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writing for godot

Chipping away at Roe v Wade: A Big Move Backwards in Ohio and by the Right in General

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Written by David Starr   
Monday, 03 December 2018 13:13

The Ohio House of Representatives, GOP-dominated, has shown a knack for pushing a law that is based more on reaction than progress. The House voted to pass a law severely restricting a women's right to reproductive choice. The "law" would restrict abortion to six weeks, a time when a woman doesn't know if, or finds out, she is pregnant. It carries with it a $2,500 fine and a year in prison. There is also consideration of passing a “law” where violating it would carry a lengthy prison sentence and even execution if the "law" is violated by women and doctors providing abortion services.

Republicans, or "pro-lifers," base their anti-abortion (or anti-choice) stance on moral grounds, seeing millions of unborn babies being slaughtered. But the "unborn baby" fully develops in the last stages of pregnancy.  "Pro-lifers" assert that as soon as there is a fetal "heartbeat," that comprises a baby. It doesn't, however, mean that it can be called human, since this would be only six weeks into the pregnancy. The "high morality" of "pro-lifers" dictates this isn't so.

Another reactionary "law" the Ohio legislature is considering is to further the definition of life to include the fetus, the fertilized egg and the embryo. This puts into question the reproduction process, which involves death. Hundreds of thousands of sperm die in the process, where generally only one sperm makes it to the egg. Are these 100s of 1000s of half souls being slaughtered? If "pro-lifers" think that they care about the sanctity of life, wouldn't they count sperm as being a living thing? Wouldn't they then have to outlaw sex? While this argument is absurd, it may challenge "pro-lifers" about where life begins. And the hypocrisy that the "pro-lifers" harbor.

Being willing to execute a woman and an abortion provider defeats the argument that "pro-lifers" care about life. The hypocrisy is evident. But going further, I'm willing to bet that many "pro-life" conservatives have supported, and still support, the U.S.'s imperial wars. That puts them in a real tough spot in trying to defend their "morality." Millions have died from these wars, including women and children. In this scenario, babies outside the womb are expendable for the sake of ultra-nationalist and exceptionalist glory. The "pro-lifers'" country is the greatest, after all.

The attempt by Ohio and other states to control reproductive choice is the bottom-line control of women. It is the attempt to revive patriarchal relations. The right-wing would accept it if it happens. But things have changed, and women nowadays would fiercely resist this regression back to the 19th century.

The Ohio legislature's position on what it considers the beginning of life would even consider birth control as a threat. There is no way in hell that this could be enforced. It would require interfering in the personal lives of couples and lovers. It also wouldn't make exceptions for rape or incest. And a miscarriage would be considered a murder. But this is how far the right in general wants to go.

The Ohio Republicans are trying to chip away at reproductive rights until there can be a stiff challenge to Roe v Wade; and the eventual outlawing of it. The right hopes that gradually other states would adopt restrictive "laws" until the time is ripe to get rid of the pro-choice law.

But the GOP-dominated, state legislatures are dwelling in the past; a past of back alley abortions and coat hangers. There is no way they can stop reproductive choice, even if it is outlawed. For one reason or another, women are going to seek information on abortions and/or abortions themselves. But the right seems to not mind if women suffer under potentially unsanitary conditions and ill-performed procedures. And all for the sake of a religious/reactionary agenda.

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