter.

    By the way, can you tell me more about this attempt to get pharmacists hired just to tell women “no” when they ask for Plan B? How does that work? Do pro-life organizations recruit pharmacology students, or retired pharmacists, or what? I’ve never heard of it before, and it sounds logistically implausible.

    Atlee-

    I’m really not an expert in IVF by any stretch of the imagination, so thanks for the extra info! As far as the direct implications of the proposal go, I don’t think we could assume that the pro-lifers would get what they want. E.g. it’s not necessarily the case that if the proposal had passed that cryopreservation would have been banned or that doctors could attempt to fertilize no more than 2 eggs for most women. However, it definitely would have been in play, so this is a much more serious discussion than bans on hormonal contraceptives, which I think are pretty far-fetched.

    Can you help me understand one thing? At the end you ran through some really helpful numbers and concluded that IVF would take 10 cycles and cost more than $100k. Is this what you meant be it being a de facto ban? Or did the safe and effective consideration from the first paragraph refer to something in addition to the extra cost and effort that would result from the limitations that personhood advocates want?

  54. Atlee-

    Also, it should be noted that the Personhood people were quite explicit that 26 would and should ban IUDs and Plan B, and even strongly implied that progestin-only oral contraceptives would be targeted.

    This is very surprising to me. I haven’t followed the movement that much, but it goes against what I’d heard both about and from the folks at Personhood USA. I spent some time Googling around, and I’ve been unable to find any sources where someone from Personhood USA or any other organization, for that matter, says explicitly that it would ban IUDs, Plan B, and hormonal BC. What I’m finding is almost exclusively pro-choice advocates arguing on behalf of Personhood USA which, you know… grain of salt and all.

    For example, Think Progress makes that claim based on an NPR interview (which I actually happened to have heard live). To me it sounds like the Personhood USA rep is mostly just confused and a bit dumb as opposed to being coy or intentionally vague, but in either case it’s definitely not rising to the level of either “explicit” or a “ban”.

    Do you have some links you could send my way? It would change the way I look at this movement, so I’m very curious to see what you’ve got. There’s been lots of tension between Personhood USA and mainline groups (e.g. the NRLC) because the old-school guys think that the Personhood USA folks are just going to trigger another SCOTUS review of Roe v. Wade prematurely and bury the case even deeper in precedent. This is why the Catholic Church didn’t come out in favor of Initiative 26. Meanwhile, the young Turks think the NRLC is being complacent and slow. But they basically agreed on the goals, or at least so I thought. If this is true, Personhood USA isn’t just impatient and a bit reckless, but also quite extremist.

  55. Daveon However, based on the deals you can get on stuff in CostCo, I’ll be patronizing them a little more. Not that I’m an excessive boozer but I do like to know I’ve a decent Scotch and variety in the house should the mood for a cocktail or a drink take me.
    For an example, Costco here in San Jose had Lagavulin 16-year-old for $54, while Bevmo is selling it at $75. I don’t know about the WA state stores, but I’ll bet they don’t even carry it.

  56. Origuy: WA state liquor stores, imho, can be quite nice. You can get Lagavulin in stores, and the downtown Seattle stores usually carry a nice selection of single malts running from 12 yr on up. Lagavulin 16 is currently running at $81.95, including taxes, which are hefty in WA: http://liq.wa.gov/stores/price-book

    Costco is definitely going to be able to do better in pricing, short term, but I’ll bet you a dollar that state sin taxes go up real soon.

  57. It’s a little difficult to send you some of the primary sources, because the Yes on 26 people pulled down their entire Internet presence at some point before midnight Tuesday night. (Which in itself I find very interesting: why would you do that, if you stand behind what you said?) Most of the links from our site (http://parentsagainstms26.com) to Yes sources, Facebook groups, etc. are broken.

    Here’s the post we wrote about birth control, which includes a screenshot of their website: http://parentsagainstms26.com/2011/10/06/yes-on-26s-ever-shifting-stance/ . They had already made several switches to the text of their FAQ, and the structure of their website, at this point, which is why I took a screenshot for reference. Personhood Colorado has likewise called out IUDs as abortifacient.

    I also think Hoye is a lot clearer about the IUD in that interview than you do. He specifically agrees that the morning-after pill “takes the life of a human being”, and that the IUD is in that same category of implantation-preventing contraceptives. There’s pretty solid scientific evidence for post-fertilization effects of both types of IUDs, which is against personhood. You might also want to check out this Salon piece, where Irin Carmon reports that Dr. Beverly McMillan (Yes on 26 board member/spokesperson and president of Pro-Life Mississippi) personally told her that 26 would ban IUDs.

    This document hasn’t been purged as of this writing: http://yeson26.net/media/4818/amdt26_discussion_points.pdf , although the context has. It’s written by Dr. Eric Webb of Tupelo, and was formerly promoted by them as containing “real answers”. You will note that it specifically mentions the freezing and fertilization restrictions. Regarding birth control, it calls out estrogen/progesterone BCP as not being abortifacient, and says that “most” BCP will not become illegal.. implying that progestin-only contraceptives will. (Webb is also wrong about evidence for the hostile endometrium theory, IMO, but that’s beyond the scope of this post.)

  58. Atlee-

    Thanks very much for the info. I’m still very confused, but it’s not your fault. The Personhood / YesOn26 folks seem incapable of getting their story straight. They are starting from a basic principle: any “contraceptive” that works between conception and implantation is actually a form of abortion rather than contraception. That’s a valid principle, logically speaking. So far so good.

    But when it comes to actually mapping that principle into practice everything falls completely apart. I’m not sure what their problem is. I suspect incompetence because I always go to incompetence before I go to malice, but it’s pretty unforgivable in any case. These guys are n00bs.

    If you’re going to want to push forward a progressive social agenda–such as explicitly expanding human rights to all human organisms–you can’t expect to just throw a proposal in the air that translates your philosophy into law without any serious consideration of the legal or practical consequences and just hope for the best.

    I don’t believe, like you and mythago and some others do, that this is a cynical ploy to hide their real agenda. I think they just have more zeal than common sense. This definitely explains why so many established pro-life organizations and even the Catholic Church failed to get behind the initiative or–in some cases–even criticized it.

  59. @Nathaniel: I have followed the movement much. It’s possible that these were a bunch of n00bs. It’s also possible that this was plain old astroturfing.

  60. By “n00bs” you seemed to suggest that the group beyond Yes on 26 was not meaningfully connected to any larger or national pro-life movement.

    The motivations of the people behind a law are not irrelevant, by the way – at least, not always irrelevant, as you suggest. (See, e.g., the Prop 8 case working its way through the federal appeals process.) It very much depends on the law in question.

    For that matter, you seem rather knowledgeable about the intrapolitical workings of the various pro-life groups for someone who professes not to have probed into the issues around them too deeply.

  61. Okay, BCP answer is in mod queue for too many links. Blar. Try http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:HaThM_mPJ2QJ:yeson26.net/amendment-26/frequently-asked-questions/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us to see the Google cache of the Yes On 26 FAQ in the meantime — Yes On 26 pulled down their entire internet presence within three hours of the election being called.

    Re IVF, the “safe” part of it goes back to the OHSS discussion I mentioned. The medical standard of care for early-onset OHSS is to freeze all the embryos and transfer them in a month or two when the woman has recovered, but this law would force all embryos to be immediately transferred. That means sick women who get pregnant will get sicker.

    It also refers to the incidence of multiples. Italy had a similar law for a while (as does Germany), and while the pregnancy rates dropped precipitously, in women who do get pregnant, there was a dramatic increase in the triplet rate, and in the selective reduction rate. That’s a bad outcome. Physicians are increasingly looking to single-embryo transfer as the best way to lower the IVF multiple birth rate, but that requires the ability to freeze all the remaining embryos. The medical reality of IVF is that it often takes 8 or 10 eggs to get two live embryos on Day 3.

    But yes, the cost increase is a major factor here (as well as the phsyical and emotional difficulty of undergoing so many rounds of IVF). It’s just not feasible for patients to expect to spend $10K for a 5% chance of having a baby — it’s hard enough to do that for a 40% chance. That’s the whole reason why older patients are advised to pursue donor gametes or adoption, because the chance of pregnancy is so slim that it’s really not worth the money. At that point, patients will travel out-of-state for treatment. We only have three infertility physicians here, and dramatically reducing the number of cycling patients would probably cause them ALL to shut down.

  62. They were absolutely NOT a bunch of noobs. Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA, spent a lot of time in-state, as did Stephen Crampton of Liberty Counsel, who originally drafted the amendment. Yes on 26 was heavily funded by Personhood USA to the tune of $300K in September alone. Liberty Counsel wrote numerous memos about it — I’ve seen at least three. They were as connected to the national Personhood movement as it’s possible to be.

    And the reason I believe they had ulterior motives is because I’ve seen them switch their story one too many times, and even outright lie right up until you show them the source document. Remember, I have personally been smack in the middle of this fight, so I’m speaking from my own direct experience. They’ve repeatedly accused ME of lying, attempted to smear me personally, questioned my religion, and generally shown every sign of acting in bad faith.

    Openness about their positions didn’t work too well for them in Colorado, so they came to Mississippi to get it done instead. They hid their positions as long as they could, and called us liars and Planned Parenthood puppets. They’ve accused us of faking sources. They’ve browbeaten their own supporters for asking honest questions. They’ve run the bingo card of rhetorical fallacies, and avoided giving straight answers wherever possible. They’ve taken down their entire internet presence. These aren’t the actions of honest people who stand behind their positions.

    (Uh, not that I am bitter or anything.)

  63. mythago-

    For that matter, you seem rather knowledgeable about the intrapolitical workings of the various pro-life groups for someone who professes not to have probed into the issues around them too deeply.

    I’m really not trying to mislead anyone so I’ll be totally clear: I consider myself to be a pro-life moderate and I have extensive experience with various organizations in the pro-life cause. Some that I tend to agree with (like Secular Pro-Life) and some that I really, really don’t (like Operation Rescue/Operation Save America). When I made that statement I was referring specifically to the issues around Initiative 26. I really don’t know very much about the IVF facts that Atlee has been sharing, for example, and I had only passing familiarity with Personhood USA. I’ve been a bit out of the pro-life movement in general over the last 2-3 years as I’ve been doing my master’s degree and helping run a startup company.

    By “n00bs” you seemed to suggest that the group beyond Yes on 26 was not meaningfully connected to any larger or national pro-life movement.

    That’s not what I was going for. I was specifically calling Personhood USA (the biggest group behind Initiative 26) a bunch of n00bs. I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt because I find the human rights angle to be the most compelling aspect of the pro-life cause and because I knew the group was new and composed of younger folks.

    However, I did some more digging and I’m afraid I have to break a long, time-honored, and ironclad rule of internet debating: I have to admit I was wrong. Between Atlee’s presuasive presentation of facts and my own realization that Personhood USA is an offshoot of the Operation Rescue branch of the pro-life movement I think your original assessment was pretty accurate: This is what I find most disappointing about the organized pro-life movement; its coy refusal, for political reasons, to admit the implications (and in some case, intent) of its policies.

    I’d still like to contend that this isn’t true of the movement as a whole, and for context I think it’s worth pointing out that virtually all political groups hide at least some of their private thoughts when they are trying to win public opinion, but I give up on trying to defend Personhood USA and Initiative 26. I’m disappointed, but that’s the way the evidence points.

  64. @Nathaniel, to be clear, I’m not saying that every person who identifies as pro-life is dishonest or underhanded, or that one’s own view of abortion should be determined by the actions of national political groups. (And I acknowledge and appreciate your willingness to admit being in error.) But the specific acts Atlee Breeland describes are, sadly, not even what I had in mind as an example. It is one thing to say “yes, our initiative will do thus-and-such, which we believe is appropriate,” or “yes, but thus-and-such is a small price to pay for protecting unborn life,” or not to bring it up until it is pointed out because it’s politically a tough issue – and quite another to flat-out lie and claim “no, of course it would do no such thing”.

  65. Mythago

    You may wish to read an example of the duplicitous way in which so-called pro-lifers have attempted to achieve similar results on this side of the pond; they failed. They pretended that they were opposing the morning after pill when in reality they were seeking to criminalise the use of a vast range of contraceptives including IUDs, and to totally ban IVF. As the then Justice Munby put it:

    “There would in my judgment be something very seriously wrong, indeed grievously wrong with our system – by which I mean not just our legal system but the entire system by which our polity is governed – if a judge in 2002 were to be compelled by a statute 141 years old to hold that what thousands, hundreds of thousands, indeed millions, of ordinary honest, decent, law abiding citizens have been doing day in day out for so many years is and always has been criminal. I am glad to be spared so unattractive a duty. The social case put by fpa, and supported in all particulars by the Secretary of State, remains wholly unanswered by SPUC. Preferring to concentrate, as it is entitled to, upon narrow legal issues, SPUC has not attempted to refute fpa’s case. I strongly suspect that it could not, even if it wished to.”

    The full judgement is at:

    http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2002/610.html

  66. Thanks Stevie. The specific example I had in mind in my post was a recent attempt to put a parental notification law on the ballot as an initiative – this particular iteration (they come up regularly in my state) included a statement that life begins at conception. When one of the crafters of the initiative, a lawyer, was asked about that, she laughed and said that it was just a statement of principle and it was ridiculous to suggest that such a statement could be used for any other law.

    Well. The lady either printed her law degree off 4chan and should retire from practice immediately, or she was lying through her teeth. I’m guessing it’s probably not the former, which meant that she was flat-out lying, on the assumption that most of the people listening weren’t lawyers and didn’t know any different. That fact said volumes to me about her organization and the way I should vote on that initiative.

  67. @Nathaniel, what mythago said. I think that most people, and even a few of its public advocates who voted for 26 were well-intentioned and sincere. Most of its leadership, however, was not.

    I got involved with opposition to 26 because I have children thanks to infertility treatment. I got called a liar and a dupe and a baby-killer because I wanted to protect the family-building options of infertile patients like me. When the facts became incontestable, only then did they switch over to saying that I was selfish for valuing my access to infertility treatment over the deaths of babies, and the “convenience” of hormonal contraception, and oh, that they’re evil things anyway.

    If they’d stood up and told voters from the beginning that yes, it would have major ramifications for birth control and infertility treatment, but that those are acceptable sacrifices for ending abortion… Well, I still would have disagreed and worked to oppose it, but I’d at least have some respect for them.

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