Jan 27, 2022Liked by James J. Heaney

"That’s a very long time for Americans to see what a pro-life America might look like—and to realize that the pro-choice movement’s lies about back-alley abortions and mothers’ safety have always been just that."


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Jan 27, 2022Liked by James J. Heaney

Being moderately left, and part of a Mainline Protestant denomination, I have long felt stuck in the middle on this.

My cousin was someone who was warned about severe health risks should her pregnancy come full-term. She chose not to get an abortion, and she died in childbirth. This is certainly a rare situation in the world today.

I also have a friend who was date-raped with drugs, got pregnant as a consequence, and chose to get an abortion.

Why do I bring these situations up? People passionate enough to debate the issue of abortion "rights" often lack empathy or civility.

My wife and I had a miscarriage during the resurgence of national debate on the issue of abortion. That was severely painful to have to endure the extreme pro-choice arguments in my Facebook news feed. We were grieving!

I think you are absolutely right that we need to conduct ourselves with empathy and charity for others when debating this topic.

And as for the debate? Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "'All truth is simple,' is that not doubly a lie?" All or nothing from either side is idiotic and glossed over the complexity of the issue (also a reason for the examples above).

If Abortion rights were overturned, as you say, States would begin to legislate their own respective courses through the issue. Agreed. Some states are so blue or so red, I think they will end up with laws that are unhealthy and lacking in compassion, but there are moderate states where a more reasonable and measured approach might be able to take hold.

I think if Roe got overturned the pro-choice folks would simply shift to State-by-State legislation emphases. I don't know that it would get a national backlash. Maybe, but who knows. The point is that I am not worried, and I don't think either the pro-life or the pro-choice need to be that worried if Roe got overturned.

Some good thoughts in this post. I like it. The analysis if the rhetoric is spot-on, I think. A funny thing hit me that the same piss-poor logic used by pro-choice folks to say that making abortion illegal will only encourage unsafe and illegal abortions is the exact same poor logic I hear from the gun-rights crowd when it comes to firearm purchasing restrictions: firearm purchasing restrictions will only encourage illegal "back alley" sales. I find that funny.

And yes, you can totally make up a word "frontlash." I think I get what you mean, so it works.

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Jan 28, 2022Liked by James J. Heaney

I’m not all that tied in to the abortion debate, but would consider myself in the pro-choice camp versus the pro-life camp. I do wonder what the actual “goal” of each side is though. Allowing late-stage abortions seem just as absurd to me as banning Plan B. I personally feel that abortion access for the first trimester (with a mandatory ‘waiting period’ + clinic health regulations + etc…) and a blend of abortions/early deliveries for the second/third trimesters (with a requirement to try and keep the baby alive while always prioritizing the mom’s life) is the most ‘right-sized’ policy but it feels like both halves would hate such a resolution.

As a leftist, I wish the point you made of how strongly pro-life voters show up (versus pro-choice) wasn’t true. Hopefully limiting the delta between pro-life and pro-choice goals also causes there to be less of a delta between voter turnout of the two camps.

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I think a lot of this essay has aged like milk, but that is the benefit of hindsight, and it is interesting to see how you imagined things would spin out. The line that is sticking with me is the same one that grabbed Stephen E in the comments

"That’s a very long time for Americans to see what a pro-life America might look like—and to realize that the pro-choice movement’s lies about back-alley abortions and mothers’ safety have always been just that."

At this point, what do you think America has seen? Because I believe it to be very little, and the backlash is growing. There has been no subsequent pro-life victory in any situation where the voters get a say. The midterms would have been a blow out for the Democrats in the absence of gerrymanders, or if gerrmanders had been equally allowed. Without them, the Democrats would have a trifecta right now. At this point I think it entirely likely that the Democrats hold the Presidency, and take back the house by a healthy margin in 24. I think there is a good possibility they hold the Senate even though that path is hard for them, and Dobbs gets all of the credit.

There is no pro-life stepping up to meet human need, and people's fears were well founded. In the meantime, Clarence Thomas won't live forever, and a Supreme Court can turn on a dime as we have seen in Wisconsin in the past few days. There is every possibility we could see the rights laid out in Roe enshrined in Federal law by 2025, and I doubt even that will stop the pain for the GOP.

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