In the last day or so I’ve been seeing stories (like this one from The Independent) and TV segments on a disturbing new effort by GOPers. Anti-abortion people are exactly what those two words indicate. They ARE zealots. Calling them Forced-Birthers is a bit softer I guess but it’s still negative sounding. However, in the late 1970s when the light bulb came on that the Roe v Wade decision could be used as a rallying point to mobilize “Christians” who want to force their beliefs on everyone else anti-abortion activists needed a “nice sounding” term to define themselves. Anti-Abortion was too harsh for politicians they’d need.
Eventually, they came up with the term “Pro-Life.” One has to admit it served them well. For decades in fact. As they chased the abortion “dragon” it covered up their zealotry well, and gave cover for elected officials (and judges/Justices) who needed something that could gloss over the harshness, the cruelty, the fanaticism of anti-abortion types. For decades they were the dog chasing the car, and then in a short time that had been decades in the making the planets aligned and they got themselves a SCOTUS that overturned Roe v Wade. The proverbial dog caught the proverbial car. Now, it’s sinking in on them that forcing their “morality” on everyone else not only isn’t going over well, it’s costing them. They are losing elections, seeing ballot initiatives enshrining abortion rights (even in red states) into state constitutions and most importantly, that a very strong majority of Americans aren’t “just getting over it” but instead are increasingly angry and mobilized.
They realize that the term they’ve used to describe their movement, “Pro-Life” has become a liability. I dare say they are getting worried that they will wind up on the receiving end of what THEY did with the worth “liberal” – turn it into a weapon. I might be overstating that, at least for now. Still, as the linked article notes 77 percent of Americans say abortion is very important to them and a Pew poll indicates 61 percent believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
This, unsurprisingly, translated into GOP electoral defeats over abortion in states as crimson as Kansas, Kentucky, and most recently Ohio.
Such stinging rebukes are forcing something of a reckoning in the party, with Republicans finally recognizing what the rest of us knew all along: the American people are not with them in their campaign to erase women’s bodily autonomy and reproductive rights. The bad news is, however, that rather than listening to the American people, Republicans have decided to trick us into supporting their misogynistic and authoritarian policies.
Got that? I suppose when we are talking about people and a political Party who, as the saying goes won’t abandon unpopular policies but instead abandon Democracy itself (something we have been seeing them try with increasing intensity to do) this shouldn’t come as any surprise. GOPers, including the bloated orange asshat that still rules there Party have a decades long history of coming up with marketable “branding.” Hell, the whole point of this article is that Pro-Life was a brand zealots created and that they rode to financial success and political influence! But the bloom has come off the rose so to speak. In fact, it’s starting to get rained on but the droplets aren’t water if you catch my drift.
Naturally, these jackasses are whining about being misunderstood. GOP Senator Kevin Cramer (ND) complains that since Roe v Wade has been overturned “people see being pro-life as being against all abortion… at all levels.”
That is, of course, because that’s exactly what pro-life has meant since the Supreme Court overturned abortion rights in last year’s Dobbs decision. Axios reports that 22 states have banned or restricted abortion access, all of them red or purple states and all of them with the braying support of Republican elected officials. Even when voters tell them otherwise – as they did in Wisconsin earlier this year by electing an explicitly pro-choice justice to the state’s Supreme Court – Republicans don’t care; they are currently floating plans to impeach said justice to avoid her ruling on abortion rights and undoing the state’s ban.
Sadly, it was apparent the Dobbs decision was coming, and with McConnell stealing a SCOTUS pick from President Obama, then forcing out (and he WAS forced out) sometimes moderate (and on this particular issue) Justice Anthony Kennedy they had a 5-4 majority. Still, with Chief Justice Roberts and his craving for a positive legacy there was concern about his incremental approach. That he wouldn’t take decisive action and go along with overturning Roe and being part of the first SCOTUS to take a precedent they’d created establishing in law a right and taking it away. Still, they had via The Federalist Society and lesser known groups been carefully nurturing cases through the appellate courts just in case.
Then their prayers (and don’t kid yourselves – these HATEFUL “Christians” DID pray for it) Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. Even though early voting was already underway her replacement was rushed through. If she’d died the day before the new Congress had been sworn in and the GOP still held control McConnell would have held up swearing in the new Senate to approve Barrett. Anyway, my point is that well before that Red/GOPer states had been hard at work for years preparing “trigger laws” to kick in if Roe v Wade got overturned. With the death of Ginsburg this went into overdrive because we all knew what was coming in the new term.
“Pro Life” got what they wanted. Not just their moment in the sun but legal authority to crack down on, to punish, to be as CRUEL as possible to women seeking reproductive services, especially access to abortion! Now that they’ve realized that the majority, and by a substantial margin is fighting back and winning battle after battle they are doing another dip into the creative GOP messaging well. Their contempt for anyone who doesn’t hold their level of fervent, zealous belief that by god every fertilized egg is a fully formed human (well, if it grows up to be like them at least) life is matched only by their stubborn desire to IMPOSE their beliefs on everyone. As Barry Goldwater said of “Christian” conservatives later in life the problem with them is that they are immune from reason.
So now they are casting about for a new descriptor to replace “Pro-Life.” It could be but it’s too early to tell that GOPer Senator Todd Young (IN) has come up with a fix – “Pro Baby.” Given that once a baby is actually born conservatives, including all those supposedly pro-life zealots suddenly lose ALL interest I’m not sure that’s going to work. Before it’s born that fetus that could become a live baby is precious to them. Even if they don’t want to spend money for working class and poor women to have good pre-natal care and nutrition. And after the baby is born as we know both mom and baby are, or if these “Christians” have their way entirely on their own. NO govt. provided nutrition assistance. NO govt. assistance for early childhood checkups/medical care and vaccinations? Well, we know how these people feel about THAT. NO govt. assistance for preschool, child care so mom can work, You get the picture.
These people aren’t pro life or even pro baby. They are forced birthers, modern day Puritans in their own way. H.L. Mencken defined Puritanism as “the haunting fear that somewhere, someone may be happy.” These freaks, possessed of weird views on human sexuality fear that “somewhere, someone my be enjoying sex!” For the portion of them who are partially past the whole sex is sinful and should only be for procreation stuff, that under certain circumstances isn’t so “dirty and disgusting” that it can be enjoyed sure as hell don’t want other (by that I mean anyone who doesn’t share their religious fervor) enjoying it. By god there have to be consequences! Like every embryo cum fetus being brought to term and resulting in a live baby. After which their “concern” ends.
I’m not sure “Pro Baby” will catch on. Off the top of my head I instantly thought of mocking memes of “Pro PRE Baby” and I’m sure more creative people than me can come up with plenty more. By all means feel free to offer your own in the comments. However, we should all be aware the GOPer message machine is hard at work on rebranding. It’s tougher for them with the bulk of their talent having gotten hit between the eyes with a two-by-four and becoming rational people who want to atone for the damage they’ve done. Like with Lincoln Project and stuff like that. So be vigilant and ready to take to social media to start MOCKING whatever they try.