Abortion

Umm, why?

The Government should offer free abortions to women from the US who are unable to secure them, British doctors have said.

The move by the British Medical Association follows the decision by the US Supreme Court to overturn the Roe v Wade ruling, ending American women’s legal right to have abortions.

Currently, overseas patients are able to have abortions in the UK but are charged a fee.

Why should taxpayers here pay for it? Apparently the reason is because the NHS should never charge foreigners.

Proposing the motion, medical student and women’s rights campaigner Marina Politis described the situation in the US as an “emergency”, saying: “Abortion is essential health care… In [some] cases, the US Supreme Court decision is a death sentence. In other, less risky, pregnancies, this decision still removes an essential right of the individual to choose what happens to their own body.”

She added: “In the context of a hostile environment, we have seen increased migrant charging. We also need to provide safe abortion care to all nationals seeking this in the UK, without subjecting them to overseas patient upfront tariffs – and this must be regardless of borders going far beyond the US.”

Bugger that.

Get a grip, Honey

What’s shocking is the realization that we are living in a country that now boasts some of the world’s most misogynist and repressive laws.

You really do need to have a little look around the world at what abortion laws are elsewhere. That vile suppression of abortion in Dobbs was, in many ways, still more liberal access to abortion than France currently has. Given the ease – and illegality of trying to stop someone – of crossing state lines even the trigger law bans still leave the general situation more liberal than that of perhaps Poland.

Seriously, get a grip.

But what shocks me most is the fact that, according to surveys that keep surfacing and being reported, a substantial majority of Americans support abortion rights and oppose the outright ban.

And now the issue is part of politics again, so folk will vote for their state legislatures on the basis of what they want the law to be. The outcome will be – as it usually is with democractic decisions – that democratic balance of what the people want the law to be. It might be messy, time consuming and disruptive and yet this is why we actually have the system itself. Pretty crap in many ways but it is the only known method of sorting through these hugely divisive societal questions.

What’s noteworthy is not that high number so much as the discrepancy between that figure and the substance of supreme court ruling. What’s shocking is yet another fact that we have known or suspected for some time: that we are living under minority rule, that, in some of the most essential ways, the wishes of the majority no longer determine government policy, and that it has become a kind of joke to suggest that our government, at the highest level, is responding to “the will of the people”.

And that’s just being fuckwit stupid. The Supreme Court just announced that abortion is nothing to do with them, it’s a matter for the will of the people now.

Jill Filipovic is full of shit as usual

As of 24 June 2022, the US supreme court should officially be understood as an illegitimate institution – a tool of minority rule over the majority, and as part of a far-right ideological and authoritarian takeover that must be snuffed out if we want American democracy to survive.

The decision actually was “Nowt to do with us, Love. The politicians get to sort it out now.”

Sending a decision off to be decided by legislatures can be many things but undemocratic it ain’t.

There’s a solution here

Called democracy:

“It is the realisation of an extreme ideology, and a tragic error by the Supreme Court, in my view. The health and life of women in this nation are now at risk. It is a sad day for the court and a sad day for the country. The court is literally taking the country back 150 years.”

The US president warned that the court could soon similarly overturn same-sex marriage, and the right to use “birth control in the privacy of your bedroom, for God’s sake”.

He said that it made the US an “outlier” among the developed nations of the world.

Pass a law with whatever the right restrictions and allowances are then.

Hmm, what’s what? There’s no particular set of such rules that everyone will agree upon? Even accept? Well, there’s your problem then, isn’t it?

Idiots

Women who fought for US abortion rights in the 70s call for mass global protests
Veteran activists say the overthrow of Roe v Wade would equate to murder, and should send warning signals around the world

The entire problem in the US is that abortion rights weren’t fought for. There never was a political convincing, the reaching of an agreed – even if still disputed at the edges – democratic decision.

Precisely because it was that constitutional right hidden in the shadows of the penumbra that difficult conversation of pros and cons, offsettings and just the sheer damn insistence of the universe that everything involves trade offs didn;t happen.

As it did happen in other countries. With a variety of answers.

Now, regular readers will know that I’m entirely agin’ what that settlement has generally been. So this isn’t an agreement with the result of the process. It is though an insistence that everyone else has been through that process and the US is only just about to start doing to. State by State too.

It’s exactly because of Roe v Wade that the US has;t reached that societal settlement as yet.

It’s an arguable point really

The annual number of deaths related to legal induced abortion has fluctuated from year to year since 1973, according to the CDC.

An analysis of data from 2013 to 2018 showed the national case-fatality rate for legal induced abortion was 0.41 deaths per 100,000 legal induced abortions, lower than in the previous five years.

Some would say that the rate is 100,000.41 deaths per 100,000 abortions. Which is really where we came in on the argument at the start, isn’t it?

It’s happening

Lord knows who leaked this but:

US Supreme Court votes to overturn abortion rights, according to leaked draft decision

American politics is about to get very screechy and possibly even interesting.

This sends it all back to the States where it should have been all along. And the end result, after the screeching, will be what it should have been all along too. A political settlement – as in Europe – that accords with what the demos is willing to put up with as the balance of rights and wrongs. As y’all around here know I don’t like that balance in the slightest but it has been arrived at through politics, the only real way these sorts of things can be thrashed out – that being what politics is for.

It’s precisely the imposition through some very bad law which has kept the issue to alive in the US.

When the dust settles there will be some states very restrictive, some very liberal. Which is what a Federal system is supposed to end up with on an issue that is not the preserve of the Federal level of government.

Well, there is actually a problem here

The Court of Appeal will hear a landmark case by a woman with Down’s syndrome against the Government’s “discriminatory abortion laws”.

Currently in England, Wales and Scotland, there is a general 24-week time limit for abortion, but if the baby has a disability, including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot, abortion is legal right up to birth.

Heidi Crowter, 26, from Coventry, is challenging the Government over a disability clause in its abortion legislation, together with Máire Lea-Wilson from Brentford, west London, who claims she was placed under pressure to have an abortion when a 34-week scan revealed her son, now two, had Down’s syndrome. They have raised more than £130,000 through crowdfunding for the case.

In September, two High Court judges ruled that the current legislation is not unlawful, and aims to strike a balance between the rights of the unborn child and of women.

However, following a hearing on Tuesday, Court of Appeal judges gave permission for the case to be heard again on limited grounds of appeal.

We’ve legislation which says the disabled cannot be differently treated. We’ve legislation that the disabled can be differently treated. So, which piece of legislation applies?

Well, Polly, this is what democracy means

How long ago the Abortion Act of 1967 seems now, and yet the struggle for a woman’s right to control her own body never ends. Time and again this basic principle comes under attack from rightwing and religious lobbies forever seeking to limit and reverse it.

Matters are not, in fact, settled. This is why elections occur. So that the people, if they think the last lot of policies were bad ones, get to take a mulligan by electing another lot with different policies.

Leave aside the specific issue here and just think for a minute. Would you actually want it to work any other way? That the Tories would be able to set in stone some set of policies that a Labour win at an election could not overturn?

Well, he’s right

Mr Rees-Mogg, a practising Catholic who has previously expressed a strong anti-abortion viewpoint, replied: “The right honourable lady cannot expect me to speak in favour of abortifacients.”

He’s right that the morning after pill is an abortifacient. Also that, from his starting point, he’s not going to speak in favour.

Anything else?

I did too!

This is most unkind of me and possibly even wrong:

Renee Bracey Sheman is unapologetic about her abortion. And she thinks everyone else should be, too.

The activist and author was 19 when she got an abortion. Little did she know at the time that her experience would lead to a decades-spanning career in reproductive justice work. As the founder and executive director of We Testify, Bracey Sherman has made it her life’s work to help other people tell their abortion stories, with a focus on the intersections of race, class and gender, as a way to eliminate stigma around the procedure.

I get the definite whiff there of someone who’s spent their adult life justifying to herself that decision of the teenage her. The entire performance being summed up as:

I did too make the right decision! I did too!

Folks fuck less when abortion’s more difficult

Between 2011 and 2014, Texas enacted three pieces of legislation that significantly reduced funding for family planning services and increased restrictions on abortion clinic operations. Together this legislation creates cross-county variation in access to abortion and family planning services, which we leverage to understand the impact of family planning and abortion clinic access on abortions, births, and contraceptive purchases. In response to these policies, abortions to Texas residents fell 20.5%and births rose 2.6% in counties that no longer had an abortion provider within 50 miles. Changes in the family planning market induced a 1.5% increase in births for counties that no longer had a publicly funded family planning clinic within 25 miles. Meanwhile, responses of retail purchases of condoms and emergency contraceptives to both abortion and family planning service changes were minimal.

Abortions down lots, live births up a bit, contraception doesn’t change much.

One reading of that is that folks fuck less when abortion is more difficult.

This is true even if we adjust for the number of live births relative to abortions. 377 k live births a year, 56k induced abortions. No of abortions falls, relatively, more than number of live births rise, relatively. Or even, 11,200 fewer abortions, 9,800 more births…..

It is an interesting point, isn’t it?

Alot of people with a lot of power don’t see why women should have jurisdiction over their own bodies. That’s the anti-abortion argument in a nutshell, in that they claim a foetus, or even an embryo, or in some cases even a fertilised egg too small for the human eye to see, has rights that supersede those of the person inside whose body that egg, embryo or foetus might be.

And the thing is, it’s the argument in a nutshell. Even, everyone has already agreed that this is the point. At some point in that Sorites Problem the rights of the foetus do trump those of the host. That’s why full term abortion is not allowed. Or, in extreme jursidictions, why full term abortion of a non-disabled foetus is not allowed.

Good, so we all agree on the basic framework then. At some point between conception and birth – unless you’re Peter Singer – the rights of the foetus do trump those of the host. At some other point, well, maybe they do and maybe they don’t.

Cool so the whole abortion debate boils down to the one simple question to ask: When?

This isn’t what is happening at all

Roe v Wade challenge: Supreme Court tilts towards new abortion limits

The actual decision is about whether this is a right in the Constitution, therefore something dealt with at Federal level, or something to be left to the States.

At least try to get this right. Before Roe New York – to take an example – was about as liberal as current law. Almost certainly would be again as well.

Hmm

The Polish government was on Tuesday accused of having “blood on its hands” after a woman died during pregnancy in the first case believed to have been directly caused by its introduction of the toughest abortion law in Europe.

As opposed to the, what is it, 225,000 abortions a year in the UK. Blood did ye say?

Very weird

America is at a crossroads when it comes to abortion. In 2021, state legislatures have passed an unprecedented 106 anti-abortion bills. State lawmakers in five states are preparing legislation similar to Texas’s SB 8, an effective total abortion ban that enshrines a new kind of vigilantism directed at medical providers and private citizens.

In this dangerous moment, supporters of legal abortion must understand that raising our voices is not going to change anything unless we also push for major, immediate democratic reforms including ending the filibuster, enshrining federal voting rights, expanding the supreme court and establishing fair redistricting.

I understand why those goals may simultaneously seem too wonky to follow and too ambitious to achieve. But we cannot fight for abortion rights without first repairing our democracy, because we will continue to lose.

Abortion isn’t a democratic issue in the US. Roe means it’s a constitutional civil liberties one. That entirely insulates it from democracy and elections.

The weirdness is that those actually inside the system don’t seem to grasp that. For example, this Texas thing. Whether or not it stands will be nothing to do with voters, it’s be the Supremes.

It’s a very cool argument, isn’t it?

This early declaration — along with the First Amendment, which Thomas Jefferson solemnly revered “as building a wall of separation between church and state” — illustrates the unprecedented experiment our founders sought to test: a secular republic ruled by democratic laws, not sectarian faith; a nation whose government based its authority upon “we, the people” and not commandments handed down by distant gods. It is a brilliant endowment, given that in a pluralistic democracy such as ours, with people of many faiths and no faiths at all, we purposefully govern ourselves via secular legislation, not religious decrees.

But today, this bold pillar of American democracy is rotting fast. It is under attack by theocrats, especially those who sit on our Supreme Court. Their recent ruling making it nearly illegal for a woman to get an abortion in Texas is the latest terrifying case in point.

The problem is not religion, or even Catholicism. After all, many of our leaders, such as President Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, are themselves Roman Catholics, and they all affirm reproductive choice as a constitutional right. In fact, 56% of Catholics in the United States support this right.

A;ll of this in support of the insistence that legislatures, those engines of democracy, must not be allowed to pass laws about abortion.