• Baby Jane, Victim Zero of the New Abortion Era, More to Come

    August 22, 2022 // 3 Comments »

    It was sad to see the glee with which pro-choice advocates welcomed the news the ten-year-old rape victim was real. Surprisingly she lacks a nom de guerre yet, something like Victim Zero, Baby Doe or Child Jane. She went from victim to martyr to symbol within a news cycle or two. The story just received new life as Indiana has voted to ban most abortions.

    We know now an illegal alien who should never have been in the United States (his status never to be talked about again of course as outside the narrative) twice raped the ten-year-old. He had been cohabitating with the child’s mother, pregnant with his child, who defended him (never to be talked about again of course as outside the narrative) as innocent even after an alleged confession. The child ended up at a local Columbus, Ohio physician right around the time the Supreme Court overthrew Roe. That’s when the exploitation of the child really began.

    The local doctor never challenged Ohio’s “health of the mother” abortion exception, choosing instead to pass the case to an Indiana colleague whose first duty was not do no harm but report to the media. It is clear alerting the media that the Perfect Case had arrived by stork on her doorstep was a priority. Never mind privacy (the core of Roe v. Wade, ironically) never mind outing the victim would eventually lead to exposing her identity as the press went about their ghoulish work, what was important was to call attention to Ohio’s strict six-weeks-heartbeat-limit on abortions (the initial physician near-magically predicted the victim was six week and three days pregnant) just as Ohio codified its post-Roe laws, and draw attention to the issues of cross-state border procedures.

    The victim became a political football kicked back and forth. No coincidence this case broke into the public eye just as Indiana lawmakers were poised to further restrict or ban abortion. The Indiana General Assembly convened in a special session July 25 to discuss restrictions, voting to ban most abortions.

    Alongside the obvious question of why no one challenged Ohio’s “health of the mother” exception (a ten year old body would never be able to carry a baby to term safely) was the way the victim was used as an almost literary device to conjure up other post-Roe horrors. After Joe Biden mentioned the then-unconfirmed case in a speech, calls rang out for him to declare a public health emergency over abortion, a formal federal designation like a state of disaster than frees up additional funding as well as — more importantly — making headlines.

    Even after Ohio’s Republican Attorney General said the child victim would have been eligible for an abortion to save her health, WaPo argued maybe she would not have been, unwilling to let a good horror story pass and allow Ohio to appear properly concerned about just the type of case its law was written for. Baby Jane would be an example, the progressives said, but not that kind of example. A bad one, you know, one showing evil not compassion. Confirming the theory, the New York Times stated the case was a “predictable result of an abortion ban” and devoted a full article to a victory lap scolding conservative media who initially doubted the veracity of Baby Jane’s case, concluding crudely “surely right-wingers, who love to accuse their enemies of pedophilia, understand that children are raped in America.”

    Not discussed: just one percent of abortions are the result of rape, and less than half a percent of incest. Another survey suggests the actual numbers were 0.3 percent in cases of rape, and 0.03 percent in cases of incest. Even with underreporting, exceptions truly are just that, though you would not know it given the media surrounding the current case. The proof is the 99:1 ratio of stories about the abortion, not the rape, in Baby Jane’s case. And ectopic pregnancies, which account for between one and two percent of pregnancies and are never viable, are legally abortable in all states. Meanwhile, despite the noise about extending abortion limits, nearly half of abortions happen in the first six weeks of pregnancy, and nearly all in the first trimester. How much, really, changes post-Roe?

    But as is required these days tragedy must morph into absurdity, and the most progressive commentators see the 10-year-old as a perfect excuse to warn soon crossing a state border for abortion services was likely to become illegal. Apart from the Constitution’s clear and unambiguous support for interstate commerce and movement, the House recently passing legislation affirming interstate travel for abortion, and no state has any such law on its books. Of course no one from Ohio is arrested for gambling coming home from Vegas, either. Criminalizing activities done out of state, or preventing interstate travel, is basically prevented by the Constitution’s Privileges and Immunities Clause, which holds a citizen of one state is entitled to the privileges in another state, from which a right to travel to that other state is inferred.

    There’s also Bigelow v. Virginia which dealt directly with the issue of out-of-state abortion pre-Roe. The Supreme Court concluded “a state does not acquire power or supervision over the affairs of another state merely because the welfare and health of its own citizens may be affected when they travel to that state… It may not, under the guise of exercising internal police powers, bar a citizen of another state from disseminating information about an activity that is legal in that state.” Nonetheless, the fear mongering persists.

    One 2022 commentator wrote “this whole notion of preventing interstate travel for abortions idea is complete lunacy. How about Amtrak? Or airports? Before the train or plane leaves a red state….what? A bunch of state troopers get on board and yell “PAPERS, PLEASE,” and then look for baby bumps?” A Blue Check on Twitter added “Or they could just say women can’t travel at all…” Others chimed in “I drove from Ohio to Illinois alone yesterday. A trip I’ve made 100s of times. But yesterday I thought “I’m afraid I wont always be able to do this. What if the police stop me thinking I’m looking for an abortion since they’re illegal in my state?” and “Belly fat might get you questioned? Detained? Tested? Sniffed?”

    Why stop there when it is possible to build whole arguments out of quotes from a work of fiction (or is it…?) Handmaidens Tale. A near decade after Snowden, someone is shocked to just realize “Retailers are already able to identify pregnant women by what they look at on line. Once a woman is flagged as pregnant, her whereabouts can be tracked by Google. If she starts heading for the state line the highway patrol can be notified.” But Team Progressive can fight back. One Hero of the Resistance writes “as a post menopausal woman, I can search for pregnancy related stuff every day and muddy up their data. Men can do it too.”

    Don’t laugh. The Guardian reports “Many American women in recent days have deleted period tracking apps from their cellphones, amid fears the data collected by the apps could be used against them in future criminal cases in states where abortion has become illegal.” Planned Parenthood created a period tracker which only stores data locally, on the phone, where it is easily deleted, as an impediment to law enforcement seeking out persons of the future who can get pregnant.

    The pattern is clear, that fear and paranoia will drive the discussion, not rational thinking. This could not come at a worse time for pro-choice advocates, just as many states are beginning the debate over their post-Roe abortion laws. Rather than base changes on carefully thought-out arguments, the arguments will be crazy all-or-nothing screeds, science fiction fears, and exploitive cases dressed up as the new norm for others to grimace sadly at and dismiss. Fears about period trackers and state lines have no more credibility than demonstrators massing around Justices’ homes in hopes of harassing them into compliance with the mob, or AOC on TV screaming people are going to die, or those collecting a million signatures thinking it will cause Justice Thomas to be impeached.

     

     

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Democracy, Other Ideas

    Abortion, Propaganda, and Cynicism

    July 11, 2022 // 3 Comments »

    A doctor in Ohio decided to become an abortion propagandist, assisted by journalists who decided to become abortion propagandists.

    You must have seen the horrific story, reported out of Ohio. A ten-year-old child became pregnant through sexual abuse. Under the new post-Roe abortion laws she is ineligible for a termination because she was found to be six weeks and three days pregnant. The unnamed doctor called a named abortionist in next-door Indiana where abortions can currently be performed past six weeks and began the process of arranging the abortion. Someone took the story to the press, where it quickly became a front-page Handmaidens Tale-level news item, the near-perfect example of everything wrong with overturning Roe v. Wade. Almost too good (too evil?) to be true.

    The victim was very young, below the average age of menses. She was pregnant via child abuse, the act itself horrific, with suggestions in the press the attacker was a relative. Ohio had just revised its laws following Dobbs (a month earlier and none of this would have been national news) and the kicker, the girl was six weeks and three days pregnant via abuse, just that 72 hours past Ohio’s deadline, all at obviously no fault of her own. Her only hope was an out-of-state abortion in next-door Indiana before it changed its own laws.

    No current technology can calculate pregnancy to the day. Instead a standard estimate is used, calculated from the first day of the person‘s last period. The key term here is estimate; only a tiny percentage of babies (about four percent) are born on the exact due date calculated off that last period, assuming a ten-year-old abuse victim would know the first day of her last period precisely. The articles about the child don’t mention it, but the period date is usually adjusted by an ultrasound scan, where another estimate is made, based on the size of the fetus, with practice being if the two “due dates” differ by a week or more, the scan is taken as the more accurate measure.

    The critical point is no one in the world could say that child was exactly three days past Ohio’s six week abortion deadline. The original doctor, sympathetic, could have easily consulted an ultrasound and come to the conclusion that she was instead five weeks and four days pregnant, for example, and eligible for an abortion. Ohio allows a complex exception for abortions even now when the mother’s life is in danger, clearly an option given the unlikelihood that a ten-year-old body would be able to successfully mature and birth a baby without injuring severely the child-mother.

    The broader point is none of this was discussed in the articles pointing out the horror Ohio was visiting on an abuse victim. None of the media asked the original doctor why he did not see the fetus as less than six weeks old, or why he did not seek to invoke the exception for a mother’s life at stake. Instead, he and the abortionist in Indiana worked hand-in-hand with the media to shape the narrative as ammunition pro-choice advocates would be able to use. It was all too perfect.

    Newly-restored to Twitter, I voiced some of these ideas. The story was obvious propaganda, albeit apparently true on its basic facts if not fudged on its presentation and omissions. As propaganda it seemed worth talking about. But in America we can’t talk about abortion it seems.

    The first wave of comments from anonymous women (I am unsure enough of  the mechanics of Twitter to not know how non-followers ended up seeing my Tweets) included some personal insults but were more in line with claiming I wanted to make the story about me (for having a questioning opinion as a man) and not about the “woman.” These were followed by many more anonymous women criticizing me as a male for not knowing much about women’s bodies because I asked some pointed questions about how much faith the doctor in question put in judging the pregnancy at six weeks and three days. Could someone really make a life-or-death decision for one of his patients based when a period had occurred? Someone whose bio says she is a doctor and activist seemed to lead the charges against me, calling me a whiner for wondering why this anger was directed at me and not maybe at some people in Ohio. And why was it impossible to find out anything about the attacker, such as if he was in jail?

    In the end I was told to “Just tweet, ‘I’m a twatwaffle who doesn’t know anything about women’ and save us all some time” and that seemingly ended the discussion.

    The Ohio case has become a test for politicians forced to show they are sensitive to the needs of women and girls in the face of growing restrictions on abortion. Republican governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota, mentioned as a potential running mate for Donald Trump, was pressed on the Ohio case on CNN, though no mention was made that South Dakota, like Ohio, allows abortions when a mother’s life is in danger. Instead the situation was visioned as “child rapist gets away with horror because abortion laws are too restrictive.” Noem replied: “I don’t believe a tragic situation should be perpetuated by another tragedy. There’s more that we have got to do to make sure that we really are living a life that says every life is precious, especially innocent lives that have been shattered, like that 10-year-old girl,” she said.

    It is a gross coincidence this playbook has been run before. In May 2019 as Ohio was considering its fetal heartbeat law, the press came up with an 11-year-old girl has been raped and impregnated by a 26-year-old man who had sex with her on multiple occasions as someone who might be forced to carry to term by the new law. The heartbeat law passed anyway.

    And by no small accident the Indiana General Assembly will convene in special session later in July to discuss what restrictions to abortion policy it will implement post-Roe as Indiana law did not immediately change when the Supreme Court issued its Dobbs decision. The state currently allows for abortions in the case of rape or incest. One wonder on the effect propaganda will have on all that, with the insertion of an already victimized 10-year-old into that process. Was the timing of the Ohio-referred-to-Indiana case really that cynical?

    Thinking to go on Twitter and call me cynical? Remember I’m not the one exploiting an already abused child for political purposes of getting my state to include a rape and incest exception, just writing about it.

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Posted in Democracy, Other Ideas