Abortion


WASHINGTON—The Trump administration is poised to issue a rule unwinding an Obama -era requirement that employee health benefits include contraception, which will spark a fresh round of litigation over an issue that has been before courts for six years.

Federal health officials are expected to finalize a regulation that would allow employers with religious or moral objections to birth control to omit coverage for contraception from their workers’ plans, according to two people familiar with its contents. The regulation closely mirrors an earlier, leaked draft, they said.

The Supreme Court has ruled, in a case brought by the arts-and-crafts chain Hobby Lobby, that “closely held” private companies can invoke religious objections to avoid covering contraception.

The Trump administration rule would allow a much broader set of employers to opt out of offering coverage for birth control, making moot a “workaround’’ designed by the Obama administration that allowed women in some cases to obtain coverage even if their employers had declined to offer it directly.

The rule would fulfill a promise by President Donald Trump to social conservatives, who backed his candidacy but have been frustrated by the pace of his administration has moved to address one of their most significant grievances.

Based on early indications, the expected rule “would go a very long way to restoring religious freedom and conscience rights,” said Hillary Byrnes, assistant general counsel at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

She said the rule couldn’t come soon enough. “We’ve been dealing with this mandate for over six years now,” she said. “A lot of people thought the administration would do something pretty quickly, yet here we are in August.”

Reproductive-rights activists say they will sue the Trump administration if it moves ahead with the rule, arguing that the change would unfairly impose employers’ beliefs on their workers and that the administration has cut regulatory corners in writing the policy.

“We are preparing various different legal theories to fight the rule very quickly,” said Mara Gandal-Powers, senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, an advocacy group. “We think we have a really strong claim.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services declined to comment.

As a presidential candidate, Mr. Trump pledged support for Catholics and evangelical Christians who sued President Barack Obama and his top officials over the contraception requirement, contending that it forced them to violate their religious beliefs.

They also opposed a process, which the Obama administration dubbed an accommodation, in which an employer notifies the government of its unwillingness to cover contraceptives. That prompts the insurer administering the employer’s health benefits to assume the cost and administration of providing contraceptives, effectively cutting out the employer.

Religious employers challenged the policy in court, saying it made them complicit in a sin. The Supreme Court last year sent the case back to lower courts.

The Trump administration plans to offer the plaintiffs precisely what they sought: an exemption from the contraception requirement for all employers who want one, according to people familiar with the plan, ending the need for litigation.

Others regard the expected rule as a step back in a decadeslong fight to secure women’s access to contraceptive care.

Lawyers preparing potential legal cases for opponents of the change say that if the rule resembles the leaked draft, the policy could qualify as sex discrimination, since it would disproportionately affect women’s health care. They also plan to argue that leaving a decision on contraceptive coverage to employers could amount to religious discrimination by subjecting workers to the beliefs of their employers.

“If the rule says any employer can withhold this benefit from employees, then you have a whole set of questions about whether the government is enabling employers to impose their beliefs on others,” said Louise Melling, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union.

People familiar with the proposed rule say the Trump administration plans for it to take effect as it is published. Nicholas Bagley, a University of Michigan law professor who has analyzed much of the health-law litigation of the last six years, has said that could open the administration to lawsuits for implementing the rule without time for public comment and consideration.

“The argument they make is, ‘We’ve thoroughly vetted this issue, and we’re only making a minor change,’” he said. “If that was true, that argument would hold water. But that’s not true in this case.”

Write to Michelle Hackman at Michelle.Hackman@wsj.com and Louise Radnofsky at louise.radnofsky@wsj.com

Appeared in the August 17, 2017, print edition as ‘Contraceptive Rule to Be Reversed.’

I’m not a big fan of James Franco’s work, other than Freaks and Geeks and the first 20 minutes of Pineapple Express. But I’ve always kind of admired his eclectic interests. He doesn’t let Hollywood tell him what “movie stars” should and shouldn’t do, and he gets himself into all sorts of weird, esoteric stuff. He’s a dilettante, but at least he actually seems to care about the things he dabbles in. His latest venture is a YouTube series called Philosophy Time, where he sits around with academics and kinda-sorta debates various topics for a few minutes. In one recent episode, he jumped right in and stomped on that third rail: abortion.

Here he is discussing it with Elizabeth Harman, a philosophy prof at Princeton. See what you think of her argument for why abortion isn’t immoral:

 

 

I defend the view that there is nothing morally bad about early abortion. So, a lot of people think, ‘Well, it’s permissible to have an abortion, but something bad happens when the fetus dies.’ And I think if a fetus hasn’t ever been conscious, it hasn’t ever had any experiences, and we aborted it at that stage, actually nothing morally bad happens… So, James, when you were an early fetus, and Eliot, when you were an early fetus, all of us I think we already did have moral status then. But we had moral status in virtue of our futures… But some early fetuses will die in early pregnancy due to abortion or miscarriage. And in my view that is a very different kind of entity. That’s something that doesn’t have a future as a person and it doesn’t have moral status.”

“Can’t you only judge that in hindsight?”

I don’t mean to tell the professor her business, but when James Franco derails your argument in about 5 seconds…

In sum, Harman’s argument is that killing a baby isn’t immoral because… you’re killing it. You’re not wrong to kill someone (or as she’d prefer, something) without a future. The future that you’re taking away from it.

Like the guy who murders his parents, then pleads for mercy because he’s an orphan.

Do You Agree With These Comments By James Franco?

I’m not sure why this argument doesn’t extend to any human life. If I walk up to you right now and murder you, is it really immoral? If you only have “moral status” because you have a future, that status ends the moment I take away that future.

If you want to argue that you’re human because of your consciousness and your experiences, well… what if your experiences suck? What if your consciousness is dumb? What if I don’t think you serve any purpose? Why is it immoral to do something about it?

That whole worldview doesn’t sound right to me. I guess that’s why this lady teaches at Princeton and I’m just a silly blogger.

Wouldn’t it be more honest for abortion enthusiasts to admit that they’re just selfish? That they don’t want to deal with raising a kid, and they’d rather not think too hard about what that means for the kid? Just own it. “I care about human life right up to the point where it starts to inconvenience me. Sorry not sorry.”

Boom. No philosophy required. No need to embarrass yourself in front of James Franco.

 

31-october-2nd-post

IT IS IMPERATIVE that you take the time to vote in this election cycle for Hillary Clinton and encourage your friends and associates to do so as well.

Recent events have placed Your civil liberties and many other important issues in grave jeopardy.

** Trump IS A Horrific Imbecile and more importantly a World Danger.
Briefly, only a subset:
A. He has stated he Will overturn R v W, the judicial precedent of a near one half century, that grants women bodily autonomy and protect their civil liberties. He desires to punish women if they attempt to exercise their right to bodily autonomy. Our civilization will collapse if we place 1,000,000 women in the US in jail every year. It is that simple and stupid and wrong.

B. He believes that climate change is a hoax by the Chinese.
However, climate change is Real, and the consensus of the entire scientific community agrees.
Denying the reality of climate change and refusing to consider that reality, may destroy our planet within the next century.

C. Trump has stated that he desires the proliferation of Nuclear weapons, that he loves War, and he would use nuclear weapons. Using Nuclear weapons could easily irradiate and destroy our planet.

Trump is a existential threat to civilization and humanity. This is Not hyperbole.

***
Your state’s electoral votes are capable of changing the entire National election, and some states can (and have been historically) be won or lost by a handful of votes.
YOUR VOTE COUNTS !!!

Please Vote to elect the most qualified candidate to ever run for President of the United States.
Hillary Clinton.
Even in the absence of Trump, a despicable candidate, Hillary Clinton would have been the obvious and best choice against ANY of the GOP candidates.

She has a proven life long career of actions supporting and defending the civil liberties of women, children, and generally all members of society.

This is in stark contrast to the GOP nominee, Donald Trump, who:

– Desires to repeal the Supreme court decision allowing women the rights to choose to have control over their bodies, including access to abortion services.

– Immediately repealing the ACA as he has promised will immediately end health insurance for over 30,000,000 US citizens. People will die, and personal bankruptcies due to health care costs will be epidemic again.

– Desires to “Punish” women that choose to control their bodies.

– Believes that climate change is a Hoax perpetrated by the Chinese and will not even begin to consider the consensus of scientific evidence of the obvious.

– For the first time since the invention of nuclear weapons Trump is a proponent of Nuclear proliferation to other countries. Including Saudi Arabia.

– In his own words has stated a desire to use tactical nuclear weapons.
Nuclear weapons are for deterrence, not for wanton use.

– Desires to pull back from the geopolitical goals of a unified Europe through NATO, and will disregard our treaty obligations and the US best self interest to maintain our alliances with Europe that have maintained peace for near 70 years now.

– Brags about assaulting women. Brags about trying to seduce married women.

– Has a long sordid history of objectifying women – you have all heard the litany.

– Ivana accused him of rape under oath.

– Over a dozen women have recently revealed that Trump is a sexual predator and assaults women as a matter of routine. Trump has chosen to sue these women, revealing that he desires to make it even more difficult for women to report sexual assault – a known problem already.

– Has settled other sexual harassment cases with gag and non disparagement clauses so those women are not able to speak out.

– He has a hearing for a rape charge this very 12/2016.

– Trump has an impending trial or settlement for massive Fraud in Trump University.

– Desires to sue women that have had the courage to bring forward their stories of abuse by Trump. Again supporting bullying behavior to anyone, for any reason.

– Has mocked the disabled.

– Mocked war héros that spent time in POW camps, because they were ‘caught.’

– Mocked parents who have lost their sons in war.

– He will not release his tax returns as every president in modern history has done so. He promised he would release them, he is able to release them, but he lied and is not releasing them. His 2015 tax return that has been filed and not reported to be under audit could be released tonight.

– Has admitted to bribing a wide variety of people in business over decades.

– Has bankrupted multiple businesses and routinely does not pay people for their good work done.

– Threatened to place Hillary Clinton in Jail, just as a dictator would behave.

– Likes the idea of bringing back torture methods that have been proven to not be helpful.

– Put forward a religious ban on individuals including citizens traveling to the US – it is impossible to ascertain exactly what someones religious beliefs are, let alone adjudicate them.

– Has been shown to have lied more times than any other candidate in the history of presidential candidates.

– Thinks he knows more than anyone on any topic including Generals that fight wars.

– Suggests he will build a 40 foot 1,200 mile wall that Mexico will pay for. And it would go 20 feet underground as well. This will not happen as it is impossible, there is no budget, and where would we get all that concrete? China? As Trump has previously used in violation of trade law?

– Suggests our entire system of democracy is rigged undermining faith in the well established democracy we have as reported by every GOP member that runs elections in their respective states.

– Supports racially tainted causes, and is beloved by the KKK, and white supremacists in general. And he refuses to disavow them in strictest terms.

– His running mate, Pence, distinguished himself by signing into law a law that Protects Discrimination in the state of Indiana. And who pronounces that he is dedicated to his Christian Moral vision before the best interests of our country.

– The GOP has mostly refused to defend Trumps idiotic and imbecilic comments and many including Paul Ryan admitted that Trumps statements were textbook definitions of racist statements.

– His planned economic policy expands our debt massively, and is incoherent.

– Wants to kill the families of terrorists and opponents, who are likely innocent civilians.

– Desired to allow people to carry open guns in bars, a notion that the NRA does not even support.

– Supported physical violence at his rallies.

– Insulted and had a fight of words with the Pope (who gets in a fight with the Pope?) – even if you disagree with the Pope?
The list is endless.

– Has broken the law by directing funds (he was fined) in his foundation to pay for personal expenses including bribing an attorney general to not investigate his Trump University fraud case.

Please Defend your country with your vote.

IT IS IMPERATIVE that You vote, the sooner the better.

Thank you.

Comments are welcomed as always.

If you are an anti choice troll, please do not regurgitate more of Trump’s lies. We have had enough. Stick to the facts.

https://www.facebook.com/abortioncare/posts/1259537137451673

 

In a report from The Hill, the Republican nominee sent a letter to anti-abortion leaders dated “September 2016,” calling on them to join his campaign’s “Pro-Life Coalition.” This group would be lead by Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion non-profit organization. The letter lays out a tougher stance than we’ve seen from Trump up to this point.

Most notably, he commits to making the Hyde Amendment permanent law, “to protect taxpayers from having to pay for abortions.” But as Rebecca Traister at The Cut points out, this will limit many women’s ability to have control over their health choices. Traister writes:

“The Hyde Amendment means that American women—many of them women of color—who cannot afford health insurance are effectively prevented from availing themselves of a legal medical procedure that is their right and that is fundamental to their ability to exert autonomy over their reproductive lives and thus their economic and familial futures.”

 

Trump also compares his stance on abortion to that of his opponent Hillary Clinton, who supports the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, a move that the Democratic Party laid out in its platform earlier this summer. Trump’s letter also correctly notes that Clinton is committed to appointing pro-choice justices, but falsely claims that Clinton supports abortion until an hour before birth. In addition to making Hyde permanent law, Trump’s letter says he would sign the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that bans abortions after 20 weeks, and that Planned Parenthood would be defunded if it continued to perform abortions.

 

Source:  http://www.glamour.com/story/donald-trump-anti-abortion-stance

Fetal parts are for sale. Yep, the terrible Planned Parenthood abortionists found and tapped into a profitable market for fetal parts, especially intact forms.

This is the basic narrative inserted into the talking points of anti-abortion politicians these days after edited videos between Planned Parenthood representatives and imposter biomedical tissue brokers surfaced. Ignored was the benefit fetal tissue provides to medical research. Disregarded was the selectivity used to decide what was fit for public consumption. Much has been made of interactions that might be suspicious to outsiders of medical and scientific research environments or appeal to the emotions of the uninformed.AR headline

Planned Parenthood can sufficiently respond to the “undercover sting videos” of its medical staff discussing fetal tissue donation. The rest of us need to respond to this attempt by anti-abortion dogmatists to impose their view of the world into public policy.  The states that have initiated investigations based on the videos found Planned Parenthood in compliance with regulations. Even if one state, or several states, unsuccessfully takes action for political value or reject continued contracts with Planned Parenthood for health services, it would be a measurement of success for this false narrative. Planned Parenthood will remain open to provide important health services, but there are other issues of which we should all have concern.

Deception and Ethics

The videos were created by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), which claims to be “…citizen journalists dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances.”  Their website appears to be focused only on promoting anti-abortion viewpoints, no other medical ethics issues. End-of-life treatment, organ donation processes, and equality in accessing medical care are among the top ethical issues one would expect to see mentioned.ethics

Why the deception when it would have been perfectly acceptable for CMP to identify itself as abortion opponents with specific, legitimate ethical questions pertaining to abortion and fetal tissue?

Honesty and integrity are critical to discussions about ethical issues.  Would abortion clinic representatives talk openly with abortion opponents? I and many others certainly have on many occasions in our roles as reproductive healthcare professionals. Did the CMP even attempt to arrange a discussion? If the intent of the “undercover” effort was to learn about the involvement of some Planned Parenthood affiliates with fetal tissue procurement, it was not necessary for CMP to engage people by misrepresenting themselves as biomedical professionals. Why just Planned Parenthood and no other providers of elective, therapeutic, and emergency abortions? Hospitals and other medical facilities play a significant role in tissue procurement, which can seem quite unsavory to outsiders.

abortion safeApparently deception and fabrication are a preferred method of operation within anti-abortion activism. Deception and fabrication are the hallmarks of Crisis Pregnancy Centers, also known as fake abortion clinics because of the their strategy to appear as if they are abortion clinics and use misinformation to dissuade women from abortion once they arrive for their “abortion appointment.”  Anti-abortion literature distributed to Congress, the media, and the public also contains incorrect, distorted, and often manufactured information. This is how the public at times believes that most abortions are late term. Or have murky ideas about parental consent for abortion in which it is compared to unrelated issues that are often guided by business policies, not laws.

It is no surprise that deceptive tactics were used to generate the storyline about fetal tissue procurement. It is nonetheless striking that there is not outrage about the deception, especially when ethics is the alleged target. Clearly, acquiring and providing information about fetal tissue procurement would not generate outrage if done without the theatrics of imposter biomedical professionals and video editing skills. Do we really want topics of importance to be introduced to public discourse in this manner? Of course not. The media would serve the public well to fully investigate the “investigators” and bring political balance to that part of the story. The notion that an organization like CMP, with a Postal Annex rented address no record of prior work as a nonprofit in the medical ethics arena, and leadership comprised of people connected to anti-abortion groups like Operation Rescue, can have traction in promoting political ideology as if it was credible news or journalism is frightening. The media failed by not scrutinizing the source before doing the reporting, especially since another group, Life Dynamics, attempted to do the same in the late nineties.

For the record, pro-choice people resorted to deception to “out” the Crisis Pregnancy Center’s fake abortion clinic charades. Why? Because CPCs claimed that they informed women that they did not perform abortions, provided factual information, and other practices did not square with what women had shared with actual medical professionals.  A hidden camera sent in by the media with a young woman proved that the experiences of other women were accurately presented.

Using the Mistruths as Truths to Further the Mistruths

Talk radio stars Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh all regularly speak of the CMP as if it is a credible nonprofit out there doing good work.  Politicians, including U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner and those running for president, refer to the videos time and again as if they were part of a documentary. Absolutely nothing revealed in the videos is evidence of anything sinister. At worst, the videos illustrate the seeming insensitivities that can develop when people work in medical settings. wd

Right wing websites are having a great time exaggerating the video content and piling on more false or misleading information. Red State claims that Planned Parenthood was “…caught…appearing to haggle over the sale of aborted baby parts.” Haggling? Not hardly. The videos revealed explanations, in clinical and business tones, about how tissues and parts are procured. Bear in mind that CMP presented themselves as biomedical professionals interested in obtaining fetal tissue. Would it have somehow been acceptable for responses to exclude information about quality of parts and associated costs?

Comments made by elected officials can be perceived as the truth. Thus, when Senate newcomer Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) states, “Planned Parenthood is harvesting the body parts of unborn babies,” to explain her sponsorship of a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, perceptions are broadly formed and shared throughout every possible medium. The tone of Ernst’s statement can conjure so many images that only perpetuate incorrect information. When Breitbart News quotes a Ted Cruz comment that the videos show Planned Parenthood representatives “confessing to multiple felonies,” it misleads, misinforms, and further polarizes people on the basis of ideology as opposed to facts. Shame on all who have made, and are continuing to make, comments implying that the videos exposed evidence of crime. Shame on all who are giving the CMP credibility, so much credibility that there are threats to shut down the government if Planned Parenthood is not defunded.

Fetal Tissue Research is Ethical and Beneficial

There has always been a market for anatomical and biological goods, including human fetal tissue and parts.  Specific companies respond to the demand for human and animal parts. College psychology departments buy brains to teach students. Medical and scientific researchers need specimens in order to learn more about genetics or real and prospective treatment options for a range of diseases, for example. Fetal tissue/parts obtained from miscarriages and abortions have been used for decades and have led to a number of medical breakthroughs, including rubella and polio vaccines. Kimberly Leonard wrote an excellent article in the August 4, 2015 online issue of US News about the contributions of fetal tissue research. Many of us are grateful for those contributions. In the August 12, 2015 New England Journal of Medicine, lawyer R. Alta Charo stated, “A closer look at the ethics of fetal tissue research…reveals a duty to use this precious resource in the hope of finding new preventive and therapeutic interventions for devastating diseases. Virtually every person in the [United States} has benefited from research using fetal tissue.”  Quite simply, it would be unethical for medical researchers to suddenly discontinue use of fetal tissue due to politically extreme ideology.

research petri dishFetal parts are not allowed to be sold – they can only be donated with consent from pregnant women after they are removed.  If profit for fetal parts is the actual concern of CMP, their time would be better spent honestly working with regulatory agencies to determine with certainty if any inappropriate financial transactions between abortion providers and biomedical tissue businesses exist. It is certain that people of all political views on the issue would abhor such a practice.

As the dribble of videos continues, no evidence of illegal activities will be presented. Instead, ideology will be promoted with the intent to cause some to rethink their views about abortion and try to stop an organization that serves the healthcare needs of so many low-income women. The effort will fail, but in the meantime, we will all have to witness the nonsense and speak up about reality when we can.

Daily BeastNational Right to Life, Family Research Council, and other anti-abortion organizations have been enthusiastically spreading the word about a study published in the New England Medical Journal showing that a fetus can be viable if born at 22 weeks gestation with advanced medical intervention. A New York Times article about the study was very clear that survival was for a “tiny minority” and that 24 weeks remains the medically and scientifically accepted point of viability.  Nonetheless, as all sides in politically polarized issues tend to do, abortion opponents have focused on sharing the headline of the study and not the details. Although coincidental, the publication of the study is perfectly timed with the U.S. House of Representatives passing the 20-week abortion ban, which the Senate will now consider.

Predictably, those who oppose abortion see the study as the proof needed to ban late term abortions, also suggesting that viability age should be lowered. They are appealing to our hearts through survival babies, giving the false impression that at 22 weeks most fetuses can survive outside of the womb. Many who believe that late term abortions must be legally available might even agree with them if the study was conclusive. It is not.

There are important medical-scientific limitations to babies born before 24 weeks. When pregnant women either go into labor early or a medical complication otherwise comrpomises the pregnancy, doctors discuss available medical interventions and the prospective outcomes of each on the fetus. Not all hospitals have the technology or equipment most able to produce a live birth and not all parents choose to have those interventions. Indeed, it is those very women who may choose a late term abortion to save their own lives or spare their wanted child a life of poor health. Much as they felt joy at being pregnant, life offered them a heartbreaking complication. No one has the right to judge the decision they make, certainly not Congress or political opponents of abortion.22 week fetus

In a column for the Daily Beast, Cornell Professor of Pediatrics Jeffrey Perlman noted in more eloquent terms that the study had serious biases and design flaws and should not lead to lowering the age of viability. For that to make sense, a randomized study with and without medical intervention would be necessary. Perlman also pointed out that the research would have to account for  a range of factors, such as gender differences in fetal development and accurate estimates of the age of the fetus to name a couple.

I am personally very grateful for the medical advances that have made it possible for premature babies to survive and live healthy, productive lives. I have significant reservations about the use of technology to force life too early to ensure health and quality, just as I do with sustaining life too long when people are confined to a bed with no consciousness and only technology allowing them to breathe.  All of us know of children born with disabilities or conditions that require lifelong care. That happens and to full term as well as premature babies. Families accept and embrace the children, adjusting and growing with the child. The acceptance that society places on these children and the value they place on supporting them and their families is evident through public policies, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and various educational reforms.

If a 22-week-old fetus can receive medical assistance and survive, how should medical experts and ethicists respond in the future, if at all, to the prospect of lowering the stage of viability if technology continues to advance? Are we concerned about the financial and social/personal costs associated with using the technology? There are high costs for the medical technology and there are high costs to care for babies born so early that they must receive medical care throughout life however long or short. What about 22-week gestational stage babies born addicted to drugs? Are we going to complain about the public assistance their moms receive? Will Congress thwart programs that support the care for these babies?

Doctor with laptop and pregnant woman in doctor's officeFor pregnant women in the wrenching situation of unexpectedly delivering a 22-week-old fetus, this study might offer hope if they happen to be at a hospital with the technology and expertise to offer medical intervention that might allow survival of the fetus. For other pregnant women, if this study is improperly used for political gain, and it already is**, instead of hope, it will further erode their options to make decisions they consider best for them and the baby they wanted and may even allow a physician to place priority on the life of the fetus over the woman. Which life is more important?

Instead of having implications for late term abortions and viability, the real issues to come from the study involve ethics and social support. A 22-week-old fetus is not naturally viable. An abortion at 20-22 weeks gestation may well save a woman’s life or spare a baby a life of pain. Nothing has changed in that regard.

** 5/15-15 update: Political misuse of the study has begun. See http://black.house.gov/press-release/rep-black-lauds-upcoming-house-vote-pain-capable-unborn-child-protection-act and http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/15/opinion/an-abortion-bans-bogus-arguments.html?_r=0

In a recent Daily Beast article concerning abortion-related comments between Rand Paul and Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, Samantha Allen wrote, “By turning late-term abortions into a metonym for the issue as a whole, [Rand] Paul is clearly attempting to challenge the American consensus on the legality of abortion earlier in pregnancy. It’s a tactic as old as Roe: make first-trimester abortions guilty by association with the more easily demonized late-term procedures.” Nothing new was said here about the intent to frame all abortions as happening in the third trimester. “Metonym” is what caught my attention.

It is metonyms that keep the average person confused about abortion. Since most people, politicians and regular voters included, do not go out of their way to educate themselves about abortion and the numerous complexities of the debate, they are influenced by metonyms.

Not to be confused with a metaphor, a metonym is “a word, name, or expression used as a substitute for something else with which it is closely associated.”  We use metonyms all the time. Online sources cite “Washington” as an often used metonym for the federal government, “sweat” for hard work, “plastic” for credit card and so on. Most of us take care in everyday conversation to avoid metonymic usage if it will misinform. That is not the case in politics and, after reading Allen’s article, I realized how pervasive metonyms are in the language used to discuss abortion, primarily by those opposed to abortion.

What is the most destructive are the efforts to present abortion as something it is not. Achieving public policy objectives through false data and building public support by misleading the less passionate into a belief system based on ideology presented through using inaccurate and incorrect word choices is wrong, yet never effectively challenged.Embryos-Human

Responding to the same Rand Paul – Debbie Wasserman-Schultz comments, Casey Mattox shared in the Federalist that Wasserman-Shultz and the Democrat Party support abortion “through all nine months of pregnancy.” He later states, “Democrats are big on abortion euphemisms. When they say, as Wasserman-Shultz did, that abortion should be a woman’s ‘choice’ through all nine months, they want you to focus on something other than the reality of what abortion is. Simply put, there is no clean and humane way to kill a seven-pound, full-term baby.”

I am not sure what specific euphemisms Mattox had in mind, or if he incorrectly thinks that correct terms, such as blastocyst, embryo, or fetus, are euphemisms and that pro-choice advocates should use his preferred set of ideological words or metonyms. All pro-choice people I know would agree that it is inhumane to kill a full-term baby. We also tend to believe it inhumane to have public policies that would force a woman to compromise her health or die in order for a fetus to evolve into a born person. Mattox used the “choice” term in the context of the abortion debate as a metonym for “abortion on demand at all stages of pregnancy for any reason.”  Sadly, the dispassionate all too often believe such rhetoric.

Over the years, many of us have written about the language used to discuss abortion. Often divisive and steeped in emotion, the language is powerful. The terms “pro-choice” and “pro-life” have always created barriers to productive discourse about abortion to the point that many people now refuse to be categorized as one or the other.

Decoding Abortion Language imageFetus and unborn baby are frequently used as metonyms for blastocysts and embryos. Abortion opponents use murder metonymically for the abortion procedure itself.  Decoding Abortion Rhetoric: The Communication of Social Change (Celeste Michelle Condit 1990) discussed how metonymic language shaped public policy on abortion. That was 25 years ago and metonyms continue to define each and every facet that leads to abortion-related public policy today. Another book, Lexical and Syntactical Constructions and the Construction of Meaning, published in 1995, also discussed the metonymy of abortion language. When “embryo” is used by abortion opponents, it is as a metonym for stem cells, which has dramatically limited potentially lifesaving research. As author Mark Bracher stated in yet another book, Lacan, Discourse, and Social Change: A Psychoanalytic Cultural Criticism (1993), “Insofar as antiabortionist discourse convinces its audience, through such operations of metaphor and metonymy, that the fetus is an instance of human life, it succeeds in positioning abortion…” (p105).

Metonymy has positioned abortion in public policy outcomes. What it cannot accomplish is altering the experiences so many Americans have had, directly or indirectly, with abortion. Abortion polls that both sides use to claim victories from time to time are not reliable. What is reliable are the personal and family experiences people have with abortion rights and access.  Those experiences reject the metonyms and steer people to the belief that abortion is a personal decision between a woman and her medical provider.

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