Abortion

Louisiana Fixin' To Redefine Abortion As Murder, Because That's What The Bumper Sticker Says

Can 'Particicutions' be far behind?

With the Supreme Court preparing to eliminate the right to abortion (and far more) by overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Republicans in state legislatures are rushing to pass new laws criminalizing abortion. But just outlawing abortion isn't enough for many in the GOP: They also want to underline their hatred of abortion (and anyone who'd perform or have one) by imposing harsh criminal penalties, not solely for doctors who perform abortions or prescribe medicine to induce an abortion, but also anyone who has an abortion. After all, if abortion is murder, then you need to send the murderers to prison, if not the gallows.

Charging enthusiastically into the race to the bottom, Republicans in Louisiana are advancing a bill that would classify abortion as homicide and grant full constitutional rights to "all unborn children from the moment of fertilization." Louisiana HB 813, called the "Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act of 2022," starts with the Book of Genesis and gets worse from there:

Acknowledging the sanctity of innocent human life, created in the image of God, which should be equally protected from fertilization to natural death, the legislature hereby declares that the purpose of this Act is to:

(1) Fully recognize the human personhood of an unborn child at all stages of development prior to birth from the moment of fertilization.

(2) Ensure the right to life and equal protection of the laws to all unborn children from the moment of fertilization by protecting them by the same laws protecting other human beings.

(3) Recognize that the United States Constitution and the laws of the United States are the supreme law of the land.

Yr Dok Zoom is not a lawyer, but I assume the religious language about zygotes being "created in the image of God" wouldn't formally violate separation of church and state because it's only a prefatory flourish.

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Abortion

If The Right Is Going To Criminalize Abortion, We Should Damn Well Use The Word

Shout it if you need to.

You may have noticed that in the last few days, Yr Wonkette has made a bit of a stink about the term "choice" as a euphemism for "abortion." We've praised Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams both for talking about the right to abortion, and Yr Editrix, in Thursday morning's Tabs, said it's high time we "stop with the focus-grouped, mealymouthed 'right to choose.' (Choose what, choose Jif?)"

A number of folks took issue with that in the comments we don't allow, while others also were none too happy with New York magazine's Rebecca Traister for taking Democratic leaders to task for their seeming unwillingness to say "abortion." (To be sure, a number of comments focused more on how it might be bad strategy to criticize Dem leaders in an election year, also too.)

So we figured this might be a job for a Doktor of Rhetoric. Words matter, language matters, and Crom knows that ever since Frank Luntz and Newt Gingrich teamed up in 1994 to talk about the "death tax" and to make "liberal" the dirtiest word in politics, Republicans have made a dark art of finding terms that will set off electric storms in the amygdalae of rightwing voters, inflaming their emotions with language that will move the base to support policies that help the party's big donors.

A quarter century later, it's starting to feel like framing abortion rights as the "right to choose" is perhaps tainted by the same defensive reflex that led Bill Clinton to proclaim that the "era of big government is over," as he caved to the Right on "welfare reform," ushering in a regime of harsh new barriers to helping people who needed help. Speaking of a "right to choose" almost feels like a concession to the Luntzians: Instead of whole-heartedly saying abortion is essential to freedom and bodily autonomy, "choice" seems to euphemize, as if accepting the Right's insistence that abortion is shameful, a moral failing, the choice of people who should have kept their legs shut and not gotten in trouble.

This isn't to say that "choice" or "pro choice" is a bad term in itself; it's a convenient shorthand that will likely stay around for some time. But it's also good to see the shift toward people talking about abortion without hesitation or guilt, too.

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History Facts

Grandpa, Tell Us About The Division Of Labor In The Hippie Commune Times

Because Grandma's still busy in the kitchen.

Editrix's note: Sorry, as usual, for skipping Loomis yesterday. We had a lot on our minds.

On May 3, 1965, Gene Bernofsky, JoAnn Bernofsky, Richard Kallweit, and Clark Richart bought a seven-acre piece of land north of Trinidad, Colorado. This would become known as Drop City, among the first and most important of the countercultural communes that dotted the American landscape during the late 1960s and 1970s and continuing, in a much diminished form, to the present. While itself not a particularly important day in American labor history per se, we can use this date to serve as a window into how work was organized in the counterculture, which is quite important to understanding this key part of American history.

Both then and now, there is a stereotype that hippies avoided work. The reality was far more complicated. Sure, many in the counterculture relied heavily on the welfare state to supplement their income. But most, including many of those who qualified for state benefits, valued hard work very highly. What the counterculture by and large rejected was work within the system of corporate capitalism. They weren’t going to be The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, for instance. They didn’t want to work for wages, be union members, go into middle management. But there are many forms of work. Many in the counterculture wanted to labor for themselves, often in the beautiful nature of the American West, either regenerating both the natural world or themselves (or both) through labor. One chapter in my book Empire of Timber details the Hoedads, a group of countercultural reforestation workers in the 1970s. These people took up some of the hardest work imaginable – planting trees on the steep slopes of the Pacific Northwest. Both men and women engaged in this work that was often back-breaking. They felt they were contributing to a more just and sustainable natural world by planting trees while working for themselves outside of capitalism. This work did not make them very much money, usually less than minimum wage, and it was extremely strenuous. But it was work nonetheless.

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kamala harris

Kamala Harris Shouting 'HOW DARE THEY!' Is Exactly What America Needs Right Now

The vice president spoke at Emily's List last night, and good golly it was powerful.

President Joe Biden may not always be the greatest at saying the word "abortion" out loud, but oh boy, Vice President Kamala Harris does not have that issue.

She was already scheduled to speak to Emily's List last night, but in light of this week's news, the address she gave took on added urgency.

If anybody is wondering what maybe the Biden administration ought to be doing when it comes to the midterms, the fight to preserve abortion access, or to help Americans get a true idea of who the vice president is — one that rises above the din of roaring racist bullshit people like Tucker Carlson are injecting into the discourse — we humbly suggest that letting Veep Harris walk on to national stages on a regular basis and shout "How DARE they!" would be a good start.


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