What Abortion Legislation Will Look Like If the MAGA Cult Gets Its Way vs. What It Should Look Like

Yesterday, I asked what exactly is being demanded of a Nancy Pelosi (and millions like her) who think criminalizing abortion is going to be a very bad idea that will do nothing about abortion but will successfully raise maternal mortality rates by 21% (as just a start for the chaos that will ensue). In the course of it, I also noted that it will play havoc with the religious liberty of Jewish medical personnel whose tradition privileges mothers over the unborn, particularly in a crisis. Is it being suggested that they be rounded up and jailed if they act on their religious tradition, or what?

Some think that is an exaggeration. I note that MAGA rockstar priest James Altman (thankfully ousted by his bishop but still raking in the money from the Cult by cosplaying at martyrdom) says that Warsaw Jews got what was coming to them in 1944 Because Abortion:

The MAGA Cult is summoning demons that sleep very lightly when they casually toss around terms like “blooddrinkers” and “babykillers” to describe Jews (and that is, by the way, the overwhelming majority of Jews) whose tradition does not regard abortion as conservative Christians do.

In addition, some folks are imagining that the MAGA “prolife” cult of death has no intention of jailing (and if all goes according to plan, executing) post-abortive women for murder. The notion is that only thousands and thousands of medical professionals will be punished (again, for murder, which certainly never sends people to death row in this, the land with the largest gulag in the history of planet Earth).

Prescinding from the insanity of decapitating our obstetrical, gynecological, and pediatric system in a mad quest to impose purity on an already overburdened health care system, let us simply focus on the delusion that post-abortive and miscarrying women will entirely avoid the wrath of MAGA law once Roe is gone.

For the reality, of course, is that lots and lots of women in the US are themselves the people performing the abortion. And the result will be a lot more Purvi Patels, the woman Indiana sentenced to 20 years in prison for performing an abortion on herself. The artificial distinction that MAGA zealots for punishment want to pretend to maintain between the abortionist (who deserves the book thrown at him in the MAGA mind) and the patient, is entirely imaginary in the era of methotrexate, mifepristone and misoprostol. If you think women who induce their own abortions will not be charged with murder and that the Cult will not try to inflict the severest penalties the law allows, you are kidding yourself. Indiana Republicans have already shown us exactly what they mean to do and it will swell ours, the largest gulag in history, with thousands more people. It is a Cult of spite and vengeance that loves cruelty. And it has already tried and failed to charge women with murder in Louisiana and tried and succeeded in jailing miscarrying women in Texas.

A lesson from history (something the Cult hates) is still worth heeding. The reason Prohibition failed was technology. It was simply too easy for any rando to make booze, so the state ended up playing whackamole.

Same here. With the easy availability of abortifacients and the reality that a huge number of pregnancies end in miscarriage even when no abortifacient is used, the MAGA “prolife” cult of spectacularly overreaching authoritarianism is going (if they want to be logically consistent) to have to attempt the impossible, sadistic, and insane feat of investigating every failed pregnancy on suspicion of attempted homicide, as well as inflicting prison and (if they get all they want) execution on those women who perform their own abortions with abortifacients. And, of course, they will also wind up punishing women who use certain drugs, not as abortifacients, but for other medical needs, because civil law is a sledgehammer, not a surgeon’s scalpel. The Cult is ready for none of this and are going to make a massive dog’s breakfast of their Crusade. Unless, of course, they are stopped from this impossible authoritarian attempt to impose the Reich of Heaven on a population in which only 13% want abortion outlawed.

The only escape hatch from logical consistency will be to follow the path charted by Matt Schlapp, the massively racist head of the Conservative Political Action Committee, who sees an abortion ban, not in terms of saving lives, but in terms of giving a leg up to the White Master Race threatened with Replacement by Inferior Brown Races. Sez Schlapp:

“If you’re worried about this quote-unquote replacement, why don’t we start … with allowing our own people to live?” Matt Schlapp, who is white, asked U.S. media shut out of CPAC in Budapest, where he spoke on Thursday.

Scuttling Roe v. Wade is a “good start,” Schlapp reportedly emphasized, referring to Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion doing just that.

“If you say there is a population problem in a country, but you’re killing millions of your own people every year through legalized abortion every year, if that were to be reduced, some of that problem is solved,” Vice quoted Schlapp as saying.

That, and not a damn thing to do with the dignity of human life, is what the MAGA cult are thinking about as they decide who will be punished and thrown in prison and who will get a pass so she can raise up pure Aryan stock (“our people” as Schlapp calls them) to beat back the teaming untermenschen.

In the end, of course, this mad scheme is doomed. The entire attempt to stop abortion by force, fear, law, blood, and iron is, in the end, the lazy person’s approach and, as laziness always does, it is going to create an impossible amount work for the lazy (and the victims who get in his way). The real way to approach this is to do something that selfish swine like Schlapp have no intention of doing: create a culture of generosity to poor families and women in crisis, as well as to teach the dignity of every human person, not use the unborn as human shields so that massively selfish conservative sociopaths can trample over all the people they want to rob, harm, and kill.

We can realize that now and not let the nuts create a mad legal regime that will make everything worse. Or we can let the nuts run the show.

One text to which the nuts in the Cult of Vengeance are appealing to a lot is this passage from the Catechism:

2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation:

“The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.”

“The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the law. When the state does not place its power at the service of the rights of each citizen, and in particular of the more vulnerable, the very foundations of a state based on law are undermined. . . . As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.”

The MAGA “prolife” Cult, being sure they know what is right, are certain they know that “appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights” has to mean their menu of draconian punishments for those they have decided need to get it in the neck: post-abortive women and their medical staff. That’s where they want to direct the vengeance and violence because, like the men who wanted to stone the woman taken in adultery, the furthest thing from their minds is their own sin. They want scapegoats and they want them now.

But let me suggest an entirely different way of reading this guidance from the Church that has never once entered the heads of the MAGA Cult. Given that nobody has an abortion for fun and that the #1 abortifacient in the US is poverty, suppose we apply the Church’s guidance this way:

  • Every time a “prolife” politician battles to deny families a living wage, imprison them for as long as they want to imprison women driven by poverty to abort.
  • Every time a “prolife” politician votes to cut food benefits for poor families, jail them.
  • Every time a “prolife” politician votes to deny poor families baby formula, or destroys food benefits, or loots health care in order to build a completely unnecessary bomber, punish them as they want so badly to punish somebody else for caving into the economic pressure he put on her to abort.
  • Every time a deadbeat father refuses to help a mother, jail him and confiscate his money and give it to mom.
  • Every corporation (like Walmart) that refuses to pay a just wage and tells its workers to go on welfare should face severe penalties and confiscation of wealth to support families.
  • Any corp that gouges struggling families for baby-food: send the CEO to jail.
  • Etc.

In short, if you are a Catholic lusting to punish somebody with “appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights” then start by punishing all the powerful (including yourself) who create the demand for abortions with support for sadistic policies that make it harder and harder to create and rear families rather than just lazily focusing your self-righteous wrath on your traditional targets of poor and brown women. Until you have thoroughly repented your own complicity in creating and maintaining the poverty-driven abortion-industrial complex that your own choices have sustained, you have no right to cast the first stone. Discipleship to Jesus is about helping others and controlling yourself, not about helping yourself and controlling others.

We need to ask ourselves as Catholics: Do we just care about performative piety that makes everything worse or about actually saving lives by living generous and sacrificial lives like Jesus Christ?

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21 Responses

  1. No, that’s not how it works. first you must concede that IF I accept your deal, you will agree that there is no inalienable right to abortion. Just jailing republicans is silly. You don’t have anything close to the power needed to do that.

    Okay consistent ethic jokers, hands up; no inaliable right to abortion in exchange for all the social measures you want. Hello? Hellooooooooo? Anyone? Sid? Manny? Diego? hello?

    1. I am good with your offer. If we are going to claim the mantle of pro-life that means supporting life from conception to natural death. That means we must be willing to pay where our mouths have put us.

    2. Are you serious? Or are you ignorant of the American political landscape?

      No inalienable right to abortion will be the law of the land, if the pro-life right was willing to give up racism. No social measures needed. None.

      Blacks and Hispanics are socially conservative, and would vote so, in a heartbeat if the Republican Party gave up racism.

      White racism is the heart of conservatism and the driving force behind pro-life politics in this country.

      So pro-life folks, put your money where your mouth is .. if abortion is the non-negotiable issue, then give up racism for it? Get Hispanics and blacks under your pro-life umbrella? Treat them as humans?

      Hello? Hellooooooooo? Anyone? Sid? Manny? Diego? hello?

      1. @ Raph

        I’m serious, though I would really not bargain with any life: black, white, unborn, or poor. My remark was aimed at those who shout that poverty is the main cause for abortion, but when faced with a question about poverty, don’t manage to get beyond ”abortion is my right”. And yes, I do consider the socially conservative black person to be a better ally than the white liberal.

      2. @artvelde
        >My remark was aimed at those who shout that poverty is the main cause for abortion

        And I’m saying that this remark is mostly a troll-like request, not made in good faith. Most of those who say that poverty is the cause of abortion are themselves people who are struggling with life, trying to make ends meet. They have a vested interest in solving their problem, and if that was an option along with banning abortion, they would take it.

        There is no such option on the table. The American bishops have sold themselves to racists and plutocrats. Anyone that insists that the poor and the oppressed need to suffer more so that the kingdom will come is evil. That is what the American clergy and bishops are doing..

        The reality of American politics is that there are lot of poor people and minorities who will _not_ vote for banning abortion, because the choice they have is this

        (ban abortion and suffer more economic and racial injustice) OR ( let abortion be, and gain bits of economic and racial justice)

        Solidarity is required to solve racial and economic injustice. Subsidiarity (individual level) is all that is necessary to stop any abortion.

      3. @ Raph

        You’re not interested in such an option being available, because the rather lengthy description of ”abortion dealt with by subsidiarity on an individual level means one thing: you’re pro-choice.

      4. @Artevelde

        >You’re not interested in such an option being available, because the rather lengthy description of ”abortion dealt with by subsidiarity on an individual level means one thing: you’re pro-choice

        On the contrary, my entire proposition is the opposite. Namely
        (1) the rich and privileged have the option to sacrifice their racism and greed (to enlarge their tent) for banning abortion
        (2) the poor and minorities have the option to suffer injustice and racism for banning abortion.

        Subsidiarity is an option in either case.

        Who do you think should sacrifice? The poor? My stance is I that the if offered (2), then the poor and minorities are well justified in defaulting to subsidiarity. If offered (1), then the rich and privileged race is evil for choosing subsidiarity

        Which is why the rich and racists will never offer the choice. And the racist priests will never insist that the rich and privileged do more to enlarge the tent

  2. Let’s take this from the top, legally speaking. Roe v. Wade does not discover nor confer an inalienable right to abortion. It’s cute to use the language of the Declaration, which is foundational but not in fact legally binding, but that’s another issue.

    Roe v. Wade holds that the Constitution guarantees an individual right to privacy, based in part on the guarantee of freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and protection from self-incrimination. Having made a determination privacy grounds, the Justices examined the issue of rights of the mother versus the rights of the fetus, and determined that legally, the fetus has personal rights at, but not before, the point of viability.
    The issue doesn’t present this way in Europe for historical reasons, but in the States it’s a question of understanding individual rights.

    Different faiths see the fetus as a person in full at different stages of development; Catholics teach that a fertilized egg is a person with complete rights equal to that of the mother. The reasoning that the fertilized egg is a living thing with personal DNA, thus an individual with equal rights to those of any other person, is logically consistent but not obvious.

    And the Church, and the Fundamentalist Fellow Travellers, are not convincing people that it is.

    1. Thank you for stating this so clearly. One can be pro Roe for reasons that have nothing to do with abortion at all. Roe is all about precedent. It is overturning a precedent that says we have a right to privacy. Some politicians MAY use this to make abortion illegal AT THIS TIME. They may just as easily use it to make abortion mandatory (prisoners or mental patients for example). Christians are making a big leap of faith assuming that politicians are going to use this overthrow of precedent to make abortion illegal. That is what they claim. At this time. It also leaves the door open for the government to dictate how many children we may have, or if we are allowed to have any.
      Make no mistake to overturn Roe our government must declare that there is no right to privacy. Abortion is but one fruit from that tree. Many other life issues are at stake

      1. Yes, exactly. Good friend of mine (RIP) was an adamantly pro-choice feminist, i remember being chilled when she said, “If the State can forbid you to have an abortion, they can compel you to have an abortion.” Absent a right of personal autonomy, the power of the State works in either direction.

      2. I wish we didn’t have to choose between (a) no restrictions on abortion and (b) mandatory abortions. It would be great to have some options, like – and I know this is crazy, I’m just spitballing here – banning abortion and not forcing anyone to get abortions. But that’s a wild fantasy.

        I think we need to extend this principle beyond the womb. If parents don’t have the right to murder their toddlers, then there is nothing to prevent the government from forcing parents to murder their toddlers. It’s time to legalize toddler-killing so that the government cannot force us to kill toddlers.

      3. @ Toonma

        Nope, not an option. I was just told that being in favor of banning abortion *and* wanting to enact social policies for the poor, is not an option either.

        It sure must be fun to live in a moral universe where there’s only two options: pure evil, and whatever the DNC platform says. It’s even more ”fun” to live outside the USA and *still* being told I live in a moral universe where only pure evil and a thing called the Democratic party in the USA are the only moral options …

    2. @Toonma

      I understand that you see an absolute equivalence between a toddler and a fertilized egg; for anyone who sees that equivalence, banning all abortion is obvious. The bodily autonomy of the mother doesn’t matter if they’re the same.

      But let us acknowledge that absent the eyes of faith, plenty of people do not see that equivalence at all. They find the comparison ridiculous, even repulsive. Or contrived to manipulate emotions. Or at the extreme, deliberately false.

      Legislation like the recent signed Oklahoma ban on any interference with a fertilized egg, may seem perfect to you, but that’s because it aligns with your religious belief about a fertilized egg. You case would be stronger if you at least recognized that it’s not a universal belief.

  3. Agree 96%… the other 4% is because I’m not getting a clear picture from the Pro-My-Own-Choicers as to exactly how “abortion bans are a racist strategy to increase the number of white babies” meshes with “abortion bans are a white supremacist measure to deny women of colour reproductive choice.”
    Any old stick, I guess. Not that MAGA Christianity is short of sticks it deserves to be beaten with, so what’s one more.
    As to the usual “if you really think abortion is bad, why baulk at effective means to stop it happening” – one response to this, which does in fact seem to get some traction with right-wing Catholics, is along these lines:
    1. Do you think sexual molestation of children is evil and should be detected and prosecuted by all means necessary?
    2. If so, then why not abrogate the seal of the confessional by placing priests under the same legal duty to report child molesters as other professions are under?
    At that point even the hairiest-chested Marian Militant type will suddenly rediscover “let us not do evil so that good may come” and “cut down every law in England to get at the devil”…

    1. I’m having trouble following your concluding pair of questions. If the issue is that anti-abortion Catholics are overzealous, why not ask them directly about eliminating the seal of the confessional for abortion? Why do you need to analogize to kid-touching to make your point?

      1. Because kid-touching is something that (a) is an extremely serious crime, even in the minds of the far right wing Catholics (they don’t excuse it morally but claim it doesn’t happen or only happens because of Vatican II)
        (b) would be easier to prosecute in many past cases (although it may create a disincentive for the future) if priests could be compelled to testify under oath if anyone had confessed to child molestation in the course of the sacrament of confession.
        Right-wing Catholics will then assure you that, while of course they detest child molestation, it cannot justify such a draconian step as abrogating the seal of the confessional.
        This may then lead some of the more self-aware ones to realise that “An unborn foetus is a human life -> killing a human life is homicide –> deliberate homicide is punished as murder –> therefore killing an unborn foetus should be punished as murder” is not as ironclad a syllogism as they had thought, just as “Sexually molesting a child is a grave crime and sin –> anyone who becomes aware of a grave crime and sin committed against a child must report what they know to the police and courts –> therefore priests who become aware, via confession, of sexual molestation committed against a child must report what they know to the police and courts ” is not the only possible outcome.
        Is that any clearer?

      2. I have no doubt that most, if not all of the MAGA nutjob priests would happily violate the seal of confession to bust some woman who procured an abortion.

        On a practical level it probably won’t happen much because what women would want to engage with these guys on anything?

  4. If you may condition your compliance with CCC 2273 on my compliance with everything else in the Catechism, then I may condition my compliance with [insert your favor Catholic Social Teaching] on your compliance with CCC 2273. If only the sinless may cast stones at abortionists, then only the sinless may cast stones at Wal-Mart.

    This places us at any impasse, or perhaps a standoff. We’re not getting anywhere this way.

    The solution, of course, is the Consistent Life Ethic. That means following the Church’s teachings, without regard to the disobedience of those bad MAGA cultists. Their misbehavior, past, present or anticipated, does not provide an exception to any Church teaching. Be consistent and faithful to the Church, irrespective of what anyone else is doing.

    And so after we learn, once again, that the MAGA Cult is terrible, CCC 2273 remains. The Church says that abortion must be criminalized. Do you agree? The answer to this question is either “Yes, but the laws must be just,” or “No.” The answer is not “The MAGA Cultists are awful.” That can be a complement to the answer, but it is not the answer.

  5. Rather than taunt these extremists or disrupt their religious services, ask them uncomfortable questions that will be the consequences of their “victories”

    Start with: Who’s going to adopt all the black babies??

  6. Men who want to use women without the possible consequence of child support are huge proponents of abortion.

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