Monday, December 8, 2014

The New Anti-Choice Claim In State Legislatures: ‘Abortion Isn't Healthcare’

"Keep abortion legal.
No exceptions.
No apologies."
Since the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade (1973), a woman's right to choose abortion in the first trimester of her pregnancy has been recognized as a constitutionally protected right. This explicit recognition by the nation's highest court has left abortion opponents to chip away at the edges of abortion: limiting its availability; imposing ridiculous building codes on abortion clinics and qualification restrictions on abortion doctors that do not apply to other kinds of clinics and doctors; and now, the most absurd of all: claiming that "abortion isn't healthcare" and therefore is not legally protected in the way most medical options are.

"Abortion isn't healthcare?" Try to tell that to the woman whose life has been saved by an abortion. The claim is, on its face, false.

That doesn't stop the nut-jobs from passing their nut-job laws in crazy state legislatures such as the one in Texas. Quoting Robin Marty at TPM in an article about the claim the crazies make repeatedly in North Carolina,

The logic behind North Carolina abortion clinics’ new regulations echo [National Right to Life's David] Andrusko, too. In 2013, anti-abortion legislators repeatedly inserted language that would allow the state board of health to write new medical standards for abortion clinics—and only abortion clinics—into multiple bills, finally getting it passed after inserting it into a proposal on motorcycle safety. Bill supporters said the new regulations would be written just to increase patient safety and not with an intention to shutter most of the abortion clinics in the state, as other similar regulation bills had done in other states that year.


"While the governor is trying to treat abortion like any other medical procedure, on one level that's a good thing, but he's really dismissing the important part," one abortion opponent told ABC 13 News.

That “important part” the governor apparently dismissed? That abortion is not supposed to be viewed as health care.

Even the allowable “exceptions” for obtaining termination when a ban is in place shows that every line of an abortion law is written with this express idea in mind. There are no mental health exceptions because an abortion can never be needed for mental health reasons. There is no medical exception because an abortion is never medically necessary. You can have one only if you will have “irreversible harm” or permanent damage to a “bodily function” because an abortion is never required to protect a pregnant person’s health.

Abortion is never healthcare. Once you recognize this assertion as the root of every piece of legislation, every bill suddenly makes complete sense.
Many anti-choice zealots see their opposition to all abortion as a matter of religion. It's impossible to argue with radical religious conservatives (and in this case I have to include most Catholics in that broad category): religion is itself not a matter for logic; any ordinary sane process of reasoning applied to problem-solving is readily tossed out the window in service of establishing the believer's "fact" for the greater good of his or her faith. Hence "abortion is not healthcare" ... a manifestly absurd claim... is accepted unquestioningly by the religious fanatics in conservative state legislatures for the explicit purpose of prohibiting abortion even in cases where abortion is indisputably healthcare, such as saving the pregnant woman's life.

O tempora, o mores!

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