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Reader Request Week 2022 #5: The Clawback of Rights in the USA

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Nellie asks:

I’d love to get your perspective specifically on the rash of anti-trans legislation getting pushed all over the US right now – Alabama just today passed their version, making it a felony to help someone transition under the age of 19, and there are a LOT of bills under consideration in other states as well.

Not to mention, we’re already starting to see the pivot from focusing specifically on transgender people to more broadly targeting LGBTQ+ people in general…

Well, mind you, it’s not just trans people or LGBTQ+ folks; let’s not forget that Republican-led states are actively passing laws to take away the ability of women (and other folks who can get pregnant) to have abortions, up to and including criminalizing having one, and the whole of the Republican Party has been making hay about “Critical Race Theory,” which very few of them understand, or at the very least, will admit to understanding. We have GOP senators blithely saying out loud that fundamental Supreme Court decisions establishing nationwide rights for women, minorities and LGBTQ+ folks were wrongly decided. It’s very clear that here in 2022 the GOP sees curtailing the rights of everyone who is not a straight white cis Christian man as a winning strategy, and in the short run is seeing some success with it. If the Supreme Court does not in fact overturn Roe v. Wade, as it is almost certain to do, it will at the very least whittle down its efficacy to the point where it will be entirely useless.

In fact the Supreme Court is why all these horrible laws are being passed: because the GOP, for the first time in 60 years, is confident that the highest court in the land is more than willing to overturn decades of court precedent on the flimsiest and most-poorly reasoned of legal arguments, thereby clawing back the rights of hundreds of millions of Americans, and in doing so, subject them to legal and social harassment for trying to live their lives with the same sort of liberties that the GOP arrogates solely to straight white cis Christian men. The GOP probably doesn’t expect all of these laws to pass constitutional muster, but at least some of them will, according to this current court.

Every one of those laws that does, establishes a precedent and means that every group that is not comprised primarily of straight white cis Christian men will have to expend their time and energy fighting these fights again. Which is one of the goals: If you have to spend your time fighting the laws favoring straight white cis Christian men, you can’t spend time competing with straight white cis Christian men on equal standing.

(Hashtag NotAllStraightWhiteCisChristianMen, and also hashtag SomePeopleInRightsThreatenedGroupsDontCare, but let’s not pretend who is the primary beneficiary of this hobbling of the established rights of others, please and thank you.)

That said, why the anti-trans legislation, right now? The short answer is: Because trans people are one of the groups least understood and sympathized with, not only by straight white cis Christian folks, but by other folks as well; because they are a very small group, relative to others, and easier to push around; because their ability to exercise the same rights as others has only recently been established and thus is easier to take away; because decades of political and media portrayal of them as deviants and mentally ill makes them vulnerable to attack.

And also: the GOP understands that the best way to start the clawback of rights of people who are not straight white cis Christian men is to pretend it cares about children. Why keep people from having abortions? Because they are saving the babies! Why ban books about, and the teaching of, race or sexuality? Because it’s not age appropriate for children, and white kids are having their feelings hurt, and also gay people are groomers! Why pass legislation targeting trans people — and trans children in particular? Because gender-affirming therapies are child abuse and also what if your child went to the bathroom and there was a trans person in there and also what if your child had to compete against a trans athlete it isn’t fair!

Let’s be clear: As a matter of policy, the modern Republican party doesn’t give a damn about children in the United States except as a way to weaponize parental fears into restricting the rights of others. If the modern GOP actually cared about children, their policy portfolio would be rather different than it is today. When a GOP politician publicly grouses about the well-being of children, it usually either means they want to take away the rights of some group, or they want to make public education in the United States worse (because the children of the groups they want to take rights benefit from public schools).

Also, very specifically, if the GOP cared about children, then they would care about trans children and their well-being. They have made it clear they do not, just as they have made it clear with “don’t say gay” bills that they don’t care about other LGBTQ+ children, and as they have made it very clear with the anti-CRT nonsense and book banning that they don’t care about black children or the children in other racial groups. Children are not just straight white cis Christian children — or more accurately just some of them, since the GOP will make a minor carry a baby to term, even the straight white cis Christian ones, which is not about the need of the child in question.

But even then, they don’t care about the straight white cis Christian kids, either. Here’s a news flash: There’s a very good chance that at least some of those straight white cis Christian kids are friends with the kids the GOP is currently actively legislating against. They like them, and may even love them, and may consider them part of their family. They know the GOP isn’t doing these horrible things for them, even if they are using them as the excuse to do them. And they’ll remember: who was doing it, and to whom, and for what reasons. In the long run — too long, unfortunately, for all the children whose lives they are working to ruin in the interim — I suspect that’s not going to be great for the GOP.

But for now, that’s why the anti-trans (and anti-other LGBTQ+, and anti-minority, and anti-woman) laws are being passed: because the GOP has a Supreme Court that is very likely anti-everything-not-straight-white-cis-Christian-male, and it needs to get this stuff on the books while it can. They’re not doing it for the children. The GOP spent decades working toward this moment. The rest of us have to decide how long we’re willing to have this moment last.

That, we can do for the children. And for us.

— JS

(It’s not too late to get a question in for this week’s Reader Request Week! Go here to find out how to do so.)

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

47 replies on “Reader Request Week 2022 #5: The Clawback of Rights in the USA”

Notes:

One: Political post, Mallet is out, behave yourself and play nice with others.

Two: If you try to pretend that the anti-trans/LGBTQ+/women/minority legislation currently going through review in GOP-led states isn’t an intentional attempted curtailment of rights, you’ll get the Mallet, and otherwise phobic comments will be flattened when I see them. This isn’t the place to argue whether the GOP is (primarily) pro white-straight-cis-Christian-dude. That ship has sailed.

Three: That said, the modern GOP does not (obviously) represent every white and/or straight and/or cis and/or Christian and/or male person (many of whom may believe vastly different things than the current GOP policies), and every person in the GOP may not be on board, in part or as a whole, with its current legislative blitzkreig against LGBTQ+, minorities and women. Doesn’t change the current GOP national and (largely) state political policy and tactics.

Four: Really, folks, please don’t make me babysit this comment thread; I have other things to do with my day. Be decent to each other. Thanks.

I assume that some of the focus on anti-trans/anti-LGBTQ+/anti-woman legislation is because they have no principles (they can’t say smaller government because their actions contradict what they say, they can’t say “freedom” because you can look at what they say and realize it means “freedom for Christian hetero white guys”, and they can’t emphasize their competence and efficiency because they haven’t had much if any, etc.). If they don’t have power, they don’t have anything.

The reliance on power over principle also seems to be why the GOP hasn’t split. Their members have likely decided that getting some of what they want is better than splitting the party and getting none of it (even if they have to destroy the country they claim to love to get it).

I think one of the reasons they are pushing these anti-trans/anti-LGBTQ+/anti-women legislations is, that that’s their way to ensure that people don’t talk and discuss about Joe Bidens policies. Which are pretty good. Even from the viewpoint of many of the GOP voters.

By keeping the other party busy on those civil liberties topics they make sure that it has less time and less attention to communicate its policy successes for the American people.

And yet democrats will still lose Congress and the White House in the next few years. Anyway it’s never fun to get trounced In the culture war. We won so many but it’s likely another generation to claw it back. Feels like 1980 all over again.

My daughter came out around 8 months ago. Needless to say, her mental health has been harmed by these bills and suggestions that they could be coming to our state. We happen to live in the greatest target for Republicans since San Francisco (Loudoun County VA), so it’s been rough for her.

However, overall she is much, much happier now than she was any time in the last 7 years. And we are so glad of it.

Oh yeah. Let’s talk about the whole “GOP loves children” thing. And the “grooming” thing, and the accusations of pedophilia thing, and just EXACTLY how this applies in today’s GOP.

First, what is “grooming”?

As any abuse survivor can tell you, “grooming” is a set of psychological techniques designed to prepare a victim by making them feel:

a) Helpless on their own (dependent on the abuser);
b) Ignorant of the difference between ‘attention’ and ‘abuse’;
c) Ignorant of the availability of, or techniques for accessing, any help;
d) Ashamed of, and responsible for, anything ‘bad’ that happens to them, and
e) Convinced of the importance of keeping silent about what is happening to them

Clear? You’ll notice that each of those things has a key word in it: “helpless”, “ignorant” (twice! very important to the abuser, the ignorance of the chosen victim(s)), “shame” and “silent”.

Now look at the intended RESULTS of all these GOP-sponsored bills in state legislatures. What are they designed to produce?

Ignorant children.
Children dependent on perceived authority.
Children ignorant about, and ashamed of, themselves and their sexuality.
Children afraid to be honest about what is happening to them, what they feel, what they know about themselves, and about their interactions with others.

So the Group of Pedophiles (GOP) has finally exposed itself (pun intended) clearly and unequivocally for what they are, and what they want: Freedom to abuse children, without interference, under the sanction of the law.

After decades of smokescreens, projection, denial, coverups, etc., we can now see the far-reaching, slimy tentacles of this network of conspirators in the light of day, right there on the floors of our state legislatures, preparing for their triumph in making our most vulnerable citizens – children – even MORE vulnerable, ignorant, dependent, and silent.

Yeah. You wanna talk ‘network of pedophiles’? I give you the Republican Party leadership and their sleazy enablers.

Mr. Scalzi:
You are an optimist. Eventually they will come for everyone’s rights. The last rights lost will likely be the ‘right to bear arms’. That will come after the Emperor is crowned.

One thing forgotten in your list, John, is rich. The GOP also doesn’t care about straight, white, cis, Christian, poor men.

They have fought the expansion of welfare and Medicaid for decades.

Another part of why they are pushing all of this is to keep the Democrats off balance. It is hard to take a stand against it because they keep moving the talking points. It is all about the sound bite.

The Dems need to mount a counter attack now, but they do not have any candidates that can step up and hold the center.

In the patriarchal view, a man should be the head of a household, with his wife and children subservient to him. This view also informs how children should be raised, since boys are expected to eventually head their own households, while a girl’s primary function is seen as serving the men and boys in her life. This is seen as the only possible way of creating a successful family.

A demonstrably happy, healthy family containing LGBTQ+ people is a threat to the patriarchal world view. In order to hold on to their belief in the rightness of patriarchy, some people are eager to convince themselves that LGBTQ+ families must be fundamentally flawed or corrupt in some way. This is why, when someone comes along with a narrative like “helping a minor to transition is child abuse”, they are quick to latch on.

Obviously, this is not the only thing going on here, but its a big part of it, and one I don’t see discussed that much.

@Formerly just Craig

I don’t think that the Dems need to mount a counter attack. They need to counter the policies where say can but otherwise try to keep the GOP-topics out of public discourse.
As I see politics over here in Europe that is a strategy that is often, at least tried, on your political oponnent: “totschweigen” remain silent about the politics of your oponnents in the hope they die this way. The challenge is to still keep acting against them while not talking about them.

And the time you win by not talking about your oponnents topics should be used to talk about what your side is doing good for the people. (The Dems have to win Midterms quite soon if I got the News from your country correctly)

This is only part of what the GOP has spent decades working towards. The visible part. It’s what they are using to divide while they do the quiet things.

beneficiary of this hobbling of the established rights of others

Ok, quibble alert.

Not much in the way of benefits, no matter who you are. While theft may typically enrich the thief, theft of rights doesn’t really work that way. May be a net loss for all parties.

Doesn’t stop people though. See also: Ukraine.

Yes to all of this, but let’s not forget that these bills were passing before the Supreme Court got stacked as well. Six years ago, HB2 in North Carolina was heavily opposed by businesses including the NBA, who moved their all star game out of Charlotte in protest. Nowadays much broader anti-trans, anti-LGBT, anti-woman bills are passing with no more than a murmur from former allies.

Note to the Grand Old Party:
Democracy is a lousy system, but historically it functions as guillotine repellent. If we call the white, cis-gendered, Xtian male minority something catchier, oh, like “Aristos,” and all those non-Aristo people you’re disenfranchising the “Mob,” would that help your conceptualization? Now, we’re short of guillotines, but we all have guns, so OK. We may need more pikes, though.

The GOP have used “culture wars” for 40 years and it has worked for them. Have their base fear and hate “the other” and their base falls for it AlL THE TIME. They can’t run on their real agenda – the elimination of SS and any and all safety nets, the elimination of public education and the fact that they want to get rid of democracy in favor of a theocratic fascist state. They know that’s not a winning agenda so hence the fear and hate of “the other”.

There are ways you can fight this bs. One of the loudest GOP voices in my town is the woman who leads the Boy Scout troop. She started at least one fear mongering thread in our local town groups about “they are teaching sex ed to elementary school students aaaaaaaaa”. sigh I wish there were parents who were willing to join and push her out. Push back with real info in your local town groups, if you can. I am reassured by the amount of pushback that happened in the town group, but its still disturbing. If we just had some kind of control over Fox News, et al, it would help, but its not just the US. Its a global thing. Its France, its the UK. And its amplified by social media at this point, which leans conservative/anti-POC.

Hello John! I know this question may be met with contention, but I’m genuinely curious as to your answer and hope no offense will be taken in my asking. With the ability for birth control to be obtained (in most places) quite easily and if not for free, for very little cost, how much should we as a society rely on abortion as an option when dealing with unwanted pregnancies? In the end, abortion is curtailing, to put lightly, a life. Where as, taking birth control (99% of the time) makes this a situation that does not have to occur. I do believe it is a woman’s right to decide, but at what point does it become not a question of her freedom, but a question of whether we are ok with an adult taking the life of a baby? There is a choice for people to have sex or not, so taking out the rape aspect of this question, which studies show amounts to a very small percentage of abortion cases, at what point is it the responsibility of consenting adults to make better safe-sex decisions?

@ Just Sayin’:

“An iron law is that when someone insists they understand someone else’s motivations or intentions, they don’t, and don’t care to.”

It is an iron law (and historically proven fact) that when someone chooses to ignore someone else’s clearly stated (harmful) intentions, that first someone is setting themselves up for a world of hurt down the road.

When clerofascists and other assorted scum scream their intentions at you, my advice would be for you to perk up your ears, and listen carefully.

@ mac:

“how much should we as a society rely on abortion as an option when dealing with unwanted pregnancies?”

“Societies” don’t “rely on abortion”. Individual humans may sometimes opt for abortion. If we leave safe-sex responsibility to consenting adults, rational thinking requires us to extend the same decision-making authority to those same adults in case of an abortion.

@fatman:
The difference here is that safe-sex practices are individual decisions, whereas abortion is about a mother and baby. Without getting an abortion, a baby would be born, so the argument will always be larger than a woman’s freedom, because it is also about the freedom of another life that does not have the ability to make a decision (on whether to be born or not).

@ mac:

“Without getting an abortion, a baby would be born, so the argument will always be larger than a woman’s freedom”

No, it isn’t. Plenty of fetuses are not born without the mother resorting to an abortion. An abortion is an individual decision exactly because the fetus does not have the ability to make decisions. Nor is it recognized as a decision-making entity until 14-18 years after it becomes a human being.

It appears to me that you’re conflating your personal opinion (to which you are certainly entitled) with an entitlement to make decisions on behalf of others. If you’re against abortions, you are perfectly within your rights not to have an abortion. However, that’s the line at which your rights end.

@mac

The argument is specifically about a woman’s bodily autonomy, and whether or not it should be respected. You remove women’s bodily autonomy in this case, you also start down the path of those in power also deciding who gets to become pregnant, deciding that some must become pregnant, and deciding that some may not remain pregnant. These possibilities are also already happening. I’d prefer to avoid the whole thing and keep bodily autonomy where it belongs, with the individual.

Another way to look at bodily autonomy is in the matter of blood donation. Did you know that no one can be compelled by law to donate blood? Or organs? Even if such a donation from a particular person is the only way to save the life of some other person? The potential donor may not be compelled by law to make the donation. You don’t get to speculate and say “I hope the donor would do the right thing”. The point is bodily autonomy of the potential donor may not be violated, even to save the life of another existing person.

This is exactly parallel to the abortion issue. The bodily autonomy of the pregnant woman should never be denied, even to preserve the potential life that would result if carried to term.

@Mac
“With the ability for birth control to be obtained (in most places) quite easily and if not for free”

When was the last time you obtained birth control?

Condoms are not 100% effective.
Diaphragms are not 100% effective.
The pill and the IUD are nearly 100% effective but they are not available over the counter.
IUDs are expensive, often not covered by insurance, and can be incredibly painful for some women.
DepoProvera shots have to be given by a health care worker once every 3 months.
Pills are less expensive and more available but some women cannot take the pill or use a patch because of side effects or cancer risks. And if you take the pill and are prescribed antibiotics, it can make the pill less effective. If you take St. Johns Wort for depression, it can make the pill less effective. If you eat grapefruit regularly, it can make the pill less effective. (A lot of people aren’t told this by their doctors – I personally know 3 people who got pregnant while on antibiotics.)

The ACA provided for free birth control through insurance – except if you work for a company that decides they don’t want to cover that cost, like Hobby Lobby or other companies owned by religious zealots. Or if you can’t afford insurance and don’t have it.

Oh wait, you can get birth control for free or cheap via Planned Parenthood, can’t you? Where there is a PP and where they haven’t been run out of business by the aforementioned religious zealots or by legal restrictions that constrict their funding. And we still go back to the fact that birth control is never 100% effective.

Yes, please do tell me how easy it is to get birth control and how to make sure it’s 100% effective and in that way eliminate all abortions?

OH and one more comment for @mac (and anyone else with the same mindset):

All of the above that I wrote notwithstanding, look at the current freakout about how horrible it is to teach kids about sex and sexuality and how it’s “parents rights” to not have their children learn about sex in school.

Even if there were cheap and easy access to all kinds of birth control, it doesn’t work if you’re not taught how to properly use it or allowed to use it.

I know more than one teenager whose very religious parents have NOT taught them enough about sex other than “don’t do it until you’re married”. My friend’s 22 year old son didn’t know he could get his girlfriend pregnant even if he didn’t “put it in”.

Access to birth control doesn’t solve ignorance caused by religious zealot parents who won’t teach their children about sex.

@mac Plenty of other good arguments, but I’ll just point out the access to birth control is in the list of things the GOP intends to get to as soon as they get that pesky Roe out of the way. They’re on record that Griswold v. Conn was wrongly decided and it’s squarely in their sights. So, all the rest is kind of beside the point.

@mac Plenty of other good arguments, but I’ll just point out that access to birth control is on the list of things the GOP intends to get to as soon as they get that pesky Roe out of the way. They’re on record that Griswold v. Conn was wrongly decided and it’s squarely in their sights. So, all the rest is kind of beside the point.

@Laurie
Again, the difference I think here is that nobody is compelling somebody to have sex, and thus potentially get pregnant (rape aside obviously). The argument is very different in the case of rape, but as studies show, those cases for abortion make up a very small minority. There are many preventatives measures that can be taken to avoid unwanted pregnancy, abstinence included.

@fatman
Your argument is a bit confusing. We don’t recognize a person as a ‘decision making entity’ until 14-18, and yet it is very obviously immoral to kill/abort a child. The argument for abortion has been one I have long debated back and forth with myself, because I do agree women should have autonomy of their body, but I do not know at what point a person who is carrying another life in them has to recognize that it is no longer solely about their body and freedom.

There are options to not get pregnant, and if we were to agree that abortion should be legal, in should be in those cases where a woman is raped, because her freedom and autonomy have been stolen from her. Otherwise, in cases of consenting adults choosing to have sex who wind up pregnant due to not practicing safe sex, I don’t know how we can morally justify extinguishing life. It is a choice to have sex, that is where the true freedom lies.

@ mac:

“We don’t recognize a person as a ‘decision making entity’ until 14-18, and yet it is very obviously immoral to kill/abort a child.”

The legal definition of a human being “shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development”. Killing human beings is immoral, and (unless authorized by the government) also illegal. (US Code Title 1, Chapter 1)

There’s nothing confusing about my response. You don’t need to “morally justify” abortion, unless the abortion pertains to yourself. It is not a question for society at large, but for the individual responsible for said fetus, if it happens to develop into a child.

With your disingenuous harping on “people who have sex should suffer the consequences”, I get the feeling that what you’re trying to do is pass judgment on people who don’t practice abstinence. Again, you’re perfectly entitled to that opinion. You are free to practice abstinence, birth control measures, or have/not have an abortion. I don’t need to “morally justify” your decisions – and you don’t get a vote on the abortion decisions of others. Fairly simple concepts, all round.

@mac

Others have well stated points around availability of contraception, education, existing societal controls on behavior and such. Meanwhile, you haven’t addressed the parallel situation of blood/organ donation. When you addressed me above, you said nothing about my points. If you were trying in the following address to fatman, it was just confusing which points you were making.

For those who want to argue that a pregnancy represents an existing human life in addition to the woman, in the blood/organ donation case we have unarguably an existing human life in addition to the donor.

In both situations the question is whether a second person can be legally compelled to do something invasive with their own body in order to save the first life. Can the pregnant woman be legally compelled to continue the pregnancy until there is an unequivocal separate human life, i.e. the new child surviving outside of her body? Can the donor be compelled to give up their own blood or organ to save a human who will die without it?

The law already exists that says “No” to the second.

You’ll notice that no moral judgements enter into this. No conditions on the worthiness of either the donor or the person in need. The point of law is purely about the bodily autonomy of the donor.

I have yet to see anyone, certainly not you, show how these two cases are not parallel without shrouding the abortion situation in judgements on the behavior of the participants, especially the woman, while at the same time never, ever, claiming there are any behavioral or moral conditions in the donor situation.

mac: “With the ability for birth control to be obtained (in most places) quite easily and if not for free”

scenario: A woman practices abstinence only to avoid getting pregnant. She gets raped and gets pregnant. The current batch of laws dont care how responsible she was while she had choice and dont care that the rapist removed all choice.

And there isn’t a single major anti-abortion group that hands out condoms at their rallies and pushes for sex education in schools. All of them push abstinence only and don’t want sex ed to be taught at all. Anti-abortion groups are primarily religious zealotry and anti-sex.

mac: “In the end, abortion is curtailing, to put lightly, a life. ”

I ran a search and you’re a near match for donating a lung to me. I’m going to die without your lung. And me and my “pro-life” organization have been able to push your state into forcing you to donate a lung when it is shown that you are a match, and that the person you match will die without your lung.

Yes, there are dangers involved in you undergoing surgery, but you will be saving a life. And, you will have to pay for your surgery. And its not cheap, but you will be saving a life. And the surgery will take months of recovery time and you will miss a large chunk of work, but you will be saving a life. And yes, donating a lung will effect you for the rest of your entire life, but you will be saving a life. So, we’ve been able to pass a law that forces you to donate a lung, a kidney, up to 6 feet of intestine, 20% of your liver, at your expense, to save a life.

Oh, and the reason I need a lung is because I smoked 3 packs a day for my entire life and got lung cancer.

Most would adamantly and automatically object to being forced to donate a lung, at their expense, and take on a major life-long consequence, to donate a lung to a 3 pack a day smoker.

And yet, anti-abortion zealots have no problem forcing OTHER people carry a pregnancy to term, take on the risks of childbirth, and take on the obligation of raising a child for 20 years, because they got pregnant from a rapist.

@Just Sayin,

When the ever popular MTG and other far-right mouthpieces show me who and what they are, I believe them. I believe it just as I did when Trump supporters told me who they were in 2020. That’s all I’ll say about that.

@Laurie, , Rochrist, Fatman and Kara: Sigh.

Applause for dealing so handily with the ole “strip women of their reproductive rights for the chiiiiiiiildren/personal responsibility” argument.

You’ve already made decent work of the religious/faux philosophical talking points posted above, so I’ll focus on something that shouldn’t need pointing out but that many anti-choice folks choose to ignore.

Reactionary anti-choice policies like the ones passing in Texas and other red states are morally and logically unsound, and the folks who stand behind and for them routinely and studiously ignore their profound and far-reaching consequences for the lives they profess to want to preserve.

Ten gold stars for any anti-choice advocate who can tell me what happens to children who aren’t wanted or can’t be cared for adequately? What happens to said children when they enter poorly funded foster-care systems that result from fraying or failing social and economic infrastructures like the ones in Texas and Alabama?

20 gold stars for the first anti-choice advocate who can explain why the same society who has the right to preserve the potential lives of clumps of cells has no obligation to contribute to the social safety nets on which many of them might depend.

30 gold stars to the first anti-choice advocate with the spine to admit to advocating for forcing women to raise their unwanted children.

40 gold stars to the very first anti-choice advocate willing to admit that the “adoption as an alternative to abortion” argument ignores the fact that black and brown babies are often left to languish in shitty foster-care systems because the majority of folks with the money for adoption (that’s white folks so we’re clear) want babies that look like them and not like the folks they don’t want in their neighborhoods, let alone their families.

What about the precious children born to dead mothers whose pregnancies killed them?

What happens to the successfully preserved lives of children who were born because their mothers A, were victims of domestic violence and B, had the misfortune of falling in lust or love with garbage people who impregnated them to keep them from leaving?

These are all questions anti-choice, anti-woman fundies don’t ask and can’t answer in their quest to mobilize “the chiiiiiiiildren” in their perpetual war on women, non-Christians and other folks who disagree with and don’t vote for them.

If you ask me, there’s more amorality in power-mad bible thumpers drafting unborn children in the culture war than in women who don’t want to be pregnant.

They know all too well what will become of the wards that will result but don’t give a damn.

@mac: So if I require a life-saving kidney transplant and the only compatible donor is my father, should he be forced to donate a kidney? After all, he made the decision to have sex, which resulted n my existence. According to you, that means my life now outweighs his bodily autonomy, right?

Wonderful, John! As a Bi white guy (older than a kid!) I applaud you! Keep in mind, this is the bunch of GOPers who are treading on eggshells regarding support of Vladimir Putin who actually is a socialist who kills babies (bombing a daycare anyone?) Okay, that’s my political rant. I’ll stop.

mac: “nobody is compelling somebody to have sex, and thus potentially get pregnant (rape aside obviously).”

and yet, banning abortion with no exception for rape or incest is the most common law being passed right now.

“taking out the rape aspect of this question, which studies show amounts to a very small percentage of abortion cases”

Rape is so insignificant, and yet, its in so many abortion bans being passed lately. Weird.

mac: ” yet it is very obviously immoral to kill/abort a child”

You attempt to talk about rape being rare and therefore asking pro-choice people to make concessions to your position. Yet you give no concessions yourself.

You know what else is rare? abortions in the third trimester. Women rarely get abortions in their third trimester and often its only because there are complications.

Could you concede abortions are generally done as soon as the woman knows and late-term abortions are often only done because the pregnancy is having complications? No. Because you insist on the black and white zealotry that equate kill/abort and that it is always a child being aborted.

Anti-abortion zealots oppose even the day after pill, insisting that a single celled fertilized egg is a fully formed child, that terminating a pregnancy the day after is still murder.

So, while you try to appear reasonable, trying to suggest rape is rare and ask pro-choice people make concessions about rape/abortion, you yourself make zero concessions, and instead, keep beating the propaganda drum that kill/abort are always the same and it is always a child.

Dear mac,

The sneaky thing you are doing, that most people aren’t calling you on, is invoking your definition of “baby” as if it were fact. I assert that a “baby” is an infant human being living externally and autonomously from its mother. Or, if you must split hairs, “capable of living.”

Prior to that, it is a fetus, which is NOT a “baby” with the rights attached thereto.

This is, in fact, pretty close to the legal definition, as well as my personal one.

You wish to claim that a fetus is in fact a baby. No — in your opinion, it is a baby. I do not hold to your opinion.

Possibly more troubling is your argument that abortion is/should be unnecessary– it only requires that humans behave rationally and with forethought when it comes to sex.

Insert spit take here.

So, how long have you been visiting earth? Are you enjoying our quaint native customs? Clearly you are a newcomer because you do not understand humans very well, yet.

Understatement.

pax / Ctein

The GOP is pro forced birth, not pro-child. Big difference. The same party that fakes caring for babies is the same party that doesn’t support paid leave for moms and dads at birth, tries everything it can do to undermine public schools, opposes tax increases for programs that would improve the circumstances for poor children, is likely to allow free breakfast and lunch programs for schools to expire, and on and on and on. As a long-time public school employee I have seen the horrible circumstances some children have to live in and the lack of meaningful interventions available due to underwhelming support for social service programs to intercede on behalf of children. GOP hypocrisy and cruelty has been on display for a long time, post-Lyin’ Trump they just feel like they can be more blatant about their awfulness.

Fatman, Sarah Marie:

If you are referring to abortion, well then yes, clearly the right openly has issues with that, and would like to claw it back. If you are referring to the so-called “don’t say gay bill.” Then you are wrong. The left has made a gross mischaracterization and there is no excuse. It’s online. It’s short. It’s clear.

I agree with it. I dont think schools should take on a role that supersedes the parents. They cant keep secret records. They must inform parents of mental and physical health issues. They can’t indoctrinate k-3 with their unhealthy political gender ideology, and they are responsible to make sure that their sex ed content is age appropriate thereafter. That’s what it actually says.

It looks like a win for parental rights for me.

As for abortion, I think I’ve solved that and gun control. I acknowledge that abortion is an extremely difficult moral and societal issue, with valid arguments on both sides. If it were easy there would not be such disagreement.

What both sides have in common is the the principle of the sacredness of human life. The abortion debate tends to circle the drain around the principles of when does a fetus qualify as a human life, and what burden may one inflict on one person to preserve another.

When a fetus becomes a person is a sticky wicket for sure, and we as a society have established that it’s okay to burden one for the benefit of another, i.e. taxes and such. Arguments along these lines are. Subject to definitions, and semantics and what criteria one chooses and there are no clear answers.

So, I go back to the sacredness of human life. Is it sacred? Do humans as a whole act as if it’s sacred? Have they ever? What makes it sacred? Or, is this just the fairytale we tell ourselves and others so we don’t go around randomly killing our neighbors?

The fact of the matter is that there are lots of circumstances where it’s acceptable to kill human life. A lot of those reasons are less persuasive than the case for abortion.

So, I guess a fetus is a unique human life, but when has that ever meant it can’t be killed? Someday maybe we will begin to live to a standard that pays lip service to the sacred nature of human life, and at that time perhaps we can have another discussion, until then i see no reason why abortion should be selectively excluded from the category of acceptable murder. If that is in fact what it is. I concede I don’t know.

Now I do think there are limits. While it is indeed a sticky wicket I think there are good societal and ethical reasons why abortion should not be unlimited. It needs to be done before viability comes into play, and I think a human brain capable of human thought is not something that should be just destroyed. My understanding is that both these developments occur sometime after 18 weeks, so there should be no regulation of abortion before that time. After that, I go with the Mother’s health exception and little else. I think that’s a rationale stance.

Gun control is pretty simple. I believe in the right to bear arms both because of the whole well-regulated militia protecting the people from tyrannical government overreach thing, but also think it’s a basic human right to be allowed the means to defend yourself.

So, let’s put the emphasis on the well-regulated. We allow people cars and other technology that can be used to kill people, but we do draw limits. If I look at what technology we allow it seems that society is basically comfortable with individuals having stuff that is capable of killing up to a dozen people or so when abused. So that takes machine guns and assault rifles off the table as far as I’m concerned. As for the rest, pistols, silencers. Rifles. Sure why not?

However, you need insurance to drive a car. You should need to be insured to own a gun. Every gun should be registered and insured and you forfeit your gun if it’s not. Private insurance will do a good job pricing this accordingly. Solid citizens who have taken gun safety courses, avoided arrest and demonstrated responsibility will get insurance cheap. Others, not so much.

JustSayin: “They [the left] can’t indoctrinate k-3 with their unhealthy political gender ideology, and they are responsible to make sure that their sex ed content is age appropriate thereafter. That’s what it actually says.”

The law says “the left cant indoctrinate”?

I only ask because your post about “dont say gay” is entirely centered around how the left lies and cheats and steal to mischaracterize that law. And you conclude with “thats what it ACTUALLY SAYS”.

“we as a society have established that it’s okay to burden one for the benefit of another, i.e. taxes and such.”

“What both sides have in common is the the principle of the sacredness of human life.”

Hey Just Sayin?

Your assignment is to really read the following passages from my post above:

“Ten gold stars for any anti-choice advocate who can tell me what happens to children who aren’t wanted or can’t be cared for adequately? What happens to said children when they enter poorly funded foster-care systems that result from fraying or failing social and economic infrastructures like the ones in Texas and Alabama?

20 gold stars for the first anti-choice advocate who can explain why the same society who has the right to preserve the potential lives of clumps of cells has no obligation to contribute to the social safety nets on which many of them might depend.

30 gold stars to the first anti-choice advocate with the spine to admit to advocating for forcing women to raise their unwanted children.

40 gold stars to the very first anti-choice advocate willing to admit that the “adoption as an alternative to abortion” argument ignores the fact that black and brown babies are often left to languish in shitty foster-care systems because the majority of folks with the money for adoption (that’s white folks so we’re clear) want babies that look like them and not like the folks they don’t want in their neighborhoods, let alone their families.

What about the precious children born to dead mothers whose pregnancies killed them?

What happens to the successfully preserved lives of children who were born because their mothers A, were victims of domestic violence and B, had the misfortune of falling in lust or love with garbage people who impregnated them to keep them from leaving?”

Additionally, as has been pointed about in other posts, exceptions for the health of the mother are not being codified into the anti-choice laws emerging in red states.

For extra credit, please address another poster’s question about compulsory donation of blood and tissue.

With regard to “don’t say gay,” if parents want to make pedagogical decisions about their children, there are excellent home-schooling alternatives out there. If I’m not a homophobic, religious fundi who automatically equates non-heteronormative people and families with child-inappropriate sex, I would appreciate not having my child (and kids are not all born heterosexual until they grow older and make the “choice” to be otherwise, no matter how loudly fundies and reactionaries scream otherwise) be left ignorant because their classmates’ parents are terrified of and disgusted by people who are different.

@Just: “If you are referring to the so-called “don’t say gay bill.” Then you are wrong. The left has made a gross mischaracterization and there is no excuse. It’s online. It’s short. It’s clear.”

I don’t think this is true at all. Here’s a good Twitter thread that outlines this bill’s problematic aspects and why “Don’t Say Gay” is a pretty good, if pithy, reduction: https://twitter.com/RomancingNope/status/1509524829363396608

@mac: This sentence: “We don’t recognize a person as a ‘decision making entity’ until 14-18, and yet it is very obviously immoral to kill/abort a child.” You are assuming certain moral premises as given that are very much open to question. It’s clear that you consider “kill” and “abort” to be morally synonymous, as well as “child” and “fetus”. I guess that’s your prerogative, but you don’t get to define the moral terms of the argument.

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