The precarious state of reason at The Guardian
Pollit makes good sport of the unfortunate fact that, due to a not entirely well thought out law (is there any other kind?), sex offenders in New York have been receiving free Viagra via tax-funded Medicaid for the last five years. Reason enough for a few sarcastic yuks, I suppose, although her preference for seeing other states make the same mistake so as to prevent blue New York from becoming the butt of red-state jokes probably goes too far. But all this is just a lead in to the “real story” which, according to Pollit, is:
the precarious state of women's reproductive health care and rights here in God's country.Of course, by “women’s reproductive rights” what Pollit really means is “legal abortion”. (Why can’t these people simply say what they mean? The right to an abortion is not a “reproductive” right. It is a right to destroy the result of having already reproduced.) Reading on it becomes clear that Pollit doesn’t really have a firm grip on the meaning of the word “precarious”.
British readers probably know that American women seeking abortion face an ever-increasing number of legal roadblocks in many states: parental notification and consent laws for teenagers; 24-hour waiting periods; mandatory state-scripted lectures, which in some cases include false information, such as that abortion causes breast cancer.Does Pollit not realize how utterly foolish she sounds, talking in such dire tones about a 24-hour waiting period to customers of the vaunted British NHS, where apparently waiting times for an abortion appointment can be up to 5 weeks? Apparently not. Note also the quick switch Pollit pulls, talking about the roadblocks that “American women” face and then citing laws which apply not to women but only to teenagers.
And what about those teen laws, anyway? It turns out that, of the 50 states, 15 of them have absolutely no laws whatsoever regulating teen abortion. An additional 13 have only parental notification (not consent) laws. So in over half of the states there is effectively no legal barrier to teen abortion whatsoever. Of the 22 states which have some kind of parental consent laws, 4 of them are not enforcing the laws because of court orders. And again, such laws that are enforced apply only to teenagers, as does the “Orwellianly named” Child Custoday Protection Act. ("Orwellianly named"? Does The Guardian employ copy editors?) Women over 18 - in other words, women - face no barriers to abortion at all.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but Pollit has gone over the edge. She says:
Clinics have been so harassed by protesters, and so mired in politically motivated red tape, that for many women abortion is, for all practical purposes, unobtainable: Mississippi is down to one; so is North Dakota.The US has the second highest abortion rate in the entire western industrialized world. ‘Nuff said.
Well, it should be enough, but unfortunately Pollit’s column didn’t end there, as she switched from scare tactics about abortion into raising the spectre of a cataclysmic end to contraception in America. That, however, deserves its own treatment, which will be forthcoming soon.