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Camille Paglia Sorts Out Reproductive Freedom For You


I must say that one effect of the combination of the proliferation of increasingly restrictive TRAP laws and conservative attacks on contraceptive access is that we’ve seen a merciful reduction in the quantity of America Could Solve Our Deeply Troubling Crisis Of People Disagreeing About Abortion By Agreeing That My Center-Right Views Are Indisputably Correct op-eds. Camille Paglia, however, is nothing if not an anachronism, and so:

The real issue is that U.S. politics have been entangled and strangled for far too long by the rote histrionics of the abortion wars, which have raged since Roe v. Wade

I wish someone had told the anti-abortion activists who stopped state after state from liberalizing their abortion laws before 1973 that abortion wasn’t actually a political issue until the Supreme Court got involved.

While I am firmly pro-choice and support unrestricted access to abortion, I have been disturbed and repelled for decades by the way reproductive rights have become an ideological tool ruthlessly exploited by my own party, the Democrats, to inflame passions, raise money, and drive voting.

“I support abortion rights, but this doesn’t mean I support taking the necessary actions to keep abortion legal.”

I wish I was kidding:

This mercenary process began with the Senate confirmation hearings for three Supreme Court candidates nominated by Republican presidents: Robert Bork in 1987, David Souter in 1990, and Clarence Thomas in 1991. (Bork was rejected, while Souter and Thomas were approved.) Those hearings became freak shows of feminist fanaticism, culminating in the elevation to martyr status of Anita Hill, whose charges of sexual harassment against Thomas still seem to me flimsy and overblown (and effectively neutralized by Hill’s following Thomas to another job). Abortion was the not-so-hidden motivation of the Democratic operatives who pushed a reluctant Hill forward and fanned the flames in the then monochromatically liberal mainstream media.

Jesus Christ, where even to begin with this?

  • Robert Bork was given hearings and an up-and-down vote by the Senate. He was voted down because his substantive views, which included the view that the Constitution did not protect a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, or indeed protect any kind of right to privacy. Roe v. Wade would have been overruled had he been confirmed. As a staunch supporter of reproductive rights, Camille Paglia deplores that Roberts Bork was voted down. Oh.
  • Can someone remind me what the freak show[] of feminist fanaticism” at the Souter hearings was supposed to be?
  • Anita Hill was almost certainly telling the truth, and the idea that she was compelled to testify by evil interest groups insulting nonsense, as is the idea that Hill working for Thomas again means that she couldn’t have been sexually harassed.

[The banal-at-best recounting of the waves of feminism that Paglia uses to lard virtually everything she writes is omitted. You’re welcome.]

My position on abortion is contained in my manifesto, “No Law in the Arena,” from my second essay collection, “Vamps & Tramps” (1994)

Is HA! Goodman was a Paglia sockpuppet? I guess his prose is too lean.

Despite my pro-abortion stance (I call the term pro-choice “a cowardly euphemism”), I profoundly respect the pro-life viewpoint, which I think has the moral high ground.

You can, I suppose, be pro-choice and believe that opponents of legal abortion have “the moral high ground.” But spare me the talk about “cowardly euphemisms” when you’re talking this crap. As the response to Donald Trump’s Kinsleyan gaffe so neatly illustrated, the American “pro-life” position is an intellectual, moral, and legal shambles.

The one exception is Naomi Wolf, with whom I have disagreed about many issues. But Wolf showed admirable courage in questioning abortion in her 1995 essay, “Our Bodies, Our Souls,”

Oh, gawd. She should stick to some of Wolf’s less silly work, like “all other women are doing the sex wrong” and “Edward Snowden is a willing accomplice of Big Surveillance.”

Hillary deals in those smears as her stock in trade: for example, while campaigning last week, she said in the context of Trump’s comments on abortion, “Women’s health is under assault in America”—as if difficulty in obtaining an abortion is more of an assault than the grisly intervention required for surgical termination of a pregnancy. Who is the real victim here?

As the staunchest supporter of abortion rights evah, Camille Paglia wishes you to know that Hillary Clinton is awful for believing that women’s right to have access to a safe health procedure should take precedence over the fact that medical procedures can sound sort of icky when you describe them.

And now, the hoariest of hoary junior-high-school pro-life talking points:

There are abundant contradictions in a liberal feminism that supports abortion yet opposes capital punishment.

First, you don’t want the state to coerce a women to carry her pregnancy to term. Then you don’t want the state to arbitrarily select a minority of people who may or may not be guilty of serious crimes and put them to death. MAKE UP YOUR MIND!

This has been how to think about reproductive freedom with the most pro-choice — sorry, pro-abortion- person in known human history, Camille Paglia.

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