Why The Right Is Obsessed With Nonexistent Mid-Labor Abortions

Why The Right Is Obsessed With Nonexistent Mid-Labor Abortions

This week has been a lot, particularly in terms of people saying unbelievably ignorant things.

Perhaps there is something in the air that just made Jordan Peterson feel like he needed to share that the woman on the cover of Sports Illustrated failed to give him a boner and that this is an matter of "authoritarian tolerance" — ie: the guy who suggested that monogamy be "enforced" so that women are forced to pair up with incels who would otherwise go on shooting sprees felt that Sports Illustrated was trying to force him to be attracted to the extremely stunning Yumi Nu, for reasons.

Perhaps that same something was what made historically illiterate Georgia gubernatorial candidate Kandiss Taylor start going on about how the lives of indigenous people were sacrificed so that she could love Jesus as much as she does.

Or that made several men start blathering on about mid-labor abortions, demanding to know if those who support the right to abortion were in favor of stabbing babies in the head as they come out of the birth canal. During a congressional hearing on abortion access, Rep. Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, asked "How about if a child is halfway out of the birth canal? Is an abortion permissible then?"

The ever-ridiculous Tim Pool posed a similar question to Twitter, asking "What happens if a woman is on the way to get an abortion at 8 months but goes into labor in the lobby of the abortion clinic and accidentally delivers the baby before it could be terminated?"

Quite a conundrum indeed!

This has been a thing ever since Donald Trump got confused about what a dilation and extraction abortion (aka a "partial-birth abortion") was during a debate with Hillary Clinton in 2016.

He explained that he supported a federal ban on the procedure because "in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother," claiming that this can happen "as late as one or two or three or four days prior to birth." This is of course ridiculous, but he just kind of heard the very stupid term "partial-birth abortion" and just assumed that's what it entailed.

And his supporters went along with him.

Why? Because Trump cannot be wrong, and when he is factually incorrect, it's the facts that must change, not him. He creates a new reality for people every time he opens his mouth.

But there is a more insidious reason they are doubling down on this talking point. They want to perpetuate the idea that the reason people get abortions, perform abortions or support abortion rights is because they are cruel and just want to murder some babies. The point of abortion isn't simply that we should have the right to control our bodies and our reproductive futures, but that we are homicidal maniacs. Which makes it easier to make Trump seem right (to them) about another thing — the time he said he would support throwing people in prison for having abortions.

By ignoring all of the very reasonable and sympathetic and understandable reasons people have abortions and focusing on imaginary scenarios in which people just really want to stab a baby in the head as it's coming out of the birth canal. That someone would literally be pregnant for 8 or 9 months and then just decide, you know "off with its head!," probably followed up by "Just kill it so I can get to the orgy, wherein I will have tons of sex so that I can get pregnant and have yet another abortion! Because of how I hate babies, am very evil, and also love paying lots of money for surgical procedures.

If that's the person/super villain you have in your head as the kind of person who gets abortions, you might not care that this is going to hurt them. The purpose of this rhetoric is not to have a better understanding of what abortion is, but to make the abortion-haver so incredibly unsympathetic that no one actually cares what happens to them.

It's how we do a lot of things here, it's why our criminal justice system is so grotesque, why it took so long to get people to realize that making jokes about prison rape was not good. It's why when people are found innocent of crimes they were imprisoned for, other people will say with a straight face "Well they probably did something else bad that they didn't get caught for" (particularly when those people are Black). Hell, quite frankly, it's how America handles not really giving a shit about most of the horrible things that happen to people. People are poor because they were bad and made bad decisions, people have student debt because they're bad and they majored in a thing I don't like — the way things are is basically good and if it doesn't work for you, it's because you are morally deficient. Unless you are a rich person, in which case your problem is everyone else being so spoiled and thinking they are entitled to your money, just because they work for you.

The goal is to make people say "Well, if something bad happens to someone during a self-managed or illegal abortion, that's kind of what they deserve" or to feel like being forced to give birth is a corrective punishment for being the kind of evil selfish bitch who just wants to murder babies for no good reason.

Now, personally I would question the wisdom of wanting what one considers to be a homicidal maniac to have many children (for abuse reasons, not The Bad Seed reasons), but I'm also not a giant asshole.

I am telling you now — this is going to be what they are doubling down on. It's only gonna get worse and more ridiculous and "post-birth abortion-y" from here on out.

Do your Amazon shopping through this link, because reasons.

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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