It was pro-abortion President Bill Clinton who first coined the term “safe, legal, and rare” in the early 1990s to describe his supposedly moderate view on abortion.
The phrase served Clinton well during the years-long partial birth abortion debate, making him sound reasonable even as he vetoed a ban against the heinous procedure twice. The conflicted masses liked it as well.
But abortion zealots got stuck on that word “rare.” As proponent Jessica Valenti wrote in The Guardian last year:
It’s a “safe” pro-choice answer: to support abortion, but wish it wasn’t necessary….
In a 2010 research article, Dr Tracy Weitz… 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….
The “rare” framework adds to the stigmatization around the procedure – and that has further-reaching complications for abortion care than just how women feel about it.
Weitz wrote that calling for abortions to be rare has tangible negative consequences for women and women’s health because it legitimizes efforts to legally restrict abortion – i.e., make it more “rare”.
Hence, the 2012 Democrat platform called for abortion to be “safe and legal.” Period.
Jump ahead, and we are launching into another national debate on late-term abortions, this time on two fronts: a federal bill to block abortions past 20 weeks and an emerging state ban on “dismemberment abortions” past 12 weeks.
And already some abortion proponents are violating their own embargo on the word “rare.”
Furthermore, they’re adding acceptable “conditions” for late-term abortions.
Planned Parenthood is calling late-term abortions “a deeply personal decision [made in] unimaginable situations… for serious medical reasons.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights says there is a susceptibility factor that sets late-term abortions apart:
— CenterforReproRights (@ReproRights) February 11, 2015
Apparently, one can be cavalier about abortion just in the first trimester. After that only hardcore zealots can stomach the “any time, any reason” line – like Valenti:
Am I actually arguing that there should be no legal limitations on abortion?
The short answer: yes.
I think abortion should be legal without any restrictions – no parental consent laws, no mandated ultrasounds, no waiting periods, no bans on late term abortions and no bans on federal funding for abortion….
If that were the law of the land, it would also mean an end to rape and incest exceptions – because we wouldn’t need them. Women wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) have to prove that their abortion is of the “acceptable” variety….
RH Reality Check’s editor-in-chief Jodi Jacobson agrees:
— Rewire (@Rewire_News) February 12, 2015
Particularly when it comes to later term abortions, there is a myth that women are so evil, misguided or stupid that they go seven months into a pregnancy before deciding willy-nilly to end it. This is simply not true.
Actually, it is true. (And so what if the decision was made “willy-nilly” anyway, right?) According to the National Abortion Federation, late-term abortions are most often procured by those sorts of women or girls. From its 2009 handbook (page 160):
Second-trimester patients in the USA undergo termination for a variety of reasons, but most often because of delay in recognizing pregnancy or obtaining necessary funds and support.
This type of delay may reflect inadequate access to health services, ambivalence about the decision to terminate the pregnancy, familial conflict, or peer-group pressure. Teenagers are likelier than older women to delay abortion until the second trimester.
Abortion zealots are trying to destigmatize abortion by saying anything goes, but I doubt Americans will empathize with mothers who seek late-term abortions simply because they procrastinated.
And is the safest way to help a confused teen or abused woman to give her a dangerous late-term abortion – or give her support and guidance?
Valenti maintains talk like Planned Parenthood and CFRR are engaging in plays into our hands “as part of the rhetoric that anti-abortion activists use to try to demonize abortion as a whole.”
I’d say something demonic requires no demonization.
But as far as stigmatizing goes, if abortion proponents want to help, sure, anytime.
Meanwhile, it’s fun to continue watching the other side unravel.
“Let all those who seek to end my life be confused.” ~ Psalm 40:14