AG Lynn Fitch explains we all have paid leave and daycare now! Bet you're glad to hear it. Screenshot, EWTN

The US Supreme Court will be hearing arguments on Mississippi's abortion law on December 1, in a case that could overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, unless of course the Court's refusal to block Texas's abortion law already did that. Last Friday, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said in an interview with the Catholic TV network EWTN that if the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, were to overturn Roe, it would actually "empower" women. You see, every woman who wants to "have it all" can have a baby and a career, and women who only want a career can also have a baby and a career, which is clearly a bonus.

The Mississippi Free Press watched so we wouldn't have to. Fitch was positively brimming with excellent news for all women, whether they want control over their own bodies or not:

Think about this: the lives that will be touched, the babies that will be saved, the mothers that will get the chance to really redirect their lives. [...] And they have all these opportunities that they didn't have 50 years ago. Fifty years ago, professional women, they really wanted you to make a choice. Now you don't have to. Now you have the opportunity to be whatever you want to be.

Unless what you want to be is no longer pregnant, but Fitch just said you can have whatever you want, so you clearly wouldn't want that. Instead, she explained, "You have the option in life to really achieve your dream and goals, and you can have those beautiful children as well."

Guess that covers all the options: having children and a career, or just having children. What an amazing modern world Mississippi is opening up for the mothers of tomorrow!


Fitch went on to gush about what a terrific development banning abortion would be for all concerned:

Just think about the uplifting, the changing of course for women that have for these new babies, these women. And everyone knows it's all right, it's acceptable. You can have these beautiful children and you can have your careers.

What about women who didn't want children? Oddly, that somehow didn't make it into the conversation. Are there really such women, after all? You'd think Fitch would mention them if there were, so there aren't. Besides, this is about God's plan to empower women by giving them babies! Sometimes that is "more babies," because they already have some, but is there such thing as too much empowerment?

And so this really gets into, how do we empower women? How do we prepare for that next step? And we have to look at it with this whole vision and strategy. And I just think God has given us this opportunity to be here.

Reporter Ashton Pittman notes Fitch made a slightly similar claim, albeit a bit less chirpily, and minus the God stuff, in the state's formal argument to the Supreme Court in the case, asserting that the old-fashioned restrictive choices for women that informed Roe are simply not a problem that women today have to think about! For one thing, contraception is far more readily available (for now) than in 1972, and presumably it works flawlessly, doesn't it? And with Obamacare, women don't even have to pay for birth control! Lucky thing last year's Texas lawsuit against the ACA, which Fitch signed on to, didn't eliminate that, huh?

Further, Fitch argued, having a child is no longer a burden of any kind, unlike in 1973:

Roe suggested that, without abortion, unwanted children could "force upon" women "a distressful life and future." [...] But numerous laws enacted since Roe — addressing pregnancy discrimination, requiring leave time, assisting with childcare, and more — facilitate the ability of women to pursue both career success and a rich family life.

The Free Press notes that a group of economists filed an amicus (or WTF?) brief with the Court, specifically challenging Fitch's assertions, calling them "particularly bizarre, as the United States is one of only two countries without a national paid maternity leave policy," and noting that even the US's existing law providing 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave is only available to about half of working women because the law has so many exceptions.

The economists also noted that childcare is often prohibitively expensive, and not even a realistic option for many low-wage workers whose shift times frequently change, and which include nights and weekends. As for federally funded daycare, forget it because only one in six eligible parents can actually get in. Maybe Fitch should support Joe Biden's Build Back Better agenda!

Fitch's claims are further belied by the demographics of women who actually seek abortions, the economists said. Roughly 75 percent

are "low income"; 59% already have children; and 55% "report a recent disruptive life event such as the death of a close friend or family member, job loss, the termination of a relationship with a partner, or overdue rent or mortgage obligations." Those women, the economists note, "overwhelmingly lack access to paid maternity leave or to affordable childcare."

The brief also cites a 2020 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research that compared the outcomes of women who either got abortions "just prior to a gestational age cutoff" and those who were denied abortions because they went to clinics later than the cutoff point. Not a big surprise: The women who were able to get the abortions they sought had significantly fewer financial hardships five years later than the women who had to carry the pregnancies to term:

[Over] the subsequent five years, the average women in the turnaway group experienced a 78% increase in past-due debt and an 81% increase in public records related to bankruptcies, evictions and court judgements.

"The financial effects of being denied an abortion are thus as large or larger than those of being evicted, losing health insurance, being hospitalized, or being exposed to flooding due to a hurricane.

Then again, if Mississippi really is able to ban abortion altogether, that disparity would go away, at least among women who couldn't get themselves the fuck out of Gilead, so maybe Fitch has a point. They'll all be so happy with the babies the state will make them have, and if they aren't, well they're just not doing it right. What a blessing!

[Mississippi Free Press / Dobbs v. Jackson's Women's Health]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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