For the Children: Mob Rule of the Womb

I believe that children are our future ... and that future children are fetuses. While the latter idea drifts further and further from the public's grasp, the former has replaced sex as the ultimate marketing gimmick -- used profitably by everyone from politicians to TV news anchors to purveyors of frozen dinners. "For the children" has become the catch phrase of the day, devoid of any real concern for kids. And safely outside the polarized abortion debate, this child-welfare rhetoric is yanking women's rights into the mud in a covert anti-feminist tug of war.So far, Matt Groening has been the only one to catch on. In an episode of "The Simpson's," he lampooned pro-child hysteria in the form of one Mrs. Reverend Lovejoy:"Think of the children!" she begged irrationally and out of context at a town hall meeting on the subject of bears. By the time the bear nonissue had degenerated to immigrant scapegoating, she was running around screaming: "Won't someone PLEASE think of the CHILDREN?!?"But Groening only got half the joke.Politicians, always eye-to-the-future visionaries, use children as an excuse to oppose or support: welfare, environmental legislation, capital gains tax cuts, and every other cause that can be spliced onto the phrase "to make the world a better place for our children." Listening to (what's left of) the current welfare debate, one gets the impression it's okay for adults to starve to death, as long as they don't have kids to support.Television news broadcasters have caught on, too. Viewers aren't shocked by homelessness any more. So they air pieces on homeless children. Pick any issue, they've learned, plug it into this formula, and watch the ratings soar.And just as those anti-abortion commercials professing, "Life, what a beautiful choice," seem to have disappeared, a new slew of public service announcements is telling women to take care of themselves if they're pregnant. One shows a mom, just after giving birth, screaming uncontrollably as doctors rush the baby away for emergency medical treatment. Then a flashback shows her nine months pregnant in a bar drinking and smoking -- as if she wouldn't have been stoned by an angry mob for doing that in real life.Women must be really stupid -- clearly unqualified to be the vessels of life that these ads reduce them to. Children are everything. Women are just incubators -- cargo holds for "the future" -- and dangerously inept ones at that.Since Whitney Houston first driveled that children are our future, two abortion doctors have been shot dead; O.J. Simpson proved that murdering women isn't a punishable crime -- then got custody of his kids. Rape is on the rise; Newt Gingrich had the cajones to suggest putting poor women's children into orphanages; Congress launched an attack on D&X abortions; and Republican Rep. Henry Aldridge, who said rape victims can't get pregnant because "the juices don't flow," was appointed co-chairman of a committee that oversees abortion and other social issues.Children are no better off.And now, as TV ads tell the incompetent sex not to sniff a wine cork while pregnant, the Wisconsin pregnancy police have stepped in to make good and damn sure they don't. A juvenile court judge near Milwaukee incarcerated Angela M.W. for three weeks without ever charging her with a crime. Alleging cocaine use, social workers confined the pregnant woman to a drug rehab until she gave birth. A resulting lawsuit made it to the state supreme court, which decided it's up to the state legislature to determine whether a county can "take custody of a fetus" on the recommendation of child-protection officials. A Wisconsin state senator now plans to sponsor a bill that will give courts jurisdiction over viable fetuses -- and, therefore, the human incubators that carry them.No cops, no formal charges, no conviction — just incarceration at the whim of child-protection officials. Because that thing in her belly is the future, the rest of her is just a life-support system.Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be ... back when adults -- female adults -- had rights and futures, too.

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