— Susan B Anthony List (@SBAList) June 2, 2014
— FeministsNonviolence (@ffnvc) November 9, 2014
Olga Khazan discusses what the failure of “personhood” ballot initiatives in last week’s election – in contrast to Tennessee’s successful constitutional amendment paving the way for more restrictions on abortion – reveals about the split between the “incrementalist” and “absolutist” wings of the pro-life movement. While voters can’t stomach the radical changes the absolutists are demanding, that’s cold comfort to Kat Stoeffel, who argues that the incrementalists are in some ways a greater threat to abortion rights:
Rather than offering sweeping amendments for a hypothetical post-Roe future, [Target Regulation of Abortion Providers laws] revoke abortion access piecemeal, starting now. … Part of the insidiousness of TRAP laws is that they are so tedious they fly under the radar of all but the most dedicated pro-choice advocates. But another part of the problem is that TRAP laws don’t frighten the voter who is indifferent to abortion but also has the resources to navigate restrictions. She’s free to think, But I’d still be able to get one if I needed to and skip voting this year, as young people (who are traditionally pro-choice Democrats) disproportionately opted to do this year.
How does this play out? Based on the belief that he had an obligation to give a fetus a chance for life, a judge in Washington, D.C., ordered a critically ill 27-year-old woman who was 26 weeks pregnant to undergo a cesarean section, which he understood might kill her. Neither the woman nor her baby survived. In Iowa, a pregnant woman who fell down a flight of stairs was reported to the police after seeking help at a hospital. She was arrested for “attempted fetal homicide.” In Utah, a woman gave birth to twins; one was stillborn. Health care providers believed that the stillbirth was the result of the woman’s decision to delay having a cesarean. She was arrested on charges of fetal homicide. In Louisiana, a woman who went to the hospital for unexplained vaginal bleeding was locked up for over a year on charges of second-degree murder before medical records revealed she had suffered a miscarriage at 11 to 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Jessica Grose, meanwhile, pleads with her fellow left-feminists to stop describing the midterms as “bad for women”, as it’s a bit condescending to the millions of women who voted for Republicans like “combat veteran and hog castrator Joni Ernst in Iowa, black Mormon Mia Love in Utah, and youngest woman to ever be elected to Congress Elise Stefanik in New York”:
It’s not just candidates that women disagree on. It’s the issues themselves. Let’s take access to abortion, which is seen as a pivotal “women’s issue.” According to the Washington Post, polling over the years has shown that there’s actually not that much difference between men and women’s views on abortion. And women may be more supportive of restrictions on late-term abortions than men are. Particularly in this election, issues like the economy and security have outweighed social issues among all voters. Which is to say, though the right to choose is incredibly important to people like me and Ann Friedman, it’s not as important to a good portion of the female electorate.