Lindsey Graham’s Abortion Stunt

He's proposed a bill with no chance of passage seemingly timed to hurt his own party in the midterms.

POLITICO (“Graham’s abortion ban stuns Senate GOP“):

Lindsey Graham’s anti-abortion legislation once unified the Republican Party. The 15-week abortion ban he pitched Tuesday had the exact opposite effect.

The South Carolina senator chose a uniquely tense moment to unveil his party’s first bill limiting abortion access since this summer’s watershed reversal of Roe v. Wade. It was designed as a nod to anti-abortion activists who have never felt more emboldened. Yet Graham’s bill also attempted to skate past a Republican Party that’s divided over whether Congress should even be legislating on abortion after the Supreme Court struck down a nationwide right to terminate pregnancies.

And some fellow Republicans said they were highly perplexed at Graham’s decision to introduce a new abortion ban — more conservative than his previous proposals — at a precarious moment for the party.

“I don’t think there’s an appetite for a national platform here. My state, today, is working on this. I’m not sure what he’s thinking here. But I don’t think there will be a rallying around that concept,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). “I don’t think there’s much of an appetite to go that direction.”

Graham’s past pitches for a 20-week abortion ban attracted most Republicans’ support and even the votes of some Senate Democrats. His latest effort would leave in place state laws that are even more restrictive while also imposing new limits in blue states that currently have none. Coming less than 60 days before the midterms, it’s riled some Republicans, who are watching their once-dominant polling advantage shrink since the Roe reversal.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that questions about the bill should be directed to Graham and that most Republican senators “prefer this be handled at the state level.” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) suggested Graham had gone a bit rogue with his latest legislation: “That wasn’t a conference decision. It was an individual senator’s decision.”

“There’s obviously a split of opinion in terms of whether abortion law should be decided by the states … and those who want to set some sort of minimum standard,” Cornyn said of the 50-member Senate GOP conference. “I would keep an open mind on this but my preference would be for those decisions to be made on a state-by-state basis.”

NYT (“Graham Proposes 15-Week Abortion Ban, Splitting Republicans“) adds:

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina introduced legislation on Tuesday that would institute a federal ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, reigniting debate on an issue that Republicans have worked to confront before midterm elections in which abortion rights have become a potent issue.

There is no chance that Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, would allow such a bill to receive a vote in the Senate, where his party has been focused on preserving abortion access after the Supreme Court’s ruling in June ending the constitutional right to abortion.

And the proposal quickly divided Republicans, splitting their leaders and reflecting the difficult politics of abortion for the party in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision.

[…]

Mr. Graham’s proposal appeared to be an effort to find a politically palatable position for Republicans after the court’s decision that could insulate them from a voter backlash, even as G.O.P.-led states enact bans on nearly all abortions.

But it also accomplished something that many Republicans have sought to avoid, highlighting for voters that their choice in November is between supporting a Democratic majority that wants to preserve abortion access and handing control of Congress to Republicans who are seeking to ban the procedure.

“If we take back the House and the Senate, I can assure you we’ll have a vote on our bill,” Mr. Graham said. “If the Democrats are in charge, I don’t know if we’ll ever have a vote on our bill.”

The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has galvanized Democrats on one of the most charged issues in American politics and underscored for Republicans the political risks of their longstanding opposition to abortion rights.

Mr. Graham’s bill, which would prohibit doctors from performing the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy, appeared to be an effort to appease the most conservative Republicans, who want to sharply restrict access to abortions or ban them outright, while also trying to appeal to those in the party who want to impose more modest limits.

The measure would leave in place state laws with stricter restrictions but supersede those that allow the procedure after 15 weeks, outlawing many abortions that are currently legal.

Whatever one might think of Lindsey Graham, we can agree on two things. First, he has no principles. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to stay “relevant” and get re-elected. Second, he’s highly skilled at reading the necessary tea leaves to accomplish those things.

The first means that he’s not particularly interested in issues, including abortion. It’s just about the politics.

The second means that he’s fully aware that there’s no chance in hell that this bill will pass this Congress or be signed by this President. And he had to know that the GOP caucus as a whole is quite antsy about the impact of Dobbs on the midterms and beyond. Every single OTB reader knows that, after all, and Graham is more plugged in than any of us.

Clearly, then, this is just a political stunt. Presumably, it’s aimed at shoring up his conservative bona fides with South Carolina voters. Then again, he was just re-elected to another six-year term in 2020.

Is he positioning himself for another Presidential run in 2024? I don’t think he’s got a snowball’s chance in hell but senators tend to be somewhat delusional about their appeal.

The whole thing just seems odd.

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. MarkedMan says:

    Just a complete gut feeling here, but this isn’t the first time Graham has acted like a man with secrets being held over his head. I’ve speculated a number of times while watching him crawl on his belly to do Trump’s bidding, he seemed to be doing it in the most literal and crude way possible, stupidly, and in such a way that it damaged Trump more than helped him. I wonder if this is the same thing. Not Trump this time, but perhaps some religious fanatic billionaire.

    ReplyReply
    8
  2. grumpy realist says:

    And when someone at the town hall brought up her personal experience of discovering she was carrying a non-viable fetus at 16 weeks he just talked over her and totally ignored her case in his “answer”. The pain and tragedy of her case he just totally dismissed. Just like many forced-birthers: for Graham the woman doesn’t count.

    There are reasons we have abortions in the second and third trimester.

    I really hope that this stunt backfires on Graham.

    ReplyReply
    15
  3. SC_Birdflyte says:

    This is the equivalent of pulling the pin on a hand grenade, then throwing the pin away, and sticking the grenade in your mouth.

    ReplyReply
    3
  4. CSK says:

    As I said yesterday, if he’s trying to energize Democratic voters before the November midterms, he’s doing a hell of a job of it.

    ReplyReply
  5. MarkedMan says:

    @SC_Birdflyte: For the anti-abortion people this is a bad move, but is the same true for Graham? I don’t like him, but he’s no dummy, so he knew how this would play out. So why did he do it? It’s not going to hurt him politically and besides, even if it did that’s five years away.

    ReplyReply
  6. Chris says:

    Graham has long suffered from acute bouts of the vapours. Seeming his only pleasure is now derived from casting about streams of vitriol and nonsense in order to cause others to be overcome with their own case of the vapours.

    ReplyReply
    1
  7. Michael Cain says:

    I’d guess he’s angling for a VP spot on the 2024 ballot.

    ReplyReply
    2
  8. Kathy says:

    It may be a play to bring out the GQP base to vote int he midterms. What his proposal would accomplish is to stick it to the blue states, and keep errant red states like Kansas in the fold.

    Lately when a Republiqan offers legislation, my first questions is “whom does it harm”?

    ReplyReply
    5
  9. Crusty Dem says:

    All that talk since 2009 and it turns out the only one playing 11th dimensional chess is actually Lindsey Graham. Which, at it’s core, really does make some sense – how else do you win the GOP primary in SC as a nearly out of the closet gay man. Requires some serious maneuvering…

    ReplyReply
    1
  10. Scott says:

    I wonder whether Democrats should take it at face value, start negotiating publicly, and start modifying it. Ideas such as 20 weeks, lots of exceptions, application to all states, primacy of medical care, explicit non personhood statements, etc. You could drag this whole conversation into the midterms. And still seem rational, pro-woman.

    ReplyReply
    4
  11. Stormy Dragon says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Worst part is that I think Graham’s “secret” is just that he’s gay, and he actually thinks this is still a secret.

    ReplyReply
    6
  12. wr says:

    I just don’t understand this at all. The Republicans’ only hope to tamp down anger at the overturning of Roe is to make people believe that it really just does turn the issue over to the states. (Which of course is bad enough — I don’t want my civil rights determined by my zip code. But that’s another story…) That way they can wax patriotic about the glorious will of the people and assure us that it’s not about abortion, it’s really a states rights issue, and that no one anywhere wants a national ban. So it’s safe to vote R if you’re made about inflation.

    And the really crazy thing is that all the rabid anti-abortion people knew this was the game — soothe choicers with pretty lies now and pass legislation once they’ve won the midterms.

    So what possible reason is there to blow this all up? I can’t figure it at all…

    ReplyReply
    6
  13. Modulo Myself says:

    @Scott:

    Abortion is a right. The overwhelming majority of abortions occur in the first trimester. The abortions which are done after 15 weeks happen due to unspeakably sad circumstances, either medical or psychological. We don’t need to negotiate choice with social conservatives.

    Anyway, Dobbs has moved the needle on abortion. 15-week bans are now unpopular. Nobody wants Lindsay Graham telling them what they can do with their body.

    ReplyReply
    10
  14. drj says:

    Graham’s depiction of Belgium’s flag mirrors his understanding of that country’s abortion practices, I am sure.

    ReplyReply
  15. drj says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Abortion is a right.

    Sorry, but no.

    Bodily autonomy (or “privacy” if one prefers) is a right.

    At a certain point in a normal, healthy pregnancy (let’s say post-viability) a fetus gets (some) rights, too, and their rights to bodily autonomy should be balanced against the rights of the mother.

    At least, that’s how it’s usually understood. Let’s not mirror the fundies by calling for absolute rules in potentially complex situations.

    ReplyReply
    1
  16. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I’m sure the frustrations of being a old closeted gay white man are immense, and would undoubtedly cloud your thinking and impulses.
    Send poor Lady G your thoughts and prayers.

    ReplyReply
    2
  17. Scott says:

    @Modulo Myself: @drj:

    I meant my comment to be a political strategy comment, not an abortion rights comment. I recognize there is an overlap but it is not my intent to get into an abortion debate.

    ReplyReply
    1
  18. charon says:

    @drj:

    At a certain point in a normal, healthy pregnancy (let’s say post-viability) a fetus gets (some) rights, too, and their rights to bodily autonomy should be balanced against the rights of the mother.

    At least, that’s how it’s usually understood.

    That is how Christianity understands. The Talmud (Jewish law) explicitly says the fetus has no rights until birth.

    ReplyReply
    10
  19. Modulo Myself says:

    @drj:

    Abortion being a right does not exclude the rights of a fetus, and it’s crazy (and misogynistic) to approach abortion as if there is a natural opposition between the pregnant person and the fetus. Someone who is getting an abortion in 99.9999% of the cases has a valid reason to do so, and this reason involves the fetus. I’m not saying that doctors should automatically provide an abortion upon demand. Yeah, an actually-viable fetus does have rights. But there is just no reason to involve the state in this, except for politics. And politics has been limited to ugly men endlessly rehashing the sorites paradox, as if the point of the paradox is that there’s a dividing line between two concepts.

    ReplyReply
    3
  20. steve says:

    Meh. Graham does what is best for Graham. He has decided this will help his career and its not based upon any principles since he has long made it clear that he abandons anything remotely like a principle if it means he can get re-elected. To his credit, he is really good at figuring out what the people in his state like.

    Steve

    ReplyReply
    4
  21. Lounsbury says:

    Never interrupt your enemy while he’s making a mistake; it’s bad manners.

    ReplyReply
    5
  22. drj says:

    @charon:

    The Talmud (Jewish law) explicitly says the fetus has no rights until birth.

    Sounds pretty immoral to me! (And I’m no Christian by any stretch of the imagination.)

    @Modulo Myself:

    But there is just no reason to involve the state in this

    Certainly not to the extent that social conservatives want. But no rules at all doesn’t sound great either.

    Ideally, we should have a limited set of rules based on medical best practices.

    ReplyReply
  23. MarkedMan says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Oh, I suspect there are pictures and it probably involves more than just homosexuality. No evidence, just a hunch.

    ReplyReply
  24. grumpy realist says:

    I really, REALLY wish we could just pluck out the zygote/embryo/fetus from the woman and stuff it into the belly of Lindsey Graham….

    You want to force a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term? You first.

    ReplyReply
    6
  25. MarkedMan says:

    @charon: What Charon said. That there is some magic moment when the fetus is ensouled and becomes a “real human” is a religious belief, not anything that corresponds to hard facts.

    ReplyReply
    5
  26. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Actually, you can.

    That is, it’s not physically impossible.

    But the fetus or zygote won’t continue to develop. It will at most elicit an immune response as alien tissue inside the body. And that only after exposing trump’s butt plug to the risks associated with anesthesia and surgery.

    So, no downsides.

    ReplyReply
    2
  27. gVOR08 says:

    @charon: My understanding is that most protestant theology used to say “life” begins at birth. Initial objection to Roe was largely Catholic.

    I believe the Lutheran denomination I left decades ago still recognizes a right to abortion with a lot of hand waving around not liking it. When I asked my brother, the late Reverend, what Lutheran dogma was on abortion his answer was that Lutherans aren’t big on dogma. Some other denominations eventually rewrote their theology to say they’d always believed life began at conception.

    ReplyReply
    2
  28. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @MarkedMan: I think he still hopes he may slide onto a future GOP ticket as Veep-nominee.

    ReplyReply
    1
  29. al Ameda says:

    @James Joyner

    Is he positioning himself for another Presidential run in 2024? I don’t think he’s got a snowball’s chance in hell but senators tend to be somewhat delusional about their appeal.

    Perhaps, but I think this is a play to secure the Vice Presidential slot in 2024, especially and particularly if Trump is the nominee.

    ReplyReply
    4
  30. KM says:

    @drj:
    No.

    There’s no right to be born, not in nature, religion or law. No culture, faith or creed has espoused that. A fetus is a potential, not actually person – that’s why birth is traditionally the line. It means you made it.

    As long as you are in someone else’s body, you are impuning on their body autonomy. Many times it is welcomed, others it is not. Post-viability doesn’t give you the right to occupy someone’s privates any more then being post-birth does. If anything, they’d have the right to GTFO but that means imposing a medically necessary surgery on the woman- a huge physical and financial burden. Who will pay for the NICU for the newly emancipated being for months? Who will cover the woman’s expenses and care for something she didn’t want?

    In the end, till uterine replicator are cheap and freely available, fetal rights will always conflict with a woman’s bodily autonomy. It comes down to respecting the rights of someone present and someone who may never arrive. And until men start volunteering to give up some of their autonomy, they need to stop suggesting women should consider compromising on theirs.

    ReplyReply
    11
  31. KM says:

    @KM:
    Ugh, on cellphone at airport , no edit button.

    Meant medically unnecessary.

    ReplyReply
    2
  32. Modulo Myself says:

    @drj:

    I think there should be regulation. But that’s different than a bunch of politicians operating under the assumption that without a legal ban at 15 weeks women would just be exploiting abortion for their own nefarious purposes, which is where the Republicans are coming from.

    Their misogyny has invented a problem that does not exist.

    ReplyReply
    3
  33. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    I hope the NYT is wrong that Schumer will never allow this to come to a vote. He absolutely should allow this to come to the floor. I wouldn’t even bother with amendments (it would muddy the issue). Absolutely HANG the vote on the R’s before the election. They either infuriate the majority of women even more, or infuriate the abortion=genocide nuts. Win win. Schumer should do that and send Graham a thank you note.

    ReplyReply
    2
  34. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    And actually, the R’s will probably infuriate BOTH. Since some will vote no based on the states right canard, and others will vote yes.

    ReplyReply
  35. grumpy realist says:

    @KM: If I were ever to run for POTUS, one of the planks in my platform would be a national program into the R&D necessary to create uterine replicators. And I would rub it into the faces of the so-called “pro-lifers” as hard as possible, because my suspicion is that even were the technology around and able to be used, they’d find a reason to not use it. They’re not “pro-life”, they’re “women are chattel”.

    ReplyReply
    2
  36. MarkedMan says:

    @al Ameda:

    Perhaps, but I think this is a play to secure the Vice Presidential slot in 2024, especially and particularly if Trump is the nominee.

    So I’m just trying to game this out: Are you thinking that Trump will feel he still needs a VP running mate who has an “in” with evangelicals and Graham is trying to convince Trump that Brother Lindsey is his man? That would explain the haste.

    ReplyReply
    2
  37. KM says:

    @grumpy realist:
    They’ll say its an abomination and sin against God, the same way they freaked out over IVF (and still do). Children born that way wouldn’t be precious angels saved from a murderous mother but soulless inhuman beings born against God and nature’s will. They won’t see it as saving lives or protecting right to life but women sacrificing the souls of the unborn to the current conspiracy.

    ReplyReply
    3
  38. Erik says:

    @MarkedMan: it is much more likely that Graham is just an asshole. No need to credit him with being someone who would “TOTALLY be a white knight if someone didn’t have a gun or his head” or something.

    ReplyReply
    2
  39. mattbernius says:

    @al Ameda:

    Perhaps, but I think this is a play to secure the Vice Presidential slot in 2024, especially and particularly if Trump is the nominee.

    That… makes sense.

    Either that or perhaps he’s hoping that Mitch will retire at some point.

    Ultimately, Graham is motivated by power. That’s why the blackmail line has never made sense to me. He’s always been this way, it’s just it wasn’t quite as immediately apparent.

    ReplyReply
    1
  40. Liberal Capitalist says:

    As they used to say: ” Don’t get high on your own supply”.

    Could it be he is so down in the MAGA echo chamber hole that he had no idea the backlash that would occur when relegating all women in the USA to third class citizens?

    ReplyReply
  41. Scott says:

    Another unprincipled bag of jello weighs in:

    Marco Rubio co-sponsors national 15-week abortion ban

    He signed on to a Lindsay Graham bill with exceptions for rape and incest.
    U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is signing on as a co-sponsor for a federal abortion ban.

    U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina filed a bill to prohibit most abortions performed 15 weeks or later into pregnancy. Now, Rubio, Florida’s senior Senator, has signed on as the second co-sponsor, behind only U.S. Sen. Steve Daines of Montana.

    Rubio has not offered any comment on the legislation, and neither his Senate Office nor campaign have responded to requests about whether he will vote for the bill as written. His co-sponsorship suggests he will at the least play a role in crafting the bill, the most stringent regulation on abortion offered since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

    That’s not a major surprise. Rubio also served as an introducing co-sponsor to a prior bill filed by Graham that would have prohibited abortions at 20 weeks.

    ReplyReply
  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Why are Senator Graham’s granddaughters standing behind him in that picture? Are they really as ignorant and hard hearted as he is or is their support only out of sympathy for a pathetic old geezer who they still love–misogynistic bigotry and all?

    ReplyReply
  43. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Benito needs a VP who will 1) believe everything he says, 2) follow order unquestioningly, and 3) is more afraid of what Benito will say about him than of going to prison for life.

    Lindsey must think two out of three should be sufficient.

    ReplyReply
  44. drj says:

    @KM:

    There’s no right to be born, not in nature, religion or law. No culture, faith or creed has espoused that. A fetus is a potential, not actually person – that’s why birth is traditionally the line.

    This is false. On many levels.

    Ever heard of Roe v. Wade? I think it was determined in law that fetuses have a right to continued existence after the second trimester. This, of course, implies birth.

    A fetus is a potential, not actually person

    So you would have no problem aborting a 38-weeks-old fetus, even in the absence of a medically pressing reason?

    You can, of course, believe it’s no biggie, but it’s simply false to assert “it was always thus.”

    In fact, it would be pretty fucking radical.

    If you would like to give the GOP ammunition to turn the tide on the abortion debate after their dramatic overreach, this would be the way to do it. Why do you think the forced birth crowd is always showing pictures of fetuses that are way, way past the gestational point at which non-medically necessary abortions are carried out?

    But if you really want to snatch defeat of the jaws of victory, be my guest…

    Alternatively, instead of asserting an absolute right to abortion, you could also say that it depends on gestational development and medical necessity. You know, like the rest of the developed world.

    ReplyReply
    3
  45. gVOR08 says:

    Once upon a time, way back when he was McCain’s wingman, I kind of liked Lindsey. Never agreed with him, but thought he was kind of likeable. In interviews he showed both a lot of insight into politics and a considerable sense of humor. It occurs to me that the sense of humor should have been a sign he regards all this as a game. I think @al Ameda: is right, it’s a play for veep. Nothing else I’ve seen makes sense.

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: The daughters are probably loyal for the same reason Trump’s spawn are loyal. He’s the key to the family fortune.

    ReplyReply
    3
  46. MarkedMan says:

    @drj: Look, you are probably right, tactically. But the “it was always thus” argument is just wrong. Heck, in many cultures unwanted babies, ones of the wrong gender or with birth defects, were simply left out to die. In those societies that was considered acceptable. In some African cultures, if a woman had twins one was was put to death as a matter of course. And those are actual babies!

    Feelings towards fetuses are complicated things, but they are just that, feelings. They are by no means universal.

    ReplyReply
    1
  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @grumpy realist:

    They’re not “pro-life”, they’re “women are chattel”.

    Considering the general consensus of evangelicals on a host of issues related to gender and family, I think they’re already pretty clear on their worldview. I’m surprised you’ve missed that point. “[R]ub[bing] [uterine replicators] into the faces of the so-called “pro-lifers” as hard as possible” is only going to cause them to quote Matt. 5: 11 and 12 with greater earnestness than they do now. And feel even more justified in doing it.

    I think it would be better to let them stew in their bitterness than for you to make a vat for yourself, but everybody’s gotta have a gig and a place to row it. (And the high road is for sissies anyway.)

    ReplyReply
    1
  48. drj says:

    @MarkedMan:

    But the “it was always thus” argument is just wrong.

    That’s KM’s argument. Not mine:

    There’s no right to be born, not in nature, religion or law. No culture, faith or creed has espoused that.

    In fact, the western tradition has asserted quite the opposite for centuries at least, i.e. that personhood arrives at some point before birth.

    I think this is broadly (even if perhaps coincidentally) supported by biology. The brains of late-stage fetuses and infants are far from dissimilar. Also, the moment of birth is somewhat arbitrary. I think it’s silly to say that a fetus at 40 weeks is not a person, but an infant of 36 weeks is.

    ReplyReply
  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR08: At $3 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth, that’s not a lot of family fortune to be worried about. 🙁 I still like my suggestion better. (And it occurs to me that I should have identified them as grandnieces, not granddaughters.)

    ReplyReply
  50. KM says:

    @drj:
    Roe didn’t grant the right to be born but rather to not be aborted after a specific and arbitrary deadline. That didn’t mean the fetus won’t suffer an accident or illness that results in stillbirth, just your mother couldn’t make the choice.

    I repeat, you’ve never had the right to be born. Termination regulation doesn’t guranentee birth.

    Who’s aborting a 38 week fetus on a whim? This lie NEEDS to stop. NOBODY puts up with swollen ankles, puking, hormones swings, constant peeing and permanent body changes to suddenly go fuck it at the end. If even if they did, the doctor would induce not abort.

    It’s only radical if your a male who’s never gone through pregnancy. Anyone who has knows what an investment it is and how you wouldnt just “quit” near the goal line. It’s incredibly misogynist to assume women are so fickle they’ll just randomly choose to abort near term. Late term doesn’t need to be regulated since those are wanted but tragedy struck; It’s solely for optics and the feels they ban that instead of the much more common early abortions who generally are unwanted pregnancies.

    ReplyReply
    5
  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR08: And as for FG’s spawn, their loyalty has to be because parasites gotta stick together. They’re all graduated of business schools and can read financial records. Any of them who believe there’s “a family fortune” to inherit out of that ponzi scheme he calls “Trump Enterprises” is the burger, the fries, and a drink short of a Happy Meal.

    ReplyReply
    1
  52. KM says:

    @drj:
    ” that personhood arrives at some point before birth”

    Then kindly explain why fetal personhood hasn’t been a thing for centuries in law. Census doesn’t count them, they’re not citizens of any country and have no legal standing in courts.

    When America was founded a few short centuries ago did the Founding Father’s consider them citizens or people?

    It’s always been about controlling women’s bodies, not recognizing fetuses as equal beings.

    (FYI plane finally here, will post later)

    ReplyReply
    6
  53. drj says:

    @KM:

    Roe didn’t grant the right to be born but rather to not be aborted after a specific and arbitrary deadline. That didn’t mean the fetus won’t suffer an accident or illness that results in stillbirth, just your mother couldn’t make the choice.

    You’re spltting hairs.

    To illustrate:

    We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness

    Doesn’t mean you can’t suffer an accident or get sick.

    Who’s aborting a 38 week fetus on a whim? This lie NEEDS to stop. NOBODY puts up with swollen ankles, puking, hormones swings, constant peeing and permanent body changes to suddenly go fuck it at the end. If even if they did, the doctor would induce not abort.

    But why even care if a fetus has no rights at all, as you asserted previously?

    I get the distinct impression that you think it would be better to induce at 38 weeks than to abort…

    Also:

    This lie NEEDS to stop.

    Well, you asserted an absolute: “A fetus is a potential, not actually person – that’s why birth is traditionally the line.”

    Extreme hypotheticals are a good way of putting absolutes to the test. I think yours failed.

    ReplyReply
  54. drj says:

    @KM:

    Then kindly explain why fetal personhood hasn’t been a thing for centuries in law.

    Wrong again.

    The unborn can typically inherit. That a fetus doesn’t have all rights belonging to a person, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have any such rights.

    ReplyReply
    1
  55. Jon says:

    @drj: Nobody getting a “late-term abortion” (stupid phrase, but here we are) is doing it by choice; they’re doing it because something bad has happened and an abortion is the least bad option. Injecting the law in to that just makes a bad situation worse.

    People should have control of their health care decisions and such decisions should be between that person, their family (if desired), and their health care providers. The government has no valid role.

    Pete Buttigieg, bless his heart, states it much better than I ever could.

    ReplyReply
    7
  56. charon says:

    @drj:

    So you would have no problem aborting a 38-weeks-old fetus, even in the absence of a medically pressing reason?

    You are being silly, absurd. In the 9th month, the usual method of choice is induced labor. If the result is a healthy viable birth, appropriate care would be provided.

    What is being discussed is abortion (i.e., induced labor) for medical reasons, which likely would result in either a stillbirth or a very sick baby that would receive only palliative care.

    ReplyReply
    4
  57. Gustopher says:

    @drj:

    So you would have no problem aborting a 38-weeks-old fetus, even in the absence of a medically pressing reason?

    The brain connections that make a person a person don’t really begin to form until some time after birth — and they don’t really get up to the level of a cat for 18 months or so (although even then, they are useless as mousers).

    Birth seems like a pretty straightforward, hard-to-fudge dividing line though, and laws prefer clear dividing lines.

    ReplyReply
    3
  58. grumpy realist says:

    @Gustopher: The craziest aspect of this is ok, assume that the forced-birthers have their way and we have abortion prohibited from conception. If “life” is all so important, there is nothing to keep a woman from forcibly evicting the trespasser from her womb as soon as it can survive outside–maybe in a NICU, but still, It’s Not The Woman’s Problem Anymore. But of course, the forced-birthers won’t allow that–you’ll have to carry up until the end of those 9 months, allowing the fetus to live off your bloodstream and you being forced to act as a life-support system, when you want to or not. After all, it’s your “duty”.

    However, as soon as the little bugger has exited your womb, you now have all the standard rights of a normal human being: you cannot be forced to donate a kidney, plasma, blood, anything at all of your body even if this results in the death of the baby and it’s something standard that will have little effect on your life (blood donation).

    I prefer having the human rights of a normal person, not the truncated rights of a pregnant woman.

    ReplyReply
    4
  59. Matt says:

    @grumpy realist: My “favorite” part has always been that once the fetus is born the “pro-lifers” want nothing to do with helping it survive..

    ReplyReply
    5
  60. JohnSF says:

    For what it’s worth, going to re- post something:

    “It’s infuriating the number of people who chunter on about the virtues of a social and legal system with religious foundations, but have zero knowledge of the laws and practices of the Medieval Christendom, or 17th Century England.
    Even if abortion was punishable it was a crime distinct from murder or even, usually manslaughter.
    “common law did not even acknowledge a fetus as existing separately from a pregnant woman”
    …until “quickening” which had various definition: generally 18 weeks.
    Prior to that, the orthodox opinion was
    … “he is not a murderer who brings about abortion before the soul is in the body”

    And this opinion was based at least in part on judgements regarding the health of the mother: post-quickening abortion was regarded (and was, given the medicine of the times) highly dangerous to the mother.
    Similarly, late term abortion was generally regarded as acceptable, if regrettable, if the mothers life was in peril.

    Not only that, but in many areas where abortion was regarded as punishable under canon law, it was not under civil law; and often the canon law punishment was of penance, and not enforceable by civil courts. (Medieval laws varied a lot)

    In any case, if religion is to be regarded as the founding of law, when do we get back the Medieval bans on usury?
    Or the implications of more recent Catholic teaching, that have recently criticised capitalism. And not so long ago condemned constitutional republics!

    Most of those seeking legal prescriptions in religion or tradition appear to have decided in advance what they are determined to find there.

    ReplyReply
    3
  61. drj says:

    @charon:

    You are being silly, absurd. In the 9th month, the usual method of choice is induced labor. […] What is being discussed is abortion (i.e., induced labor) for medical reasons

    But that’s the thing. If the right to abortion is absolute and personhood only begins at birth, it shouldn’t matter if it’s for medical reasons or purely elective.

    You’re all making claims about how abortion shouldn’t be restricted at all and then refuse to accept the consequences of that choice.

    And it’s all pointless. The right to abortion doesn’t need to be absolute in order to get perfectly fine outcomes. You really want to argue that people in Sweden, France, or the Netherlands lack sufficient reproductive freedom?

    These are all jurisdictions with fixed gestational limits + broad social and medical exceptions for later-term pregnancies. Which means that the government is involved – albeit at a distance.

    ReplyReply
    2
  62. charon says:

    @drj:

    These are all jurisdictions with fixed gestational limits + broad social and medical exceptions for later-term pregnancies. Which means that the government is involved – albeit at a distance.

    My view is the government has no business being involved at all, apart from administrative stuff like licencing doctors, that sort of thing. Medical professions advise and recommend, women make final decision by themselves, period.

    ReplyReply
    5
  63. DK says:

    @drj:

    You’re all making claims about how abortion shouldn’t be restricted at all

    Speaking of the danger of absolute claims, that’s not what I read in this thread, where did you read it?

    A fetus does not have constitutional rights that need to be “balanced” against the rights of living people with actual, legal rights. Pets can inherit and we are not okay with people indiscriminately killing and abusing them. That does not mean pets are legal persons with rights that must be balanced against the rights human citizens, even though society and government has a compelling interest in preventing the killing and abuse of animals.

    Likewise, the government does have a compelling interest in limiting post-viability abortion, even though fetusus are not legal persons. Those interests are pretty clear, I think, but they don’t include protecting a fetusus’s constitutional rights. Or at least haven’t in most eras and jurisdictions, prior to now.

    ReplyReply
    4
  64. gVOR08 says:

    @JohnSF:

    Most of those seeking legal prescriptions in religion or tradition appear to have decided in advance what they are determined to find there.

    Sounds like Originalists with history and the Constitution.

    ReplyReply
    1
  65. Modulo Myself says:

    @charon:

    My view is the government has no business being involved at all, apart from administrative stuff like licencing doctors, that sort of thing. Medical professions advise and recommend, women make final decision by themselves, period.

    And unless you think that abortion is inherently wrong, this process seems to be working. Outside of thought experiments, are there people getting abortions at 35 weeks for healthy babies? Is this a thing? No, it’s not. There’s no need for politicians to talk about when you and can’t have an abortion, because the reasonable standards are already in place.

    The sentimental pro-life side has always clung to Hallmark-cliches about life. Children have always been economic decisions. Life has always been a pragmatic venture. You can love children and be like we can not afford another one. These are not thoughts which lead to indifference for real people. Likewise, the men who have no problem with abortion as long as they don’t know about it love their rules. If we can’t have a dividing line, all shall be chaos and anything is permitted. It’s basically the Hallmark movie.

    ReplyReply
    2
  66. Rick DeMent says:

    @KM:

    Remember the founders didn’t even think real live people had a right to exist when they proclaimed them to be worth 3/5ths a vote. It hard to believe they spent much time thinking about fetuses.

    ReplyReply
  67. al Ameda says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Yeah, I think Trump would swap out Pence for Graham in a heartbeat. That would be an assurance to the evangelical and conservative Christian/Catholic ‘community’ that the New Trump Administration will push hard for a federal ban on Abortion.

    I’m just musing here but, the reality is a New Trump Administration would be a huge wrecking ball.

    ReplyReply

Speak Your Mind

*