Well, that was fast. One of the more interesting facets of Trump’s election is how quickly Republicans have dropped much of the pretense they use to sucker right-wing voters. First they rushed to repeal Obamacare to give the rich a massive tax break on top of the massive tax breaks they’re already openly discussing, then Trump nominated billionaires to his Cabinet so they could transfer trillions from average Americans to the 1% and now we have State Rep. Tony Tinderholt admitting that “pro-life” has nothing to do with “saving” babies but everything to do with punishing women:
WASHINGTON ― A Republican lawmaker in Texas who proposed a bill that would criminalize abortion said the policy would force women to be “more personally responsible” for their sexual behavior.
“Right now, it’s real easy,” State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R) told the Texas Observer. “Right now, they don’t make it important to be personally responsible because they know that they have a backup of ‘oh, I can just go get an abortion.’ Now, we both know that consenting adults don’t always think smartly sometimes. But consenting adults need to also consider the repercussions of the sexual relationship that they’re gonna have, which is a child.”
That is quite possibly the best summation of the actual impetus behind the right’s crusade against abortion. It was never about the “poor, innocent fetus”; it’s always been about using pregnancy as a weapon against unmarried women having sex for pleasure. If you refuse to believe that the right wing could be so callous and cynical as to hide their true intent behind fetuses, there are two ways to prove it.
First, take a look at Griswold v Connecticut, the 1965 Supreme Court decision that said, “Yes, women have the right to use birth control whenever the hell they want, even if they’re not married.” The “moral” right wing went insane with rage. The idea of a woman being able to control her reproductive cycle and, therefor, be free to have recreational sex without fear of an unwanted pregnancy was anathema to conservatives.
It was hard to sell the public on using pregnancy as a punishment for “immorality.” The country had moved on and wasn’t going back. But 8 years later, with Roe v. Wade, the right found a new way to wield pregnancy as a weapon: Fighting to deny women the right to an abortion. This was a lot easier to sell because they could dress it up as defending a life so they focused on that instead of contraceptives. But that burning hatred of reproductive rights never went away.
We saw this insane crusade against birth control pop up again during the 2012 campaign when Rick Santorum openly discussed banning all forms of contraception. And we saw it again as Republicans raged over the Obamacare contraception mandate, backing the Hobby Lobby lawsuit against it. Remember, they’re supposed to be about “protecting” life but reducing access to contraception makes it more likely a woman will have an abortion in the first place. It only makes sense to ban contraception if your true goal is pregnancy as punishment.
The second way to prove what lies in the heart of a pro-life fanatic is to ask them if they support comprehensive sex education, easy access to contraceptives, free prenatal care, free medical, clothing, housing and food for children. These are all proven things that radically reduce the number of abortions, particularity the free contraceptives which resulted in a 50% or more decrease in unwanted pregnancies and abortions.
But more often than not, the allegedly “pro-life” proponent will recoil at the very idea. Try it and you’ll get answers ranging from “Schools shouldn’t be teaching safe sex!” to “Why should I have to pay for their mistake?!” Remember, these are people that will insist that preserving life is the most sacred duty and abortion is murder, etc. etc. Yet they will do everything possible to make unwanted pregnancies more likely and nothing to help the mother or resulting child deal with that reality.
There is literally no possible way to understand this behavior unless you accept that the goal is to punish the mother. Then it makes perfect sense. Pregnancy is a weapon to make “immoral” women suffer.
This is not to say that every person against abortion is like this. There are, in fact, a good number of them that would happily pay more to feed and clothe a child if it meant the mother would not terminate the pregnancy. These people actually are pro-life and they argue in good faith, supporting any measure that would prevent an unwanted pregnancy and any steps necessary to ensure a child is properly cared for.
But they are not the majority. Far from it. The overwhelming majority of the pro-life movement, especially the men, care about one thing and one thing only: Punishing “whores” for fornication. What happens to the baby they would force women to give birth to isn’t their problem. And the more she suffers for her “poor decision,” the better. It’s a twisted use of pregnancy and leads to widespread suffering but for people like Rep. Tinderholt, that’s the entire point and the ends justify the means every time.
Now that Trump is president and Republicans control Congress, we can expect to see more of this kind of rhetoric as well as a revival of the war on other forms of contraceptives. Don’t be surprised when it comes.
I’m a stay at home dad, father to a special needs son and a special daughter, a donor baby daddy, a militantly pragmatic liberal, the president of the PTA, a hardcore geek and nerd and I’m going to change the world. Or at least my corner of it.