Why it’s not about facts or reason or moral values but really about control.
After living and traveling widely across the USA for twenty-seven years, it’s an enormous relief to be back in Europe. This is because the USA is a deeply sick society that resembles more closely a medieval theocracy than any modern nation.
This is most clearly seen in the battle over women’s reproductive rights that has troubled the USA since the end of World War II.
On the one side are people who feel that ultimately women should have the right to make decisions over their own bodies. On the other side are people who believe that women should not be permitted to make decisions about their own bodies.
This latter group are universally religious and for the most part poorly-educated and with modest cognitive abilities. They are also strident and willing to employ tactics that are intellectually incoherent and morally reprehensible.
Which means they are winning.
Best of all, the anti-choice group have branded themselves as “Pro-Life” which sounds lovely. Who isn’t pro-life? None of us wake up in the morning and say to ourselves, “I’m anti-life today.”
But the supposedly pro-life people in the USA almost universally support private ownership of guns, which results in 33,000+ deaths per year in the USA. That’s not really pro-life, is it?
And while the anti-choice folk scream and rage against abortions in the belief that the unborn must be protected at all costs, they are not at all interested in helping to ensure an adequate quality of life post-birth. Anti-choice folk support the US’s insane level of incarceration, don’t care about ensuring the adequacy of primary and secondary education, and have zero interest in the development of a reasonable approach to health care services & delivery.
In short, the anti-choice group is actually all about ensuring that a small group of fat old white men can control the reproductive choices of tens of millions of women.
And that’s it.
While the anti-choice group are strident about “saving” the unborn fetus, they are also quietly removing access to contraception.
Rationally, it’s obvious that if we want to reduce unnecessary abortions we do so primarily by making contraception easily available to all who want it. That’s what happens in Europe and that’s why European countries have much lower rates of unwanted pregnancy, whereas the USA has the OECD’s highest level of unwanted pregnancy.
In Europe, unwanted pregnancies arise mainly in communities where religionism is strong and girls are prevented by adults from seeking medical services. Ireland and Italy are countries where religionism means that old white men get to control the reproductive options of young women. Likewise in communities of Asian and African immigrants who come from highly religious environments, young women are also disempowered.
But for girls and women living in ordinary European cultures where equality is assumed, unwanted pregnancy rates are extremely low because of easy and cheap access to reliable contraception. So people don’t have to scream about abortion because abortion isn’t much needed.
Logically therefore, if a person was truly anti-abortion they’d be massively in favor of making contraception widely available and affordable.
But for the anti-choice group it’s not about reducing the need for abortions. It is 100% about control.
This is why the anti-choice group is simultaneously about banning abortion and removing access to reliable and affordable contraception. All they truly care about, behind the facile slogans, is control.
So we should ignore the anti-choice slogans and their pictures of aborted fetuses. We must ignore their pretense about “caring” for the unborn. And we must ignore their infantile ramblings about invisible magical creatures who will put us on the naughty step if we stand up for women’s rights. The anti-choice folk are in a struggle for raw power.
And in the USA they are winning.
We humans with our tiny ape-brains are easily fooled by simplistic memes and sound-bites. The anti-choice folk have learned to master the meme and the sound-bite, and few US citizens have the education or intellectual capacity to see through the hollowness of their position and the many logical inconsistencies of the claims that are being made. The anti-choice people use emotion as their weapon because they know that for most people emotion is far, far stronger than facts and reason.
If the pro-choice group wants to slow the ascent of the anti-choice group, the pro-choicers are going to have to learn how to use emotion and sound-bites and memes to their advantage. They’re going to have to learn how to turn the weapons of the anti-choice folk against them.
Sadly today there’s zero sign of any awareness that this is where the battle must be fought.
And that is why the anti-choicers are winning, and dragging the USA into a world of medieval norms in which fat old white men and the shrill fat old white women who support them get to disempower millions of women and girls who deserve better.
Northern Europe is proof that things don’t have to be like that. The USA is evidence that it’s all too easy for an entire society to be captured by the simple-minded and pulled apart thanks to medieval thinking.
Which is why I’m so happy to be back in Europe.