The Supreme Court's Latest Blunder

This post originally appeared on Shakesville

There's an absolutely infuriating article in the NY Times yesterday about the anti-choice brigade embracing a new tactic, emboldened as they've been by SCOTUS' terrible decision regarding late-term abortions.
For many years, the political struggle over abortion was often framed as a starkly binary choice: the interest of the woman, advocated by supporters of abortion rights, versus the interest of the fetus, advocated by opponents of abortion. But last month's Supreme Court decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act marked a milestone for a different argument advanced by anti-abortion leaders, one they are increasingly making in state legislatures around the country. They say that abortion, as a rule, is not in the best interest of the woman; that women are often misled or ill-informed about its risks to their own physical or emotional health; and that the interests of the pregnant woman and the fetus are, in fact, the same.
The majority opinion in the court's 5-to-4 decision explicitly acknowledged this argument, galvanizing anti-abortion forces and setting the stage for an intensifying battle over new abortion restrictions in the states.
Well, yeah--the interests of the pregnant woman and the fetus are the same in the best case scenario. In a situation where the pregnancy has been planned or is at least wanted, with the support of a partner (as applicable), where there exists emotional and financial stability, the means to support a(nother) child, and the mother is both psychologically and physiologically healthy during the pregnancy, as is the fetus, then everything's copasetic with the whole "shared interests" concept. Even failing that perfect intersection by one or two degrees, many women decide to find a way to work an unplanned pregnancy and the resulting child into their lives.

But in some cases, that's not desirable or possible; the pregnancy just isn't viable because of the external environment, which ought to matter at least as much as the internal environment of the womb, considering the latter is only pertinent for nine months. And in those cases, the "shared interests" concept is just a load of horseshit. There's really no kinder way to say it.

Ultimately, the anti-choicers are trying to forcibly legislate a best case scenario into existence--and it doesn't take a genius (or the soulless void of humanity that is a pro-choice woman) to divine how ludicrously futile that is. Certainly, there are ways to create more best case scenarios in America--comprehensive sex education, better access to affordable birth control, universal healthcare, a significant minimum wage hike, more family-friendly employment laws--but those aren't the sorts of things that galvanize the anti-choicers. Pictures of American children experiencing "very low food security" don't make for snazzy billboards and picket signs quite the way aborted fetuses do.

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