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Response to BainsBane (Reply #29)

Wed Feb 17, 2016, 06:28 PM

65. "Safe, legal and RARE?"

That's several million miles from the best position on this issue in "American history."

Hillary's record on reproductive rights may be solid overall, and I don't know that the quoted comments are "pre-Roe" or not, but she has also shown a willingness to adopt rightwing framing that abortion is a moral hazard we can justifiably argue needs to be "rare."

But "safe, legal and rare" is not a framework that supports women's health needs: it stigmatizes and endangers it.

In a 2010 research article, Dr Tracy Weitz, Director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) program at the University of California, San Francisco, wrote that "rare suggests that abortion is happening more than it should, and that there are some conditions for which abortions should and should not occur".

"It separates 'good' abortions from 'bad' abortions", she added.

Steph Herold, the deputy director of the Sea Change Program – an organization that seeks to create a culture change around abortion and other stigmatized reproductive experiences like miscarriage and adoption – agrees. "It implies that abortion is somehow different than other parts of healthcare," she told me. "We don't say that any other medical procedure should be rare."

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/09/hillary-clinton-abortion-legal-but-rare


What’s really at issue in Douthat’s column is the perils of accepting the right-wing frame when constructing liberal positions. By unilaterally presenting abortion as a very bad thing in the 1990s, the message mavens of the Clinton administration, with their construction of “safe, legal and rare,” gave abortion opponents a rhetorical rationale for piling on restrictions that, in many states, make abortion inaccessible to increasing numbers of women — despite the fact that the Supreme Court decided decades ago that their right to the procedure is protected by the Constitution.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2012_02/breaking_where_abortion_is_ava035510.php

Debunking the right’s contraception myths

But it’s also worth reiterating, as Adele Stan did this weekend and reproductive rights activists have been saying for years, that if you’re more than nominally pro-choice, you cede important ground by embracing the “safe, legal and rare” formulation that Douthat cited as a consensus. As the National Network of Abortion Funds tweeted, “Let’s reject ‘rare.’ If abortions are legal & accessible, number of abortions performed should = exactly the number of abortions necessary.” Contrast the following data points — the 87 percent of U.S. counties that lack an abortion provider, the financial barriers that right-wingers would like to increase with insurance bans, and the significant stigma around abortion — with the fact that almost half of all pregnancies are unintended. Suddenly, “rare” becomes more about a lack of real choice rather than choosing from an abundance of options. If, as a matter of public health policy, we are doing a terrible job of preventing unintended pregnancies, and some women want abortions and can’t have them, then the current rate is too low.

http://www.salon.com/2012/02/21/debunking_the_rights_contraception_myths/

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