Look we don’t want to talk about Ross Douthat either, but here we are. It’s the week of Ireland’s vote to repeal their Eighth Amendment, which COMPLETELY outlaws abortion, and the New York Times published two big opinion pieces about it. One, is a beautiful, aggressive-in-all-the-rights-ways call to action from Maureen Dowd. The other is by Ross.
Here’s the thing, Ross’s essay isn’t even like, the worse conservative, anti-choice thing we’ve read today (I mean, we read a LOT). However, what’s particularly enraging about it is how far removed it is from any sort of real world experience or humanity. Let’s take a look at his thesis real quick. He’s talking about voting “yes” and repealing the Eighth Amendment here:
“At the same time, it would put an end to an all-but-unique experiment in Western public policy: an attempt to combine explicitly pro-life laws and generally pro-family policy making with a liberalized modern economy and the encouragement of female independence and advancement.”
I mean, let’s not even count the ways this is wrong. Maureen Dowd basically already does. Let’s not talk about how you can’t just be like “they encourage female advancement for sure, like, they think women are people … just like her life is valued less than the cells inside of her!” Let’s just talk about this FORM OF ARGUMENT (I know, rage scream a little at how annoying the actual argument is, go outside, yell into the road, then come back). Douthat is proposing that we have to look at Ireland as a thought experiment… and not, you know, a real place. Look at the laws, look at the abortion rate, look at the health. And like fine, crunch numbers all you want my man, but that’s not what life is. There are real Irish women hurt EVERY DAY by the abortion ban.
Thousands of woman travel every year at ENORMOUS COST to the UK (mostly) to get abortions. Or they buy medicine online under fear of prosecution. And to propose that this is all some… thought experiment, is so fucking disingenuous.
Sure, it’s the privilege of a non-Uterus having opinion writers that you get to look at “abortion” removed to prove your BIGGER, IMPORTANT, BIG BOY POINT about SOCIETY, MAN. Abortion can just be a word to you … a procedure you’ll never have to have yet somehow feel the ability to endlessly judge. But, come on, man. What an embarrassing way to see the world, sans empathy, just as an experiment on which YOUR VERY IMPORTANT points can be formed. It’s exhausting! Also, my man, you did not invent the idea that maybe the U.S. should treat mother’s better and give them more support every step of the way. That’s not really what we’re talking about here!
So let’s end with a little empathy, because people’s lives and experience and pain are not just part of a big thought experiment. Here’s Maureen Dowd’s kicker, a quote from … ANOTHER ROSS (Dr. Ross Kelly!!!) who will be voting yes:
“All the cases are hard cases. Women who have become pregnant, including victims of rape, we force them to leave the country or risk a prison sentence — that would likely be longer than what the rapist would receive — if they get caught taking the abortion pills.
“We hear stories of women who sell their cars or take money from loan sharks to get the money to travel. It also means that those women tend to have later abortions because you have to arrange all this travel and time off from work and child care, and that’s not a good thing, either. We’re talking about an awful lot of women who are going through deep, psychological trauma because their country is turning their back on them.”