I don’t believe it is possible to support women’s rights and ‘be squishy’ about those rights. However, I’m not surprised to learn that Bill Maher not only believes that it is possible to simultaneously support and squish, but that he is eh-eh on women’s rights because he thinks a legal abortion might have deprived the world of Bill Maher.
I think it is safe to say that anyone who is able to feel jittery about abortion because abortion might have once posed a risk to their current existence is a self-absorbed dumbass who thinks they have found an acceptable way to Yeahbutwhatabout women’s rights.
Just as importantly, they are at absolutely no risk of being aborted.
In classic fauxgressive style, Maher adopts a line of pseudo-thinking favored by other people who are vehemently against women’s rights. A famous example is Kevin Williamson’s deeply disturbing navel-gaze, in which he revealed his belief that if Roe v. Wade had been decided a little bit earlier, his mother would not have had to carry an unplanned pregnancy to term.
A variant is an attempt to get other people to see women’s ability to control their bodies as a personal threat by asking what if your mom had had an abortion? People who try to hide their misogyny behind zygotes think it is an unanswerable gotcha guaranteed to silence liberals. In actuality, it’s something an otherwise normal person might say when they’re really wasted and nowhen else.
“What if… “
“Nonono listen. Listen.”
“What if, like, you were never born? You ever think about that?”
It sounds very deep to the deeply stoned mind. To the sober mind the answer is obvious: I wouldn’t exist, therefore I would not be listening to some jackass ask stupid questions. Win + Win.
Maher says more quiet parts out loud while handing Porter her straight line. Based on his comments, doctors advised his mother not to get pregnant again after a difficult pregnancy. Squeamishness or squishiness about abortion to prevent harm to the woman — the only form abortion that was legal in New York when Maher was born — is a step further than the most rabid right wingers are willing to go. At least in public.
At least for now.
And if Maher is against abortion to prevent harm to a woman because doctors advised his mother not to get pregnant, then I don’t know how he avoids being against contraception.
Or heterosexual couples refraining from having sex. Or really, any any of the billions of quirks of fate that might prevent, interfere with or prematurely end a pregnancy that would result in a human. But for some reason woman’s ability to terminate a pregnancy — however they want to define terminate — is the only potential threat to someone’s future existence that they ever identify.
Perhaps because they see women as the only thing that can or should be controlled in an otherwise random and uncontrollable universe. Or perhaps they suspect their own mothers always had it in for them, and rightfully so.
But that’s what makes Rep. Porter’s response so satisfying. To the man plotzing at the thought that he might never have been, she says relax, you’re here. God help us all. But it isn’t about you. It’s about women deciding their own fates. No wonder Maher looked so stunned.
And the look on his face when the audience laughed at him. That was really satisfying too.