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Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:00 PM

AZ's abortion law & My wistful advice to fellow Pro-choicers

With governor Jan Brewer's signature, Arizona has adopted the oppressive anti-choice law I've ever seen. Here are the provisions, care of Dailykos:


• It sets the gestational age as beginning on the first day of a woman’s last period, rather than at fertilization. Which, in practice, means that a virgin can get pregnant and instead of barring abortions after 20 weeks as the law states, actually cuts the time to 18 weeks.

• Medication abortions (by pill), usually done at home or a clinic within the first nine weeks of pregnancy, must now be done by a medical provider who has hospital privileges within 30 miles of where the procedure takes place. The law also mandates outdated protocol that Nash says may cause confusion. The provision is an attempt to shut down medication abortions altogether. North Dakota and Oklahoma are in litigation over similar provisions in their laws.

• Sex education is not mandated in Arizona, but any such education must now prioritize birth and adoption.

• Health-care facilities must put up signs warning against abortion "coercion."

• The state health department must set up a website focusing on alternatives to abortion and displaying photos of fetuses.

• "Counseling" is required for women aiming seeking abortions because of fetal abnormalities. Such counseling must include perinatal hospice information.

• Previous requirements are reiterated for a notarized parental consent form for minors and a mandatory ultrasound screening 24 hours before having an abortion.


No, this isn't from The Onion. It's real, but it's still a joke, and jokes like this are being told in state laws all across the country now. I'm sure 300 years from now they'll be laughing at Arizona. Right now, however, if you're Pro-choice you should be gaping instead of laughing. This law, and others like it, are a horror show.

The Pro-choice, Pro-reproductive rights is in in full retreat now, and it better change strategies fast. What's so sad here is, the Pro-choicers have squandered a winning position (just as NORML did in the '70s) because from NARAL on down they were afraid, yes, afraid, to find their message and stick to it. I suspect they thought they couldn't win the argument on moral principles, or maybe they thought they couldn't put their message simply enough. The fact is, they can do both.

MY ADVICE TO FELLOW PRO-CHOICERS:

What I suggest first: stop accusing the other side of misogyny and/or chauvinism.

Yes, it is their real the motive. They show it repeatedly with their proposals and with their Freudian gaffs. However, accusing them of hating women is a losing strategy socially and politically.

Why? Misogyny appears to be mostly an unconscious motive. Therefore, by definition, Anti-choicers can neither acknowledge it as their main drive, nor change it without serious psychiatric treatment. Despite the fact that we can see why they're doing it, they don't and they can't. Moreover, since they don't, it means other people often can't either. Those people take the anti-choice message at face value, and if they see misogyny, they see it like a necessary evil or side issue and not the cause. Therefore, the Anti-Choicers arguments will have sway with the populace, as long as the message is simple enough and it follows principles of propaganda. "Life begins at conception," is as simple as it gets, even if it's total nonsense.

Stop deconstructing anti-choicer motives. This gains nothing except praise and agreement from other Pro-choicers, who already see the ulterior root. This amounts to discussion among friends that feels like activism but isn't.

Instead, we have to start meeting and beating Anti-choicer's propaganda with a simple counter-argument. Here it is: "A zygote is not a child, not a person. A fetus is not a child, not a person." Say that enough and point to this simple evidence: "You take a fetus out of the womb, it dies. You put a child in the womb, the child dies." You could follow it with things like: "If the fetus were a person, your duty would be to rescue it from the womb."

You could say other things to counter the religious argument. Such as, "God is not going to punish our nation for abortion." He hasn't done it to any other nation.

And keep it as basic and simple as their slogan: "Life begins at conception." As nonsensical as that statement is, its construction and circulation has followed the Goebels propaganda textbook. Besides its simplicity, they repeat it year after year. They make variants on it. Over time, unopposed, it has gained and rallied converts and believers.

You might cite scientific evidence when you actually debate, because the science is on the our side, too, but remember get back to the basic message and just repeat it. That's what's important.

Remember, you're not a therapist. You can't do anything against their unconscious motive, but you can disarm it by attacking the conscious rationalizations. Misogyny can't gain a political foothold without a conscious cover story like protecting "the sanctity of life." Stay on topic. Start trying to meet and beat Anti-choicers own arguments.

Remember, we have the moral high ground because the notion that zygotes and fetuses are people is a ridiculous fantasy. That has always been the weak point in the Anti-choicers' argument. Attack it there, and don't stop. It might not gain ground immediately, but over time, it will chip away at their power and turn back their victories.

The two sides have been talking by each other now for two generations. The Anti-choicers make moral arguments based on the factual error that a zygote or a fetus is a person. Instead of meeting that head-on, Pro-choicers have attacked the other side's ulterior motives. The Anti-choicers simply ignore or deny them, and go back to their moral arguments. Unopposed, those arguments have been winning. Their side has a message, our side has an ineffective attack. We've been losing with it for almost forty years.

That's my major suggestion. I also have a minor one: if I were a young woman, I would leave Arizona, Oklahoma and other states making these laws. Abandon Mississippi for goodness sake, which only has one abortion clinic that lawmakers are busy trying to put out of business. I suggest hetero- and bisexual women do this in protest. Definitely, don't have sex with men in states passing laws like Arizona's or Oklahoma's. That will at least keep the issue in the forefront.

All is not lost yet, but we've lost so much now. Fellow Pro-choicers: please get your act together. Start taking responsibility for a socio-political contest that, since 1973, has been yours to lose. Don't go NORML.

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Reply AZ's abortion law & My wistful advice to fellow Pro-choicers (Original post)
caseymoz Apr 2012 OP
Downwinder Apr 2012 #1
caseymoz Apr 2012 #2
Downwinder Apr 2012 #3
caseymoz Apr 2012 #4
jillan Apr 2012 #5
calimary Apr 2012 #6
caseymoz Apr 2012 #8
caseymoz Apr 2012 #7
MrScorpio Apr 2012 #9
caseymoz Apr 2012 #10

Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:25 PM

1. If the state is going to mandate births, will it become liable for

maintenance of the child and any difficulties the mother might experience?

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Response to Downwinder (Reply #1)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 10:47 PM

2. Of course not.

Now that some states are mandating birth (there's no other term for it), they're going to fall back on the moral/social principle of "individual responsibility." We already know that, if conservatives have their way, they will cut aid to poor families, which are mostly headed by single mothers. There will be an increase in the number of poor, mostly-single mothers.

If I would put myself in the head of an Anti-choicer, I would say that this is a necessary evil for preventing the killing of children (fetuses), containing, if not stopping sin, and perhaps keeping God from getting angry and smiting our great nation, the way he did Sodom and Gomorrah and all other wicked nations in the Old Testament. The fact that this is oppressive to women is just the lesser of two evils, or at worst, a distraction from what's really important.

You see, since the Yahweh in the Old Testament destroys whole nations for their sins, if you're a fundamentalist or near fundamentalist male, abortion becomes the business for you and everybody, not just for the woman and her doctor. If abortion is illegal, and a woman has an illegal abortion, then she, her doctor, and possibly her sex partner have sinned. They've murdered, and she has possibly sinned sexual. But the sin stops there.

However, if the US has legal abortion, then, as a fundamentalist sees it, the whole nation is sinning, and is in danger of God's wrath, either in the world or the afterlife.

Now, to be fair, they would also say the man should marry the woman and help raise the child, which means making an awful marriage, oppressive to the woman, and in an economic system where a youth can no longer count on getting a job without an education. If he does get one, his family needs two paychecks at the pay-rate of unskilled jobs, and it's still probably not sufficient. It's no longer like the fifties where you could have shotgun marriage and husband could, perhaps, get employment to meet his responsibilities. Also, of course, if the father can't or won't meet his family obligations, then the mother is the person of last resort for the children. It's not exactly true that a man abandoning a woman can get away scot-free especially with DNA testing. But even if he pays and works, that still leaves her with the day-to-day care.

The "coincidence" that this whole set of social-religious beliefs support a system that is oppressive to women is off-topic for them. "Just a necessary evil." There's no use in pointing it out to them.

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #2)

Fri Apr 13, 2012, 11:01 PM

3. To my way of thinking, the woman should be able to sue the state

for support and legal expenses. Maybe just in Maricopa County, they are a little shell shocked right now.

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Response to Downwinder (Reply #3)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 02:17 AM

4. I agree.


Also, I wish you could sue lawmakers personally for malpractice. In a just, alternate universe, that would happen.

In reality, neither will never happen. It sucks, and we're stuck with it.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 02:31 AM

5. Being from Az, I have to disagree. What I think needs to be done is for

all pro-choice women in this state to become involved in the upcoming elections and get these clowns out of office.
Donate, make calls, show up and get the word out to every woman you know.

And instead of bashing these states - how about helping out by throwing a few dollars to the Democratic Party of each of these states - or to candidates that are trying to unseat the crazies???

That seems like the only sensible thing to do.
Trying to reason with people who think like Jan Brewer is a waste of time.

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Response to jillan (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 02:56 AM

6. This is probably the most sensible response of all, jillan.

We have to invade, spread, and take over. We have to do it under the radar. We have to have it mostly completed before they even notice. Because they have POWERFUL weapons, they've assembled and/or overtaken major media outlets that only spout and reinforce their propaganda farther and wider and more ubiquitous every year. They've elevated people like word-twister/slogan tester frank luntz to near god-hood, and they pay attention to him while the vast majority of policy-makers on our side probably never even heard of George Lakoff. And all the while, our side has sat and dozed, and assumed that - hey, the people will understand! The people will see the truth! The people will know! AND THEY DON'T!!! Not when they're hammered with this constant repetition about "government bad," "tax cuts good," and "greed is good," and the underlying unspoken corollary: "hey, selfishness is OKAY!!!!"

We have to start thinking like the enemy, and OUT-thinking them, and we have to take over systemically, starting from the bottom - the way they did 30 years ago when ralph reed of the so-called "Christian" Coalition was advising operatives to get in at the low, local, boring, seemingly less-important levels like the school boards and alderman levels. And from there you can build a power base and run for some office slightly higher up. Maybe city councilman or something. After that, maybe state legislator? Or a Congressional seat?
And after that, you're off 'n' running, and they built TONS of bench strength that way. And besides that, they got their asshole "college republi-CONS" stoked and started growing a lot of kkkarl roves and lee atwaters and other dirty tricksters who then connected with other young reckless, highly ambitious, and ruthlessly Machiavellian operatives and THEY start running for office, and connecting with powerful and wealthy elders looking for proteges and ways to manipulate the system and control it. Which eventually leads to powerhouse operations like ALEC and Pox Noise and the rest of the roiling toxic viper-pit.

We HAVE to support Democrats everywhere. Whether you're annoyed by their spinelessness or their shirking of the left, they're all we've got. What? You'd rather trust mitt romney??????? You'd rather try your luck with paul ryan's ideas?????? You'd rather trust your privacy and your rights to reince priebus or bob mcdonnell?????? You'd rather have mitch mcconnell or scott walker speak for you??????? Because that's the only alternative - for now and for probably a LONG time.

I'm reminded of this movie from, I think, the mid-80's, called "The Competition" - starring Richard Dreyfuss, Amy Irving, and Lee Remick. Dreyfuss and Irving play brilliant young classical musicians up against each other in a prestigious international piano competition. Naturally they eventually become lovers who then have a falling-out. Lee Remick plays Irving's wise and world-weary teacher and mentor. In one key scene, all the finalists and the winner are at a private post-competition party and Amy Irving's all bummed out because of the way things had gone with Richard Dreyfuss on a personal level - not the piano competition, and how imperfect and disappointing this dream romantic suitor turned out to be. So she's off moping while the party's going on in the next room. Lee Remick comes up to her and gently scolds (I'm paraphrasing): "it's going to take Nature another 100 years to evolve the kind of man you have in mind. Until then, get out there and dance with what there IS!"

I think we all need to heed that advice, politically. Get serious about Democrats NOW, because it's going to take Nature who-knows-how-long to evolve the kind of liberal and progressive representatives we have in mind. So until then, we URGENTLY NEED to get out there and dance with what there IS!" I don't care how many mistakes Obama's made or how many different ways he's come up short. He beats the living hell outta ANYBODY on the other side. And ANY Democrat is better than the most temporarily amiable republi-CON.

And yes, trying to reason with people who think like jan brewer is a colossal waste of time! Better to focus on ways to weaken her influence (no like-minded majorities in the legislature to have her back), and ultimately replace her - AND make sure that replacement has majorities of Dems to back him/her up as well! It's not good enough just to get the guy/gal at the top of the ziggurat. They have to have plenty of reinforcements standing behind them. There's too big a mess to clean up, and too many major extreme-rightward trends to reverse. We have to throw everything we can behind Democrats everywhere - from top to bottom - if we're ever to have a prayer of moving the pendulum back toward the left.

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Response to calimary (Reply #6)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 01:20 PM

8. This is not mutual excluding of what I suggest


You can do both. If you're depending on elections, recall that there has just been gerrymandering for the states after the biggest Republican victory in 80 years. They are now entrenched in safe districts. We also have the computerized election machines tabulating elections, and these are easily hacked and cheated. Repubs also work to suppress the vote, with measures that might just be effective.

Therefore, don't look for big election victories anytime soon. You better consider taking other measures, too, such as the ones I've suggested.

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Response to jillan (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 04:57 AM

7. What do you mean I'm "bashing" the states?

Last edited Sat Apr 14, 2012, 01:11 PM - Edit history (2)

I suggested we get the message right and consider radical action. That is to say, something unusual that gets under their skin, and gets the attention of the center.

We both agree that there's no hope reasoning with the Anti-choicers, but I'm not talking about "reasoning" with them. I'm talking about declaring a clear position. That will start to win the center and reduce recruitment to the Anti-choice cause from the newest generation. Meanwhile it will increase recruitment to ours. I'm talking about making sure the Anti-choice cause withers, that the clowns are sterilized. I'm suggesting taking a longer view.

Getting our message right is not a waste of time. Calling them misogynist is. Too many people in the center and too many maturing youths are blind to it. They see the belief in the moral cause, which is how it looks on the surface, and which is effective at making the Anti-choice position look honorable. The misogyny is usually shown with more subtlety, with a Freudian gaff, an incidental barbarism, or a "necessary" evil.

Every election either raises hopes that we're going to get those clowns out of there this time, or invites dread that they are going to deluge us, as they did last election. They're gerrymandered into secure districts now. They are entrenched, dug in. It's going to be hard within the system to get them out of office. Then there's the problem of electronic voting machines, and the fact that when they get in they've been take measures to suppress voting, measures that might be effective. We can't give up on elections, but if we don't spread the right message, we will lose.

What's happening now is not the results of just one election. We Pro-choicers have been on the defensive for thirty years. The defeats have turned into a rout in the last two years. You're not going to reverse a trend with one election. Or two. We can't be so short-sighted.

You give a false dichotomy. I suggested radical action, and having a clear message. Neither of these are meant to repudiate electoral efforts, nor do they. Election efforts are a different subject entirely.

"(I)nstead of bashing these states - how about helping out by throwing a few dollars to the Democratic Party of each of these states - or to candidates. . . ."

First I didn't bash the states in any way. I said the laws they passed were a joke or a horror story depending on how close you are to it. I said what's horrible now will look funny in the future. You disagree? If not, how did I bash the states?

Second, I am dead broke. I now have to work hard now to avoid complete destitution. I've given to candidates and Progressive causes, most especially Pro-choice as I went poor. The results have been . . . disappointing.

As for "getting the word out," you're seeing my effort at it now. I'll add, if the message is as ineffective as it has been, IMHO, after putting cash on the cause over years and see both being lost, I see little reason to get the old message out. Get a new message and maybe I can find some energy.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 03:22 PM

9. About this "perinatal hospice" thing; who's paying for this?

Last edited Sat Apr 14, 2012, 04:45 PM - Edit history (1)

That is, if some abnormal fetus actually makes it to term, survives AND doesn't kill the mother?

What if the fetus is found to be abnormal after the 18th week of pregnancy deadline?

Assuming that the mother wanted the child in the beginning anyway, but changes her mind based on a fetal abnormality, why is the state of Arizona INTENTIONALLY making originally wanted pregnancies that develop into pregnancies that requiring medical intervention more dangerous and unnecessary?

This is insane and inhumanly cruel.

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Response to MrScorpio (Reply #9)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 04:32 PM

10. Yes. Anti-choicers would call it a necessary evil.


Necessary to prevent even the possibility of a murder innocent life, a fetus that may or may not be alive, and definitely is not a person. Because it still might make God angry enough to smite our nation. Better safe than sorry, even if it puts a few, possibly deserving women, in hell.

I'm just telling you how they think about this. Sometimes within that chain of thought, open contempt for women surfaces and then submerges again. As I said, though, it's impossible to get them to admit, or see, that contempt is what motivates them. Don't do sink into pointing out they're misogynists.. Repeat the message: The fetus is not a person, not a child. It's not worth inflicting this suffering on somebody to save it.

Meanwhile, you know the women with the problem have to pay to get tormented, too. Just for another kick in the teeth, they'll hold up universal medical coverage just because it would mean the woman wouldn't have to pay.

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