I started reading another excellent Digby post on the Bill of Rights but before I could finish it I got so pissed off I had to stop and say something. I’ve seen this meme (that Roe v Wade getting overturned would somehow be a good thing) a few times on blogs and have even heard it from friends whose opinion I respect, but the more I see it the more I think we need to smack some sense into the people saying it.
If Roe v Wade goes down it is not in any way, shape, or form a good thing. Yes, I am aware of the arguments that it is bad law. Well, I am not a lawyer, so I don’t care. It’s what we’ve got and given the tenor of the times right now it is all we’re likely to get for quite some time.
The general argument for Roe v Wade to go down, is:
You and I realize that it just hurts the masses to not have access [to abortion], but the masses apparently don’t appreciate this. So jolt them out of their apathy! I’M not going to die in a back alley abortion. But maybe if the daughters of some of these self-righteous bastards who want to impose their morality on the rest of the work DIE in back alley abortions, they’ll change their tunes! Because if they criminalize them, women will die.
But here’s the thing — abortion is already virtually unavailable through large stretches of red America, and even in the more rural sections of Blue states. (87% of counties in America do not have even one abortion provider.) So for us to sit here in the ‘safe’ zones and talk as if abortion rights will suddenly be taken away is just short-sighted. Abortion is virtually gone in much of America unless you’re geographically lucky or have the cash to travel. The overturn of Roe v Wade will not significantly affect large chunks of America’s access to abortion. We already lost that battle. What it will do is open the door for other, more insidious, types of legislation.
I’ve talked previously about issues like pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control pills because they believe they can be abortifacents. If Roe v Wade goes down, what is there to stop legislation from criminalizing birth control pills in some states, or god forbid, even Federal legislation?
In short, how far into the pit do we need to go before it starts to really hurt privileged liberal self-interest?
Oh, and by the way, lack of access to abortion and birth control is a much bigger issue than “just” the rights of women (seeing as snot-nosed kids like Matt Yglesias seem to think it’s OK to let those slide). If you’re young and pregnant and can’t get an abortion, the chance you have of getting ahead and finding well-paid work is pretty much shot to hell. It’s possible to get the education and skills necessary for well-paying jobs when you’re raising one or more kids on little money and probably without a spouse. But the vast majority of people in that situation are going to be so busy, tired, strapped for cash, and stressed that they will not get out of the low income trap they are stuck in. Ever.
That doesn’t bode well for either their future, or for America’s.
So please, stop thinking that Roe v Wade is something we can afford to give up in our fight to “reclaim” America. It isn’t.