The anti-freedom religious extremists who’ve imposed their religion on the entire country are already having a hard time explaining their anti-abortion beliefs in the harsh light of reality.
In their effort to distance themselves from the result of their anti-abortion laws, right-wing media and politicians like Rep. Jim Jordan smeared the ten-year-old Ohio rape victim who had to go to Indiana to get an abortion and her doctor.
Their premise was that no ten-year-old would need an abortion. The story is absurd, they assured us! Lies, they said. The dirty work of activists!
Law Professor and former chief White House ethics lawyer under George W. Bush Richard Painter said of the Catholic theory of the origin of human life, “Nothing is more pernicious and dangerous to liberty than law rooted in theory rather than fact.”
And that is exactly the problem with the entire anti-abortion frame and the frame of the arguments being two “sides”: Abortion shouldn’t be legal because these people claim they are concerned about when life starts is not a legitimate debate, because it is not rooted in science or medicine. We know the way to stop abortions- Obamacare proved that affordable access to birth control reduces abortions.
Defining the doctor as an “activist” as fact-checker Glenn Kessler did at the Washington Post sets up a false premise that immediately legitimizes the “debate” around whether or not women and girls should have the right to live via medical intervention.
When the media frames this topic as “sides” it is very dangerous, because it makes it easy to believe both “sides” have merit, even though one “side” seeks to seize power over strangers’ bodies and endanger their lives while the other is merely trying to hold on to a basic human right.
The only “sides” there can be when it comes to the law is that which is evidence-based. If someone’s religion causes them to believe against all evidence that coffee is a violation of life, then they are free to not drink coffee. They should not be free to make coffee illegal for everyone else. Taken on its face, we are being ruled by irrational superstitions and a fact-checker of all people should have an issue with that.
No one has established that the people advocating against the liberty of half of the country actually care about life. We have mountains of evidence to the contrary, in fact.
So do we really have two “sides”? This is more of a power grab by one side. And while the activists on the ground might think they care deeply about this (and yet somehow do not care to involve the government in help once the baby is born), abortion as a get out the vote issue was originally conceived of by Republican Party leaders for unpopular candidates and policies.
That is why it falls apart under examination. We see them backing away already in this case, pretending now that they got busted lying about this young girl that what she had was not an abortion. But of course, it was.
Once again, we meet the logic problem of the anti-abortion crusaders. If abortion were murder, it would never be acceptable. Yet, it is not morally acceptable for most of the country to force a 10-year-old to give birth to her rapist’s baby. We do not force men to donate organs to people who need them against their will. The idea that women are secondary to the cells in their uterus, have less rights and can be compelled by the state to donate her entire body and potentially life to these cells, is a precedent that strips women and girls of their humanity and renders them less than a full human. If that can be done to women and girls, it can be done to anyone.
We simply cannot have forced births in a free country. Our top media institutions should understand this, standing as they claim for democracy.
Those of us who live in space in which our lives come in to contact with the medical care known as abortion — via a friend’s ectopic pregnancy almost killing her, another friend who was raped and needed an abortion, another who didn’t want to have a baby yet, an evangelical family member who needed an abortion because her parents thought she was a virgin, and on and on it goes — already know it is not rare. It is common medical care for rape and incest, both of which are also not rare. Being a woman in this country is fraught with danger. If it doesn’t happen to us, we witness it or know someone to whom it has.
American (privileged, urban, wealthy, bubble) media organizations treat the women protesting the overturning of Roe as outrageous activists, as people inherently biased and out-of-line. Those protesters are actually citizens objecting to governmental overreach that stole their personal liberty. They are, dare I say it, patriots.
Is it biased to want to live and have freedom? Was it biased to oppose slavery? If our papers do not think they should be on the “side” of basic human rights, we have much larger problems.
We need to do a reversal on this thinking, because it should be obvious that people who want to force other people to undergo dangerous medical conditions in order to appease religious beliefs the at-risk person might not even share are the problem: They want to inflict something on other allegedly free people.
Abortion was initially illegal out of concern for the woman because it was more dangerous than pregnancy. By the time of Roe, abortion was a much safer procedure, a fact which some judges took into consideration, as if women’s lives mattered. What a quaint idea.
We are now at a place the safety of women and girls is not considered at all. We are “debating” the “sides” of our right to live. Who can be trusted in that set up? Certainly not women and girls. Isn’t that convenient.
The people forcing births on other citizens are seeking to take away the right to live from other citizens. That doesn’t equal the other “side,” which seeks the right to make their own decisions for their own bodies.
Who thinks rape and pregnancy at 10 is rare? It is heartbreaking to see the media unintentionally furthering this abuse of women and girls because the scenario seems too impossible to believe for those who can’t get pregnant.
The activists behind these deadly laws do not want to talk about the reality of how common rape and abuse are, nor do they want to discuss how lethal pregnancy can be. Instead, they seek to cast themselves as the moral arbiters of angry, selfish women who don’t want to take responsibility for their choices.
The all-too-common reality of a ten-year-old rape victim needing an abortion doesn’t fit that narrative. Or would we call that a “talking point.”
The media should not help zealous religious activists impose their deadly will upon girls and women due to being ill-informed about the reality of the need for abortion.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
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