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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Republicans kill another imaginary beast

by folkbum

Yesterday I noted that Republicans, specifically the ones in Wisconsin's legislature or on Wisconsin's talk radio, were all gung-ho for fighting an imaginary threat: vote fraud. In the process, they would disenfranchise tens of thousands of prefectly legal voters--but at least they'd have killed that windmill they tilted at.

When the Supreme Court upheld the ban on the inaccurately named "partial birth abortions," Republicans scored another victory against imaginary creatures, a victory that will hold real consequences for real women.

Who'd they beat? That imaginary woman, 17 or 18 weeks pregnant, who waddles past the Planned Parenthood. "D'oh!" she says, slapping her forhead. "I knew I was forgetting something!" That's pure fiction. The abortions banned by this bill and this ruling are done in hospitals, by OBs trying to save the lives or reproductive futures of their patients.

In the meantime, real women for whom the procedure banned yesterday--and the procedures sure to be banned in coming weeks and months by eager Republicans in statehouses all across the country--is the safest, they will be hurt, some even killed. Real women like this one will suffer; real families like this one will be ripped apart again.

I was halfway through writing this post in my head when digby reminded me Barbara O'Brien covered this fantasy world last year:
the anti-abortion rights position is based on an assumption that women aren’t real people — especially women who get abortions. Oh, they’re human in a scientific sense, but they aren’t people. They are archetypes who live in the heads of the anti-abortion righters — Careless Woman, Selfish Woman, Woman in a Vacuum. The same people who imagine embryos can think and feel emotions — and therefore deserve protection — must believe a pregnant woman is just a major appliance.
Something even more depressing than the pro-lifers' fantasy women is the fact that the majority of the US Supreme Court in this case also seems to live in a fantasy world. Justice Ginsberg, in a rare spoken dissent, said,
Revealing in this regard, the Court invokes an antiabortion shibboleth for which it concededly has no reliable evidence: Women who have abortions come to regret their choices, and consequently suffer from '[s]evere depression and loss of esteem.' Because of women's fragile emotional state and because of the bond of love the mother has for her child,' the Court worries, doctors may withhold information about the nature of the intact D&E procedure. The solution the Court approves, then, is not to require doctors to inform women, accurately and adequately, of the different procedures and their attendant risks. Instead, the Court deprives women of the right to make an autonomous choice, even at the expense of their safety.

This way of thinking reflects ancient notions about women's place in the family and under the Constitution ideas that have long since been discredited.
Or, as it's been paraphrased, the Court thinks women can't be trusted.

So how do you stop a court, or a legislature, or a whole party that would rather dream up villains to vanquish than address the real world we live in? I mean, the state Republicans' health care proposals released yesterday are all about fighting an imaginary critter, too--the Wasteful Patient Who Buys Too Much Health Care. That's the point of these high-deductable plans, you know, to target all of you spendthrifts who just get too darn much health care. That describe anyone you know? Hands? No?

I don't know what the answer is. It's too much like arguing with a wall--or trying to take your fish for walksies. You just get frustrated and the fish still pees in his bowl. But when these fish control the national dialogue--either because they've been elected, or they're in the media, or whatever--what do you do? How do you deal with it? Because those of us in the reality-based community just can't take much more of this.

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