The Atlantic has a 30 minute video about the passage of the new heartbeat bill in Iowa, which forecloses the choice to have an abortion before most women know they are pregnant. The bill, signed by the Republican governor, is on hold while a court challenge works its way through the system.
The video presents both sides largely without judgment, and leaves it up to the viewer to come down on one side or the other. There is no middle ground here — no being a little pregnant, a little not.
Anti-choice Iowans show up at the State Fair with cute little rubber fetuses tucked into socks to hand out to passers- by. How can anyone be against a cute little rubber doll nestled in a sock? A couple of teenage boys who stopped at the display were shocked at how cute a six or eight or ten week rubber fetus is. Isn’t anyone teaching sex education in Iowa high schools? Why should the developmental stages of a fetus be a surprise to young men in the horny fullness of their burgeoning sexuality?
A female legislator who supports the heartbeat bill is proud that she is doing something whose effects will be felt far into the future. I agree that forcing a vulnerable woman to bear a child she doesn’t want and can’t raise creates cascading damage. I just don’t see why that’s something to be proud of.
Abortion somehow became the do-or-die issue in the culture wars, and for anti-choice voters, justifies using the power of the state to control a woman’s body for the nine months that she is pregnant. I think any of these voters would be hard pressed to come up with another situation where they’d vote to exert control over a male body for a similar time period — but of course that’s not how they think.
A woman who is pregnant and decides she can’t carry a pregnancy to term will find a way to try to terminate that pregnancy, no matter what bills conservative Iowans pass. The women who suffer most will be the youngest, poorest and most vulnerable — and that’s how it has always been. No one is going to set up a display at the State Fair making cute little images of their wrecked lives.
I think that Democrats in the Iowa legislature, no matter how outgunned they are in numbers, should introduce companion bills requiring Iowa taxpayers to ante up for mental health services, maternal and child health services, and whatever other support will be needed to cope with the aftermath of forcing women to reproduce.