Marty is senior political reporter for RH Reality Check, and Pieklo is a senior legal analyst there. Over the past year or so I’ve developed a collegial relationship with Robin. Even as we both stand our ground, it’s refreshing to discuss and debate sans animus.
Robin was kind enough to give me a copy of her book, which I have been reading with interest. Even though Robin writes from a biased perspective, which she freely acknowledges, she writes intelligently, another refreshing difference from the typical pro-abortion fare I usually read.
Crow After Roe is written from a standpoint of alarm but offers solutions. “[T]he book will shock and move you to action,” notes Feministing founder Jessica Valenti on the back cover. “Most importantly, though, Crow After Roe gives you hope and a roadmap for what we can do to change the current anti-woman tide.”
It is precisely those two points that interested me. Why are abortion proponents alarmed? And how do they envision the way out of their perceived predicament?
The book title refers to Jim Crow laws, created by southern whites after blacks were freed from slavery, which allowed oppression and segregation to continue. The authors believe pro-life laws serve the same purpose of oppressing poor and minority abortion-vulnerable mothers.
Further, Crow After Roe makes the case – with which pro-lifers will readily agree – that, of late, certain pieces of our proposed legislation have been written with the goal of triggering the overturn of Roe v. Wade. To that end the book “examines 11 states… that since 2010 have each passed a different anti-abortion or anti-women’s health law explicitly written to provoke a repeal of Roe….” (It was fascinating reading the names of many people I know on those pages.)
In her forward to the book, former Planned Parenthood CEO Gloria Feldt writes:
[T]he anti-choice right has leveled a volume and variety of attacks never before seen in this nation….
But we can stop them if we change our tactics and bring the struggle for reproductive justice out of the “women’s issues” ghetto focusing only on abortion….
We must also face the fact that privacy is not and has never been a strong enough legal justification for reproductive rights. Therefore, it is essential to bolster jurisprudence affirming women’s civil rights to make their own childbearing choices, and to pass laws such as the Freedom of Choice Act….
The latter seems like a long haul, when even a liberal state like New York just failed to pass an increasingly rare pro-abortion bill, and, as Feldt noted, Obama bailed on FOCA.
Another solution suggested by Robin and Jessica is to borrow from a surprising pro-life page:
According to… Feldt… what is needed is a strong, energetic core, not unlike a feminist version of the “personhood movement” that has been popping up in a variety of states. “Just as the personhood efforts are not coming from the mainstream anti-chice groups,” she says, “I’d love to see a band of feisty young feminists out there leading the charge on this, saying, ‘Excuse me, we are persons and we want our personhood guaranteed.'”
The problem, there, of course, is the abortion movement claimed these “feisty young feminists” weren’t persons before they were persons and killed a huge chunk of them off.
On Robin and Jessica’s “to do” list:
- Repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bans government funding of most Medicaid abortions
- Increase the number of abortion providers by ensuring all med students have abortion training and allowing nondoctors to commit abortions
- Make contraception “easily accessible and affordable,” which they think Obamacare goes a long way toward ensuring (although they’re leery of all the lawsuits)
- Toss pro-life Democrat politicians from the tent
- Elect more pro-abortion women
- Get more liberal judges appointed to the courts
Those are all proactive steps. “However,” they write, “the most immediate step is to stop anti-abortion and anti-contraception bills from becoming law in the first place.”
To that end the authors think a spark was lit in Virginia last year when abortion advocates rallied against an ultrasound bill:
[I]f there is a silver lining to the anti-contraception, anti-abortion, anti-women laws that have been passed or enforced since 2010, it is that they have created the beginnings of a powerful activist backlash.
Despite the Virginia bill’s eventual passage, “[t]he fight over the bill… took its toll,” they write, saying support for ultrasound legislation and pro-life politicians in that state dropped.
Robin and Jessica maintain that even if a bill passes, vocal opposition can weaken it, which may also serve a dual purpose of “fracturing… anti-choice community” support.
Nevertheless, the authors admit their first order of business is to stop our onslaught. (Coincidentally, the Washington Times reported today that only midway through 2013 we have already tied the second-highest number of pro-life bills passed in a year, which was only last year, and 2011 holds the record.)
In other words, they can never get to their “to do” list while playing defense. As I wrote the other day, abortion proponents now find themselves racing from brushfire to brushfire, many of which they are unable to put out. They think pro-lifers have galvanized them; I hearken back to Proverbs 24:16, i.e., it won’t last.
Is it anti-life for me to admit I smell blood in the water – and like it?
I do recommend reading Crow After Roe as good recognizance.