Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Twisted logic

Recently I reviewed a book on a group of French resistance women who were sent to Auschwitz. It noted that also in Auschwitz were German women convicted of carrying out abortions for "Aryan" women. But at the same time, some Jewish women in the camp were being subjected to appalling experiments designed to work out the most efficient methods of forced sterilisation, and others were seeing their children killed in front of them. Reading this, I thought about anti-abortion activists who see nothing wrong in murdering those who are pro-choice...

Meanwhile on 8 November Mississippi voters will decide on Proposition 26, which affirms that personhood begins at conception. It seeks to add the following sentence to the state constitution: “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.” This would ban virtually all abortions, including those resulting from rape or incest, along with some birth control methods, including IUDs and ‘morning-after pills,’ which prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. It would also outlaw the destruction of embryos created in laboratories.


This is part of a week of Pro-Choice Postings hosted here at The Hand Mirror starting on Friday 28th October 2011. For an index of all the posts, being updated as they go up, please check the Pro-Choice Postings index. And if you'd like to submit a post for cross-posting, guest posting or linking to please email


Moz said...

It would also make any woman who has a miscarriage guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Given the stats, that's much more of a concern.

Josh said...

Luckily given Roe v Wade, that addition to the Mississippi state constitution will be declared unconstitutional. There's simply no if or buts about it, Roe v Wade in the US means that states can't interfere in private clinics offering abortion, at least up to a certain term.

portia said...

@Josh - how I wish that were entirely true, that Roe v Wade prevented interference from the states in abortion rights. Unfortunately, in the current political climate (for the past 20 years or so) it does not prevent states from chipping away at women's ability to exercise their rights. Many states have implemented mandatory waiting periods, multiple clinic visits, scripts written by anti-abortion legislators that doctors must read from to 'inform' their patients, mandatory ultrasounds, all of which make abortion more expensive and less accessible.

From a practical perspective, overturning Roe v Wade would be a disaster for the anti-abortion movement in the states because women in states other than New York and California (where the right to abortion is safe) would start to die from illegal abortions again, reminding people why abortion needs to be legal in the first place.

Anonymous said...

No words.


Hugh said...

All true, portia, but those are effectively the states trying to get around Roe v Wade's simple prescription that abortion is legal. None of them actually make it illegal, they just try to make it harder to access.

This law, if passed, would make it illegal, thus directly contradicting the Supreme Court's ruling in a way none of what you've described does.

And in a conflict between a State and the Supreme Court, well, they tried that in the 1860s and spoiler alert it didn't go too well for the States.

portia said...


My response was directed to Josh's statement that 'states can't interfere in private clinics offering abortion'. They can and do, as described.

This law, if passed, would make abortion illegal in MS, but it would be challenged in court and not enforced unless/until the final appeal was decided in its favour. That would require overturning Roe v Wade in the USSC.

I may be misinterpreting you, but it sounds a little like you're discounting the effect of these jumping-through-hoops restrictions. They have had a devastating effect on poorer women in remote locations, who may have to travel hundreds of miles to visit the only clinic in their state, and find somewhere to stay over the multiple days that the prolonged process needlessly requires.

I'm not sure what Supreme Court decision you're referring to that defeated a state in the 1860's. But thank you for the mental image of the mid-19c USSC dressed as superheroes battling the Confederate army. :-)

Hugh said...

Yes, they can interfere in the operations of the clinics, but they can't actually interfere in the clinics' ability to give abortions.

I'm not minimising how big a problem all those hoops and hurdles are, but they don't constitute an actual ban on abortion, even if they are effectively a ban for some women.