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Not stupid, but evil, part one million

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, March 11, 2010 16:57 EDT
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A while ago, there was a video circulating where the people filming asked anti-choice protesters how much time a woman should do for abortion. What was interesting about the video was basically everyone but one dude responded with inane blather to distract from the question. Sadly, this was taken as evidence that anti-choicers are morons who haven’t thought through the consequences of their hope that abortion might become illegal.

But that’s not how I read it. I’m not inclined to think someone who protests at clinics is someone who doesn’t think about the issue at length. On the contrary! Their information may be bad, but most avid anti-choicers think about abortion and women having sex without punishment at length. I dare say they’re obsessed with the topic. And most of them are hip to the P.R. trends. In the past, anti-choicers who protested clinics tended to be straightforward in their assessment of women who get abortions (or any form of reproductive health care)—they were “sluts” or whatever nasty insult you can think of for women. Then they realized that this was a bad sales tactic, and now the thing is exhibiting this faux concern for women, who are presumed to be too stupid to know that abortions terminate pregnancies. And part of this strategy is claiming that abortion happens because evil doctors sell it to women who would otherwise be shiny, happy mothers. And that therefore abortion bans should only target said evil doctors.

The reason that anti-choicers get all bundled up when asked how much time a woman should do for obtaining an abortion isn’t that they haven’t wished they could just toss the sluts in jail, therefore. It’s that they know it’s impolitic to say so. Where they’re stupid is that they haven’t come up with a snazzy lie to tell you when you ask. Or, they hadn’t then. Since then, I’ve found a lot have self-corrected and now are quick to explain that women are supposedly victims of abortion, and that only doctors should go to jail.

I bring this up, because Utah’s governor just signed a law to throw women in jail for miscarriage. There was some tweaking of the language to conceal this, but that’s what it is. But what’s really interesting to me is that when it’s not a P.R. effort, but straightforward legislation, there’s no concealing that this is pure punishment aimed at women for basically being women. If you miscarry in Utah, you can be subject to an investigation of homicide. If they can create a case that you did something you knew was dangerous to the fetus, they can throw you in jail. That’s the end game for anti-choicers—tossing women in jail for failure to perform reproductively as expected. And they all know it, even if they know better than to say it.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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