Thursday, January 23, 2014

Abortion--a two-edged political sword

Whether you're for or against it, you need to realize what abortion means as an issue.

First, it has little or nothing to do with saving lives, however you define "life." Advances in medicine mean that abortion is now safe and easy--at least as easy as the average trip to the dentist. Which means that even if if were banned, most people--apart from the poorest and most ignorant--would still be able to get safe abortions (often chemically).

That is, it's like alcohol consumption and Prohibition. Unless America became a true Police State--beyond even what Iran is today--banning abortion 

Second, the importance of the abortion issue to the Republican Party's biggest donors also has little or nothing to do with saving lives, however you define "life." For them the importance is that it's a highly charged issue that can help elect people who will then help them get more money, while abortion-hampering legislation is "profit-neutral."

That's a two-edged sword, though, as the GOP's paymasters discovered when it cost them control of the Senate in the last election, through anti-abortion fanatics winning primaries who could not win a statewide election.

More strategically, anti-abortion fanaticism is part and parcel of a range of the GOP losing its more educated members even as it cements its bond with its base (thanks to Nixon's Southern Strategy) of undereducated rural Southern white men and their wives. Former moderate Republicans are now indepenedents, whose vote is far from guaranteed.

Now the GOP's paymasters have gotten alarmed. They set a fire and are now having trouble controlling it. Especially since many who voted in Republican legislators in 2010 in hopes of getting more jobs and less taxes wound up getting mostly anti-abortion legislation.

And even many who would like to see fewer abortions happening are also alarmed by the extreme language of the Christian Taliban that you can see in abundance in newspaper comment threads about abortion.

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