Voting with the Mind of Christ #5: How Our Abortion Regime Works–And How it Doesn’t

Published September 4, 2020

Yesterday we noted that the Feds under Trump have raised Planned Parenthood funding to record heights, even as Biden is condemned for being “radically pro-abortion”. We also noted the many other ways in which Trump’s functional support for abortion and the GOP’s long history of dangling the carrot of Roe reversal makes clear that there is no “prolife” party.

As I noted here, because it matters more to the Cult what pols say about abortion than what they do, the Cult tends to live in the fantasy that when Dems offer pro-choice rhetoric, that somehow means that our abortion regime–which is 100% created (with Roe) and entrenched (with Casey) by GOP SCOTUS appointees–will become extra super duper turbocharged abortiony if a Dem is elected.

This is simply false. In fact, our most precipitous drops in abortion rates have consistently happened under Dem presidents–with small spikes under Reagan and Bush 43.

Abortion Rate In U.S. Falls To Lowest Level Since Roe v. Wade : The Two-Way  : NPR

They reached their lowest point under Obama/Biden.

Under Trump, the trend seems to be downward, but with Planned Parenthood rates, they have gone up to the highest levels in 15 years…

BG3472 Chart 2

…thanks to the generous funding his Administration and the GOP Senate approved without a peep.

BG3472 Chart 6

In short, in the one place where Trump had the most power to affect abortion rates–funding PP–he has done his best to raise abortion rates and been rewarded with the biggest spike in 15 years. Good job, MAGA prolifers! And don’t give me the song and dance about how the Dems wrote the budget. The Bucks Stops with Trump. If he and and GOP were serious, they would act. They don’t because they aren’t. Lila Rose doesn’t lie to herself about that. The rest of the “prolife” cult should stop lying to themselves and everybody else about it too:

Of course, PP yells and screams about Trump and the GOP and Trump pretends to care about fighting PP. It is to the benefit of both Trump and PP that everybody buy the lie that he threatens them. PP gets to tell their donor base that they are DOOOOOMED by GOP hostility while Trump and the GOP get to maintain the lie that he is the Most Prolife President Ever and keep the MAGA Cult unquestioningly supporting him. This has been the kabuki since 1980 with every Republican Administration.

In the same way, the Dems rev up the pro-choice crowd with their side of the kabuki. As I noted at the link above:

Remember FOCA, the Freedom of Choice Act? Obama vowed that he would sign it into law on day one of his presidency in 2009. Prolifers freaked out. Then he was elected and you never ever heard of it again because it was all a gimmick to ensure the support of the Dem base. I repeat: Dems don’t have to do anything to “protect abortion” other than maintain the status quo Republicans are 100% responsible for creating. That status quo (have I mentioned it was established and entrenched by the GOP?) has already made abortion from conception till birth the law of the land.

Abortion does not somehow become more abortiony when a Dem is elected. They cannot turbocharge it. They do not go out and start making people have more abortions. They simply don’t do anything to prevent it. 

That is the crucial point. Engrave it on your brain: ABORTION ON DEMAND HAS BEEN, THANKS TO THE GOP, THE LAW OF THE LAND EVER SINCE A GOP COURT WROTE ROE IN 1973 AND ANOTHER EVEN MORE GOP-DOMINATED COURT ENTRENCHED IT IN 1992 IN THE CASEY DECISION.

What that law says is not that the state can make somebody have an abortion, but that it will not stop them if they want to. This means, very simply, that there are no “pro-abortion” candidates. Rather, there is Biden who is honest about not wanting to stop women from getting abortions and Trump who lies that he wants to stop women from getting abortions while funding PP anyway. And, in fact, Trump pursues a policy that jacks up the abortion rate 40% in sub-Saharan Africa. If anything might be called “pro-abortion” and not merely “pro-choice” that would fit the profile.

What has been promised to prolife people for 40 years (when the GOP discovered that abortion was a fantastic wedge issue) is that the party that established this regime will, Real Soon Now, criminalize abortion again by making it illegal and that any and every evil that party wishes to commit must be supported by those who oppose the killing of unborn children till that day comes. What Dems have done for 40 years is say, “Let’s just leave it the way the GOP set it up.” They don’t have to do anything. Just keep the status quo.

What drives that system is We, the People. Only 20% of Americans want abortion on demand without apology. Only 20% of Americans want abortion outlawed. Meanwhile, 60% of Americans dislike abortion and find it morally objectionable, but also have absolutely no intention of telling women what they can and cannot do if they find themselves pregnant. Result: it is equally true at one and the same time that 80% of Americans think abortion unpleasant, morally repugnant, a tragedy, and something they would like to limit in some way and also that 80% of Americans have absolutely no intention of overturning Roe or criminalizing abortion. The eco-system of American politics has evolved to exploit that dynamic.

All of which means that, when it comes to abortion, every prolifer is being played by the GOP which no more wants to abolish the abortion regime it created than the Dems do. And when the MAGA Cult’s work is done, Roe will still be here, PP will be more highly funded than ever, and all the MAGA “prolife” cult will have to show for it is excuse-making for a criminal who gave us Pandemic that killed nearly all the American dead in World War II by Inauguration Day, means to abandon us to a “herd immunity” strategy that will kill hundreds of thousands more, handed troops over to Russia-paid bounty hunters, did his best to commit election fraud, tore children from their mother’s arms and disappeared them in a system rife with sexual abuse, murdered refugees by thirst in the desert, destroyed our standing in the world, injured NATO, adored authoritarian thugs, fanned the flames of racism, urged you to defend mocking the disabled and made Moon bases a priority while absolutely and totally ignoring the unborn because he knows his “prolife” base are such dumb suckers that he can spit right in their faces and they will still lie to themselves that he is the Most Prolife President Ever and burn up the next your years defending his filth instead of the unborn.

Meanwhile, the standard rejoinder is “So what?” Biden is pro-choice. Doesn’t that make him just as bad as Trump?

It might–if the sole question was “Should ending the supply of abortion providers be the one and only thing a Catholic voter should consider in this election?”

But it’s not. In addition to the issue of abortion supply is abortion demand. And in addition to the question of abortion are the 27 other things the Church teaches are crucial to the dignity of human life in Evangelium Vitae. And on nearly all of these issues Biden and the Dems come vastly closer to the Church’s teaching than the monstrously incompetent, life-denying freak show that is the MAGA cult.

“So you are saying we have to support the lesser of two evils?”

No. It is, in fact, morally impermissible to ever support any evils. But it is morally imperative to try to lessen evil.

To begin with, let’s be clear: Humans are not evils. Policies are evils. Acts can be evils. But persons are not evils. Even Trump, as vile as he behaves, is not an evil. He is a creature made in the image and likeness of God. So when we are speaking about greater or lesser evils, we are referring to the policies and choices of the candidates, not their persons. And Trump’s are clearly and obviously worse.

So what’s the difference between supporting a lesser evil and lessening evil? It’s the difference between saying, “Because I reject the evil of killing your mother, I therefore get to rape her” and saying, “Even though I cannot keep your mother from dying of cancer, I can at least keep the nurse from euthanizing her and keep her comfortable till she passes.”

It is never legitimate to vote for a lesser evil. So you don’t get to vote to support, say, torture on the grounds that you oppose mass murder. Nor can I vote for Biden because of his permissiveness about abortion.

But it is morally legitimate to try to lessen evil. So given a choice between two candidates who both functionally support our pro-choice regime, but one of whom competently oversaw the last epidemic and one of whom is guilty of the negligent homicide of 185,000 people while lying and grifting his way through it, it is perfectly legit to lessen evil by hiring the competent one.

Biden’s superiority to Trump on a host of issues, as well as his clear competence, obvious decency, and knowledge of how government works make him the obvious choice over Trump.

No, he is not perfect (and as I will argue later, it is the responsibility of those who support his election to oppose him in those places where he is wrong). But there simply is no comparison between the two candidates.

Of which more on Monday.

55 Responses

  1. > “Abortion does not somehow become more abortiony when a Dem is elected. They cannot turbocharge it.”
    Yeah, no, not really, Mark. There are a lot of ways the pro-choicers can turn up the thermostat on abortion. A very big difference between “Early-term abortions should be decriminalised, but elective abortions should not be publicly-funded; doctors and nurses should have the – what’s that word again? – choice to refuse to take part in carrying out terminations; and political leaders affirm that abortions should be ‘rare'” vs the other extreme (approximated in Canada and Sweden) where abortion is legal for any reason right up until birth, fully publicly funded; conscience exemptions are repealed; even peaceful counselling outside abortion clinics is banned; candidates who express qualms about abortion are purged from party endorsement; and idiocy like “Obvious Child” and “Shout Your Abortion” are considered cute. (Because, yeah, if moral and practical wisdom does not reside in 22-year-olds who can’t figure out condom packets, where does it reside).
    I agree with you 100% that Trump is not prolife but I wouldn’t be naive about how much more “abortiony” the Democrats can still get.

    1. And I repeat, abortion rates *consistently* see their most precipitous drops under Dems. There is no evidence at all the Dems seek to maximize the number of abortions. None.

      1. Mark, I think Tom R is right – things can get much more “abortiony”. What I fear is a scenario in which both houses of Congress and the Presidency are controlled by Democrats and they pass a law overturning all state laws restricting abortion, conscience laws, etc. This is a real danger. However a just and stable government is the most important issue (to paraphrase Rebecca Hamilton on Patheos) and so I will support Biden because Trump is a traitor. If the Democrats do attempt to force Catholic hospitals to do abortions then that will have one “benefit”. The Church can withstand open hostility and persecution better than it can withstand the seduction away from the mind of Christ which we are seeing with the Evangelicals and many Catholics.

      2. Ok, we’re talking about two different but overlapping things, both of which we agree are bad:
        1. More abortions being carried out
        2. Those abortions that are carried out, being imposed in some way on people who are anti-abortion: their taxes, their professional cooperation, their rights of peaceful assembly and protest. (This includes – something often overlooked – the not insignificant number of pregnant women who head off to a clinic seeking an abortion but are persuaded to keep the baby respectful sidewalk counselling. I am not talking about threats or physical harassment/ blocking).
        There are people on the Left who would quite happily define expression of anti-abortion views – even at the purely moral, ethical level (eg, “I’m not in favour of banning it but I think it is wrong” – the exact view held by Justice William Brennan, as it happens) – as sexual harassment.
        Leftists like Katha Pollitt and Stanley Fish would like professional associations, or even legislatures, to ban doctors, nurses and pharmacists from refusing to perform abortions, prescribe or sell RU-486, etc. They have argue that, if you agree to work as a health professional, you forfeit your right to refuse abortifacients, because abortifacients are an inseparable part of working as a health professional. (Whereas “you might get pregnant” is not, to them, an inseparable part of agreeing to have sex; it’s just some arbitrary rule cooked by by Mike Pence and the pre-Francis papacy).
        It took me a while to realise why not one of the strongly anti-abortion doctors, nurses and pharmacists I know is persuaded by the “But Iceland has a very low abortion rate” argument. If society has 10,000 abortions a year but they’re illegal or semi-illegal, then a pro-life health worker has firm grounds to refuse to take part. Whereas if society has only 5,000 abortions a year but they’re fully legal, there will be workplace (and, possibly, legal) pressure on doctors and nurses to carry them out or get dismissed, sued or prosecuted. And “blood on their hands” is not a metaphor for them.
        Ideally, I would like a society where contraception (including NFP) is widely available, rape and child molestation are zealously prosecuted, and where no one is conscripted to abort children, just as no one is conscripted today to shoot Vietnamese. Peaceful, non-intrusive “here’s some alternatives to abortion” counselling would be lawful but threats and harassment would not. Under those conditions, I could live with a law like Roe. Unfortunately, the pro-choicers don’t want that modus vivendi; they want total victory. They want “anti-choicers” to bend the knee.
        if you want proof, have a look at how the Slate/ Salon axis react if a doctor or nurse or chemist refuses to assist with abortifacients. TL;dr – they’re furious. How dare these intolerant theocrats block access to essential reproductive justice! “Don’t like abortions? Don’t have one” served its purpose long ago; it’s as decommissioned as “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament” which is now grossly transphobic).
        None of this is an argument for voting for Trump. I would vote for Biden too, if I were enfranchised for the office that could destroy my planet in a nuclear war. I’m just saying, go ahead and ally with Stalin to defeat Hitler, by all means, but just watch out for him grabbing chunks of Austria after Berlin has fallen.

      3. @ tom R

        Imagine a world where the “beliefs” of “sincerely religious people” like evangelicals and fundamentalist catholics don’t actually and automatically include the lives and decisions of people who don’t share those religious beliefs. Your posting is just full of the assumptions that you are entitled to decide their consciences and life decisions for them.

        You give away the game entirely when you say: “Where is “you might get pregnant” is not, to them, an inseparable part of the agreement to have sex.”” There are so many things wrong with that statement. Having children should not be the punishment for having sex. Nor should a life of poverty because you made the mistake of having sex, and a child You were unprepared to care for financially, spiritually, psychologically or parentally. One could equally argue that if you’re going to become a doctor, or a pharmacist, your job is to dispense medications and perform procedures, not to dispense “spiritual advice“ Or religious dogma disguised as spiritual advice. It is an inseparable part of the agreement to be a medical professional. It’s what those of us who have been on the receiving end of this kind of thing call, “do you dam’ job.”

        No leftiness required.

        The real question here is Actually this one: “where does religious privilege end, and participation in society begin?” Whydo SOME cake bakers have the right to say, “I don’t approve of your religious choices so I don’t have to bake a cake for you because Jesus did not die to say that I have to make cakes for Homo’s.“ they justify this with religious belief and the pretense that they are somehow “participating“ in a wedding that they are barely the hired help for. That despite that, we have laws and every level of society that forbid discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of religious belief— yours or mine. It is the very reason why I As a wedding photographer could not say— out loud, at least— “I’m sorry, but I’m not going to photograph your wedding because your pastor and your church are repugnant morally, spiritually, and intellectually to me.“ Or “Your covenant marriage after 30 days of knowing each other is a really bad idea and I don’t wanna be a part of it.“ (That actually happened to me twice in my career.) I could hear the howls of outrage And offended privilege if I were ever stupid enough to say that out loud. So I never did. I simply told the people that I was booked.

        Why does a religious pharmacist have the right to say to any woman, “I will not give you birth control or a morning after pill because my religious beliefs say that it is wrong.”? If a doctor or a nurse does not wish to actually participate in the actual performance of an actual abortion, I can see that, and actually support it, as long as there is anyone else to perform the procedure or dispense the medication. but super Duper leftist that I am— actually, I am not— I would say that if that is something you’re going to object to, then don’t be a gynecologist or an operating room nurse.

        See how easy it is to make other peoples choices for them?

        You wrote, “ There are people on the Left who would quite happily define expression of anti-abortion views – even at the purely moral, ethical level (eg, “I’m not in favour of banning it but I think it is wrong”… )“ I get so tired of this caricature of people on the left, whatever the left means, and coming from the people who continually whine about “the left” saying the same things about people on the right.” I’m sure you can find people on “the left“ – whatever that means today – who might say something like that. But it’s a caricature, and nothing real.

        But here you go again, with your comment about conscripting people to have abortions. This is another right wing myth, if I may call it that in the context of this paragraph, A caricature, and ultimately, slander. Presidential candidate Kanye West – I cannot believe I’m writing those four words together – Was making the same claim the other day when he called abortion in the African-American community “genocide”. It’s the same infantilizing of adult women making choices that some men don’t approve of. We don’t speak of “white genocide”, “Chinese genocide”, “Mexican genocide”. But sure, for political purposes, let’s talk about black genocide, thereby trivializing actual genocide by pretending that abortion is anything like it. And trivializing the struggles of black people in a society with deeply ingrained, systemic racism.

        that black women are somehow being coerced or paid or convinced or something to have abortions is nonsense. One mIght ask the questions as to how they’re getting pregnant, and where are the men who are getting them pregnant, and what factors of poverty or systemic racism are impacting those decisions? west is not asking that question, Because that would be the actual moral question, not the fake political question that he is asking.

        More to the point, though, this is another “all lives matter“ moment in order not to have to say that black lives matter. But this one is really twisted, because it is simultaneously claiming that Black Lives Matter but for reasons that have nothing to do with black lives mattering. The anti abortion industry, being completely hypocritical in this regard, does not case that abortions increase under republican presidents and policies, and decrease under Democrats, and that the trumpian presidency has in fact funded PP to record levels.

        There is another totally disingenuous argument that is made in the “just asking questions“ mode of argument that is not interested in actual answers. They asked, “why does Planned Parenthood play so many of its clinics in black neighborhoods?“, Usually followed by “did you know that Margaret Sanger was a racist and a eugenicist?“ it sounds like a legitimate question, but it is not. Maybe the reason Planned Parenthood locate so many of its clinic in black neighborhoods is that there’s less money And services available their for family planning, contraception, prenatal care, and sex education. That answer is far more likely than some vast conspiracy to abort black babies.

        To your credit, you do want things like family planning, contraception, prenatal care and sex education, and for that, I commend you. That doesn’t match up with a lot of the pro life anti abortion industry. As one of those “leftists“ that you were just caricaturing, I would like to see the abortion completely legal, safe, and rare. But I also want to see people doing the job they were hired to do, and not claiming that they have some religious right to not to that job, or to ignore the civil laws and the civil authorities which, according to the part of their Bibles they don’t read, are instituted by God.

        But unless And until the “family values“ crowd actually starts to care about actual families, rather than the caricatures they have created of what a family is and ought to look like, and what it ought to be doing, The whole thing rings quite hollow.

    2. Democratic people support the ideas of choice, but also support fact based sex education, family planning, gay people adopting, prenatal care, family leave and other policies which offer alternatives to abortion.

      Republicans are anti-abortion, and oppose all of those things, things which either demonstrably reduce abortion, or which provide alternatives to abortion.

      Any questions?

  2. Your very last comment about “to oppose him in those places where he is wrong” – If, and it’s a big if, Trump supporting Catholics and/or evangelicals had bothered to demand he be better, to act better, to speak better, to have respect for the weighty authority of his office and conduct himself accordingly, they *might* have a point about voting for him as a positive.

    As it stands, they didn’t. They shrugged their shoulders and just accepted that his antics and flouting of the law was simply the cost of power. The ends justify the means, or the man. There can be nothing more anti-life than that terrible philosophy.

  3. There is an excellent documentary on Netflix on the major role Cambridge Analytica played in getting Trump elected.

    Yesterday I followed a link to the NCRegister (I generally don’t read it on principle any longer) to try to understand why that nun sister Byrne went to bat for Trump. I wrote a small recap in the comment section of why Trump suddenly “saw the light” and became pro-life:

    During his 2016 campaign Trump tried out several different talking points on abortion, and waited to see how he polled. A company called Cambridge Analytica presented him with numbers they’d harvested from people’s social media accounts to convince him to declare he is pro-life. He is not. He is a compulsive liar, and would have done anything to become the president of the United States. Cambridge Analytica used the same data to show his campaign which states had the most undecided voters. Trump’s campaign proceeded to spend ONE MILLION dollars a day on facebook ads which were tailor made to appeal to the base instincts, prejudice and fears of his targeted audience. Their meetings went down on the set of the reality TV show, “The Apprentice” at Trump Tower, where Trump regularly humiliated and berated people as a form of entertainment for the millions of people who enjoy to watch it. I don’t even need to mention what was happening behind the scenes.

    The man has no track record of integrity. Not now, and not in his checkered past.

  4. The issue between “pro choice” “pro abortion” “pro life” “anti abortion” is somewhat nebulous.

    In the state I live in, the Democrats are forever trying to force catholic hospitals to perform abortions. Now you could say the Dems aren’t “pro abortion” because no woman is being forced to have an abortion. But thanks to the Republicans (and some Dems) they have been stopped.

    Is forcing a catholic hospital to perform abortions being “pro abortion”? I dunno, I’m not a moral theologian.

    Now you could say, “fine, Catholic hospitals don’t need to receive money from the state” but that would be their end.

    1. In most countries in the developed world abortions are performed in hospitals. The system we have in the US, in which abortions are mostly performed in dedicated external facilities, is one of those artifacts about life in the US that strikes foreigners as odd when they notice it.

      Almost the only abortions performed in *any* hospitals in the US are emergency abortions, necessary to save the mother’s life. These are a tiny fraction of all abortions.

      When people argue that Catholic hospitals must not perform abortions, they are arguing that Catholic hospitals must let women die.

    2. Never mind, I didn’t realize you were talking about taxpayer-funded hospitals! Good grief. The American Church really thinks of itself as exceptionalist.

  5. You contradict yourself. You wrote above: “To begin with, let’s be clear: Humans are not evils. Policies are evils. Acts can be evils. But persons are not evils. Even Trump, as vile as he behaves, is not an evil”. You also wrote earlier: “Vote this evil man out and then jail him for life.”

    1. It’s called “having emotions”. You should try it. The man called our war dead “suckers” and “losers” and still you fight to defend him. What is wrong with you?

      1. Besides the fact that Trump has already called McCain a loser and then lied about it as he has lied 20,000 other times and the story has been confirrmed multiple times, including by FOX and AP? Nothing. Enjoy your Kool Aid. What conceivable reason can you give for believing this proven liar over every reputable news source on the planet. You are brainwashed.

  6. One of the things that makes me really sad about the abortion debate is that a lot of people are more interested in fantasy than in reality.

    So, even when they’re faced with the fact that *in reality* Republican actions and policies don’t get abortion rates reduced (Democratic actions and policies do), people will choose the fantasy of Republican “pro-life” over the reality of Democratic reduction in abortion.

    And I get on some level wanting to choose ideals, but at the end of the day I would think results would be what matter. What actually makes a difference? What works? But for a lot of people, what their actions *do* doesn’t matter.

  7. @Ben

    I can picture a world where women are forced to have abortions and people are forced to perform them. Can’t you?

    I’d bake a cake for a gay couple, but would rather die than perform an abortion. Big difference. BIG, big difference.

    This life here is just the blink of an eye. To deny someone entrance to this world which has meaning and purpose is a grave crime against them. How could I face them and their creator in eternity?

    I also disagree with what you said about about black genocide. I’ve read that 50% of black babies are aborted in NYC. It’s pretty easy to argue that poverty is driving that statistic–so yes, it has very much to do with BLM.

    And I keep reminding my kids that when NIMBY Marinites get all high on their horses about racial justice –to remind them that we have red lined school districts. There’s still a long way to go.

    Anyway, based on their behavior with war, weapons and whatnot, Republicans have more blood on their hands, and couldn’t care less, so I’d give it a 50/50 that *they* would be the ones to find some sneaky way to turn on their base (as they already do) to usher in forced abortions and birth control.

    1. Hi Ben,
      Just to clarify – you believe that doctors and nurses who are anti-abortion should be compelled by law to perform, and take part in, abortions, under pain of legal penalties (or, at the least, by the threat of unemployment, which in the USA could mean the loss of that healthcare which, we are assured, is a human right); and you hold this position because of your strongly pro-choice views?
      If so, you would agree that a woman who, like my wife or my mother, does not want her body touched or examined by a doctor or nurse who- in her view – has the blood of babies on their hands, should be deprived of the ch-… the option of seeing a doctor or nurse who doesn’t, if and once the medical profession has been purged of “anti-choicers”; and you hold this position because of your strongly pro-choice views?

      1. @mike miller

        I’m really not interested in arguing with strawmen.

        My argument is against religious privilege. If they don’t want to do abortions, they don’t have to. But employers that wish to provide abortion and family planning services to their clientele should have the right not to have to hire people who are against abortion. Likewise, since this is often the case in rural areas, a person who believes that abortion is a medical service And not a moral issue should not have to drive 300 miles to find a Doctor Who will perform the procedure. If those medical providers are so highly principled that they cannot serve the people in their area, then perhaps they would be better served by choosing to work someplace else, and not claimed the religious privilege of saying that their religious believe trumps other people‘s religious beliefs.

        Likewise, a pharmacist who doesn’t wish to provide birth control because he thinks it is immoral is insisting that his religious beliefs Trump— get it? Trump—the religious beliefs of people who don’t share his beliefs. He or she is not required to use birth control. If that pharmacist doesn’t want to provide birth control, then he should work for a Catholic pharmacy which will not require him to do so.

        But insist that his religious beliefs also trump the business practices and policies of his employer means that no one has any religious rights, except for the people who claim that religious privilege and can get a court to side with them.

        Religious privilege is the issue.

    2. @taco

      Sorry it took me a day to get back to you.

      I don’t have to picture such a world, that world has existed in Communist China. It was there one child per family policy. I don’t agree with it, and I thought it was wrong. But China was desperate to get its population under control, because the population pressures were the one thing keeping China from advancing. At least, that’s how they saw it. I agreed with them, but I disagreed with the method for accomplishing it. But that’s what authoritarians do. Why choose a kindEr better way when you can just take a hammer to a problem. Unfortunately, I think that the relaxation of the policy had very little to do with the sudden influx of morality, but a great deal to do with a lot more money being available.

      Of course you would bake a cake for a gay couple, because you’re a nice person, and not a tribalist who uses Your faith as a club against others. I agree that abortion and baking a cake or not in the same league at all. But these are also very different issues in terms of what we’re talking about. When does about obeying civil rights laws, design to protect everybody, but mostly the weaker from the stronger. As Mike Miller is trying to do, finding exceptions to those laws simply underlines why we have them in the first place. That’s why I said I don’t think any doctor or nurse should be forced to perform an abortion, But it gets to be in a gray area if they are the only providers available, and then abortion is what is required.

      I’m not sure what you mean by this paragraph: “ I also disagree with what you said about about black genocide. I’ve read that 50% of black babies are aborted in NYC. It’s pretty easy to argue that poverty is driving that statistic–so yes, it has very much to do with BLM.I’m not sure what you mean by this paragraph: “” I don’t think that the black abortion rate in New York City, if that’s an accurate figure, or even if it’s not, has anything to do with genocide, which is always instituted by a different party. There can be black genocide, if you ignore tribal differences, which was what the genocide in Rwanda was about. I agree that the poverty rate is probably what’s driving the abortion rate.

      As for the Republicans ushering in force diversion and birth control, you need only look at their 40 year history of selling themselves to the evangelical/political Christian, and then read that nice little book called the handmaid‘s tale.

      1. Definitely not th4e same person, Ben, not even by the Pro Choice movement’s somewhat… flexible definition of “person”.
        Okay. So someone else, who finds abortions repulsive should, in your view, change jobs, swap careers, move house, move cities, perhaps even move states, uproot their life just so that a complete stranger with no moral claims on them can be spared “driving 300 miles” for what must be, even for a Clinton mistress, a once-every-two-or-three-years-at-most medical procedure?
        Not helping shake my suspicion that “Pro Choice” really boils down to “everyone dance attendance on me, my feelings and my convenience”.

      2. @Ben,

        Never worry about no response, I’m always understanding about circumstances, and hey, even in triple digits my kids were literally swimming with dolphins yesterday. Gratitude.

        I think we are basically looking at things similarly except for the hammer of China. –Never ok under any circumstance.

        It’s also *still* hot here, down in the bowels of the central coast, where we never thought to invest in good AC. Last night the sundowners kicked in at around 8 and I got a little freaky about what could happen. The kids were all like “what’s ur problem?” They just haven’t been around long enough to know. I said some prayers and went to bed. Not actually my problem.

        It generally feels like the apocalypse when there are triple digits, any way you slice it.

  8. PROGRESSIVE CREDIBILITY CARD APPLICATION FORM
    Question 73: Tick all correct answers below (May be more than one)
    [_] “Calling African-American abortion rates ‘racial genocide’ is self-evidently ridiculous, because Black women choose abortions voluntarily.”
    [_] “The CIA invented crack cocaine to wipe out Black communities.”

    1. Disappointed. Was hoping you weren’t an actual troll.

      If you’re going to call African-American abortion rates ‘racial genocide’ then you need to step up and actually fight racism. Which is the opposite of what Republicans do today.

      I’m tempted to tick your second box but it sounds too much like a conspiracy theory. Do you reject all of Trump’s conspiracy theories and lies, or are those ‘truth’ to you?

      1. I’m not a Republican. Don’t live in America, but in a country that’s downwind every time the USA farts. I belong to, and vote for, the main left-wing party in my home country, which is far to the left of most US Democrats. They support gun control. They support free, universal public health care. They support legalised abortion which, as I’ve explained, I can live with because they do good in almost other areas and because banning abortion doesn’t reduce the number. That party has the philosophy that individual demands and claims must be balanced against the good of other members the community. A principle that the US Left espouses but throws out the window if it would spoil the right to enjoy orgasms.
        Please try to put aside your prior assumptions and think critically.
        My point is that if someone were to say “Well, African-Americans voluntarily chose to use crack. The number who first got addicted because were held down and involuntarily injected with it would be zero or close to it. Therefore, you can’t talk about crack ‘devastating’ African-American communities, or call the deaths from it ‘genocide’, because it was something Black people chose for themselves”, you and I would both think they were a lunatic. But swap crack for abortion and it becomes chin-stroking conventional wisdom.

    2. Kerry Committee investigation
      Main article: Kerry Committee report

      Once you set up a covert operation to supply arms and money, it’s very difficult to separate it from the kind of people who are involved in other forms of trade, and especially drugs. There is a limited number of planes, pilots and landing strips. By developing a system for supply of the Contras, the US built a road for drug supply into the US.
      — Former contract analyst for the CIA David MacMichael[9]

      The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations, chaired at the time by Senator John Kerry, held a series of hearings from 1987 to 1988 on drug cartels and drug money laundering in South and Central America and the Caribbean.

      The Subcommittee’s final report, issued in 1989, said that Contra drug links included:

      Involvement in narcotics trafficking by individuals associated with the Contra movement.
      Participation of narcotics traffickers in Contra supply operations through business relationships with Contra organizations.
      Provision of assistance to the Contras by narcotics traffickers, including cash, weapons, planes, pilots, air supply services and other materials, on a voluntary basis by the traffickers.
      Payments to drug traffickers by the U.S. State Department of funds authorized by the Congress for humanitarian assistance to the Contras, in some cases after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies on drug charges, in others while traffickers were under active investigation by these same agencies.[1]
      According to the report, the U.S. State Department paid over $806,000 to “four companies owned and operated by narcotics traffickers” to carry humanitarian assistance to the Contras.[1]

      We will never know to what extent the CIA was involved, but they *were* involved, and drugs were sold in African American neighborhoods to provide material support for the Contras. Of course they covered it up to the best of their ability.
      –Sure it’s old news, but we should never underestimate what some entities are capable of in the name of supporting (their vision of) Democracy.

    3. @ mike miller

      “Calling African-American abortion rates ‘racial genocide’ is self-evidently ridiculous, because Black women choose abortions voluntarily.” Well, that’s the first point. The second point is is that nobody is trying to wipe out the black community, except for perhaps certain classes of Trump supporters. Third, let us identify the underlying assumption that these women are too stupid to make their own decisions, or they’re not making them in concert with the fathers of those fetuses. In short, The underlying assumption is that Black women lack the critical thinking skills, let alone the morality required to preclude them from “murdering their babies.” Goshes! They might even not think that that’s what they’re doing. In other words, the argument is racist to the core rather than that being about abortion.

      The CIA and crack cocaine. Another strawman type of argument. It might be true, it might not be true. What is true is that there have been long-standing problems with all kinds of illegal drugs, the dangerous kinds, not just pot, for decades and decades and decades in the African-American community. It has been a scourge In white communities, but we don’t call it that, we call it the “opioid crisis in middle America”. So much nicer. I was in law-enforcement in a previous life, and saw firsthand a complete waste of time, energy, money, human potential, and community resources that is the drug war. But I could also see that the pushers and sellers were pharmaceutical sales people, pharmaceutical companies, doctors, people who were willing to skim a few pills off the top of any prescription, Money hungry pharmacists working in collusion to provide all of those happy pills.

      Our whole approach to drugs, like our whole approach to alcohol which funded organize crime which now is controlling the drug industry as well, has been wrong from the get-go. But money in class determines who gets what drugs, and what happens to them when they get them.

      1. @ myself

        When i said the drug industry. I should have specified the ILLEGAL drug industry. Neither being a “leftist”, or the caricatures of a “leftist“, I thought I should clean that up. The pharmaceutical industry is the Epitome of capitalism in action, in both its good aspects and its bad aspects. One of its good aspects is the medicines and the treatments we have. One of its bad aspects is brought to mind by a very common logo or emblem for restaurants featuring barbecue As their primary product: a pig in a chefs hat, dishing up ribs and sausages.

  9. I’m not talking about medics “dispensing spiritual advice”. They should be able to say “Sorry, I don’t do abortions” and leave it at that. Take it however you like. Maybe they mean “I’m not confident that I’m properly trained and I might end up performing one of those awful botched ones we hear so much about”. It’s usually the pro-chos the ones wanting to argue the point. Sorry, people, but you don’t have the right to snap your fingers and conscript other people to do things that are repulsive to them just to avoid having hurt feelings. Yes, it’s an imposition to open a phone book and have to thumb all the way to “Planned Parenthood” but you’re talking about chopping up an unborn member of your own species so toughen up and do your part.
    Pro-chos might also want to think a bit further about the implications of “do your damn job” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_on_USS_Theodore_Roosevelt#Relieving_Crozier_of_command_and_aftermath if adopted as a principle rather than as an ad hoc slogan.

    1. @ mikr miller

      “ Sorry, people, but you don’t have the right to snap your fingers and conscript other people to do things that are repulsive to them just to avoid having hurt feelings. ” but apparently, we are supposed to do it when their feelings are all butt hurt because they have to serve people that they despise. That’s why we have civil rights laws in this country that protects certain classes of people from that kind of behavior. I’m sure Black people just loved using substandard restrooms and dirty drinking fountains so that the white people wouldn’t have their feelings hurt. As I said earlier, the real issue is religious privilege, which certain classes of so-called Christians feel that they are absolutely entitled to. That’s why they used to have neighborhood covenants that certain kinds of people – people whose names ended in Stein, or Burg, orgarten— Couldn’t live in their neighborhoods or join their country clubs.

      No one is being conscripted. They are being asked to obey the civil authorities, which as you might recall, is prominently, prominently featured in several places in the New Testament. There is no asterisk to those passages, saying perhaps:*except if you really don’t want to.

      Just as there is no asterisk to the passages about loving your neighbor, not judging others for their sins unless you’ve cleaned up your own, and a few other things that seem to be nonnegotiable to someone who is no longer important to modern Christianity

      1. Okay, I’ll break this down for you. One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others.
        It is generally recognised that a person’s claim to a religious or conscientious exemption from general laws (and note that atheists can, do and should be able to claim conscience exemptions as well – the two should be regarded as equivalent) is a hell of a lot stronger when they don’t want to do something that endangers human or animal life.
        Thus, vegetarians are accommodated to a much greater degree than people who don’t like the taste of tomato, or people who don’t like the idea of eating food grown in faecal fertiliser.
        Pacifists are exempted from military service, especially if it involves bearing arms, but in some countries (eg Germany) they are required to render equivalent non-military service in a hospital instead.
        Jurors, prison guards, doctors, and other participants in the criminal justice system who oppose the death penalty on principle are exempted from taking part in executions. Or if they aren’t, they damned well should be. I am going to make a guess that if a doctor in Mississippi refused to take part in capital punishment, you would agree with me that that is outrageous.
        So the strained analogies to Black people and segregation are getting a bit threadbare. I also agree about gays and wedding cakes – although forcing a baker to write a pro-SSM message on the cake was a step too far. Mark covered this in an earlier post. Providing services is action and can be regulated by law. Expressing agreement or disagreement with messages is a matter of free speech and should be left up to individual ch- … uh, judgment.
        “Regulated by law” does not however extend to forcing people to actively contribute to something they reasonably believe is killing, whether of humans or animals.
        But how is it that we hear the loudest yelps for new federal legislation from the drivers of Volvos bearing “100% Pro-Choice” bumpers?

      2. Atom r

        “ I also agree about gays and wedding cakes – although forcing a baker to write a pro-SSM message on the cake was a step too far.”

        I don’t really have time to answer all of this right now. But I will address this one sentence. I was a professional wedding photographer for 30 years. In that 30 years I did approximately 1000 weddings. I saw exactly one time when something was written on a wedding cake. But it wasn’t THE wedding cake, it was a smaller cake, known down in the south as the grooms cake. They’re usually a bit jokey.

        So that’s another strawman argument. I would agree that Forcing writing something that is offensive to the cake baker Falls under free speech and coerced speech. But the usual wedding cake never has anything on it. The refusal is to the gay couple, not to whatever speech they may wish to make. The bakers were objecting to making a cake for a wedding to which they were not invited to, except as a cake baker. It would have been exactly the same cake they made for anyone else. They had plenty of ways that were quite legal to not do the work; I know this because there are plenty of ways to refuse work without hurting anybody’s feelings, or acting illegally. I know because I did them on a few occasions when I thought that somebody was not somebody I wanted to work for. but instead, they wanted to announce how morally superior they were as Christians, as heterosexuals, at least allegedly, and as human beings.

        “I can’t participate in this travesty of a wedding.“ You’re not participating, you’re hired help.
        “ I can’t endorse immoral unions like this.” No one is asking for your endorsement, they’re asking for a cake, the same cake you make available to everyone else. As for immoral, noone is discussing their sex life with you, either.
        “My heart is an expression of my faith and may not be coerced.” Stop being uppity, f*gs.

        I believe I heard of one case where a baker refused to write a message on a cake for gay people. I’m not sure about that. But, It’s funny enough, there were two cases of right wingers going to bakers and demanding that they write anti-gay messages on cakes. Unfortunately, I don’t have the citations, because they were minor events. I think one of them involved right when evangelist shoebat, but it was several years ago.

      3. > “They are being asked to obey the civil authorities”
        So you booed loudly all through “Schindler’s List” and “The Hiding Place”, right?
        If not, why not?

      4. Racially discriminatory covenants? Historical guilt by association? You really want to go there?
        Go google the name “Marie Stopes”, or Dr Josef Mengele’s post-1945 career choices, and we’ll resume this discussion.
        Once again, don’t assume that the USA is the entire Planet Earth, or that you can zing every anti-abortion person in the world by bringing up some stupid or corrupt US televangelist or GOP pol. In my country, the people of colour are a lot more anti-abortion on average than the whiteys are. That whole Margaret Atwood/ Alice Walker shtick doesn’t work outside your little cabbage patch.

      5. Okay. partial retraction/ clarification here to Ben. I wasn’t entirely clear at first. By “repulsive to them” I mean “something that is in some way lethal or homicidal”. I believe people have a right to absent themselves from activities that directly harm living things – to abstain from doing something they think is murder. Not to actively interfere to stop it, but to say “Do this on your own time and on your own dime. Count me out of it.”
        Like, for example, those valiant Vietnam protests in the Sixties who valiantly defied The Man to valiantly oppose an unjust war of aggression (and who maintained their principled anti-militaristic, anti-violence campaign right through to the fall of Saigon in 1975, even though their own hides were no longer in danger after Nixon abolished the draft in 1972.).
        People have the right, or more accurately the freedom, to avoid getting blood on their hands. Not to defy laws at will. I do apologise that I didn’t make that clearer earlier, because I was concentrating on actions in the same moral ballpark as terminating a foetus.

  10. PROGRESSIVE CREDIBILITY CARD APPLICATION FORM

    Question 129: Tick all correct answers below (May be more than one)

    [_] No, of course it’s still an ‘involuntary” pregnancy even if cheap contraception was widely available but you were too slack to use it. Without abortion as a backup, you might as well get pinned down and forcibly impregnated by Joseph Fiennes; same thing. Sheesh, don’t you _realise_ how unreliable condoms are? You want to gamble all your future life-plans on a thin membrane of rubber?

    [_] Thousands of deaths from HIV-AIDS in the 1980s could have been prevented if only President Ronald Reagan had urged gay men to practice safe sex. No need to cut back on anonymous sexual encounters with strangers – even when an unknown and lethal new virus is spreading – as long as you use a condom!

      1. Okay, I’ll walk you through this, a bit more slowly.
        Pro-abortion people say “Anti-abortionists want to force women to be pregnant against their will.”
        Anti-abortion people reply “Define ‘against their will’. If you mean ‘they had a choice at one point but didn’t use it”, then goodbye goes a huge number of existing laws, including many that pro-choicers support. Why should a woman be banned from abandoning a six-month-old in the wild, if she doesn’t want to be a parent? Why should a man be forced to pay 20% of his income for 18 years as child support, if he doesn’t want to be a parent? The answer even a Planned Parenthood seven-figures-a-year CEO would give us: “Sorry, but you agreed to have sex and you can’t change your mind now that a child’s life and wellbeing are involved.” In a society where condoms are three dollars a packet, someone who consents to bareback sex but then complains “I didn’t choose to be punished with a baby!” is like Dylann Roof or Ted Kaczynski whining that he’s being held in prison against his will. Make your bed, lie in it.”
        “But – but – why, that’s outrageous. I’m literally shaking.. You think that the mere availability of contraception means that consensual sex involves accepting the risk of pregnancy? Contraceptives are not 100% reliable. Only abortion is (well, barring the occasional Gianna Jessen) 100% reliable”.
        “Really? Well, that’s very interesting, because within living memory the same people who are now saying “abortion restrictions mean forced pregnancies that you have no choice in” were assuring us that, if only Reagan and Bush senior had urged gay men to use condoms, then we could have halted or at least slowed the AIDS death rate without having to close bathhouses and do all the other draconian Randy Shilts stuff. So which one is it? Are condoms unreliable for screening out life-plans-wrecking biohazards carried only in semen, or are they a failsafe protection for screening out life-ending biohazards carried in semen, saliva and other bodily fluids?”
        Hope that’s clearer. Sorry, forgot, pro-choicers don’t really get irony (else they wouldn’t be pro-choicers).

      2. Just to clarify… I am not in favour of legal restrictions on early abortion (whatever your reason) or on life-protecting abortions (at any stage). By “life-protecting”, I mean by the same strict scrutiny that the typical pro-choice journalist brings to bear when someone kills an armed burglar who’s invaded invaded their home and we get the same recycled Slate/ Salon thinkpieces about how Stand Your Ground laws were cooked by by John Calhoun to give legal cover for murdering uppity slaves.
        This is because of severe limitations on the capacity of the state. Ultimately its only power is to either kill people or to forcibly separate them. Neither works for mothers with unborn children. You can’t legislate morality, but that doesn’t mean it stops being morality.
        I do not consider myself “pro-choice” because whatever it meant at the time of Roe, it has come to mean “I believe abortion is morally neutral and that any criticism of it is hate speech”. Most pro-choicers tell me I’m an anti-choice bigot in their book, once they hear my views in detail. Supporting decriminalisation is not enough.
        Go ahead, have your abortions, but (a) stop trying to conscript people who find it revolting just so your feelz don’t get hurt about what you’ve done and (b) please be honest, with yourself and others, about what you’re doing. “I don’t want this child; I’m bigger and stronger; the child won’t survive if I really, really want it dead, and that limits what the state can do to protect it while in utero” – yeah, i can do business with that. But please, cut all the weepy “I made the decision that was best for my baby” Lifestyle Channel crap. Because funnily enough no one ever decides that a wanted baby would have been better off dead. No one ever seems to say “I wanted this baby, but I’m an immature, selfish narcissist so maybe I should kill it for its own sake and forego the baby shower.” No one ever says “Jeez, the Turpin kids had a shitty life, I bet they want to be euthanized now”. “Sorry, kid, for your own good” is always a pretext. If you must channel a prochoice feminist, the frank selfishness of an Ayn Rand is less irritating than the preening pseudo-altruism of an Ursula leGuin.

  11. Well well. The Washington Post got a hold of Michael Cohen’s book ahead of publication.

    Cohen writes that before winning the presidency, Trump held a meeting at Trump Tower with prominent evangelical leaders, where they laid their hands on him in prayer. Afterward, Trump allegedly said: “Can you believe that bulls–t? Can you believe people believe that bulls–t?”

    Christians will still vote for him in droves. They would rather lick the boots of a man who has nothing but contempt for them than vote for a serious, lifelong Christian with a D by his name.

  12. Cohen also depicts Trump as being crude toward women, including inadvertently commenting on Cohen’s then-15-year-old daughter as she finished up a tennis lesson: “Look at that piece of a–,” Trump said, according to Cohen. “I would love some of that.”

    God’s chosen one.

  13. “Trump is a selfish, misogynistic a-hole! He despises women!”
    “So,.. how do you think he’d react if – bear with me for a second, this is a thought-experiment – if a women he’d had sex with, showed up pregnant?”
    “Uh… he’d, uh… he’d force her to bear the baby, probably while piously quoting Old Testament verses at her. Because a man like him knows full well that his power and status in a patriarchy depends on him maximising the number of women who’ve born his unplanned children. After all, misogyny, sexism and sheer non-empathy like Trump’s go hand in hand with anti-abortion prejudices.”
    Don’t stop believin’!

    1. Good night, Neko-fukigen, and enjoy your volunteer shift at that free public hospital that American Atheists built in 1965, funded primarily by their private donations and without using any building materials from apartheid-era South Africa.
      You know the hospital I mean, right? I mean, there are hundreds of those, all across the US. You can’t miss them.

  14. @Tom R,

    Mother Teresa was against abortion. She took in children and found them homes. People who were desperate for children in India adopt children from outside their caste. It’s beautiful.

    I would love to hear about how you are fighting our throw-away culture. the turn’o the word is fun, but shit–Jesus doesn’t care about that at the end of the day.

    Tell me.

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