September 16, 2021

Pro-Life, You Say?

Guest Opinion
By Amy Kerr Hardin | Sept. 11, 2021

Imagine a Venn diagram consisting of these positions: pro-life, all lives matter, anti-mask/anti-vax, supporting repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and anti-immigration. Any person who finds themselves at the intersection of these incongruous viewpoints is, in the very least, a hypocrite who clearly doesn’t value any life but perhaps their own. They are the product of the toxic alchemy of misguided politics and faux morality.

It’s double the hypocrisy because many of those in vigorous opposition to mask and vaccination mandates claim they have the right to make their own healthcare decisions yet still demand American women shouldn’t enjoy autonomy over their reproductive health. “My body, my choice” has been co-opted by a pack of two-faced posers.

In truth, COVID-19 mandates are nothing like abortion bans. Americans have the right to not follow basic CDC health guidelines — as long as they understand they may lose their job and find themselves unwelcome in schools and businesses. They do indeed still have the luxury of “choice,” but like all choices, it comes at a price.

In Waukesha, Wisconsin, the conservative school board recently voted to reject the federally-funded free lunch program, claiming it would cause children to “become spoiled” — a decision since reversed after public outrage. Withholding food from children doesn’t sound particularly “pro-life.”  

With all that’s happening in the world, we have been inundated with reports of the pandemic, the insurrection, wildfires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, rampant voter suppression, cyberattacks, gruesome gun violence … the list goes on and on. Republican lawmakers are taking this opportunity while America is reeling from one bad news item after another to pass legislation designed to chip away at women’s rights with frightful retrograde policies.

“Pro-life” is largely a facade for political showmanship — an effort to stake out the moral high ground in the service of misogyny.

Male dominance is a tentpole of fascism. White men running the show in statehouses and boardrooms continue to erode the important progress women have made over recent decades. It’s boilerplate authoritarianism. We need look no further than “The Squad” — a group of dynamic female congressional leaders. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been a favorite target of fragile white males. They relish attacking her looks and intelligence. Big men.

Fragility was on full display when former Vice President Mike Pence complained about the invasiveness of a COVID-19 nasal swab. He is the same person who as governor of Indiana attempted to pass a law to force women seeking to terminate a pregnancy to undergo a medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasound — a truly invasive procedure. 

Banning abortion is the brass ring for the subjugation of American women, and Texas is ground zero for the assault on reproductive rights. How might this affect Michigan?

The Lone Star State has put a $10,000 bounty on the heads of women who seek an abortion after only six weeks, when few realize they are pregnant. The law encourages vigilantes to collect the purse by ratting-out women exercising their protected reproductive rights. The evil genius of having the law enforced through private citizens is that the state can wash its hands of that constitutionally sketchy responsibility by giving complete strangers legal standing to sue.

There is pushback, but the possibility of protecting established reproductive rights is very much in jeopardy. 

President Biden is considering a federal response to the new Texas restrictions, saying “This law is so extreme it does not even allow for exceptions in the case of rape and incest. And it not only empowers complete strangers to inject themselves into the most private of decisions made by a woman — it actually incentivizes them.” He added that the U.S. Supreme Court’s hasty decision to allow the ban to stand “insults the rule of the law” because the six-week ban was never tested in lower courts.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Pelosi announced she plans to bring legislation to a vote that will codify Roe v. Wade in a bill titled “Women’s Health Protection Act.” It will likely fly through the House but will die in the Senate. The importance of protecting Roe lies in its provision preventing states from banning abortion.

A Texas judge issued a restraining order against Texas Right to Life, preventing them from using the new law in an attempt to sue Planned Parenthood out of existence. 

Planned Parenthood characterized the ban as making “abortion *everyone’s* business but their own.”

Idaho, Oklahoma, and South Carolina have laws similar to Texas’ that impose a six-week ban.

Michigan has a law on the books from 1846 criminalizing abortions. If Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, Michigan’s archaic statute would again become operational. However, Attorney General Dana Nessel has signaled that she has no intention of enforcing that Draconian law. She says it would send “women to be butchered in back alleys.”

The Guttmacher Institute, an international nonprofit organization focused on women’s reproductive health, found that in the first half of this year, 90 new laws restricting women’s rights were enacted at the state level.

Attacks on women’s reproductive rights rarely have anything to do with supporting life. No, it’s merely a fragile white male power grab — a nod to fascism.

Get a clue, folks. After decades of the attempted acculturation of misogyny into the American ethos, typically in the name of religion and faux morality, most Americans continue to support reproductive autonomy, because it’s the right thing to do.  

“Pro-life,” you claim? Then prove it, and at least get vaxxed.

Amy Kerr Hardin is a retired banker, regionally known artist, and public-policy wonk. You can hear and learn more about the state of Michigan politics on her podcast, www.MichiganPolicast.com.

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