Roe's overturning commands ‘forced socialism’ in response to ‘forced births’: journalist
According to a report released by the Guttmacher Institute in mid-June, one in five pregnancies in the United States ended in an abortion in 2020. But with the U.S. Supreme Court having overturned Roe v. Wade with its widely protested ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, abortion will no doubt become illegal in a long list of Republican-controlled states.
To make matters worse, Justice Clarence Thomas is calling for the High Court to “reconsider” its 1965 ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut — which made access to contraception for married couples a constitutional right. Further, Thomas and many other far-right social conservatives who oppose abortion and contraception also oppose universal health care and even the modest reforms of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare.
Thomas couldn’t care less whether or not women who suffer unplanned pregnancies have access to health care. But journalist Eleanor Clift, in an op-ed published by the Daily Beast on June 30, takes a totally different position —arguing that if states, post-Roe, are going to subject women to “forced birth,” those states must be subjected to “forced socialism.”
“If we’re going to have forced births,” Clift emphasizes, “it is not unreasonable to ask the government to cover the costs. We can call it forced socialism, with the burden on the lawmakers whose proselytizing got us into this mess.”
One person on the right who shares Clift’s concerns is Stuart Butler, who spent 35 years with the Heritage Foundation and now focuses on economic studies at the Brookings Institution. Butler told the Beast, “If there’s a big increase in children with big needs, it is absolutely an obligation of the states to pass legislation to deal with those needs.”
But Butler, a self-described “bleeding-heart conservative,” also told the Beast, “I’m scratching my head because the states most likely to restrict or ban abortion are at the lowest end when it comes to providing for children.”
\u201cPHILLY PROTEST: A massive crowd has gathered at Philadelphia City Hall in support of abortion rights after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade. https://t.co/w4Alp1bUJX\u201d— CBS Philly (@CBS Philly) 1656114869
\u201cProtesters marching through Philadelphia after #SCOTUS overturns Roe v. Wade\u201d— Katie Katro (@Katie Katro) 1656114779
On June 30, the Center Brookings Institution released a damning post-Roe report which found that the red states that are the most likely to outlaw abortion in the months ahead also have the weakest social programs. Brookings’ Isabel V. Sawhill, who co-authored the report, says of right-wing abortion opponents, “It’s time to act on their fine words about children, and if they don’t, it will become obvious.”
Sawhill discussed the report with the Beast, and she fears that there will be terrible economic and health care outcomes for women in red states who suffer unplanned pregnancies but no longer have abortion as an option.
Clift warns, “Given the poor track record in most of these anti-abortion states on just about every metric of health care and outcomes for children, the post-Roe outlook appears bleak for this vulnerable population. Sawhill predicts a big increase in inequality of opportunity as she cites some uncomfortable truths.”
Sawhill told the Beast, “The rates of unplanned pregnancy are higher if you’re Black, poor and less educated — five times higher for Black women than White women.”
\u201cThousands protested at the federal courthouse in Houston against the #Roe decision, demanding that Biden & the Dems codify Roe. Working people must protest, strike, & walkout to force the reversal of this decision & win back abortion rights!\u201d— Houston Socialist Alternative (@Houston Socialist Alternative) 1656177024
Christian Right proponents of forced birth often point to adoption as a panacea when women suffer unplanned pregnancies. But Matt Bennett of the Third Way, an alliance of centrist Blue Dog Democrats, notes that the foster care system is a bad joke in the United States.
Bennett told the Beast, “The most restrictive states are going to do nothing to alleviate the enormous suffering they’ll cause. It’s incredibly farfetched to say we can make foster care anything other than the dumping ground and moral catastrophe it is now.”
Clift concludes her op-ed on an angry note, recommending that voters who are opposed to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling voice express their frustration when they vote in the 2022 midterms.
“The road ahead will be determined by politics, and the politics will be determined not only by the data, but by anecdotes as we approach the midterm elections,” Clift argues. “The stories of the women facing unreasonable government mandates will move people first to sadness for what didn’t have to be, and then to anger at the politicians who turned the clock back. And because this is still a democracy, voting is one thing every citizen can do — and while our votes can’t change the Supreme Court’s ruling, they reflect a lived reality that can’t be ignored.”
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