When the U.S. Supreme Court decided last week to allow a bizarre Texas abortion law to go into effect, aghast pro-choicers on social media and elsewhere retorted that if anti-abortion campaigners were really “pro-life,” they’d also be in favor of health care, better child care and gun restrictions. You know, things that help children stay alive?
But they aren’t — they never will be — and pointing it out over and over has made absolutely no difference. Hypocrisy as a charge only sticks if you care what people outside your closed circle think of you.
So here we are in September of 2021 and all of the darkest predictions people were making about the Trump administration continue to come true, even after the man himself was unceremoniously booted from office. Trump appointed some real legal geniuses to the bench, including one who was confirmed just weeks before a presidential election. Republicans supposedly thought doing something like that was a terrible insult to liberty or whatever when Barack Obama was in office.
See? They don’t care.
They don’t care because it got them a law from Texas that relies on civilians ratting out and suing anyone getting an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. The law is very hard to challenge in court because state officials can’t enforce the law, but members of the public can sue and win up to $10,000 plus the cost of legal fees. A mob justice law like this has zero precedent and ought to be something states can’t do. But the Supreme Court allowed the law to go into effect or, more precisely, failed to block the law as part of the so-called shadow docket, which allows summary decisions and emergency orders to happen without arguments or, apparently, any reliance on the law.
It’s garbage like this that made evangelicals stomach a president who was the antithesis of all of the family values nonsense they’re always preaching, and conservatives tolerate an administration that had no fiscal discipline and was notorious for government overreach.
You can bet that now that this awful law has been dumped unceremoniously on the nation’s doorstep, other red states will follow suit. People in half the country will find it more and more difficult to access safe and legal abortion, which means that they’ll take terrible risks to do it in unsafe ways. Real human beings are going to die.
If you think this is some kind of victory for unborn babies, it isn’t. Republican legislatures haven’t done much to expand prenatal care, maternity leave, job protections or child care. This is still one of the worst countries in the industrialized world to get pregnant in.
The truth is that many of the people enacting these laws or cheering them on don’t care much about the unborn, if at all. Sure, there’s a dedicated group of hardcore pro-lifers who care very deeply, but do you think Mitch McConnell does? Donald Trump? Brett Kavanaugh? Nah. Banning all abortion was a fringe position for forty years, and it’s still that way today.
There are a lot of reasons why conservatives have rallied around the pro-lifers for all these decades, though. For some it has to do with abstract ideas about states’ rights, while for others it’s because of religion or morality. For others it’s just about power.
But I think the biggest push behind anti-abortion politics right now is simple: they want to hurt the opposition. Red hates blue, and knows this will hurt blue, so they do it. Cry more, liberals. Triggered yet?
Hypocrisy is when people, especially politicians, say one thing but then act in ways that are contradictory to it. Underlying any charge of hypocrisy is that a hypocrite doesn’t really believe in anything at all, and is perfectly willing to say anything to anyone to pursue power, fame and wealth.
When hypocrisy stops mattering to half the population, truth gets lost and democracy fades away. The country’s cracks turn into canyons and we drift further apart from one another.
There isn’t an easy fix for this. It’s impossible to convince the millions of people who have become so invested in narratives around all this anti-abortion rhetoric that what they’re doing is hurtful and dangerous.
What we can do, however, is force the rest of the Republican Party, wherever they are, to answer questions about it. Do Connecticut Republicans support laws like this? Do they support the Supreme Court ruling? Would they enact these kinds of laws if they ever got into power here? How much do they really care about reproductive rights?
Oh, and throwing some money toward organizations fighting against this law on the ground in Texas would be a good thing, too.
Susan Bigelow is an award-winning columnist and the founder of CTLocalPolitics. She lives in Enfield with her wife and their cats.
The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of CTNewsJunkie.com.