Best of the Bulwark 2022
There are 8 BILLION human beings swarming the planet and counting.
Life can be many things: joyful, productive, pain-filled, and miserable among them. But the one thing it is not is "precious." You want a "full quiver," plant a garden.
A blastocyst is no more an "unborn child" than an acorn is an oak sideboard. This superstitious nitwittery is flowery, but it remains a matter of fancy, not fact. Kindly do not attempt to force it upon the bodies of the rational and the reasoned; it will not go well. . . .
Why do we only look at the women as malefactors (which I don’t believe)? Pregnancy takes two people. Why should women have to bear the burdens alone? Is it because legislators in the states with the most draconian laws are dominated by white males? Do they just give men a pass? At least apply the laws evenhandedly.
This situation brings to mind the decades of work on contraception—for women to use. Why should women have to bear the burden of devices and medicines that may harm the body in the long term? Same answer as above.
I am not a pro-lifer in the sense described here. I believe every child should have a decent home, a good education, love and respect. What must it be like to be an unwanted child? Or to be the offspring of parents who can’t afford health care? Or abusive parents who put there children in hospital? Unless we can provide children with the essentials we are not giving them much of a life. I agree—we need social policies that support children, policies that are user friendly.
It is estimated that a very large percent of children born because of these laws will be children of color. Will they all be adopted? What are would-be parents searching for these days? I would like to think they are color blind, but I doubt it.
Can we ask The conservative Justices who overturned Dobbs to each adopt 100+ kids?
The whole thing breaks my heart.
Even if we could magically improve the social safety net and have stronger prenatal and postnatal care for women and their babies - which we absolutely should do- the state telling a woman that she MUST give birth is still abhorrent. It still makes a mockery of freedom and autonomy. We can make a society that actually values life, so that almost no woman chooses to end her pregnancy, because she feels supported and empowered- but the CHOICE must always be hers.
I’m just quite struck by his willingness to put it all out there. Typically, we don’t hear from men who have experienced this “forced choice,,” often comes from a beautiful early relationship. In the end I’m glad to know a beautiful daughter has a loving father. My pro-choice views were most strongly formed as a result of working with the UNwanted. We talk about the woman’s choice and the “godly” choice. But the UNwanted are children who suffer unthinkable traumas. They don’t get a choice.
That’s it. Cells vs. A Child with lifelong traumas.
My wife's sister had a really hard time getting pregnant. The IVF process was eventually successful, but she was very down to her last batch of donor eggs when she finally got one that made it to birth. My nephew is named Brian. I really enjoyed helping teach him to play guitar. He headed off to Florida State this fall to study Economics. I don't know if he's been informed that his mom isn't really his blood mother. I hope he never has to learn that there are many people who think his mother is a mass murderer. Or of those babies his mom killed (according to the pro life folks) trying to have him. And If IVF were banned, as some in the so called 'pro life'crowd want, he'd never have been born.
First of all you are ignoring the second term abortions. Second if those later term abortions are already covered under the exceptions then there's no reason to oppose reasonable gestational limits. The fact you don't want to do that means you're holding a very extreme position that only about 5% of the people support.
This was one of the best, most thoughtful opinion pieces on abortion that I’ve ever read. I’ve been on both sides of this issue.
I became pregnant shortly after I got married at the age of 21. I had just graduated college and my husband and I barely had two coins to rub together. I remember crying when I found out. But I always really loved children and I really wanted to be a mother. My husband and I decided to keep the baby. Friends and family helped out with donations of baby furniture and clothes and baby-sitting. When my son was born in 2002, we didn’t have all that much money, but we were surrounded by love.
I had another boy, planned, 4 years later and the two got on great (most of the time). When my youngest was set to start full time kindergarten, I decided to dust off some old ambitions and apply to pharmacy school. Shortly after I was accepted, I found out I was about 8 weeks pregnant. I was devastated. I was already going to be attending grad school about 10 years later than my peers. If I missed this opportunity, it was highly unlikely I would try again. And I honestly had no desire to have another child. I felt my family was complete. So I opted to terminate the pregnancy. Do I regret it? Absolutely not. Do I regret keeping my first child? Absolutely not.
I am pro-choice for the same reason I am pro-free speech and pro-free markets and pro-democracy. I consider Liberty to be more sacred than Life. And in a free society, the people, not the government, decide what they think is best for them based on their individual values and circumstances (as long as it does not interfere with the liberty of others).
In the course of detailing those things which would help enhance the well-being of mother and child, the idea that any one of them would be achieved is the stuff of dreams. All on this ‘wish list’ should be on the list of items that should be done by government whether or not the Roe decision is reinstated or even further decimated.
I am grateful for the sharing of the personal, private history. Though grateful, it never was nor ever should be, anyone else’s.
Is privacy a right explicitly protected by the Constitution? No, but only because it is so inherent in universal, basic human rights as to need no explication. Sort of goes without saying that “Because a citizen has a right to privacy” they have a right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, free from having soldiers quartrered in their homes, to associate with whomever they want. And so on down the line. Up to and including to have a private consultation with a doctor of your own choosing.
If only we can remember to “mind your own business” as my Mother used to say. Only then will we ever hope to get this issue behind us.
So here's a thought (and I wish it were not so tongue in cheek):
Everyone, except Republicans, is "pro-life" -- because the opposite is "pro-death" -- but many are also pro-abortion while many others are also anti-abortion. So let's call it what it is.
Then let's create a national database of self-identified pro and con abortion rights.
THEN let's draw from the anti-abortion database for the forced adoption/support of every child a woman (or 10-year-old child) is forced by law to have against her will, to the age of 21.
THEN we'll find out who is REALLY anti-abortion! It's easy to scream when it's someone else's ox being gored.
Apropos of nothing, I was thinking over the weekend, "What would make the MAGA crowd happy?"
What does America look like once they've completely, thoroughly and permanently owned the libs?
And this came to mind:
Boy the way Glen Miller played,
Songs that made the hit parade,
Guys like us we had it made,
Those were the days,
And you know where you were then,
Girls were girls and men were men,
Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again,
Didn't need no welfare states
Everybody pulled his weight,
Gee our old Lasalle ran great,
Those were the days
No weirdo musicians playing music they don't understand, no LGBTQ, no New Deal with all its handouts to loafers and bums, a return to the policies of a Republican from the mid-20's, simple stuff that "worked."
That song opened a TV show that went on the air in 1971.
It pines for a time 45 years before that, a wonderful time when "guys like us, we had it made."
And the MAGA crowd pines for it still.
I think that's it. That's what they want. Archie Bunker had no power to make it happen. Jim Jordan and Josh Hawley think they might ... and they're trying ... and there are a lot of people cheering them on.
Just a thought.
Sykes would deny women precisely what he and his wife benefitted from: A choice. He seems to believe that the fact that they had a choice had no bearing on the success of their family--in this worldview, whether a child is wanted or unwanted is beside the point. Which raises a question: Is an unwanted child not a moral tragedy?
I have a question for the Bulwark team. Has anyone been following the anti-Semitism crisis that engulfed the U.K Labour Party while Jeremy Corbyn was leader and current leader Keir Starmer's effort to in his words "rip out Anti-Semitism from the roots"? There is an excellent article in the Times of Israel published today about this effort. I am a regular reader of The Bulwark, and I keep thinking about how the UK Labour Party was in a similar situation to the Republican Party, in that it had become a toxic cesspool of hate, and that there is a sustained effort by Starmer to make clear that such hate has No Place in the Labour Party. I wonder again if any of the Bulwark contributors have followed this at all, as I think that this is exactly what needs to happen (and a potential path) for the G.O.P to become a pro-democracy again.
I appreciate you sharing your story of your beautiful family Charlie. I too have been pro-life in my own personal choices, although my situation was less difficult since it was our third child who was the surprise. I also believe every life is precious, but I could never go along with the Republican pro-life movement or policy positions. Criminalizing women is a bridge too far, and for me, the complete lack of pro-child or pro-family policies or funding from the right has solidified in my mind that the people who did all the dirty work of appointing the current Supreme Court majority to overturn Roe never had even a passing thought of good intentions for the lives of women in this country. It's telling that all their focus has been on blaming and punishing women, while men escape all responsibility for unwanted pregnancies and abortions. Hershel Walker's support among Republican evangelicals is a perfect example of that. I see that Mona Charon is now talking about supporting a push to provide contraceptives, and to that I say, great - where were all your pro-lifers 5,10, 20 years ago when Democrats were trying to focus on prevention of unwanted pregnancies? We all witnessed the aggressive, well funded push by pro-life organizations to stop contraceptives from being easily accessible and provided through the ACA. If anything, the pro-life community shares a good chunk of blame for the number of abortions just based on their embrace of religious zealots who try to stop women from having easy and affordable access to contraceptives. Trying to take funding away from Planned Parenthood - an organization that mainly provides free pap smears, treatment for bladder infections and access to contraceptives has been immeasurably harmful to women and girls - and I'm thankful everyday for Democrats holding the line and working to help and protect women. As you mentioned Charlie, you can look at the map to see all the places where Republican policies towards women and families have been harmful in their cynical denial of Medicaid and Medicare expansion in those red states. There are so many reasons I dislike the Republican party as a whole, but nothing irks me more than the blatant disregard for the well being of women and children and deliberately harmful and unnecessarily punitive policies for a party that claims to be based around the values of Jesus and a supposedly pro-life culture. I used to live in Australia - in my teen years - and you can look at the outcomes in other countries like Australia that have socialized healthcare a broad support for providing contraceptives and sex education - the number of abortions is lower and women and children are better supported there. When I moved back to America as an adult I immediately recognized the backwards thinking and puritanical nature of American conservative policies that I am positive make unwanted pregnancies' more likely to occur, and likely contribute to the high maternal mortality rate in this country. It is shameful if you look at the numbers - we have THE HIGHEST maternal mortality rate of any developed nation in the world. And just to add - my other festering anger at the US healthcare system - a point of which I hold the Republican party resoundingly responsible for - the cost JUST to give birth in this country is astronomical. I don't know if any of you have had babies recently - my last was 4 years ago - but even if you have decent employer based healthcare that has prenatal coverage - you will still pay out of pocket anywhere from $4,000 - $12,000 to give birth in a hospital. And if you don't have coverage - $60,000 or more! Look it up - it's crazy. My husband had to wheel me into the "financial office" of our Kaiser hospital to sign a form and pay a $2500 "deposit" when I was in labor with our 3rd child, BEFORE they would allow me to go up to the labor and delivery room. It would be vast understatement to say that I was upset at the time - I was in labor, in a wheel chair, and they were making us sign forms and pay thousand of dollars for a "deposit", which of course we never got back because, guess what - we had to pay more later. Health insurance companies are unethical trash organizations. The healthcare system in America is a shockingly disgusting example of why for-profit healthcare is morally reprehensible and the outcomes aren't good either. Women are getting the short end of the stick in the Republican party, and I can not for the life of me, work out why a majority of white women still vote for them. My only guess is that they don't know what they're missing - they haven't seen how compassionate and family forward policies in other democracies around the world have benefited the quality of life for people in those countries. Democrats are the only party that truly supports women and children - and nothing - and I mean NOTHING the Republican party has been doing over the last 10 years would have me believe they would ever change or that they have ever been truly pro-life.
"Every abortion is a tragedy" No. No its not. That's your personal take on it. Stop pushing your views on ALL of them. Abortion from a rape is not a tragedy. Abortion from an unplanned pregnancy that was never EVER wanted isn't a tragedy. Some people do not want to be parents. EVER. And on occasion birth control fails. Abortion is a medical necessity. End of. Want a tragedy? Abortion at 22wks because the fetus has died. Abortion at 28wks because there's abnormalities so bad that life will not happen at birth. Those are tragedies. Abortion because a person isn't ready to be a parent isn't a tragedy. It's life. And we need to protect the person who needs it.
As an undergraduate English Lit major who was raised in a pro-life, devout Catholic family, I was totally unprepared for my own unplanned pregnancy. The father of that child, also a Catholic undergrad, told me that he didn’t care what I decided to do but that he would be long gone to law school by the time I gave birth. I wasn’t even offered the support of the father sitting down with me to tell my parents.
I chose to abort. The staff at Planned Pregnancy offered me more compassion and kindness than any other person during that difficult time. And they set me up with effective birth control (not available at my Catholic university).
I never regretted that choice. It did not feel like a tragic loss of a human life. It felt like the only viable path forward in my situation.
And my story is not an unusual one.
The push for punitive measures totally fails to account for the sheer number of unwanted pregnancies. The lack of pushback is mostly due to the prevalence of medical abortions and morning-after pills. Take those options away and things change fast and not in favor of the pro-life zealots.