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With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice

Photo Source Becker1999 | CC BY 2.0

“Abortion is an act of self-defense.”

—Alice Walker

As the midterm elections speed towards us, defeated Americans hope for a ‘blue wave’ of Democrats to save us. Republicans, who align across the board with President Trump’s corporate ecocide agenda, want to push through Trump’s despicable Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh before a potential blue wave. Republicans may not trust Donald Trump, but they agree with him on the issues and will take whatever gains he has provided the party.

Trump has called his nominee Kavanaugh a man of outstanding intellect. Such a phrase coming from Trump is enough to make anyone giggle. It’s like the tortoise saying the sloth is extremely fast. It all depends on the perspective.

Whenever Trump cozies up to someone it always makes me uneasy. For one, it is always so over the top it becomes clear Trump has never given a genuine compliment to anyone in his life. Even more troubling would be the character of the person Trump is complimenting. If he finds something redeemable about you, you should take a long look in the mirror.

Donald Trump though doesn’t exactly operate this way. He doesn’t even like other bad people. He even brags about his lack of friends. If Trump met the devil, he’d criticize him for being too soft. If Trump did this, liberals no doubt would defend the devil’s record. They would lament a more civil time when the devil was the worst thing we could imagine. Trump in response might even slam the devil as a phony, a leg of The New York Times. Claiming his opponents do not even exist is a strategy that Trump hasn’t used yet, but it could work wonders with his quixotic base. For example: Do we even have proof that Barack Obama existed? Who in this crowd has ever seen him? He’s actually just a hallucinogen, conjured up by the FDA.

Trump is a master deflector and has evaded accountability from his base at an even more impressive clip than the smooth talking Obama did. What Obama did with hallow romanticism, Trump matches with reckless blunder.

Trump essentially won the 2016 election on a deflection campaign. He relied on the ineptitude of the political class—from Jeb Bush to Hillary Clinton to CNN. Yet Trump is looking more establishment by the day. Trump successfully navigated accusations of sexual harassment by pointing to Hillary Clinton’s defense of her husband, the notorious harasser Bill Clinton. Bill’s eyes couldn’t even hold themselves back at the very classy Aretha Franklin’s funeral.

Trump is doing everything he has run against, but remains popular because he deflects. After criticizing Hillary for defending Bill, Trump is resisting an FBI investigation into the rape allegedly done by Brett Kavanaugh. Trump also ran on an anti-corruption, anti-regime change, pro-health care platform. How is all of that working out?

If Kavanaugh is confirmed, the media fears he will roll back the historic Roe v. Wade. Perhaps he will. But reproductive rights in the United States have been under assault for a long time. It has happened through a familiar formula: Republicans cut, Democrats twiddle their useless thumbs.

Just as there are food deserts in America, there are abortion deserts in America. A fifth of American women live at least 43 miles away from an abortion clinic. 90% of counties in the United States do not have an abortion clinic. In addition, 1,100 abortion restrictions have been piled on since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Like everything in our country governed by the duopoly oligarchy, reproductive rights are going backwards.

The abortion policy in this country looks most similar to the immigration policy. And like immigration, abortion is deterred through Isaac Newton elements—time and space. Both sides treat these issues as a battle over morality, neither bring in the clear politics of necessity. With a lot of money, perhaps immigration and abortion are choices. But without money, both are acts of self-defense. If you need to immigrate, you do it. If you need an abortion, you do it. Neither are ideal, both are too often necessary.

Just like our immigration laws, providing cruel and unnecessary obstacles to people in need will never serve as a deterrent. The necessary will never be deterred. The necessary can of course be punished and blamed but that won’t stop the necessary either. If our leaders were really anti-abortion, as they say they are, they would address poverty, health care and sexual education in meaningful ways.

The policy in this country on both issues is to make as many deterrents to the “immoral” act of immigration or abortion, while doing nothing to address the factors that lead to it. As sexual education is defunded, so are abortion clinics. As benefits supporting working class mothers are cut, we expect more women to have children. As we impose sanctions and undermine socialism in Central America, we expect less immigrants to come.

Don’t believe the hype. There is not a moral bone in any of these people’s bodies. Sentimental tirades about maintaining the family look silly as the Trump administration tears immigrant families apart. The policy on abortion in this country is like just about every other policy in this country. It’s about punishing the poor. Especially about punishing poor women.

There is such distance from reality as rich male lawmakers preach from the hilltops about sexual purity. Kavanaugh and Trump can engage in whatever acts of perversion they want without consequence. Meanwhile poor women are forced to travel hundreds of miles for their most basic rights. Preaching about morality not only falls short because the lawmakers lack it. It also falls short because abortion has never been an act of morality, it has always been an act of necessity. If you need an abortion, you will get one. It’s not something people do for fun.

One cannot separate abortion from class— 73% of  abortions in the U.S. are done because the woman cannot afford to have a child. This is in a country where over half of us are living paycheck to paycheck. Stripping the country’s population of resources and then restricting their access to sexual protection is just a means to keep us in disarray. Don’t blame people who get abortions, blame the society that makes raising a child impossible. Law and order—as characterized by the grotesque prison population in this country is merely a way to cover up society’s problems. Rather than solving the situations we put poor people in, we wait until they commit a crime, proclaim them the danger, hide them from view, and make a profit off their detainment.

The United States also remains one of the most dangerous places in the developed world to have a child, for all the lifers interested. Each year about 50,00 women are critically injured and 700 die during childbirth here in the United States.

The statistics for unintended pregnancies vary greatly depending on race and class. guttmacher.org states: “The rate of unintended pregnancy among poor women (those with incomes below the federal poverty level) was 112 per 1,000 in 2011, more than five times the rate among women with incomes of at least 200% of the federal poverty level. At 79 per 1,000, the unintended pregnancy rate for black women in 2011 was more than double that of non-Hispanic white women (33 per 1,000). Women without a high school degree had the highest unintended pregnancy rate among all educational levels in 2011 (73 per 1,000), and rates were lower for women with more years of education.”

Education is a factor—an alarming 37% of babies born are unwanted in the United States, with 50% of pregnancies being accidental. And this is all in the supposed information age. Many of the women surveyed had just been miseducated about sex and its effects. Blame this on the atrocious education and health care systems in the United States. On the issues where abortion can be prevented, both corporate parties fail us. Public schools are gobbled up by charter schools. Public health care falls into the hands of private insurance companies.

While sexual education is cut, young people are increasingly turning to pornography to fill the gaps. Not only does pornography celebrate misogyny, it glorifies unprotected sex as masculine performance. An additional 18.3% of pregnant women admitted to being coerced into unprotected sex by their male partners.

Too often the pregnant women are left to deal with the situation on their own, both by the neglectful state and the coercive sexual partners. Even if these actors do get involved too often the discourse revolves around shame and guilt rather than the best and most realistic outcome for the mother.

Even with these factors, abortion is often chosen. But it remains too hard to access; working mothers most often have to take time off work and pay for childcare. There continue to be cost deterrents put in place—and to what ends? People who become pregnant will always get an abortion—they always have. And in a country so concerned with “freedom”, they always should be able to. The question is, what kind of abortion? A safe, affordable and healthy kind or a dangerous kind? The right seems to support a dangerous kind, as a means of punishment.

The question then is, where are the Democrats? Some days all they talk about is abortion. But they refuse to make health care affordable. They continue to turn over public education to right-wing corporations. They continue to cut deals with Republicans and quietly let abortion restrictions pile up across the country. Donald Trump may be a jerk but he reads the Democrats quite clearly when he says it’s “All talk, no action.”

Actually, there has been some action. But not of the progressive nature. Thanks to Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), states can now stop private insurance companies from offering abortion insurance.  Twenty-six states do not allow insurance companies to cover abortion within the ACA marketplace. Eleven of these states now ban coverage of any insurance company, whether they are in the ACA or not. Obama even issued an executive order banning federal funding for abortions. ACA: Abortions Can’t Access.

The “revolutionary” Bernie Sanders isn’t much better. While supporting the right to choose himself, he played right into the media’s Bernie Bro myth by campaigning for anti-choice Democrats. Why the “independent” “socialist” Sanders continues to campaign with any Democrats is beyond me and a discussion for a different day.

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Nick Pemberton writes and works from Saint Paul, Minnesota. He loves to receive feedback at pemberton.nick@gmail.com 

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