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Friday, April 20, 2007

Republicans Don't Stand For Things, They Stand Against Things

It may be the most insulting decision of our time. Speaking for the majority of the Supreme Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote of the abortion procedure intact dilation and extraction, "It is self-evident that a mother who comes to regret her choice to abort must struggle with grief more anguished and sorrow more profound when she learns ... what she once did not know: that she allowed a doctor to pierce the skull and vacuum the fast-developing brain of her unborn child." [full decision here (PDF)]

In other words, women can't possibly understand what a doctor tells them. Somehow, right wing conservative magic will set in later on down the road, giving women a brief flash of the superior understanding usually reserved to Republican men, and they'll be overcome with grief to learn that they had an abortion.

It's the sort of ruling that reeks of being written in his head long before he heard the case. It's not an opinion about abortion or law, it's Kennedy's opinion that women are children and incapable of informed decisions. The line of reasoning comes not from the last century, but from the century before it.

Meanwhile, Kennedy's -- and the majority of the court's -- pre-suffrage mindset creates real world problems with real world consequences. Ironically, Kennedy may come regret what he's done -- but I doubt it. That would require wisdom.

ABC News:

Many physicians who provide obstetric and gynecologic services to women are concerned that the ruling will have a negative impact on women's health by taking some medical decisions out of doctors' hands.

"From a public health perspective, today's ruling will not advance the health of women and children in America," said Dr. David Grimes, former chief of the abortion surveillance branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"It allows [an] intrusion into the relationship between doctors and patients. What would Americans think about that?"

When I was fundraising for a living, one of our clients was a national abortion rights group. There were people you could always count on to give every year and, among those most reliable were retired ER nurses. These were women who remembered what things were like when abortion was illegal and how the law forced desperate women to gamble with their lives. The women who took that gamble wound up in these nurses' emergency rooms and many of them lost.

The court's ruling puts women in a similar situation. Women who have abortions this late in the term do it because they have to. So the ruling and the law won't prevent any abortions -- they'll just force doctors to perform procedures that are less safe. One of those who ABC spoke to, Dr. Carla Lupi, assistant clinical professor of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said, "As a physician, I am aghast that a jurist, with no professional licensure or experience in the care of women facing very complicated medical and personal decisions, should have the power to dictate my medical practice. These cases are often challenging even for the most seasoned practitioners."

Part of the problem is the modern conservative reflex to ignoring scientific knowledge -- which is basically ignoring facts and the truth. If you believe one thing and the universe is set up another way, what you believe is truer. It doesn't make any damned sense at all, but there ya go. If the Bible said that one plus one equals three, people would be trying to get this creationist math taught in schools.

But the other reason is, to me at least, more disturbing. Modern conservatives believe that you have too many rights and too much freedom. That's why conservatives define themselves by what they oppose. And that's why their position on just about anything is 'against it.'

Women have too many choices and, as a result, make too many decisions. Much better that wiser Republicans make all those choices for them. Bottom line -- they don't trust you. That's why we had the FISA wiretap scheme, that's why we had the PATRIOT Act, that's why we have Republican ops screwing around with elections, and that's why we have decisions like this.

They'll talk about freedom and liberty as if they own them, but the truth is that they're against it. If a woman wants to make a decision about her health, Anthony Kennedy writes that she can't be trusted to understand that decision. Here's a fun game; in the six lousy years that Bush has been president, name one instance where a Republican has advocated for an expansion of rights or -- *gasp* -- a new right.

I can't think of any. Modern conservatives stand for restricting rights and limiting freedom. Maybe it's projection. Maybe the corrupt think everyone is just like them. The self-hating closet case thinks everyone's a self-hating closet case. Republicans are convinced of widespread voter fraud, mostly because they know how easy they've made it to steal an election. Look at Mark Foley, a pedophile who made his career fighting pedophiles. Or Alberto Gonzales, corrupt to the core and throwing elections, turning up the heat on attorneys who didn't investigate nonexistent cases of voter fraud and democratic corruption.

If you want to see just how sick one of these whackjobs is, look at what they oppose most. The problem is that they believe that everyone is as sick, untrustworthy, and hypocritical as they are.

But, if that were true, the republic would've collapsed a long time ago.


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