Yeah, that’s a rather blunt headline, right? It’s something that we’ve known for decades. It’s why this issue is intense, emotional, and loaded with nuance. With the Dobbs decision, the Supreme Court wiped out Roe v. Wade yesterday. It did not ban abortion nationwide. Abortion is not illegal. The Court did what it should have done with this issue eons ago—return it to the legislative process. There is nothing in the Constitution about abortion. There is no constitutional right to an abortion—that’s left-wing propaganda. The fact that the Constitution doesn’t say anything about isn’t a smackdown of the pro-abortion side. It’s a fact. Our founding document doesn’t prohibit it. That’s a good thing for both sides. Pro-life and pro-abortion wings of America can now mount a campaign through the legislative process to either ban or support abortion rights. The way is clear. If pro-abortion forces convince enough people, get enough lawmakers elected, and pass a law—then yes—there is a right to an abortion. For all the hate that was directed at the late Justice Antonin Scalia, he openly admitted that passing a law granting a right to abortion was the right way to solve this issue if that was your position.
We all know that he probably vehemently opposed abortion, but how he felt was not relevant to his job as a jurist. He also felt the same way about the death penalty. Pass a law if you want it abolished, and some states already have done so. The ballot box is how you keep society up to date. It’s not done through the Constitution, though the Left continues these legal wars because large swaths of their agenda aren’t popular. So, when it comes to this op-ed in The Nation, we seem to have the first talking point of the new messaging campaign: just admit that we’re killing babies, okay:
We humans do kill, when necessary: Victims of assault sometimes kill in self-defense, targets of persecution sometimes kill for justice—or just to reduce the number of their persecutors—and the colonized sometimes kill for liberation. Mothers living in unspeakable conditions (including chattel slavery) have been documented to kill their children as an act of mercy. Of course, these examples are instances of necessary violence, generated by the conditions for which we struggle to render extinct. When it comes to abortions, it seems possible that the conditions that necessitate them may never be wholly eliminated, even if vasectomies become generalized, and perfected ectogenetic technologies become universally accessible. As long as people are performing pregnancy on this earth, they must be free to change their minds about seeing it through.
For millennia, those of us who have helped a friend terminate a pregnancy—be it with herbal abortifacients, progesterone blockers and ulcer tablets, or vacuum extraction devices—are well situated to understand that something is killed during a uterine evacuation, much as a flower dies when it is plucked.
But what’s the point of acknowledging this now, at a time when abortion rights are so imperiled? For one thing, it would seem hard to deny that the euphemistic, apologetic, placatory “pro-choice” strategy hasn’t worked out thus far. So, why not risk coming out for what we actually want, namely, abortion—a clearly documented public good? The pending Supreme Court leak thrusts us into a situation in which we have little left to lose. Rather than cleave in desperation to the rearguard missions of defending the rights (to privacy, rather than abortion) enshrined in Roe v. Wade, we could consider this moment a chance to reset the terms on which abortion is fought.
What would it mean to acknowledge that a death is involved in an abortion? Above all, it would allow for a fairer fight against the proponents of forced gestating. When “pro-life” forces agitate against feticide on the basis that it is killing, pro-abortion feminists should be able to acknowledge, without shame, that yes, of course it is. When we withdraw from gestating, we stop the life of the product of our gestational labor. And it’s a good thing we do, too, for otherwise the world would sag under the weight of forced life. It is a hard pill to swallow for a misogynist society, sentimentally attached to its ideology of patriarchal motherhood, but the truth is that gestators should get to decide which bodies to give form to. This choosing is our prerogative. A desire not to be pregnant is sufficient reason in and of itself to terminate a gestatee.
When we force anti-abortionists to disagree explicitly with this, we bring their logic of female subordination into the open: Those with uteruses must serve patiently as the vessels through which life passes. We lay bare the calculus at the heart of their worldview, which they only sometimes spell out in so many words, as does the Mississippi pro-life leader Barbara Beaver: “Mothers should die for their babies, not the other way around.”
Fetishizing newness and sentimentalizing helplessness, pro-lifers pit themselves ruthlessly against the overwhelming majority of human life-in-particular. In their minds, fetuses deserve every protection, while we actually existing human beings belong to a completely different species. We are on our own, self-responsible; fatally compromised, because enfleshed.
Anti-abortionists routinely sacrifice the health and happiness of actual persons in defense of the forced survival of potential ones. It is high time we went on the offensive against their sickening, sacrificial version of vitalism. Our is the mature pro-life politics. I don’t want to live in a world that valorizes life for its own sake. I want to live in a world that prioritizes the life chosen and wanted. Peoples’ lives are worth more than fetuses’ lives.
Again, at least they’re being honest now. First, love the lexicon here with “gestators” and “gestatee.” At this point, why not also push for artificial uteruses a la Brave New World. The overreach here is that this nation, the most religious in the industrialized world, will just willingly accept this cold interpretation of human reproduction. There is no morality here. No ethics. The prioritization of life on a graduated scale has been done before albeit by some of the most heinous governments to ever come into existence.
I fail to see a reasonable argument for protecting the most vulnerable in society, our children via a variety of laws regarding rape, abuse, child pornography, and trafficking but stopping short of extending such legal protections while those children are in utero. It’s like there’s no good argument for being a part-time pacifist, those who take that position but then say that fighting World War II was the right decision. It’s typical of modern American liberal thinking here. It’s out of touch. It’s not popular. When you’re explaining, you’re losing.
Don’t you feel that the feminist Left will need a multi-volume audio set to explain this position? Remember, these people are snobs. They have a moral superiority complex. There is no way this will ever be compartmentalized into a sellable soundbite that doesn’t come off as condescending. So, by all means—try and manufacture a way that makes baby-killing into something that doesn’t strike at people’s moral core. Making murder sound less bad isn’t smart policy, it’s sociopathy.
And yet, we might not have an all-or-nothing approach here. The reality here is that if there’s any national law on abortion, it will come with a timetable where the procedure is legally permissible. Don’t be shocked if a 15-20 week ban law is floated in most states and then tested at the federal level. Meanwhile, the Left will fight but also push for a ‘codifying of Roe’ which could very take a ‘we’re for baby-killing so suck it’ approach. It could get messy, or it could be the most anti-climactic legislative fight ever. Who knows? But this ‘hell yes, we’re talking about killing’ approach probably isn’t going to work, at least with most of the country.