They Can't Help Themselves

Salons' Iris Carmon has a piece up today called "What's Next for the Anti-Abortion Movement?" It focuses on the recent maneuvrering in the Ohio legislature on bills to defund Planned Parenthood and to enact the "Heartbeat" Bill, which were being shoved through by the Ohio House but dead-ended at the Senate.

She warns that some anti-choice activists think the problem isn't with their beliefs, which were rudely exposed this year — in their sudden war against contraception — to be based not in any concern for "unborn babies" but in their hostility toward women. Rather, they think they need to double down on them. She quotes anti-choice activist Marjorie Dannenfelser, who is distressed at "the fate of countless innocent unborn babies and vulnerable women" under "the most pro-abortion president in America's history" and suggests,

“1) Our candidates must be better trained to articulate their pro-life position. 2) We need more women candidates.”

Sorry, Marjorie, that won't work. Your party — the Republican Party — doesn't like to have the womenfolk in positions of power. And don't even THINK about running anti-choice women in the Democratic Party. Seriously — don't go there.

And as for candidates "better trained to articulate the pro-life position," that's going to be an uphill battle too I'm presuming here she means not saying the sort of stupid things that lost Missouri's Todd Akin and Indiana's Richard Mourdock U.S. Senate seats they were expected to win — in other words, concealing the movement's true feelings and intentions.

But when Marjorie herself refers patronizingly to "vulnerable women," it's hard to hide the condescension and contempt. (One of the anti-choice movement's tactics of recent years has been to reframe the debate, saying that they are only trying to protect poor, dumb, helpless women from making a "mistake," which leads me to wonder how they think people so dumb and helpless can possibly raise a child effectively?)

Carmon asks,

The question is, if the movement gets savvier and subtler, and if everyone thinks this election beat back the extremists once and for all, will it work?

Two problems: a movement driven by such animus toward women cannot get "savvier and subtler." That was the less of Akin and Mourdock. And "everyone" does not think this election "beat back the extremists once and for all." All one has to do is look at the Ohio legislature ignoring the message of the election and going back into session a week later to have hearings on how to strip women of their rights. No one in Ohio is thinking the extremists have been beat back, and if anything, across the country, the number of people who think that has plummeted in the last year or two.

The Salon article linked above also has a nice photo of state senator Nina Turner, who isn't even quoted in the article. But she sure knows how to get publicity, doesn't she?

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