Monday, July 10, 2023

Standard Disinformation

Robert Lee Vander Plaats, the culture warrior who has long been influential in GOP politics in Iowa, is on to something here. However, he then goes on to lie because, well, it's the Republican Party circa 2023.

Vander Plaats cites Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Florida governor Gavin Newsom in his claim that Democrats support "abortion on demand up to the time of birth and the government subsidizes and pays for it." 

Shouse California Law Group notes that Proposition 1, approved in California on 11/8/82, codified a woman’s right to an abortion in the state constitution but “does place some limitations on when a pregnant woman can terminate her pregnancy.”  It does not appear that Newsom, particularly active in the medical abortion space, ever has advocated a right to abortion up to the time of birth.

Vice President Harris, who “has eagerly embraced a role as the face of the Biden administration’s efforts on abortion access and reproductive health,” appears focused on GOP efforts throughout the country to deny women the right to choose.  There is no indication that she ever has addressed whether abortion should be legal until birth. Advocating such a right would be put her well beyond support for reproductive rights articulated by her boss, President Joe Biden.

A similar situation presented itself eleven years ago, when Vice President Biden came out in favor of same-sex marriage, which President Obama still opposed. That spurred Obama to declare his support, which benefited the incumbent’s re-election bid.. However, same-sex marriage was an either/or matter while support for abortion can run the gamut of views of mild support to full support. Therefore, in the current instance, it would be unnecessary for Vice President Harris (or President Biden) to support abortion up till birth to maintain and reinforce the pro-choice bona fides of the Administration

Through ignorance or deceit, Vander Plaats is, respectively, confusing or conflating the positions of "Democrats" and, specifically, Biden, Harris, and Newsom, with that of the House caucus of the Party

.If what Vander Plaats says makes any sense at all, he’s referring to a bill passed 219-210 passed in July, 2022 by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.  At the time, the AP explained the bill

would prevent abortion bans earlier than 24 weeks, which is when fetal viability, the ability of a human fetus to survive outside the uterus, is generally thought to begin. It allows exceptions for abortions after fetal viability when a provider determines the life or health of the mother is at risk.

The Democrats’ proposal would also prevent states from requiring providers to share “medically inaccurate” information, or from requiring additional tests or waiting periods, often aimed at dissuading a patient from having an abortion.

The bill, if somehow the House version it had been introduced in, and passed by, the Senate, evidently would have permitted an abortion in the third trimester if the life of the health of the mother was at risk absent termination of probation. Allowing the procedure if the health- rather than merely the life- of the woman was at risk would have significantly expanded the conditions in which abortion was permissible. Nevertheless, it did not allow termination of the pregnancy for any reason whatsoever, which is the charge of Vander Plaats- and of other Republicans who claim that Democrats support abortion up till birth.

But it's not only that. Vander Plaats contends that Biden, Harris, and Newsom support "abortion up the time of birth and the government must subsidize and pay for it."  Recognizing that many Republicans and Independents are primarily pro-choice but don't like the idea of any of their tax money paying for it, Vander Plaats says "the government must subsidize and pay for it," thereby raising the specter of taxes covering the entire cost of an abortion for anyone at anytime. The state of the law is far more complicated and virtually no Democrat is pushing the envelope on funding.

Following the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the threat to women's reproductive health became clearer to tens of millions of Americans. The interview by Jim Acosta of Robert Lee Vander Plaats is a reminder of the importance of misinformation to the forced-birth movement.

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