Friday, May 20, 2016

Cowardice In Oklahoma City

Donald Trump, maintaining abortion should be available only in case of rape, incest,or the life of the mother, is wrong. He has commented also on whether the prospective mother, were abortion to be prohibited, should be punished. On that, he has been right, wrong, right, and wrong.

“There has to be some form of punishment" for women who have abortions if the procedure is outlawed, Trump controversially admitted to Chris Matthews in March. That was followed within 90 minutes with the statement "If in fact abortion is outlawed, the person performing the abortion, the doctor or who it may be is responsible — not the woman is responsible. I have the same stance as Ronald Reagan, I’ve had it from the beginning … It could be that I misspoke but this was a long, convoluted subject."

On a radio interview on April 4 with Sean Hannity, Trump explained "That was a hypothetical question. That was not a wrong answer.”

If honesty were Donald Trump's policy, he would have left it there because Matthews' query was a hypothetical question, and a very good one.  Substituting creativity for honesty, Trump now is quoted in a New York Times Magazine article published May 18 as rationalizing “I didn’t mean punishment for women like prison. I’m saying women punish themselves. I didn’t want people to think in terms of ‘prison’ punishment. And because of that I walked it back." (Evidently, he wants women to punish themselves.)

But if you give Donald Trump a D+ for the courage of his convictions, the legislature of the state of Oklahoma deserves a D-, generously graded.

States which have outlawed abortion have banned the procedure without attaching criminal penalties. However, the Oklahoma legislature recently approved Senate Bill 1552 (sponsored in that chamber by four Republicans), which pertains primarily to physician licensure but which also provides that

No person shall perform or induce an abortion upon a pregnant woman. Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not less than one (1) year nor more than three (3) years in the State Penitentiary.. Any physician participating in the performance of an abortion shall be prohibited from obtaining or renewing a license to practice medicine in this state.

Abortions "necessary to preserve the life of the mother" are exempted. Exempted, too, from provisions of the bill would be the individual who would seek, contract with, and pay an individual to perform what would be considered the taking of innocent life.

In a letter to Republican Governor Mary Fallin, the Center for Reproductive Rights notes "This measure is harmful, discriminatory, clearly unconstitutional, and insulting to Oklahoma women and their families."  It is intended to be unconstitutional, with promoters of the measure anticipating a legal challenge which could end with reconsideration by the US Supreme Court of Roe v. Wade. It is also intended to be insulting to women, casting them as helpless, hapless villains against an evil medical community.

It is an antiquated and demeaning portrayal of women, who deserve to be treated as would men who brazenly defy a law depicted (however inaccurately) as protecting human life.  That is, however, how it always has been in the forced-birth community, which was stunned when the GOP's leading candidate initially acknowledged that a woman who commits a crime should be punished for the crime- or at least in some manner.

If conservatives were to view women as they do men, they would have to reconsider a whole range of policies. As it is now, assigning as much responsibility to the woman/patient as to the doctor in an abortion would  induce a significant case of cognitive dissonace. It also would undermine support for the forced-birth position and lead to its demise. If Donald Trump ever had paid attention, he would have realized that from the start.

Update: Within the past two hours, word has come down that ani-choice Governor Fallin has vetoed the bill because she is concerned it may not have withstood constitutional challenge.

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