Irin Carmon has a fantastic piece about the effects of “moderate” regulations of abortion on the ground. It needs to be read in full, but a teaser:
Earlier that month, at home in Oklahoma City, the Davises were told that the boy she was carrying had a severe brain malformation known as holoprosencephaly. It is rare, though possible, for such a fetus to survive to birth, but doctors told them that he would not reach his first birthday. “He would never walk, lift his head,” Jessica, 23, recalled in an interview.
“I could let my son go on and suffer,” she said. Or she could accept a word she didn’t like – abortion – “and do the best thing for my baby.”
The Davises’ ordeal was always going to be painful. But the grim path that led them to a night in the car was determined, nearly every step of the way, by a state that has scrambled to be the most “pro-life” in the nation. There are no exceptions for families like the Davises.
But surely Matt Stoller is onto something when he says that abortion policy is completely disconnected from partisan politics?
For decades, under Democratic control, legislative committee chairs would block abortion restrictions from a hearing. But new term limits, alongside rising conservatism, helped rapidly drain the legislature’s long tradition of Democratic control. Republicans took over the House in 2004, the Senate in 2008, and the governor’s mansion in 2010.
The last hope for pro-choice advocates in Oklahoma is the state judiciary, where many of the laws have been successfully challenged, often on technical grounds.
“We are growing weary of admonishing the Legislature for so flagrantly violating the terms of the Oklahoma Constitution,” the state Supreme Court wrote in 2010, after striking down a law that required women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound and hear a description of the images. “It is a waste of time for the Legislature and the Court, and a waste of the taxpayer’s money.”
Lauinger blamed the losses on the fact that “eight of the nine members were appointed by pro-abortion Democrat governors.”
In addition to the obvious point that elections matter, it should also be clear that there’s nothing “moderate” about “moderate” abortion regulations. They impose substantial trauma and expense on the women who can least afford without any actual benefits.