Saturday, July 16, 2022

Doublespeak


You've already viewed this exchange by Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell of California and Catherine Glenn Foster, President and CEO of Americans United for Life in a committee hearing on Thursday. However, you have not heard this testimony, which is so telling about forced-birth activists, enough. So beginning at 2:59 of the video below (boldness mine):

E.S.: Miss Foster, do you thin a ten-year-old would choose to carry?
C.F.: In a ten-year-old case, first of all, the Ohio-
E.S.: My question is, would a ten-year-old choose to carry a baby?
C.F.: In the Ohio case, the Ohio Attorney General said that abortion would be justified.
E.S.: I'm asking you, would a ten-year-old choose to carry a baby? Ma'am, focus on the question, please. Would a ten-year-old choose to carry a baby?
C.F.: I cannot-
E.S.: Do you think a ten-year-old should choose to carry a baby?
C.F.: I believe that would probably impact her life and so therefore it would fall under any exception and would not be an abortion.
E.S.: Wait- it would not be an abortion if a ten-year-old with her parents made the decision not to have a baby that was the result of a rape?
C.F.: If a ten-year-old became pregnant as the result of rape and it was threatening her life, then that's not  abortion. So it would not fall under any abortion restriction in our nation.

(Representative Swalwell then turned to Sarah Warbelow, Legal Director of the Human Rights Campaign, who agreed that Foster's characterization is "disinformation.")


 


The witness from Americans United for Life almost told the truth in her last assertion because abortion is permitted in Ohio if the life of the mother is endangered and in only two states (Arkansas and Louisiana) is there no exception for rape or the life of the mother. However, as Mehdi Hassan points out later in the video above, Ohio law permits abortion only to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman. And as one might reasonably conclude from this analysis, the 10-year would unlikely qualify for an exception and an abortion would have been denied.

So Foster wrongly asserted that when a pregnancy may be terminated in every state when it is caused by rape and threatens the mother's life. That misunderstanding- more likely a lie- pales in importance to her statement that termination of a pregnancy "would not be an abortion."

Abortion is premature termination of pregnancy and neither the circumstances of the fetus nor of impregnation can make it other than an abortion.  Abortion is abortion. This rationalization is analogous to the tactical decision of the anti-choice forces to characterize the woman seeking, requesting, paying for, and receiving an abortion as a "victim."

There have been episodic cases of a woman being prosecuted after an abortion. Nonetheless, it appears there has been no abortion provider in any of these cases. No physician or other midwife was involved and thus none could be charged.   No state, however determined to curtail or end a woman's reproductive freedom, has chosen to establish a specific penalty for a woman terminating a pregnancy.

This may, of course, change as the slippery slope of oppression becomes a steep sliding board.  However, states clearly are far more eager to punish the provider than the woman, even though the patient has actively sought, obtained, and given compensation for what that state has concluded is an unlawful killing of a human being. In forced-birth states, such a female is seen as a pitiful individual, incapable of agency and unable to make her own decisions. 

More than 60 years before Kellyanne Conway's "alternative facts," George Orwell wrote "if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought." If a grown adult exercising reproductive freedom can be labeled a "victim," it should be unsurprising that the anti-choice movement would begin arguing that an abortion is not an abortion.



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