Republican politicians are laboring under the delusion that, if they could just get the nomenclature just right, voters wouldn’t keep rejecting them for their extreme anti-abortion positions. As Senator Josh “Hauling” Hawley told NBC News: “Many voters think [‘pro-life’] means you’re for no exceptions in favor of abortion ever, ever.”
Gee, where could they have gotten that idea?
Could it be a left-over from the Reagan years when the GOP was trying to pass a Human Life Amendment that would ban all abortions from the time of conception? Oh, that’s right! That wasn’t a one-off! Since 1973, so-called Human Life Amendments have been proposed more than 330 times!
Or maybe it’s the onerous six-week abortion bans, pioneered by Texas, and now spread to 24 states with near total abortion bans. Two years after Texas passed it, infant mortality is up 11.5%. So not so pro-life or pro-baby, eh? That means people know first-hand that Republicans mean a total ban, or as close to it as possible — no matter how it affects rape and/or incest victims, preteens, or women with unviable pregnancies.
Republicans can debate new terminology and new PR strategies ad nauseam (and I’m sure they will), but no one will be fooled. A record 69% of Americans want abortion legal in the first trimester.
Nor will they be fooled by the newfound embrace of 15-week abortion bans, which is one of the GOP’s latest gimmicks. Senator J.D. Vance laments the GOP’s loss in Ohio, with voters adding abortion rights to Ohio’s state constitution. Vance wrote on Twitter: “Giving up on the unborn is not an option. It’s politically dumb and morally repugnant” — just before he does just that, moving his support from an unpopular total ban to a 15-week ban. Here’s why that’s silly.
If you truly believe that abortion is murder — as Vance himself, presidential candidate Nikki Haley, Senator Lindsey Graham, and former Vice President Mike Pence have said in the past — then a 15-week ban doesn’t make sense. Either a nonviable fetus is as human as a year-old baby — in which case, you ban all abortions — or it’s just a zygote and then an embryo, and Roe v. Wade was correctly decided. It’s almost as if they’ve been preaching a gospel they didn’t believe themselves and are now caught off guard by the discovery that most Americans don’t buy their version of the Bible (which incidentally only mentions abortion in a passage about an abortifacient being prescribed by a Jewish priest as a means to out philandering wives, as noted in Numbers 5:11–31).
Lying to Americans isn’t new for the so-called pro-life forces.
- They devised a medical term that doesn’t exist in “partial-birth abortion.”
- They invented the idea that some abortions occur after birth.
- They pretended that abortions are casual affairs rather than difficult and costly decisions.
The lying has only ramped up since the Dodd decision. As Jessica Valenti wrote in The New York Times:
These antichoice hypocrites think they are dazzling us with their brilliance when they aren’t even baffling us with their bullshit. Their holier-than-thou religiosity was as expedient and fake as everything else about them.