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Bad faith and worse medicine

President Donald Trump and Amy Coney Barrett stand on the Blue Room Balcony after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas administered the Constitutional Oath to her on the South Lawn of the White House White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. Barrett was confirmed to be a Supreme Court justice by the Senate earlier in the evening. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Jessica Valenti has an excellent column on how the efforts of opponents of reproductive rights to frame their way out of the massive unpopularity of their positions reflect very real consequences in states controlled by anti-abortion fanatics:

This summer, for example, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists published a “Glossary of Medical Terms” instructing doctors on what “life affirming” language to use. Under their guidance, a woman whose fetus has a fatal anomaly would be told not that the condition is terminal but that it’s “life limiting.” Similarly, if someone’s water breaks months before her due date, she would be informed not that the pregnancy is nonviable but that it’s “pre-viable.” The goal is in part to persuade women to carry doomed pregnancies, which can be emotionally and physically catastrophic.

“Life-limiting.” “Pre-viable.” I assume women who die because from complications after being forced to carry a pregnancy to term wil be labelled “post-birth.”

Republicans are even trying to redefine abortion itself, claiming that they are doing so to clarify matters for doctors and patients. In truth, these are deliberate efforts to ensure that fetuses’ rights trump women’s rights, no matter the cost to women. And increasingly, that cost is very high.

If a woman in Idaho has a life-threatening pregnancy, state law dictates that the doctor must end the pregnancy in a way that provides “the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive,” which the State Supreme Court has interpreted to include performing a cesarean or vaginal delivery. Similarly, a bill proposed in Wisconsin this summer stated that a procedure performed during a medical emergency isn’t an abortion if a doctor “makes reasonable medical efforts” to preserve “both the life of the woman and the life of her unborn child”; legislators mentioned using a C-section and early labor, specifically.

In Idaho, the only exception to the trauma of unnecessary labor and delivery or C-section is if the woman’s life would be more at risk that way. In other words, instead of having minutes-long abortions, women will be forced by the state to endure major surgeries or traumatic vaginal deliveries, even if that seriously affects their physical and mental health.

And this is how they will justify various restrictions on the right to travel:

The phrase “abortion tourism” has also made its way into Republican talking points. This makes it sound as if women traveling to get abortions were taking vacations rather than fleeing their home states for health care, sometimes emptying their bank accounts or staying in shelters in the process.

I don’t think using a gratingly irritating and condescending term like “abortion tourism” will convert any unconverted, but if it can help persuade some Republican politicians and five Supreme Court justices in a marginal case that’s dangerous enough. Definitely read the whole column.

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