They claim, of course, to be driven by compassion for fertilized eggs from the moment of conception. They consider them constitutionally protected citizens, which to them makes abortion murder. For the argument below, grant them that ludicrous premise.
Why, then, do most of them favor legal abortion in cases of rape (as the nation as a whole does overwhelmingly). Surely a fertilized egg conceived from rape is as innocent as any other. And since anti-choicers consider abortion to be no less than murder, surely they shouldn’t let political expedience trump efforts to prevent that crime. Why, indeed, wouldn’t they be frothing for the death penalty, or at least life imprisonment, against women and their abortion providers?
Some are, and though they’re still in the minority, things are indeed headed that way, as shown by the barbaric anti-choice laws recently passed in Texas, Oklahoma and Idaho, with many others pending. Some would allow even a rapist’s relatives to sue abortion providers or anyone deemed to have facilitated an abortion. And, to quote Ronald Reagan quoting Al Jolson, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
Given their nutty assumptions, anti-choicers’ only consistent position is the one embraced by the minority of them who oppose all abortions, with no exceptions even in cases of rape. No wonder they increasingly turn to intimidation, with death threats becoming increasingly common — why wouldn’t one use intimidation to prevent no less than what one considered murder?
So, if not compassion for fertilized eggs, what does fever anti-choicers? Recall two famous characterizations of puritanism: H.L. Mencken’s “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy” and Thomas McCauley’s “The Puritan hated bear-baiting, not because of the pain it gave the bear, but because of the pleasure it gave the spectators.”
Try as they will, even America’s fanatic puritans can’t outlaw or suppress all pleasurable acts, so they focus on what inflames their envy most: pleasures that come with little cost or pain. That’s why, even with America’s sky-high rates of serious crime, most of those behind bars are in for non-violent acts between consenting adults.
Our numberless laws against consensual acts between adults have long made “The Land of the Free” the world’s most litigious and imprisoned nation. The same force that fevered the alcohol Prohibitionists continues to fever warriors against other consensual acts: drug-taking, gambling, prostitution, no-fault divorce, gay marriage, pornography, stem-cell research, death with dignity, world without end.
That’s the culture that shapes and drives the mindset of the anti-choice movement, which is rooted in age-old opposition to all forms of birth control. In addition to political expedience, what moves most of them to support legal abortion in cases of rape is that rape victims experience horrible suffering instead of pleasure, so in that case no less than what anti-choicers consider murder can go unpunished in their eyes. But no such mercy for a woman whose pregnancy resulted from consensual sex (which I’ve heard can be pleasurable on occasion).
Much more fuel for this is provided by America’s being by far the nation most steeped in fundamentalist, authoritarian “Christianity.” At least a third of Americans are fevered by such of its lunatic fantasies as original sin, atonement fixations, “thou shalt nots,” etc., which strongly inclines them against individual liberty generally and the freedom of women especially, who in their minds were created by God to breed and “to love, honor and obey” men.
In sum, it’s puritanism, hardly compassion for fetuses, that drives these wonders. Most are the least likely to support maternal care or child-welfare programs. And they are the most galling of the numberless examples of right-wing hypocrites who prate for “limited government.” Knowing they are unpersuasive in debate, they resort to the force of the state to imposetheir delusions on women making what should be the most personal of decisions.
As the march of American fascism accelerates, anti-choicers are winning big and poised to win much bigger very fast. Despite polls having long shown strong pro-choice majorities, most Democrats (“It’s the economy, stupid”) keep refusing, idiotically and unconscionably, to campaign vigorously on abortion rights and other social/judicial issues and generate a long-overdue backlash against these bullying wowsers.