Friday, March 14, 2014

Be careful what you ask for.

I posted a quote I got from an email discussion in another venue this evening on Facebook, but I eventually couldn't let it go - I've got to talk about it here and expand it a bit.
"If we give the government the ability to tell us we can't have abortions, we are also giving them the power to tell us when we will have abortions and that opens up more doors that I care to open."
I know that Republicans have, in these last couple of years, lost their ability to discern such simple things as irony or hypocrisy, but for a political party whose defining principle has been a distrust of big government and a desire to see as little interference in private lives as possible, this obsession with abortion over the last several decades has been painful to watch.  It indicates that they almost never have been able to see those faults.

The standard counter that the pro choice crowd uses is that anti-abortion laws violate the integrity of a woman's right to decide the fate of her own body and how she will obtain the health care she decides she needs according to her doctor's advice.  How she will determine the course of her life, without being trapped by the desires and beliefs of others.

I fully endorse that argument.

But it ignores something Republicans themselves have ignored for over forty years.  A subject that otherwise is near and dear to the heart of every Republican - the subject of governmental power and its ability to overpower the rights of the citizens of this country.  Republicans have always felt the need to restrain that power - to keep the government out of our lives and to prevent it from interfering with our personal decisions.

Unless, of course, it is intended to control something else that Republicans feel the need to restrain.

Women.  Women and their unfettered power over themselves, which threatens the traditional power structures of Conservative principles.

Ok, so let's do a short thought experiment.  Suppose for a moment that Republicans win.  (Shudder)  They outlaw abortion in all 50 States and US territories.

Hooray for the Party!  (Hoots and whistles, guns going off into the air, etc.)

Now, let's look carefully at this for a minute.  What have they done?  Yeah, yeah, violated the rights of every woman in America, I know, but what else?  What power have they given the government?  When you restrain the rights of citizens, you allow the government more power.

The argument against abortion hinges on the supposed rights of the fetus to live - that it is human and has a right to life, hence the self-imposed name of the anti-abortion movement.  That principle raises the rights of the fetus to be superior to that of the mother who sustains its life.  She becomes, in the words of the pro-choice movement, a human incubator.

In this case, you give the government the power to place the life of that fetus above that of the mother.  You give the government the power to weigh those two lives and to make a decision on which is more important.

For now, the folks who are against abortion would be happy.  They control the conversation for now, and feel that abortion will be a thing of the past.  The women who may die as a result aren't important, they are just women.


Let's take a trip through time.  It's twenty years down the road.  Republicans have managed to contain abortion completely.  There hasn't been a legal one in decades.  But another worry has increasingly gotten their attention.

In spite of their efforts to restrain the voting rights of minorities, to cut back on programs that "encourage" the dependance of the poor on the government, they have refused to acknowledge that their outlawing of contraceptives has resulted in a massive increase in the numbers of poor minorities.

Things are getting out of hand.

As a last ditch effort to restrain that growth, Congress outlaws minorities from having more than one child and mandates an enforced abortion policy for all minority women who have already borne a single child.

Or, they enforce a one-child policy on people who make less than $100,000 per year.

Or on all Catholics.

Or on all non-evangelical Christians and non-Christians.

Or perhaps just on Hispanics.  Or just blacks.

You get the point.   Once that can of worms has been opened, and the government has that power, HOW they exercise it becomes a measure of what the power elite determine is in THEIR best interests.

Not yours.

Do you get it now?  In Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court ruled that women have the right to abortion.  That the government cannot make the decision for them as to which life - theirs or the fetus' - is more important.  SCOTUS said that the decision belongs to the individual woman.

Not the government.  That is a restraint on governmental power.  That decision protects us all from allowing the government from making the decision as to who may have an abortion or who may not - or who MUST.

Or who is exempt.

How much do you want to bet on who gets the exemptions and who doesn't?

Heads the rich win, tales the rest of us lose.

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