All right, a thread over at The Data Port
touched on the abortion debate, and it has really set me off. First, I need to quote an excellent distinction posted by TDP Blogger Art Jacobson:Let me take it a step further and suggest that it is systematically unresolvable because there is not really one argument going on here, but two. We tend to conflate them.
One argument is about whether a woman has the ultimate right over control of her body. Another argument is about whether life begins at conception and whether abortion is immoral.
These are two different arguments, not two branches of the same argument. How we settle one probably has no force in the settlement of the other.
The one thing we could argue about and decide would be the question of the social utility of banning abortion, Socio-political consequences, costs, effects of family structure, effect on children who were allowed to come to term unwanted, and so forth.
Most well said, Art. Now I must rant.
Will spare folks Susan B. Anthony, suffrage, Rosie the Riveter, and start in 1960 with FDA approval of the birth control pill
and in 1963 with Smith College Betty Friedan’s publication of The Feminine Mystique
and also Smith College Gloria Steinem's
undercover article. We had the 60’s questioning authority, questioning everything, exploring free love, with exploding university enrollment, Friedan’s book, and the pill well in the mix.
In 1970 Norma McCorvy files a lawsuit against Texas abortion laws, claiming her pregnancy was the result of a rape. In 1972 Steinem starts publishing Ms. Magazine
and the 92nd Congress of the United States submits the following proposed amendment
to the US Constitution:SECTION 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
SEC. 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
SEC. 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
To take effect, 38 states had to ratify. We got to 35, and this conversation was HUGE
In 1973 McCorvy, now known as "Jane Roe," sees her suit culminate with the landmark Roe v. Wade
Supreme Court decision.
The Feminist movement cheered and continued to gain momentum. That same year Boston Women's Health Book Collective published Our Bodies, Ourselves
, a book written by women for women
, which women devoured, and Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Fisher in a highly watched televised battle of the sexes tennis match.WARNING!!
actually does play the song.
In 1978 Mormon activist Sonia Johnson
testified for the ERA before the US Senate’s Constitutional Rights Subcommittee. The Mormons excommunicated her. In 1984 she was the US Citizens Party’s candidate for president and spoke at the Republican convention.
Now throughout all of this, a bunch of guys are getting really irritated, and in 1979 some men together with televangelist Jerry Falwell form a major political organization The Moral Majority
that claims to be all about "family" and "family values." One of its key objectives: outlaw abortion
but it also held that homosexuality was a crime, and it made headlines by proposing censorship of literature and other publications it found offensive. Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, and now the president is sympathetic to the "their side" of things. The ERA died.
Make no mistake, and my key point here, is that this organization and its proponents main opposition to abortion flows from the same stream with the same motivation as the objection to homosexuality and the ERA, and their promotion of "family values." The belief that life begins at conception is an expedient notion they have integrated into their rhetoric to fortify their argument.
Yes, it’s a mess, and must acknowledge the Catholic Church immediately in 1973 groaned over the Supreme Court’s decision and voiced the belief that life begins at conception.
The Moral Majority evolved into the Christian Coalition
run by Pat Robertson, who as we know, ran for president and can be quoted with all sorts of comments like small towns in Pennsylvania deserving Armageddon because he didn’t agree with the vote of its school board, and if I’m not mistaken, didn’t he suggest we assassinate the President of Venezuela?
All that said, will return to Art’s insightful remarks that the debate cannot be resolved, and will re-assert that Reproductive Freedom is part of a sane civilization and that society is not best served by restricting a woman’s access to this freedom.