March 21, 2006

Overturning Roe is just the appetizer

The war on IVF is so 2k5. An amazing and alarming article in Salon — well worth sitting through the ad — dives into the battle to ban birth control. Will Saletan may feel comfortable that mainstream America will abandon the pro-life movement if we can just shift the debate from abortion to contraception, but Salon's Priya Jain makes clear that the lifers are already well ahead of the choicers in framing the next debate. Think about the arguments over emergency contraception. Lifers call it abortion (redefining that term into meaninglessness), choicers throw up their hands and laugh that emergency contraception is just the birth control pill in a different dosage and works exactly the same way. A ha! say the lifers: the birth control pill is an abortifacient!

Or take Saletan's trump card: that expanded access to contraception reduces abortions because it means fewer women are having unwanted pregnancies in the first place. On the contrary, say the anti-contraceptionites: contraception is the root cause of abortion. "In law and in practice, [contraception] led to the necessity of abortion because contraception proved not to be failsafe." If contraception were banned, women would simply stop having sex! (which is, of course, the real goal here). This line of thinking may sound totally wacked out, but as Jain reports, state legislators are already responding to it.

As always, Pandagon's Amanda Marcotte is on top of this, and brilliantly — unpacking the movement's inherent misogyny, and offering a modest proposal for reducing baby-killing, based on the (gasp) actual science of pregnancy.

Posted by Daniel Radosh

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