Monday, October 6, 2014

The State Of Red State Abortion

The recent 5th Circuit ruling allowing Texas's clinic-closing regulations on abortion to become law is, as the Washington Post's Paul Waldman reminds us, just the next step in the complete elimination of abortion in America by the right.

But the kind of law that Texas passed is aimed at shutting down clinics entirely. It does so by imposing a set of requirements on clinics that are designed to be nearly impossible to meet. The best known is the requirement that the physician performing abortions must have admitting privileges at a hospital within a certain radius of a given clinic. This would have precisely zero effect on whether a woman suffering complications from an abortion could get care at any hospital; a doctor without admitting privileges can still bring her patient to the hospital if it becomes necessary. It just means that one of the hospital’s doctors would have to officially admit the patient. 
Because of an organized campaign of terrorism aimed at abortion doctors over the last couple of decades, which has included bombings and assassinations, many doctors come from out of state to provide abortions, and therefore can’t have admitting privileges; hospitals are also reluctant to bestow the admitting privileges on a doctor providing abortions for fear they too could become a target. 
Like other restrictions, the admitting privileges requirement was concocted by Republican legislators precisely because they knew many abortion clinics would be unable to satisfy it and would therefore have to shut down. Texas’ law also requires that facilities performing abortions meet the building standards of ambulatory surgical clinics, which can mean millions of dollars in unnecessary upgrades. 
This decision wasn’t surprising, given that the 5th Circuit is a particularly conservative court. But the reasoning of the judges was breathtaking all the same. The Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision written by Sandra Day O’Connor in 1992 established the “undue burden” standard, which says that a state can restrict abortion so long as the restrictions don’t impose an undue burden on women. This court decided that despite the fact that Texas’ law would mean that one out of every six women in the state would live more than 150 miles from the nearest abortion clinics after the law shut so many of them down, that wouldn’t constitute an undue burden. As Jeffrey Toobin wrote: “The members of the Fifth Circuit panel seem to believe that anything short of a nationwide ban on abortion does not amount to an undue burden on women’s rights. This is the argument that will soon be heading to the Supreme Court.”

There's no reason to believe the result in the eventual Supreme Court ruling will be anything other than a 5-4 agreement with the 5th Circuit, with Anthony Kennedy's lasting legacy being the effective end of abortion in red states.

It just goes to show you that Republicans don't care about non-intrusive small government at all, they just want a government that punishes their political enemies and refuses to help them when they come looking for relief.  It also goes to show you that Republicans consider unmarried women to be their political enemies (as well as married ones who may not want to carry a child to term.)

But there's no war on women, and you should probably stay home because you're mad at Obama and not vote next month.


Horace Boothroyd III said...

Hmmpf! What a spectacularly transparent variation on the old pecksniff standby of slut shaming. Right off the bat, those with the bad sense to choose non rich non generous parents are well and truly screwed by their own lack of foresight. Then people who went to sensible schools and ended up 30K in debt are to be despised, which only proves that the author has exactly zero idea how much it costs to attend a college these days - I took a course at the local community college last year and it sucked $1400 out of my wallet - for one course of the forty or so courses one needs to rack up a baccalaureate. Jerkoff expensive schools cost more like 80K per year, and leave you significantly more than 30K in the hole.

On top of which there is the lie that will not die: intelligent students with well earned humanities diplomas actually do just fine in the job market. It takes a bit of work and imagination, but the hummers have that in spades. The people who are truly hurting are the kids who believed the lie and sought training in some narrow specialty, only to emerge from the cocoon to the shocking realisation that America doesn't really do the technical thing any more. The great industrial labs were shuttered a generation ago, government funding has been stagnant or worse since the eighties, and our vaunted tech entrepreneurs are more interested in snatching pennies in front of the steamroller than in nurturing an R&D culture that will pay long term dividends. Fuck that noise: too risky, too expensive, let somebody else shoulder the burden while we turn the quick trick.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

About that ocean warming... I was over at TheWeek the other day, and saw that editor Pablo was struggling to say something intelligent about energy sources and agriculture. In a move that surprised exactly no one except maybe him, the commentariate launched an angry swarm defense against the very idea of Global Warming.

Which was actually kind of interesting, as the less stupid climate denialists have at least accepted that the planet is warming but have fallen back on the plan B of denying that human activity has any effect. The goobers at TheWeek were absolutely frothing about NO WARMING IN THE LAST EIGHTEEN YEARS and LARGEST POLAR ICEPACKS EVER along with this norwegian guy who who wants us to murder his political opponents - a WTF!?! contribution that is straight out of the "Purity of Essense" gag in Doctor Strangelove.

All this presents our political difficulties in a pretty stark light, as we need every Democratic voter to get to the polls and counteract the crazies.

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