The USA is one of the very few remaining Western countries that has abjectly failed to deal with what used to be a hot-button issue elsewhere: abortion.
In the USA the divide is between strident anti-abortion campaigners whose grasp of reality is at best highly tenuous and whose tactics are frequently repellent, and those with more adequate intellects who recognize that it’s a difficult topic with many potential solutions.
When we look at the so-called “pro-life” group we don’t actually see people who care very much about life. They are almost always also pro-gun, happy to accept 33,000+ gunshot deaths and even more injuries per year. They are also generally happy to remove social support for single mothers and their small children. They are happy to defund education, which is often the single most important way out of poverty. They love to incarcerate people, believing that the worse the punishment the better things are for “ordinary decent” people. They don’t mind unarmed black people being killed by the police but they do hate people who protest about unarmed black people being killed by the police. Such protests are apparently “unpatriotic.”
Here’s what a rational pro-lifer would support: easy access to a wide range of contraceptives, so as to ensure that unwanted pregnancies rarely occur. But we don’t see this in the USA because pro-lifers are also deeply uncomfortable with sexual activity.
Here’s what a rational pro-lifer would support: removal of all guns from civilian hands, immediately. This, in conjunction with easily available contraception, would save far more lives than any anti-abortion legislation.
Here’s what a rational pro-lifer would support: massive increases to social subsidies for single parents and their small children, along with funding for more adequate education. The USA lags so far behind the rest of the OECD that far too many children will never even learn to read, write, or perform rudimentary arithmetic. This ensures a life of poverty and a much higher risk of turning to crime, which ruins lives.
Here’s what a rational pro-lifer would support: a complete overhaul of US policing practices in order to bring US law enforcement up to European standards instead of remaining equivalent to many third-world forces with their reliance on excessive violence instead of adequate policing.
Why don’t pro-lifers support these obvious beneficial policies?
It’s because they aren’t really pro-life at all.
What they are is pro-control.
Pro-life sounds so cuddly and unobjectionable. Pro-control, on the other hand, makes it far too obvious what these people really want. Branding is everything in the perception war.
The problem for the USA is that the pro-control people have dominated the nature of the debate. Anyone who opposes their hypocritical medieval ideas is labeled pro-abortion and excoriated. Instead of having a reasoned debate over abortion and alternatives, the Republican Party has adopted the hard-right pro-control stance in order to appeal to a large and reliable bloc of low-IQ voters who can be roused with dog-whistle sound-bites and counted on to vote the right way come election day.
No one in the GoP has any interest in resolving the abortion issue rationally for the good of the nation because this would deprive them of millions of easy votes.
It’s clear that with an ultra-right-wing Supreme Court now in place and likely to move to a 6–3 majority after Ginsberg departs, the USA will return to the 1950s while the rest of the world continues to embrace more humane, rational, and effective policies. So long as the GoP depends disproportionately on Catholics and Evangelicals, abortion will remain a reliable source of millions of votes cast by those too intellectually limited to grasp that the choice isn’t really between “ripping babies out of their mother’s stomachs” and a total ban on abortions but actually a choice between a society that values helping and caring over ever-more control and ever-more punishment.
The Republican Party is firmly on the side of repression, control, and punishment. The Democratic Party doesn’t know what side it’s on because it doesn’t understand the real nature of the contest.
Therefore it’s pretty obvious what the eventual outcome of this struggle will be.