The legislature in Alabama has passed an evil bill to deny women autonomy. This is a transparent attempt to do great harm to the citizens of their state, but only if they are women.
The Alabama bill, which passed 25-6, is even more restrictive than prior state-level abortion laws, and it includes a penalty of up to 99 years in prison for doctors who perform abortions. Six of the Senate’s Democrats voted against the bill — one abstained — and they staged a filibuster into Tuesday night after debating the bill for more than four hours, with senators discussing the role government should play in legislating what a woman can do with her body and the definition of life.
After a Democratic amendment to the bill that would have provided exceptions for victims of rape and incest failed 21-11, Democrats railed against the prospects of young crime victims having to carry the resultant fetuses to term and having to then live with their assailants’ children for the rest of their lives.
It’s a purely Republican bill, promoted by dumbass Republican men. They fought fang and claw against any exceptions, any amendments, and also shot down an amendment that would have required the state to pay for the medical bills of unwanted babies for three years. This is not pro-life. It’s pro-misogyny.
All those voting for the bill were men. All Republicans. When signed into law by Alabama’s governor, women who have abortions will face no sanction, but doctors performing them could face “10 years in prison for attempting to terminate a pregnancy and 99 years for actually carrying out the procedure,” BBC reports. The only exception is for saving the life of the mother.
There’s a deeper logic behind this: they want this law to go to the Supreme Court, because their plan is to use the stacked judiciary to over throw federal laws — they want to impose their godly will on everyone, in every state. They are not content to oppress only the women of Alabama.
During floor debate, Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R) led the effort for passage of the ban. Its purpose is, Chambliss said, “So that we can go directly to the Supreme Court to challenge Roe v. Wade.”
Apparently, there has been a surge of these kinds of bills all across the country. Abortion foes have been emboldened by the appointment of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, and are confident that he’ll tip the balance in favor of religious tyranny. That, and that Trump has been busy packing the courts with incompetent ideologues approved by the Federalist Society.
This is one of the many ugly legacies of the last presidential election. Also note that these “pro-life” people are the ones cheerleading for us to bomb the people of Iran.
Strangely, two essential points never seem to enter the public discourse on the abortion issue.
1) There is no condemnation of abortion anywhere in the Bible, New Testament or Old, although abortion (and for that matter infanticide) were widely practiced in Biblical times. Christian denominations did not decide that abortion was sinful until the 19th Century. If this is so important to God, he might have mentioned it somewhere along the way.
2) If life begins at conception, and embryos and fetuses are persons with full moral standing, God is the most prolific mass murderer in history. The majority of zygotes don’t end up in a viable pregnancy — probably about 75% end in miscarriages, most before the woman even knows she is pregnant. If these are really dead babies, this is the greatest public health catastrophe of all time, and we should be devoting all available resources to saving those babies. Not one peep about it, however.
Northern Ireland has a law even worse than this. Thanks to a law dating back to 1861 both medical staff and the woman having the abortion can recieve life sentences. Women are forced to travel at their own expense to England if they need an abortion. With our local assembly collapsed the UK government has the power to stop this but won’t because they are reliant on the theocrats in the dup.
So, “killing” fertilized eggs is illegal in Alabama, unless you paid $15k or so to have them fertilized in an A.R.T. clinic. Also, who do you blame if a fertilized egg fails to implant?
(Last time they put God in jail, He founded their religion.)
cervantes @1: It goes further than that.
It was Catholics who went anti-abortion in the 19th Century, and for most of the 20th Century being anti-abortion was considered a Weird Catholic Thing.
It wasn’t until Roe V Wade that Protestants began caring, and that wasn’t a moral thing it was because the Moral Majority had been deprived of their previous political cause (opposing the desegregation of schools) and were looking for a new one.
Anti-abortion campaigners have successfully enacted a ban on all or most abortions in seven Republican-led states: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio and Georgia.
At least 61 bills like this have been introduced across the country, in states including Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Minnesota, Texas and West Virginia. Even in states considered safe havens for abortion rights, such as New York and Illinois, anti-abortion lawmakers have introduced bills as a kind of protest.
I had an interesting discussion with a prominent Christian theocrat about this a couple of days ago. I posted the following question to his blog:
“Just as a point of curiosity, I cannot help but notice that unlike pro-life fury at Roe v. Wade, which has blazed unabated for nearly half a century and has produced unremitting rear-guard actions to undermine Roe at every turn, I’ve heard nary a peep recently about the Supreme Court rulings on those other great social issues, gay marriage and sodomy laws. I’m not aware of any bills being introduced to undermine them at the state level. There are no attempts by the states that I’m aware of to make those practices more difficult. I’m not even seeing conservatives run for office on that issue. Other than Westboro Baptist and Steven Anderson (and occasionally you), nobody is even talking about it anymore.”
His response was as follows:
” I believe that it is because with the advancement of ultra-sound technology, the humanity of the victim is obvious.”
So, is he right? Or is there something else at work?
No, they just gave up on attacking same sex couples and went for the easier target of trans people. If they can eliminate the rights of trans people they will got back to marriage and sodomy rights. Bathroom bills, athletic restriction bills, etc. are in many state legislatures at the moment..
Cervantes, the Biblical passage most frequently quoted by anti-abortion activists is Exodus 21:22-25:
22 “If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely[e] but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
The argument is that injuries to fetuses were considered injuries to persons, so therefore the fetus must be a person.
I agree with you that since abortion was a common practice in the ancient middle east, one would think that God would have mentioned it explicitly by name if it were that big a deal.
This obviously refers to a violent act against the woman, and it is the woman’s husband who is presumed to be injured. Clearly this treats the fetus as the husband’s property, not as a person. It says nothing about abortion at all. Assaulting a woman and causing her to lose a pregnancy is a crime in every state, and nobody objects to that.
You’re letting conservatives frame the issue. It’s not about abortion. If these people were actually anti-abortion they’d support Planned Parenthood. Actual data shows that it makes abortion rates drop.
But the liberals also seem to want the issue framed that way. That fits the “two sides,” “right and wrong” way that both conservatives and liberals cling to with distorted wedge issues like this to distract us while someone’s hands are in our pockets.
Well sure. Religious opposition to abortion emerged at the same time as the feminist movement of the late 19th Century, and the same people who oppose abortion also oppose contraception, which would seem contradictory. Not hard to connect those dots.
Romania tried this as part of a forced birth policy to increase their population.
They both outlawed abortion and outlawed contraception.
It was a total disaster.
.1. The birth rate initially went up.
Then it fell back to what it was.
People just found ways to get around the laws one way or another.
Outlawing abortion doesn’t stop abortions!!!
It just makes them harder to obtain and far more dangerous.
.2. A lot of Romanians ended up giving birth to babies they didn’t want and more importantly couldn’t support.
They gave them up to the state.
The Romanian government couldn’t support them either.
The result was the Romanian orphan crisis.
It’s estimated that 1/2 million children were raised in Romanian orphanages under conditions where they grew up malnourished and socially deprived.
Most of those children ended up struggling as adults.
Hell doesn’t exist.
The fundie xians in Alabama are trying to make the next worst thing though, a hell on earth known as…Alabama.
The governor is a woman, btw, Republican, of course.
Many people have noticed that those bills are worse than pre Roe v Wade, as even back then they wouldn’t punish a woman for getting an abortion elsewhere or when showing up at a hospital after a botched abortion.
The mildly deranged penguin points there is also a male involved in initially creating the tragically aborted fetus, and said male is essential to the process. Hence, if the female is somehowof starting an unwanted pregnancy, so is the male — equally. Therefore, by precisely the same as in these (they all violate Roe v Wade), the male must also be penalized.
@11 – cervantes – possibly more relevant, it was as the medical profession was solidifying into a “profession” and male doctors began taking over caring for pregnancy and delivery, suddenly abortion was an issue. Midwives had been facilitating abortions, particularly before quickening which was widely legal, for centuries.
PZ, you missed the most salient exchange of the evening. When one of the Democrats asked if the new Alabama law would apply to fertility clinics, which after all routinely destroy fertilized eggs, this is what the Republican said:
“The egg in the lab doesn’t apply. It’s not in a woman. She’s not pregnant.”
Basically gave the entire game away right there. It has NOTHING to do with “protecting life” it’s about controlling and harming women.
Andrew G. says
It wasn’t until five or more years after Roe v. Wade that Protestants began caring; Roe was decided by mostly conservative judges and widely supported by conservative evangelical Protestants, many of whom explicitly criticized the Catholic position as being “unbiblical”. The abortion issue was at that time almost completely unpolarized between political left/right identification and R/D party identification.
The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) says
You know, I heard something about felons not being able to vote. I wonder if this law has anything to do… nah, couldn’t be.
Incidentally: reminder that Biden has been anti-abortion for most of his career and hasn’t shown any signs of reversing course, merely of shutting up about it.
I wish there was a way to force all of those men to carry these unwanted pregnancies.
Andrew G @17:
Yeah, I realized my mistake after I posted: I’d meant to say a few years after Row V Wade.
That is a good point.
No, actually it is a great point.
These fundie xian GOP men are putting the entire fault and responsibility for pregnancy and child birth on…women.
Women already as a matter of biology take all the wear and tear and risk of pregnancy by themselves.
.1. There is such a thing as maternal morbidity, damage that can be permanent due to pregnancy.
This is 50,000 per year.
.2. There is also such a thing as maternal mortality, i.e. death from pregnancy.
CDC: Sadly, about 700 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications.
.3. Women also frequently end up with the responsibility of paying for and raising a child to age 18.
In the USA, 40% of all children are born to single mothers.
(This doesn’t mean that 40% of all children don’t have two present parents though.
Quite often the father, or a father anyway) is present and an active co-parent. )
But still, quite often the father is completely gone and contributes nothing but a microscopic gamete.
Teen age pregnancy is correlated and causal with life long poverty.
Alabama looks like a miserable place to be a woman right now.
With this new law, it is going to be a whole lot worse.
Aaand the governor has signed the bill. Congratulations christians, you got the law you’ve been wanting. It will get overturned in the courts so you can continue lying about being persecuted and politicians will continue to use this boogie man to scare up campaign money.
PZ – this is simply untrue: “ they want to impose their godly will on everyone, in every state.”
Reversing Roe, a goal this bill is undoubtedly aimed toward, would simply leave the states free to decide on their own when life begins, and not rely on that Supreme Court decision. They’re absolutely not trying to impose this on the citizens of Minnesota, for example. They want the people of Minnesota to decide for themselves.
teejay… you, are a moron. flat out.
look up what “wedge issue” means, and fuck off.
Teejay, the anti abortion camp has been very clear that after they get Roe overturned their next goal will be to get Congress to pass a federal law banning abortion nationwide. They’re not just looking to ban it in Alabama; they want to ban it in California and Manhattan too.
“States’ Rights” is something the Right supports only when they can’t change federal law to force something on all states regardless of what an individual state wants.
I know the conservative Christian goal is not abortion, but all contraception too, and to make women into baby-making chattel.
Having said that, several people upthread are totally right that abortion was just a Catholic thing until very recently, and most Protestants would have told you that, and most Protestants would have told you that there’s no rule against abortion in the Bible. It was one of the greatest tricks the Republicans ever pulled. They created the modern meaning of the word “Christian” by rallying conservative Christians around the anti-abortion banner circa 1970. Before that, people would identify by their denomination, i.e. Catholic, Baptist, etc., but now they’re much more likely to simply identify as “Christian”. My favorite anecdote about this is to compare JFK’s religion speech vs Romney’s religion speech – they’re polar opposites. JFK was Catholic and that was a huge problem to getting elected because he was seen as not a real follower of Jesus because he was Catholic and not Protestant, and so JFK promised that he would be a president for all Americans and leave his Catholicism out of politics. Romney had a similar problem because he was a Mormon, and Mormons were not seen as “real Christians”, and he had to appease that base, and instead of putting forward a secular front and promising to be a president for all Americans, Romney said that he was a Christian just like any other Christian and promised to bring their shared Christian values to office.
PS: The other go-to verse about abortion should be “The Ordeal Of The Bitter Water” in the Book Of Numbers which loosely is instructions and regulations on how a husband, when he suspects his wife of cheating on him, may force her to drink a particular poison that will abort the pregnancy and also carries a risk of making her permanently infertile, and if the poison makes her permanently infertile then it was evidence that she was cheating on him, because Christian magic rituals.
#27 EnlightenmentLiberal: Judging from the comments on Yahoo and elsewhere [regarding Alyssa Milano’s proposal for women to go on a Lysistrada-like strike], conservatives don’t even like the idea of women refusing sex. …Despite their constantly-uttered refrain that women “should just choose to keep their legs shut”.
They probably really do fantasize about Handmaid’s Tale becoming reality.
He is also flat out…lying.
And a troll.
The goal is to outlaw abortion everywhere.
The forced birthers/female slavers say exactly this as often as they can wherever they can.
They don’t try to hide it.
They put in on bill boards all over the USA.
chigau (違う) says
I just now watched Idiocracy.
I get the objections about the bad science but who can fault the depiction of America®?
Exodus 21 is delibrately mistranslated in the NIV and other evangelical trabslations. The NRSV correctly reads “When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no further harm follows, the one responsible shall be fined what the woman’s husband demands, paying as much as the judges determine.” All English translations prior to the US abortion debate of the 1980s read similarly. However, to obscure the implications for Evangelical views of abortion, the NIV changes “miscarriage” to “premature birth” without textual justification.
Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says
Right now what we have under Roe is that the citizens decide for themselves.
The “lying theocrats” most certainly want government to make the decision for citizens, leaving no citizen free to have an abortion. The reason that they want to do it state by state is because they don’t think they can get it done nationally. They don’t want ANY citizen deciding for themselves, but as a strategy they are willing to take away choice one state at a time as long as it eventually gets them to a USA where abortion is banned everywhere.
Of course, if they thought that they could establish federal law banning abortion, just watch how quick that “states rights” rhetoric would change.
Ultimately states don’t get pregnant: cis* women and other female persons do. The idea that they want “state’s rights” over abortion should already tell you everything you need to know.
BTW: aren’t you the fool who thought that capitalism and freedom are synonyms, and had no idea that institutional protections for capital are an essential component of what makes an economic system capitalist? You’re not scoring high on the background civic knowledge test. Maybe you should do more reading before the next time you comment.
Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says
Wait, what? Are you sure that teejay isn’t right on this one? Don’t those billboards go,
Wasting public means for to pass a bill they know is unconstitutional.
How much lower can you get as a representative?
Reading the comments here, it becomes obvious, that most people still do not understand the true nature of modern day orthodox or fundamentalist religiosity: There fight is not about abortion, not about fertilized eggs, embryos or fetuses – it is all about undoing female emancipation.
Religiosity is the last bastion of misogyny. A sacred, sanctified misogyny: God wants it that women are inferior and subordinate to men.
The advent of MODERN CONTRACEPTIVES was a turning point in human history. A revolution like hardly any other in human existence. Women (even many self-proclaimed feminists, sadly) seem to have forgotten this fact. Or they do not grasp it in its full meaning. BUT RELIGIOUS ZEALOTS DO.
(And that is why they WILL attack contraceptives immediately after they repeal Roe v Wade.)
It is modern contraceptives that made female emancipation, equal treatment and equal rights for women and men, even a possibility. Before that, women were unfree, their biology was writing their fate “into stone”, there was no escaping it (they could become nuns, but even a nun can get raped and “fall” pregnant…).
Now, women can decide when and if they want to get pregnant and how often – thanks to modern contraceptives. They can learn, study, get good jobs (not only cleaning and nursing but actual “men`s jobs”!). They can chose not to marry, to get a divorce etc. That means: They are free. Thanks to science, they are “normal”, first class humans..
Religion is against the equality of men and women.
The Catholics (a clever bunch!) were instantly aware of the abilities of contraceptives. Their pro-life rhetoric is but disguise; they say it out quite often and clearly, what they think about a women`s role in society and what they think about emancipation, feminism and equality (hint: they are adamantly against it).
Evangelicals may have been late to the party, but now Catholics and Evangelicals form an unholy alliance against emancipation and women
s rights. (The UN ICDP Conference in Cairo, Egypt in 1994 brought even a coalition of the Vatican and the highest Islamic authorities against womens reproductive rights and emancipation!).
But who cares, right? Misogyny is thriving. From Jordan Peterson (a Christian believer) to the Iranian and Saudi regimes, to Bolsonaro`s Brazil, right-wing Europe, the Taliban and other Islamo-fascists, the Vatican – it is a sport to malign “feminists”. The race is on to see who can strip women of their rights the most.
Good atheist-humanists have to speak out against all misogyny.
We have to show the general public what “pro-life” really means: An attack against the emancipation of women. An attack against the equality of women and men.
Literally all of us know and understand this.
I know you’re angry and frustrated by the direction things are going, and so are we.
(Sorry, I just spotted typos – have mercy; English is my second language – and some weird writing in red. Oops!)
Saad, #36, good to know that you know!
But I am unconvinced that all here do. Definitely, in other places on the Internet, lots of well-meaning people seem to be absolutely puzzled and clueless. Therefore, one cannot say it out often and loud enough.
Just because WE know does not mean it is common knowledge… : )
Some of the people on this thread are in fact, women!!!
Some of the people on this thread are old enough to remember the pre-Roe versus Wade days.
One of my great aunts died young in her 20’s before I was even born.
She is a shadowy figure that everyone knows about and no one ever talks much about.
I learned not so long ago from distant relatives that she had an illegal abortion that went wrong.
She ended up in a Catholic hospital bleeding out.
They claimed the hospital knew what had happened and just let her bleed to death anyway.
“Right now what we have under Roe is that the citizens decide for themselves.”
There is no more polarising topic than abortion. The amount of stupid that goes into the arguments for both sides is simply amazing. Crip, you know full well what I said in my comment, and you know full well this isn’t it, but you want to fuck with me and score points with…well, someone.
The legal debate surrounding abortion comes down to whether Roe was correctly decided or not. The two sides are NOT: 1) abortion should be legal and 2) abortion should be illegal. The two sides are 1) abortion should be legal and 2) abortion should be left to states to decide.
If you’re argument is that people who think abortion is murder don’t want murders happening anywhere in the country, then congratulations, you’ve just said the most obvious thing ever. Go pat yourself on the back and have a Fresca and shut the fuck up.
As a legal matter, this bill is NOT aimed at asking the Supreme Court to rule that abortion is illegal, but asking the court to rule that the Constitution has nothing to say on the matter and thus should be left to the states.
Furthermore, if Democrats/Progressives had actually been serious about abortion rights in the wake of the Roe decision, they’d have been voting on a pro-abortion constitutional amendment every chance they had in order to put the issue out of reach of the Supreme Court. I haven’t seen much of that, although I’ll grant that it might have been working behind the scenes without me noticing.
BTW Crip, capitalism is still synonymous with freedom, your efforts to redefine both words notwithstanding.
We’re discussing the larger plan to make abortion illegal across the entire country, of which this legal challenge is merely step 1. You recognize the existence of this broader plan in the same post, so I don’t know what your problem is. Take your head out of your ass.
Unlike Republican congresspersons, Democrats try not to waste as much time on useless grandstanding. (Ex: 50 something times voting to repeal Obamacare, knowing that they didn’t have the votes in the senate.) Democrats knew that they didn’t have the necessary “votes” of the individual state legislatures, and so they didn’t bother.
Oh wait. You’re serious? Let me laugh harder.
#23 I’m not sure if your trolling or not but, we want “ordinary people” (of any state) to decide for themselves when life begins…
The same people who aren’t sure if the earth is round or flat, can’t figure out tips without a calculator and can barely stay in their lanes on the highway because they are busy texting/instagramming/facebooking, but all of a sudden these ordinary people have become well versed enough in biology to decide whether a cluster of cells is alive or not. Right.
Rob Grigjanis says
Sure, the freedom to make an obscene fortune on the bones of countless dead people. The Sackler family wholeheartedly agrees.
Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says
Wait! you’re trying to educate me on the constitutional history of women’s and reproductive rights?
lol. Try again, fool.
Just read yesterday:
That was just a day`s reading. I can go on and on and on…
NOBODY HERE IS AWARE WHAT WE ARE UP AGAINST. Sorry.
Stop with your sanctimonious preaching to the converted already
Hmm, probably should have picked a different saying.
I wonder if you would say the same thing if the topic was racism? Or white supremacy? Can one mention that too often? I doubt you would think that those topics are sufficiently understood and known.
Look, I read all the comments in this section and thought that it was still not quite understood that this well organized and internationally operating religious anti-women movement is on the rise.
Women’s issues are just as important as e.g. the grave problem of racism. The far-right is targeting women and gays. I take that very seriously. Sorry for annoying you.
Point to the specific comment(s) where the commenter isn’t understanding that this is a well organized and internationally operating religious anti-movement that’s on the rise.
Jonathan Norburg says
I like to think of myself as an intelligent, liberal, atheist male. the anti-choice movement is entirely aimed at anti-choice laws not just nationwide, but worldwide, in lockstep with their anti-female agenda. The rhetoric, tactics, and goals sicken me, and I see the assault on anything that questions such conservative ideologies extends to education, freedom of religion, and ultimately freedom of thought. It’s all of a piece, to turn the US into fortress Jesus, a bigoted, restrictive, theocratic Christian nation-state, just like Iran or Saudi Arabia, believing that a Christian theocracy would be any different from an Islamic theocracy aside from saying God instead of Allah.
I am fully aware that the regular readers of Pharyngula already understand this, so please do not chide me on preaching to the choir.
chigau (違う) says
I might chide you for commenting on a mostly dead thread.