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Monday, September 30, 2013

Delusional for Davis: What Texas Abortion Supporters Have Wrong

Wendy Davis, the Texas politician best known for wearing pink shoes while fighting for the right to kill five-month-old fetuses, is expected to run for governor of Texas. Abortion advocate and Democratic consultant Jason Stanford has an opinion column in Politico that desperately seeks to convince people that the Davis campaign is not doomed:
In a June University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, 38.65 percent of moderates, 38.36 percent of suburbanites, and 29.31 percent of soft Republicans agreed with the position that abortion should be a legal and personal choice. Those are minority opinions, to be sure, but Democrats haven’t scored that high in the suburbs since Ann Richards was governor. Add to their numbers the suburban Texas women who support exceptions for rape and incest — and who might think twice about electing a governor who didn’t — and Davis could have an opening.
Stanford argues that Davis' near-certain opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott, is "far out of the mainstream" because when Abbott was questioned about abortion to save the life of the mother, he responded, "What both the medical community needs to do, and the pro-life community supports, is doing everything we can to protect the life of the mother." Stanford calls that "obfuscating" and "gobbledygook." I guess people hear what they want to hear.

Stanford concludes: "If Davis can frame Abbott’s extreme position as restricting abortion access, then Gov. Wendy Davis might not be such a crazy idea after all." The problem with that theory isn't just that Abbott is less extreme than Stanford wants to believe. It's also that Davis actually is extreme. The bill that Davis filibustered was not a bill that would have created barriers to contraception, or banned abortions to save the mother's life. The bill, which is now an enacted law, does two things: it bans abortions after 20 weeks, and it holds abortion facilities to high safety standards.

It's one thing to be the pro-choice candidate; it's quite another to be the pro-late-term-abortions-and-unsafe-clinics candidate. Abbott is going to have a field day. And voters aren't going to forget what the content of the law is, as much as Davis might want them to, because pro-abortion groups recently sued over the clinic safety provisions. That means that the law will be tied up in court, making news at each step of the proceedings.

Then there's the wild card: Douglas Karpen. Karpen is a Texas late-term abortionist who is accused by former employees of killing babies outside of the womb. An investigation is ongoing. If the results of that investigation are released during the gubernatorial campaign, Davis will have a lot of explaining to do. ("Obfuscating" and "gobbledygook" will certainly be appropriate words then!)

The real take-away from Stanford's piece is that abortion advocates are desperate to believe that their cause will triumph, despite all evidence to the contrary. That's great news for protectors of human life.

32 comments:

Alden Smith said...

I pray that she never wins.

Max said...

I think most pro-choicers would agree that abortion clinics need to be regulated to be safer, they just don't think that is the real intention in Texas. Which is why pro-choicers are not all up in arms over the new abortion restrictions in Maryland. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/11/us/marylands-path-to-an-accord-in-abortion-fight.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0


I'm guessing that most pro-choicers aren't really all that committed to late term abortions either. My guess is that they might even agree with some of restrictions if they didn't think that the fight over late term abortions was just a mere pre-text for trying to ban all abortions. I know I personally would vote for a 20 week ban if it came with some way to actually decrease the number of unplanned (e.g., easier access to birth control) or unwanted (e.g., increased financial assistance for single mothers). That is, if I trusted that pro-lifers cared about anything other than legally banning abortion. But I don't think that about Texas republicans for sure, and I suspect neither do any pro-choice Texans.


For me though, it is hard to trust the pro-life party's intentions when they howl about a contraception mandate. Which is too bad really, since one might think that a world in which men and woman that did not want to have a baby used birth control (correctly) and one in which late term abortions were only permitted under (very) rare circumstances would benefit everyone.


As for winning over the other side, I suspect that "winning" ought to mean solving the problem not "winning" the argument since my experience is that the arguments ain't persuadin' nobody!

Marauder said...

The contraception mandate is about people being mandated to pay for someone else's birth control. It has nothing to do with whether or not people should be able to use birth control.

Max said...

Yup. The decision to buy birth control is a private descision. A woman can choose to or not. And she has to pay for it if she does.


And, at the movement, so is abortion. Since we think the burdens should fall on woman (and not each of us, since we are perfect snowflakes), the decision whether or not to abort is also private. She can choose to or not. And she has to pay for it if she does.


Now if you want to make choice number 2 a public decision where you and I decide what she can or cannot do, why shouldn't the first decision be supported publicly by making the two of us pay for the contraception?


Is it really sooooo big a burden our freedom, the two of us, that it wouldn't be worth saving sacrificing in exchange for less unborn children being killed? Wouldn't you be willing to pay for someone to use birthcontrol if it meant they wouldn't kill their unborn child?


Or is you money so sacrosanct that, of course, an abortion would be preferable to having to help someone buy some whore pills?

Faye Valentine said...

"...about what you want to make women do."

"...you want to make women do."

"...make women do."

"...MAKE WOMEN DO."

Umm...no. Here's where the wires are getting crossed. Pregnancy and childbirth are a natural outcome of sexual reproduction. That is just what happens when your healthy reproductive organs are utilized in the manner in which they function. I do not "MAKE WOMEN DO" anything. I am not the conception fairy, going around sprinkling new embryonic human beings with stick-to-uterine lining-dust to force them to implant and gestate. I do not plan on pressing gun barrels against temples and screaming "NOW GESTATE, B*TCH!", especially since it wouldn't actually facilitate anything, anyway. So thanks for assuming that I would need cheering up for having come to terms with how sexual reproduction works and my role in the process as a female of the species back in junior high school, but it's not necessary, I assure you.

"I suppose, though, that there are reasons why the US has so many more abortions per capital than places like France, Germany, Sweeden, etc... Why, pray tell, is that? Should we want to do what actually has worked in other places to decrease abortion?"

Umm...most European countries actually have tighter legal abortion restrictions than the United States, by far. You just won my argument for me, thank you, and good day, sir. ;)

Vita said...

We need to win the Republican party completely but we also need to make headway in the Democratic party. Being pro-life may mean at times we only have one candidate we can support however we need all political parties to start respecting human life!

Faye Valentine said...

Back to my first comment:

We are all actually already paying for birth control, right now, at this very moment. Indirectly, of course, through taxes that are taken on a state level out of earnings and given to state health departments where hormonal birth control is dispensed (like it's going out of style, from what I've seen!). But, it's available, it's there, and women and men CAN ALREADY TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SUCH SERVICES. ALREADY. RIGHT NOW.

And I support that. That's fine by me, okay? Hopefully because of that, there are fewer children created just to be killed by dear old mom and pop after just a few months of life.

What I oppose, is using LEGAL FORCE to make people buy something they don't want to buy from vendors who were FORCED to supply the items they didn't want to supply. Especially in light of the fact that those items were already readily available elsewhere, and could have been easily obtained by the people who wanted to spend their own money to obtain them, at a reasonable price.

Max said...

Not really. My argument is that we should adopt the tighter legal abortion restrictions that most European countries have AND the legal framework in which we deal with sex ed, contraception, day care, etc that leads to a whole lot less women wanting to have abortions.

Why? Because it seems that those rules work better than our own.

Which, I assume, should get me a "amen, brother" from the anti-abortion since fewer abortions would be a good thing, right?

And right now, you are right you don't make women do anything. But, I take it, you would LIKE to make them do something-- namely, carry to term an unborn baby instead of an abortion.

I know how babies are made so save me the junior high science stick. I could just as easily describe how an abortion is performed using junior high level science.

Max said...

Fine.... legal force to do something you don't want bad...


Thank you NARAL, since that is their exact argument!

Faye Valentine said...

I would vote for a Pro-Life Democrat over a Pro-Choice "Republican". The problem is, by definition, the former doesn't have much credibility in the "Pro-Life" department. See: Bart Stupak.

Faye Valentine said...

"Fine.... legal force to do something you don't want bad..."

Except when it isn't bad. See, sometimes things that you would think are bad are acceptable, depending on the circumstances. Like, using legal force to prevent caretakers from harming their wards. So, no, *bad* NARAL, Child Protective Services, good!

Vita said...

Max, I think you have the solution!

Teaching junior high students the grisly details about abortion would be perhaps the best way to prevent abortions from occurring!

At that age few children are callous enough that they can accept the killing of another human being. They understand that killing a human being is morally wrong.

Max said...

And, I suppose, making the public contribute to birth control is also good! Since, unplanned pregnancies lead to abortion, and abortion bad!

Vita said...

Yup I would also vote for a truly pro-life Democrat over a pro-choice Republican. I also understand where you are coming from on "pro-life" Democrats.

Max said...

Actually, Vita, I agree with you there. I think that is exactly what we should do. As someone that is pro-choice, I think that I should be FORCED to look at websites like the Army of God's before taking my position.


And I don't think pro-choice people do it becuase they don't like to know that the cost of taking our position is that horror so we act like the act of abortion is something abstract and that a fetus is not worthy of our respect. We do this to feel better about ourselves.


But y'all are cowards too. You like to think that pregnancy and birth happen in the abstract, divorced from women's experience. And women, especially those evil promiscuous ones, are not worthy of respect. And y'all do that feel better about yourselves.

KB said...

I have no problem paying for somebody else's birth control. It saves lives, and I am pro-life.

KB said...

Much like food, it isn't quantity, it is distribution. It is access. It is reliability. If you have to drive 2 hours away (which a person in my small mountain town would have to do to acquire reduced price BC), this is not good access. This is where the people that really need it cannot get it.

And there is the fact that BC costs unevenly get tagged on women. (Men buy more condoms, but these are cheaper, easier to get and are only purchased when sexually active, women spend more on the pill, which needs to be taken for extended periods of time, sexually active or no). It is a lot easier to be able to pick up BC at your local provider/ doctor, than having to drive 2 hours away, but doing that currently means you are paying a premium.

Nobody is being forced to buy anything with BC that gets attached to insurance. Even mandating that BC be attached to insurance does not mandate that you buy BC. True, the ACA mandates insurance, and that is a whole separate argument, (spoiler, I am not a fan of the ACA)

LN said...

You know, I've had some decent back-and-forth's with you, and you've seemed respectable before, but it's extremely difficult to take you seriously when you keep making stereotypical assumptions about every PLer you talk to ("and women, especially those evil promiscuous ones"). These are pathetic, baseless low-blows that I only ever hear from PCers who are accusing PLers, but never from PLers themselves (at least not here at SPL). It's like you want to box us up into a convenient stereotype in order to dismiss a more nuanced perspective as plain bigotry. Faye specifically said she has no problem paying for others' birth control. She just doesn't agree with how they are implementing that policy. She emphasized the fact that she wasn't forcing anyone to have sex and gestate, that pregnancy is a result of one's own actions. Your response? "OMG SLUT HATER." Seriously? I thought you were semi-intelligent. Why engage any of us if you're just going to plaster us with stereotypes and walk away declaring yourself superior. Didn't you just decry that method?

LN said...

Faye, I love your comments. Are you on the FB page?

Faye Valentine said...

I am. And thank you. ^_^

Max said...

I did not respond "OMG Slut hater." For the record, again, I don't think that prolifers "hate" sluts.


Rather, I think that pro-lifers don't think the experience of women who have abortions are worthy of their empathy. That is, I don't think they "care" about women in that situation. And I think that the motivation for this lack of caring is that prolifers don't want to think of themselves as being responsible for the real suffering that banning abortion would have for some of those women.


And, again, I think that this is the real reason that pro-choicers argue that the unborn child isn't a person-- that way they can save themselves the anguish of feeling responsible for the unborn child's death. I notice no one here disagrees with this claim:)


Also, if you follow this thread from the beginning you will see that the discussion stems from two claims I made in it.


First, that pro-choicers understand that abortion clinics need further regulation but that they do not trust pro-lifer's to be doing this in TX. I offered as an example, abortion regulations in MD that have pro-choice support.


Second, I claimed that there is a similar reason that pro-choicers are fighting for 24 week abortions-- they do it reflexively because they don't trust pro-lifers. And as support for my take on why pro-choicers do not trust pro-lifers I offered the current political opposition to the contraception mandate on the political right, which does not seem IMO to be consistent with doing things to decrease the number of abortions.


I assume that Faye, since she is not against increasing access to birth control through public funding, is not indicative of the general pro-life movement, one which, at the present movement, is part and parcel of the republican party, whether or not commentators here like it or not. And we are talking, specifically, of the current political debate in Texas of all places.


And so, as I've said before, it seems that there are several things people like me agree with some pro-lifers, for example Faye. I'll take it, for example, that Faye and I would agree on (1) comprehensive sex ed, (2) public funding to increase, or at least ensure, adequate access to birth control, and (3) legal prohibitions on late term abortions.


Odd though, it is almost impossible to discuss what those commonalities are without the conversation degenerating into name calling.

LN said...

Ok the part I was responding to: "But y'all are cowards too. You like to think that pregnancy and birth happen in the abstract, divorced from women's experience. And women, especially those evil promiscuous ones, are not worthy of respect. And y'all do that feel better about yourselves."

Now your comment: "I did not respond "OMG Slut hater." For the record, again, I don't think that prolifers "hate" sluts."

You attributed this perspective to us: "And women, especially those evil promiscuous ones, are not worthy of respect." How is correlating promiscuity and evilness NOT accusing us of slut shaming? I mean if there is any other way to take that sentence, please enlighten me. I read your elaboration, but an elaboration doesn't negate that specific accusation; it just attempts to justify it.

"Rather, I think that pro-lifers don't think the experience of women who have abortions are worthy of their empathy."

....aaaand that having a lot of sex is evil, apparently.

"I assume that Faye...is not indicative of the general pro-life movement"

That's funny because you accused her of not understanding pregnancy and believing promiscuity to be evil. You seem to be insisting now that you were just talking about the rest of the PL movement, but when you say "y'all" and "You," people are going to think you are talking to them. And no one is here to listen to people tell them what they think.

"Odd though, it is almost impossible to discuss what those commonalities are without the conversation degenerating into name calling."

Coming from the person who called us all cowards and slut shamers...K.

LN said...

I'd love to take the time and have a long discussion about how PLers do or do not empathize with women who must remain pregnant (not being sarcastic). However, none of what you just quoted seems to indicate that Faye or anyone here thinks that *promiscuity is evil*.


You are responding to something I didn't disagree with.


I am disagreeing with the stereotype that all PLers, including ones that you are addressing here, are slut-shamers. We are not.


So to be clear, again: not empathizing with women who must remain pregnant =/= characterizing promiscuous sex as evil. I mean...is that what you're trying to say? Because you keep talking about the former while I'm talking about the latter.

Max said...

LN, in your opinion why is there opposition specifically to the contraception mandate?


I can think of three reasons, but the first two don't really make sense in context.


First, the objection could be that, in general, making someone purchase an insurance plan that covers a service they don't want or need is unfair. So there are many mandates in the ACA, two of which are that insurance has to cover contraception and that insurance has to cover maternity. If the objection is that its not fair to make people buy a plan with coverage that don't need or want, why is there not serious objections to the maternity benefit mandate?


Second, it could be that we don't mind some mandates, but we don't want the expensive ones because they make the plan unaffordable. If this is the case, why complain about contraception is which is really cheap, much cheaper than maternity, and much much cheaper than mental health coverage (which is the most expensive). If cost is the issue, why not focus on the expensive mandates?


Third, you could object that there is something immoral about having to pay for contraception, something that is so immoral that contributing to the $1/ covered life that the mandate costs means participating in this deeply immoral act. Now, if this is your position, is seems that you are guilty of slut shaming. Just like if you think health plans shouldn't cover obesity related benefits because eating chocolate cake is deeply immoral, then you'd be guilty of fat shaming.


So why all the fuss from about the contraception mandate and not mandates for maternity benefits, substance abuse benefits, obesity related benefits, etc...

Max said...

I see what you're saying. I agree that characterizing all PLer, particularly the ones here, as slut shamers is inaccurate. I do think that those who are forcefully arguing against the contraception mandate are guilty of that, for reasons I explained in the post above.


Where I think we disagree is that I think that slut shaming and what IS done commonly here is only quantitatively, not qualitatively, different in one relevant aspect.


My argument is that PLers, just like PCers, make arguments about either what it means to have sex (PLers) or what it means to be a "person" (PCers) that, in their minds, absolves themselves of feeling guilty for the consequences of choosing to adopt certain legal rules or to accept certain social mores.


The crassist way a PLer could do that is to say that women who have sex for reasons other than for the purpose of procreating are immoral, evil sluts, and THEREFORE, deserve any suffering they incur from getting pregnant. Other that in the comments section at redstate, and from particular faux-religious a@@wholes, most PLers don't make that argument or think that way. I specifically do not think either you or Faye believe that crap, although some who are your allies on the political right appear to.


Rather, the PL argument here is to pound the table over and over about how "we learned in seventh grade" about how babies are made, so you should have know better "what just happens" when you have sex, so if you get pregnant too bad. That is, PLers want to think that whatever bad experiences women have, they have them because they chose to have sex. End stop. And so, if PLer merely take away access to abortion, then women will have the child; and the PLers aren't really doing anything since its, like, nature and not their specific actions in passing certain laws, or in Faye's case a constitution amendment.


I think this is nicer that slut shaming, but really the same thing. By tying the "reason" that a women has to give birth to child she doesn't want to the woman's choice to engage in sex, PLers feel absolved of any guilty feelings about how our actions to pass certain laws or accept certain social mores both constrains and empowers people to make some decisions and not others.


And I think their wrong in doing this just like I think PCers, like myself until recently, are wrong in pounding the table over and over about unborn children not being persons.

Max said...

Whatever disagreement we have on a number of other things, I think a secular crisis pregnancy center is a fantastic idea. In particular, I think that this is a great example of where PC and PL ought to be able to work together to "problem solve" even if we continue to "argue" over the legal rules we disagree upon.

LN said...

I was waiting for a fourth explanation: they don't see BC as 'health-care'. They don't think insurance should cover it at all because it's like covering jogging shoes -- it's great you want to stay healthy and do something preventative, but it's on you to pay for it, not the rest of the country. That doesn't mean jogging is immoral and it doesn't mean promiscuous sex is necessarily immoral (although I'm sure many think it is immoral). But your definition necessitates that it is immoral and I flatly disagree.


Personally I have no problem contributing to BC. But I object to you mischaracterizing every single person who disagrees with the mandate just to make your perspective sound more palatable.

Max said...

That is nonsense. Its health care because it requires a prescription which means you need to see a doctor, get a prescription, and then go to a pharmacy to get it.


Which makes it different than jogging shoes or gym memberships of eating kale, all of of which I bought without having to see a doctor or get a prescription, and which cost A LOT less because of it!


I'll take this objection seriously when those for those who think that, instead of an insurance mandate, we should make all forms of contraception available to the women without having to go through doctors and pharmacies. I suppose Hobby Lobby and the House republicans will be getting right on that!


So, I guess I'm still not following why the birth control mandate is SO controversial if its not that expensive, if we don't mind some mandates, if its not because its immoral, and if we think that access to birth control should involve doctors and pharmacies.

LN said...

I definitely think there's a huge sect of PLers who actively avoid thinking about what an unwanted pregnancy would be like physically and emotionally. And they certainly aren't the empathetic type. Which is a shame because it doesn't help the PL movement.


However we also have opponents who claim that, by the nature of our perspective, we *can't* have empathy for pregnant women. As in I, Ellen, can't possibly be empathetic towards a pregnant woman if I want to outlaw abortion. To me, that's like saying if you agree with outlawing domestic violence (beating your toddler), you can't *possibly* empathize with a mother who has her hands full: 4 young children, no job, just got out of an abusive relationship, no family and no real supportive friends, etc. I couldn't POSSIBLY feel for that woman because I wouldn't allow her to beat her toddler.


Obviously, that's not true.


Then there's the responsibility aspect you just brought up.


Max, who, if not the people engaging in consensual sex, is responsible for pregnancy?


I could see the argument that before, women could opt out of pregnancy through abortion and now, because of me, they can't. Thus, I bear the responsibility for the lack of opt-out. Sure.


But think about this statement from a pregnant woman: "Ellen, you're the reason I'm still pregnant."


It's kind of a mixed bag, imo. I'm the reason she can't kill her child and thus is still pregnant, but she's the reason she's pregnant at all and thus, still pregnant. That's how I see it. I think Faye was reacting to the notion that it's *all our fault* women are pregnant and having to deal with pregnancy etc etc. Again, do you think that's true? You think the people having sex bear no responsibility for the result of sex?


As far as guilt -- I don't feel any *guilt* in preventing women from killing their children. I feel *sad* and sort of depressed for women who seriously do NOT want to be pregnant but are (and yeah, it's sad that my actions will mean many women will remain pregnant who don't want to be). In the same way that I'd feel depressed for someone who already had like 6 kids and really didn't want to be a mother. That's rough. But because the options are, "kill a person" and "force a woman to remain pregnant who doesn't want to be," I'd feel much better with the latter than the former, but neither are in any way "peachy."

Max said...

Actually, that is EXACTLY the response that I think is appropriate. And it is EXACTLY the response I think that PCers should have when they side with the woman who chooses to have an abortion instead of the typical response of "so what, a fetus ain't a person."


As long as there are so many women in this situation, we should feel bad about what results from our legal rules. even if those rules don't MAKE people do particular things, they do influence people to make certain decisions. So no, of course I don't think that people who have sex are somehow in no way responsible for pregnancies. But neither do I think that the decisions we make are somehow totally free from the legal and social framework in which we make them.


And, I think, if that is what people in general, on both sides, came to the table with, we'd spend more time doing "problem solving" instead of JUST "arguing." We'll still argue, of course, but we could do at least some of the problem solving-- which does not seem to be the case looking at the rather dismal number of abortions that take place in the US compared with much of the developed world.


For example, I think that PLers would be telling the Hobby Lobbies of the world that they are terribly wrong about fighting the contraception mandate and that cutting food stamps to single mothers is counterproductive if you want poor women to feel they have the ecconomic and social support to have the child. And I think PCers would be actively volunteering their time and resources in the sort of secular, crisis pregnancy centers that Faye described, instead of thinking that they should "defend" late term abortions.


But that isn't what we do. Instead we argue about abortion in the abstract, divorced from both the experiences of the human beings involved and from the role all of the rest of the legal rules and social mores play in influencing the kinds of decisions people make.

Alden Smith said...

Besides the poster child for abortion does she have any other skills to be a Governor?

Jerome Haltom said...

As a pro-choicer, I should at least add that I am dedicated to the legality of late-term abortions, currently. Which is somewhat of an argument against the other pro-choicer here. I am most certainly a minority in that; so he's probably right.

Though like all medical procedures, I would want them to be safe, used when required, and not required.