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With Friends Like These…

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The “Abortion hurts women” brigade continues in Wisconsin, where legislators are pushing a TRAP law to limit women’s access to abortion, I mean “make sure women are not coerced into having abortions”…because those poor little women just don’t realize how bad abortion is and if we help them with more “informed (coercive) consent, then abortion will just disappear and they can keep having lotsa babies!”

Of course, the bill’s not actually designed to help anyone make a more educated decision about whether or not to have an abortion. A bill to do that would (1) provide funding for poor women to have abortions so that they may have the same “choice” as other women; and (2) let doctors do their jobs. But instead, these TRAP laws are tactics to discourage women from seeking abortions and make it harder for those who do to procure them. Amanda lays it out for us:

he irony in all this is that there’s probably more of a threat of women being coerced into pregnancy by people around her (and of course by the law) than into abortion, if for no other reason than you’re getting thorough counseling when you get an abortion that you don’t get in other situations. Feminist-minded gynecologists (the pool from which abortion providers generally comes) are far more likely to be hip to the care standards that are growing in gynecology of looking for signs of domestic violence. But it’s far too delicate in most cases to ask a woman if she’s being coerced into having the baby, even if you suspect that she is, because of the official social customs that greet every non-terminated pregnancy as an occasion of joy and congratulations. The legislators are clearly not interested in using the law to stop coerced pregnancy; in fact, they want to use the law to coerce pregnancy.

SO remember, when reading about abortion law in the US, the “abortion hurts women” argument is just code for “those stupid little ladies just can’t handle reproductive autonomy so we better take it away.”

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