Analysis

Mad Marcotte: what’s the big deal about dead babies in bathrooms?

Yeah, her again.

I generally try to space out my Amanda Marcotte posts better than this, honest. But come on, after seeing this tapestry of sheer madness, how could I pass it by? Opening with a glorious lack of self-awareness (“given that anti-choice hysteria is, you know, hysteria”), Marcotte proceeds to blaze thrilling new trails in imaginary patriarchal oppression.

As Jeannie Deangelis reported on September 2, a dead fetus was recently found in a Dallas high-school bathroom. Now, to those of us who aren’t insane, finding a human corpse where human corpses ought not be (i.e., pretty much anywhere that isn’t a hospital, morgue, or funeral home, and definitely not a bathroom) is kind of a big deal.

Not in Marcottopia, where showing the slightest concern for the death of our unborn young is a slap in the face to women everywhere. Noting that miscarriage is a “natural and common life process” ending 10-20% of pregnancies, Marcotte takes great offense at the fact that school officials thought figuring out how a dead baby wound up in their bathroom warranted a call to the police:

Since neither being pregnant in high school nor miscarriage are classified as crimes—not yet, anyway—the situation called for a muted and calm reaction.

Instead, however, administrators summoned local police. And, even though miscarriage is not a crime, officers opened up an investigation and “called for help in identifying a ‘suspect,’” as Liss-Schultz reported. Soon, the high school was swarming with cops, leaving students and parents to panic as at least one police helicopter buzzed overhead—all to look for a girl who experienced something that is an expected outcome for 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies.

“We’re reviewing video, talking to the teachers, trying to determine if anybody has any knowledge of any student that may have had something going on in their life, and pray,” Dallas Police Major John Lawton told reporters on the scene, because a normal life process now requires police statements to the public. What’s next? Legal interventions if high school students are caught menstruating on school grounds?

While writing this post, I repeatedly found myself stopping to ask: am I really seeing a pro-choice argument this stupid? So soon after the tear gas idiocy? Yeah, she’s crazy, but this? Marcotte acts like the school and the cops are psychics who should have known in advance that a “normal life process” was all that happened.

No, Amanda. I can’t believe I have to explain this, but that’s what police investigations are for. They didn’t know whether a student miscarried, whether she deliberately killed her child, or whether the mother was a student at all. Even assuming it was a miscarriage wouldn’t have settled whether it occurred naturally or was caused by an abusive boyfriend’s beating, or whether the teenage girl was suffering complications in secret afterward.

None of these possibilities were important enough to call the police? I mean geez, even Law & Order’s most pretentious writers manage to make Olivia Benson more objective than that. Then again, Marcotte’s dogmatic callousness is hardly without precedent; her side has never given a damn about Planned Parenthood’s willingness to cover up rape.

She acknowledges that “officials eventually determined” a “student miscarried in the bathroom and, unable to figure out what to do, just left the results [what a lovely euphemism for a dead child] there,” and therefore no criminal charges would be filed. So by her own admission, the system worked exactly how it’s supposed to. No accusation of baby-killing, no punishment for miscarriage, not even a slap on the wrist for leaving a dead body in a public place.

And yet, by opting not to assume a conclusion without evidence, the authorities still transgressed against her. Somehow. The fact that they didn’t substitute the whims of feminist fanatics for critical thinking suggests menstruating might be criminalized in the not-too-distant future. How? It just does, you mansplaining misogynist.

Perhaps realizing that she didn’t have anything resembling a sensible grievance in Dallas, Marcotte pads her delusional rant with several other alleged examples of anti-choice “persecution”:

In Indiana, for example, a woman named Purvi Patel is facing a possible sentence of decades in prison for not producing a live baby. Patel admitted to taking abortion-causing pills, which induced labor; she was caught when she went to the emergency room to get help for the bleeding.

Uh, Amanda? You just described killing a baby, which is vastly different from “not producing a live baby.” Again, though, grasping the distinction typically requires sanity.

The fetus was found dead in a dumpster. The messed-up thing about the situation is that…

Let’s pause here to reflect on the fact that most normal people would find “a mother threw her dead son or daughter in the trash” to be the “messed-up thing about the situation.” Amanda Marcotte does not.

…the State of Indiana is so determined to put Patel in prison that they’ve hit her with two conflicting charges. If they determine that the baby was born alive, they’re going to prosecute her for “neglect.” But if she successfully terminated the pregnancy, she’s getting hit with “fetal murder of an unborn child.”

So…leaving a live newborn in a dumpster wouldn’t constitute neglect? Intentionally taking pills for their direct lethal effect on a fetus wouldn’t be killing a fetus? These aren’t “conflicting charges,” they’re tailored specifically for either of the two possibilities the evidence points to.

But the situation is even more frightening than that. Even if you don’t try to end your own pregnancy, you could be subject to an investigation for being insufficiently excited about having a baby.

Take the case of Christine Taylor, who was arrested in Iowa for merely saying out loud to a nurse that she had considered abortion. Taylor had fallen down a flight of stairs; when she went to a private hospital, she was accused of trying to abort her (unharmed) fetus, even though there was literally no evidence of this beyond her very understandable concerns about having a baby with her estranged husband.

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Assuming Marcotte’s sources provide a complete and accurate picture, this one actually does sound like a failure of justice. Even with her statement about abortion, it’s hard to see how a charge that she deliberately subjected herself to a dangerous accident would get beyond a reasonable doubt.

Still, one valid complaint among a litany of fake ones does not a pattern make. Yes, it’s a disgrace whenever investigators and prosecutors overreach, but that’s an innate failing of the justice system as a whole, not some unique characteristic of pregnancy-related laws. Is the fact that people may suffer false charges of murder, theft, rape, fraud, or arson a valid point against keeping any of those acts illegal?

It may seem hard to believe, but that’s exactly what’s happened in El Salvador, where rigid anti-choice laws have led many women to be thrown in jail because the police decided that they were lying when they said they didn’t want to miscarry. Attorney Dennis Munoz Estanley has taken on the cases of 29 separate women who were found guilty of murder or abortion because they miscarried a pregnancy. Of the 29, Estanley says that only one actually induced her own abortion. The rest were just women the police decided must be lying about it.

Ah, yes. I keep forgetting that American pro-lifers are not only responsible for every bad thing that happens to pregnant women in the United States, but every pregnancy-related injustice anywhere else in the world as well. That said, Josh Craddock noted for LAN back in February:

Even in El Salvador, only a minuscule fraction of the country’s 3 million women are charged with abortion-related crimes – far fewer than would be expected if one took the Guttmacher Institute’s laughably inflated estimates of illegal abortions at face value. Clearly the Salvadoran police aren’t putting out the dragnet for post-abortive women, much less women who have experienced tragic miscarriages.

Further, Salvadorian journalist Evangelina Del Pilar de Sol has reported that numerous cases pro-abortion propagandists have tried to pass off as persecuted miscarriages were anything but…unless, of course, “natural life process” has been redefined to include stabbing babies in the neck, suffocating them with scarves, masking tape, and plastic bags, and dumping them in ravines.

But hey, if starving newborns to death didn’t faze Barack Obama or his apologists, then it’s hard to imagine what method of execution would be heinous enough to offend these people.

Marcotte’s broader point is that treating abortion like murder “necessarily means treating every miscarriage like it’s a potential crime and subjecting women to intrusive and hostile lines of questioning,” which is absurd. The Dallas case, which she chose to headline her thesis, demonstrates the opposite: that legal protection for the unborn wouldn’t somehow repeal basic standards of evidence, or force authorities to check their rational thinking skills at the door. Nor would legal principles like the presumption of innocence or reasonable doubt suddenly disappear.

But that’s okay, because Marcotte ends on a familiar note that confirms it really isn’t about sincere, thought-out concerns over legal abuse. Instead it’s about the same thing it always is: her stale, hallucinatory theory that pro-lifers are “pushing a model of what they think womanhood should be: chaste, highly feminine, submissive, and oriented towards motherhood.” In this “dystopia,” she imagines, persecution of women will run rampant for nothing more than “being less than stoked about a pregnancy.”

This from a woman who, in her very first paragraph, presumed to criticize her opponents for “paranoia.” Yes, really.

This morass of hypocritical observations, untrue premises, thoughtless conclusions, and ignored truths all indicate a mind that is deeply confused. What really set her off this time wasn’t Dallas officials’ “panic,” but the fact that, absent the corrupting blinders of abortion politics, the natural instincts of all involved were humane–that a dead child was regarded as a dead child, that a young life’s loss was considered a tragedy. That the girl involved isn’t in the slightest danger of being punished is of no consequence.

Simple human decency is something that pro-abortion ideologues simply cannot abide.

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