Pill propelled into abortion debate

Evidently, some anti-abortion groups are working to curb sales of birth control pills. Lisa Boyd, of Planned Parenthood, summarizes the situation in Wisconsin:

“They’ve done so much with outlawing and restricting access to abortion that they’ve set their sights on birth control because there’s nothing else really they can do to further restrict abortion here in Wisconsin,” Ms Boyce says.

“Which is counter-intuitive because if you’re against abortion in the least you’d think you would see the value in enhancing access birth control, the very means women look to preventing pregnancy and the need for abortion.”

For more, read this BBC news report.

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109 Responses to Pill propelled into abortion debate

  1. 1
    Amanda says:

    alsis, I didn’t mean to imply that you were a wingnut. But I still have a cramp from watching a handful of feminists with influence take the bait during the Clinton fiasco and consider whether or not it was right to support an adulterer, especially one who slept with someone with so much less power than he had. It was standard at that time for conservatives to run around baiting feminists with the whole thing–luckily, it didn’t stick because the bait was based on the idea that feminists a)hate sex and b)use the movement as payback to get at men, both of which are wrong.
    Okay, “cozying up” was the wrong, wrong, wrong term to use. “Making allies” is correct. And yes, there has been plenty of reluctance from potential allies, reluctance that can be countered by offering cooperation and making demands. And I do tend to think that 3rd parties are a tool that can be used to make demands, but one that should only be used if it’s advantageous to women as a whole. Splitting the vote and giving Republicans all sorts of power is not going to help, but actually hurt women. We’re playing defense now, so we have to hold together alliances until the real enemy, which is those who are actively trying to get rid of rights, is defeated.
    So, yeah, I know that prominent wealthy Democrats aren’t going to suffer personally if abortion is criminalized. So? We need to judge them on what they *do* about women’s rights, what their votes are. I’m just not going to let our precarious hold on gains in reproductive rights, among others, slip away while we fight for more leverage.

  2. 2
    mythago says:

    The people who leave behind 5 or 6 kids? They’re all pro-lifers.

    So 5-6 kids is the cutoff? Those of us who have 3-4, or even (horrors!) only 2, we’re what–sort of pro-lifey?

  3. 3
    alsis38 says:

    We’re playing defense now, so we have to hold together alliances until the real enemy, which is those who are actively trying to get rid of rights, is defeated.

    Well, that’s my whole trouble, Amanda. I’ve been watching Democrats “play defense” for the past twenty years, and little else. It seems like every election is supposed to be the last one where we have to play mop-up squad before getting back to the REAL business of setting our own agenda and demanding from our own party all the things we really want and have long been entitled to. I have become convinced that we’ll simply go around like this in circles forever until we can make some move toward overhauling the system from the ground up.

    It’s true enough that things are going to get shittier and shittier for more and more women, from a wider and wider class spectrum, as the Repugs keep pushing harder and harder and the Democrats simply cower more and more. But things were getting worse anyway. Baker was right, the main difference is that when they get worse under Democrats, the big groups like NOW want us to all put on a smilie face and pretend things are great. It is only when they get worse under Republicans that we are authorized to go into attack mode.

    We need to judge them on what they *do* about women’s rights, what their votes are.

    Well, that’s my problem, Amanda. I AM judging them on what they DO and how they vote. There has long been a strong 5th Column of Conservative Democrats who routinely cross the aisle to vote with Republicans on abortion and social issues involving women. Everyone can get worked up about Zell Miller, but he’s only an especially noisy example of this. These people are constantly undermining us, and the Democrats in charge are seemingly too busy harranguing the scant handful of N*d*r voters to care very much.

    My observation of how Democrats behave when they’re in power, of eight years of Clinton and especially how certain feminist leaders have allowed themselves to be employed as attack dogs against Leftist insurrections and departures from wihtin the Democratic –ahem !– “Big Tent” tells me that there really are a great many manipulators amongst the “good guys” using abortion quite cynically as a means of holding the women’s movement hostage.

    It’s like going to a physician with a leg wound and having said physician sew you up with dirty thread. Yeah, you can walk, sort of, but the person who was supposed to heal you has rigged it so you can never be free of them. You will have to keep returning for more and more help in the future. You will never be independent and you will always be limping instead of running, when you had every right to the latter.

    If you ask me, that is how the average Democrat in power treats abortion. Women have demonstrated repeatedly that we will put off every other aspiration we have ever had and throw over the side every other social issue of value just for the chance to preseve one Supreme Court ruling. And it’s a ruling that, thanks to the folks who were supposed to defend us being outmaneuvered/bullied by Right Wing pitbulls and being seduced and corrupted by Big Money, is of considerably less use than it once was.

    I understand the fear of rank-and-file women, but I just won’t participate in this farce anymore. I won’t be held hostage by fear. We need a 3rd, 4th, a 5th party in this country. We need IRV. We need the electoral college overhauled, perhaps. We need campaign finance reform. We need a damn women’s party. We need to stop being guilt-tripped by the thought that this is “divisive.” The Democratic leadership idea of what constitutes “unity” is little better than a sort of happy-face serfdom at this point, with feminists, union members, POCs and so many others functioning as the serfs. It makes me sick.

    [Drift:]The first President to slap a restriction on Roe was a Democrat: Jimmy Carter.[/Drift]

  4. 4
    Don P says:

    Joe M:

    Why do you have to lie?

    I’m not lying. You are.

    “Utterly rejects”?

    Yes, utterly rejects.

    The many polls you cite show that 40 to 50 percent of the public is on my side.

    No they don’t. “Your side” is not only rejected by a large majority of Americans today, but has always been rejected. Even back when abortion was a crime, it was never treated as the killing of a child. Your position is so extreme, so radical, it is unprecedented in American law and culture.

    I don’t think so. What drives this psychotic need to claim that everyone agrees with you?

    I have never claimed that “everyone” agrees with me. What drives this psychotic need of yours to continually lie about what I have said?

    And once again, you don’t have any specific response to the numerous polls showing that younger people are more pro-life than ever.

    As I already told you, I provided you with a very detailed and specific response in my posts of 7:23pm and 7:42pm yesterday.

    And by the way, the Gallup polling data that you yourself cited yesterday, showing that the highest rate of pro-choice identification occurs amoung 18-29 year-old women, flatly contradicts your previous claim that younger Americans are more pro-life than older ones.

    It’s no surprise that younger people are more pro-life than younger people twenty years ago, given that your movement is dedicated to killing its own offspring. Eventually you’ll die, as will everyone around here who brags about never wanting children. The people who leave behind 5 or 6 kids? They’re all pro-lifers.

    This may come as a shock to you Joe, but you’re also going to die eventually, as will “everyone who brags about” wanting 5 or 6 kids.

    As for birth rates, abortion has been legal throughout the U.S. for over 30 years and in the largest states for longer than that. If pro-lifers were having more children than pro-choicers, and children tended to inherit the views of their parents on abortion, then we would see a steady increase in opposition to abortion over time. No such trend is evident.

    The absurdity of your argument is even more apparent if one considers other issues, such as contraception or gay rights. If religious and social conservatives tend to have more children than Americans in general, and children tend to inherit the views of their parents, why have we not seen a steady decline in support for gay rights, abortion rights, contraception, pre-marital sex, divorce and other “liberal” social views? On virtually every social issue, the conservative position is in decline and the liberal view is on the rise.

    You’re an anachronism, Joe, a dinosaur. And you don’t even realize it.

  5. 5
    Joe M. says:

    Oh, I know there’s a lot more to it than mere reproductive success (which obviously favors pro-lifers). That’s just one factor.

    You must be confused if you think that your link to a Gallup poll is remotely relevant here. What I said was that young people TODAY are more pro-life than young people YESTERDAY. That’s what all the polls show, and that’s exactly what most sentient pro-choicers are worried about. (I linked to this article once before: “Last fall UCLA found that 55 percent of freshmen at more than 400 schools said abortion should be legal, down from 64 percent a decade earlier.” Try reading the other links as well.)

    So it is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT to point to a poll allegedly showing that young people are more pro-choice than elderly people. That has always been true. People grow more pro-life as they grow up, have children for themselves, realize that life is about helping other people, etc., etc. This is exactly why sentient pro-choicers are worried: If the youngsters of today are just barely on their side, that implies that the country is only going to get more and more pro-life as they grow older.

  6. 6
    Don P says:

    Joe M:

    Oh, I know there’s a lot more to it than mere reproductive success (which obviously favors pro-lifers).

    There’s nothing to it at all. Conservative social views are in decline. Liberal social views are on the rise. The argument that anti-abortionists and other social conservatives tend to have more children than social moderates and liberals, and that children tend to inherit the social views of their parents, is contradicted by 30 years of data showing a decline in conservative social views and a rise in liberal ones.

    You must be confused if you think that your link to a Gallup poll is remotely relevant here. What I said was that young people TODAY are more pro-life than young people YESTERDAY.

    No, that was what you claimed later. You earlier claimed that younger Americans are more pro-life than older Americans. You said “the younger generation isn’t as pro-choice as older folks.” The Gallup poll you yourself cited flatly contradicts that claim. It shows that the younger (18-29) generation is significantly more pro-choice than “older folks.” Your own references contradict your claims.

    So it is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT to point to a poll allegedly showing that young people are more pro-choice than elderly people.

    Huh? You’re the one who cited that poll, not me. And as I said, the poll flatly contradicts your assertion that “the younger generation isn’t as pro-choice as older folks.”

    That has always been true. People grow more pro-life as they grow up, have children for themselves, realize that life is about helping other people, etc., etc.

    Well, make up your mind. Are you claiming that “the younger generation isn’t as pro-choice as older folks,” or aren’t you?

    And whatever trend exists with respect to an individual’s views on abortion as he ages, the cohort effect you describe doesn’t exist. If it did, we would have observed a steady increase in pro-life sentiment over the past 30 years or more, as older cohorts were gradually replaced by younger ones. There is no such increase. The only data you can cite is a slight recent increase in pro-life sentiment found by Gallup that is likely to be an artifact of the recent national debate over “partial birth” abortion, and that is not reflected in other polling data anyway. You are so desperate to find any affirmation of your position after 30 years of crushing defeat that there is no straw too thin you will not grasp at it.

  7. 7
    mythago says:

    Actually, a lot of people become pro-choice as they grow older, realize the world isn’t perfect, get an idea that raising children is more complicated than it seemed when you were a teenager, etc.

    How many kids do you have, Joe? Some of us pro-choicers breed–you’d better catch up.

  8. 8
    Joe M. says:

    “the younger generation isn’t as pro-choice as older folks.”

    Know what? You’re right. I misspoke. What the polls show is not that younger people are more prolife than older people, but that they are more prolife than today’s older people were when they themselves were younger.

    Still, any way you slice that, it isn’t good news for the pro-choice movement, as most non-comatose pro-choicers are aware.

    And anyway, the absolute most that you can say — even if you cherry-pick data — is that the American people today are about evenly divided on abortion, just as they were thirty years ago. In other words, the best you can hope for is to prove that opinions haven’t really changed. There’s no way you could hope to prove a strong trend in the pro-choice direction — i.e., that 70% of Americans used to be pro-life in 1970 but now 70% are pro-choice. Just ain’t true.

    Compare this to other civil rights issues. 30 years after segregation, you certainly didn’t find that half of all Americans were willing to tell opinion pollsters that they wanted segregation, not even a little bit. On that kind of issue, there has been an overwhelming trend in one direction.

    Not so with abortion. People are still opposed to it in large numbers.

    It’s no surprise that the polls are about evenly divided. You can make strong moral arguments for and against. And the pro-choice side has a built-in advantage, in that it appeals to people’s selfish desires and to their instinct to disfavor government involvement. The pro-life side is nothing but sheer altruism, which isn’t as naturally appealing to many people. (The only reason that anyone ever becomes pro-life is that, in their own mind, they are concerned about the killing of innocent babies. Agree with it or not, the fact is that the only pro-life motivation is pure altruism. That’s a harder sell.)

  9. 9
    Don P says:

    Joe M:

    Know what? You’re right. I misspoke.

    No, you didn’t “misspeak.” You made an empirical claim that is flatly contradicted by your own polling data citation.

    What the polls show is not that younger people are more prolife than older people, but that they are more prolife than today’s older people were when they themselves were younger.

    No, they don’t show that. As I just explained, Gallup has found a slight and recent increase in pro-life sentiment. Other polls have found no such change. Gallup itself has found no such change over a longer period of time, and suggests that its finding may be a reflection of the recent national debate over “partial birth” abortion. As I keep telling you, abortion polls are sensitive to wording, to sample selection and to current events. When the news is full of talk “partial birth” abortion, pro-life sentiment may increase. When the news is full of talk of anti-abortion terrorism, as it was in the late 80s and early 90s, pro-choice sentiment may increase, and some polls suggest that it did. Public opinion fluctuates on a short-term basis in response to many influences, but the long-term trend is steady, majority support for a broad legal right to abortion, as shown in the sample of 24 polls I linked to earlier.

    And anyway, the absolute most that you can say — even if you cherry-pick data — is that the American people today are about evenly divided on abortion, just as they were thirty years ago.

    Nonsense. They aren’t anything close to “evenly divided” on abortion. Those favoring a broad legal right to abortion, a right that encompasses the vast majority of abortions that are currently legal in the United States, outnumber those who oppose such a right by around two-to-one, and have done so for at least 20 or 30 years.

    In other words, the best you can hope for is to prove that opinions haven’t really changed.

    I don’t need to “hope for” anything. The data overwhelmingly shows that public opinion on abortion hasn’t really changed over the past two or three decades. A large majority of Americans supported a broad right to abortion then, and a large majority of Americans support a broad right to abortion now. The pro-life movement has been working ceaslessly for 30 years to try and convert Americans to its point of view, and its efforts have been a complete waste of time. It’s over. You’ve lost. The only real question is how long it will take you to realize that.

    Compare this to other civil rights issues. 30 years after segregation, you certainly didn’t find that half of all Americans were willing to tell opinion pollsters that they wanted segregation, not even a little bit. On that kind of issue, there has been an overwhelming trend in one direction.

    A comparison with civil rights issues provides an even clearer illustration that your movement has failed utterly. Equal rights for religious minorities, equal rights for racial minorities, equal rights for women, equal rights for gays. All of these movements resulted in dramatic changes in public opinion. All of them involved clear, unmistakable legal victories in legislatures and courts. No such victories have occurred for the anti-abortion movement. You have lost virtually every significant legal battle you have fought. You have failed to win over hearts and minds for your cause despite three decades of efforts. And you have lost not only in this country, but virtually everywhere in the developed world.

    And the pro-choice side has a built-in advantage, in that it appeals to people’s selfish desires

    No, its advantage is that it’s right. It appeals to people’s sense of justice and liberty. Those are the fundamental values at the heart of all civil rights movements. The reason your movement has failed is because it is an attempt to trample on women’s liberty.

    The pro-life side is nothing but sheer altruism,

    There’s nothing altruistic about it. It is an attempt force women to use their body gestate a fetus. It’s not about altruism; it’s about control.