Amanda Marcotte doesn’t understand cause-effect relationships
It would be a shame to let 2012 end without one last check-in with our old pal Amanda Marcotte. At Slate, she writes about the (possible) rise in black-market, do-it-yourself abortions:
The reason that it’s not much discussed in public forums is that reproductive health advocates are data-driven people, and one thing that’s nearly impossible to get data on is the prevalence of women quietly buying an ulcer medication named Cytotec from sleazy online dealers and using that to terminate pregnacies at home, far out of the reach of doctors and agencies like the CDC or the Guttmacher Institute that compile statistics on abortions. The writer of the piece, Ada Calhoun, admits that there’s no way to know how common these black-market abortions are, but points out that the rise in websites peddling Cytotec specifically to terminate pregnancy (instead for its on-label use to treat ulcers) makes it hard to deny that this is a growing trend.
“Data-driven”? Not when studies like these pass the average pro-choicer’s smell test, or with Marcotte’s own selective approach to data and factual indifference toward biology. Still, Calhoun’s speculation about Cytotec seems straightforward enough.
Calhoun tracks the unfortunate story of Jennie McCormack, an impoverished Idaho woman whose inability to afford the expense of paying for an abortion and the travel/hotel costs to endure their mandatory 72-hour wait caused her to spend two months getting her hands on black-market abortion pills. Unfortunately, the time lapse meant she was quite far along in her pregnancy—her fifth, with the previous four resulting in three children and one abortion—which meant that she ended up aborting a pregnancy that was between 18 and 21 weeks along. She was charged with the crime of illegal abortion, but managed to evade jail because of some impressive legal wrangling from her attorney Rick Hearn.
Obviously, McCormack’s entire ordeal could have been avoided if she’d had easy access to the abortion care she needed earlier in her pregnancy.
Y’know how else it could have been avoided? By opting not to sleep with someone “who had just gotten out of prison after serving time on a robbery charge,” especially when you’ve already got three kids by three fathers you can barely afford. Surely one need not be particularly religious or conservative about sexuality to see such a choice ending badly a mile away?
Not that this will change the minds of any anti-choicers, who routinely claim that women should endure pain, misery, and public shunning as the due consequences of their choice to be sexually active in the first place.
It will come as little surprise to longtime readers that Marcotte is maliciously misrepresenting the quote she links by Jenny Erikson:
Women will also be able to cross state lines to terminate their pregnancies. Yes, it makes it harder to get an abortion. Call me crazy, but I believe that making the decision to end the life of your unborn child should be a tough one. By having to make bigger plans than going down the street to the local clinic, maybe women will think more carefully about their choices. Maybe, just maybe, the absence of easy abortions will make a teenager think twice about having sex.
Nowhere does Erikson suggest being sexually active makes people deserve pain, misery, or shaming. She’s clearly talking about discouraging and making inconvenient the decision to kill one’s child, which pro-choicers are bent on pretending isn’t the subject. And is Marcotte seriously condemning the proposition that teenagers should “think twice about having sex”?
But for people who foolishly believe that heavily restricting abortion without banning it is some kind of “moderate” compromise, the rise in black-market abortions should be a firm reminder that the basic human right to control your body is not a compromise issue.
Lazy and dishonest “control your body” gibberish notwithstanding, the point isn’t that restrictions are moderate. The point is that by rigging the game with the judicial fraud that is Roe v. Wade, pro-aborts have left pro-lifers with little other choice. It is abortion supporters who stole the debate’s real question from its rightful place in the democratic process, leaving legislatures around the country only peripheries and backdoors to fight over.
Personally, I’d like nothing more than to refocus the debate on the big questions, and I’d be happy to give up waiting periods, licensing regulations, etc., in exchange for the simple right to vote directly on abortion’s legality. But something tells me Marcotte wouldn’t take that deal…
The result of abortion restrictions is not, contrary to anti-choice propaganda, more glowing mothers who were stalled into changing their minds and having the baby. It simply means more desperate women turning to iffy websites peddling abortion-inducing drugs, and more Jennie McCormacks that turn to that option later in their pregnancies after exhausting their lean options at acquiring legal abortions under medical supervision.
Actually, it does mean fewer abortions. And if anything here constitutes propaganda, it’s Marcotte’s tortured grasp of cause and effect. No pro-life law makes anyone try killing her child with an ulcer drug. No pro-life law made Jennie McCormack procreate with four different men. No pro-life law prevented her from evaluating any of her sexual partners’ varying degrees of seemingly predictable unreliability, or somehow brainwashed her into forgetting the consequences of each previous pregnancy as she chose to repeat history. No, these behaviors were primarily individual choice, informed in large part by cultural forces and values which are unapologetically promoted by Marcotte herself and her movement.