Yesterday, the governor of my home state of GA signed the latest heartbeat bill. In doing so, he committed the state to a long and drawn-out lawsuit conga which it will eventually lose, all for the sake of fulfilling a campaign promise to a well-meaning but ultimately clueless constituency. As political blunders go, it's not quite on the level of say, Obama's pullout from Iraq, but once you scale it down to the state level, it's still embarrassing.
(There's a lot of newcomers to the page. Right around now, some of the right-wing newcomers are slackjawed at discovering an abundantly hetero gun-toting carnivore like me isn't falling into step with them. The left-wing newcomers are rolling their eyes at the prospect of yet another inbound cishet white dude's opinion. Oh well. You buys your ticket, you takes your ride.)
I've already mentioned how it's both blatantly unconstitutional and that I don't ever expect it to actually make it to enforcement. It's both one of the last cards the pro-life camp has to play and I personally think they've jumped the gun on finding a supposedly sympathetic SCOTUS. Personal prediction is that whichever one winds up in front of SCOTUS first gets shot down 5-4, with Kavanaugh taking the swing and hammering Roe v. Wade as the law of the land deeper.
(Not that that's going to convince the Handmaiden cosplayers to go find something useful to do anytime soon. As misogynist dystopias go, you're more likely to wind up on Gor than in Gilead anytime soon. But that may just be my intense distaste for that dumpster fire of an excuse for literature.)
But there's more that's been rolling around in my head.
The first is the concept of life and death. Western civilization has slowly insulated itself from death over the last century or so. We no longer see it as a part of life that happens to everyone, but a crisis, to be handled by specialists. This means a lot of people who know in the abstract that life and death both happen, but have no training or thought put into the process themselves.
Death isn't a major part of my profession any longer. But It came up often enough to establish a difference between sanctity and sacrosanct.
Put on a t-shirt; just because life is precious and because life matters doesn't mean that taking said life is not an option if circumstances dictate.
And in no case does having the well-meaning but painfully ignorant inserting their opinions into the mix productive or even helpful.
It's true when a teenage boy spends the last minutes of his life trying to beat a man to death by bashing his skull into the pavement, only for his victim to draw a pistol and put a bullet in the teenager's chest.
It's true on the battlefield against Taliban or AQI or Daesh or whatever current incarnation is what's facing at the time.
And it's true when a woman and her doctor have a decision to make.
Just because a life is precious doesn't mean taking it is not an option.
Put a pin in that, we'll get back to it.
The second is that humanity has some interesting design flaws, as a species. We went from quadrapedal to bipedal, then enlarged the cranium without enlarging the pelvis while we did it, which is a bone stupid idea if easy reproduction is what you were going for.
As is, in the absence of available first world medicine, childbirth is the undisputed champion killer of women worldwide. If you can afford modern medicine, breast cancer and heart disease pull ahead of the pack. Everywhere else is childbirth.
Nobody knows what the first drug was. They predate history. My guess is some form of anaglesic or sedative was the first. But an abortofascient had to be in the top ten.
Quality obviously varied wildly. But humanity's pretty quick to figure out what's needed.
In other words, I don't care how often your great-granny thumped a bible. I guarantee you she had a recipe in her oh shit kit that your great-granddaddy knew nothing about, but probably saved the life of at least one woman in her life.
Third thing before I go into the history is that human beings, like computer programs, have a great deal of "legacy code" embedded in both our instincts and our cultures.
And our cultures are changing much faster than our legacy code can be rewritten in a lot of ways.
If you look back into history far enough and find something that baffles the fuck out of you (the book of Leviticus is a good starter), trying to find out why it made sense is an intellectual exercise that will tell you a lot about conditions on the moment. Makes a nice empathy exercise on knowing where your opponents are coming from, while you're at it.
So, what brought about the right to life movement as we know it?
Near as I can tell, it's a one-two punch.
The first hit was the medical field trying to get itself taken seriously. The AMA was formed in the early 1800's, not long after university-trained physicians stopped sneering at surgeons. They considered medicine a profession for highly skilled gentlemen, and looked down their noses at the barber-butchers of their battlefield-born cousins.
To be fair, there was a lot of quackery flying around the westward expansion. Unfortunately, in cleaning out the snake-oil salesman, the AMA decided that a fancy college education was the gold standard in practicing medicine. A noble idea, if self-serving, but it de facto cleared out all of the apprenticeship-trained surgeons and midwives which were about all that was available to the poor (especially in rural areas). It wasn't rich sons who were losing limbs in logging accidents.
The second hit came as part of backlash to the women's rights movement. It took most of the 1800's for abortion prohibition to be the law of the land in almost every state. But it really started hitting home when the medical journals started to notice that it wasn't just unmarried girls on last resorts. The thought of any woman being able to do such a thing just for the wanting? Throw it on the pile of sins.
Adding insult to injury, the Comstock laws meant that any useful information on the subject got you an obscenity charge if you sent it through the mail.
Remember when I mentioned legacy code?
To one extent or another, we're all wired to ensure that our tribe survives.
And in a few generations, we've built a world where we've convinced ourselves that we don't need tribes.
We're all descended from young men who knew they were expendable and young women who knew they needed reliable.
We're in the middle of a shift in that state that's unprecedented.
Understandably terrifying, especially for those who worked so hard to keep the bit of power they have.
And it manifests in admonishing strangers for not acting like "good" members of our tribe would be.
But while we admonish, we don't care for them like members of our own tribe, because they're not.
It's easy to tell someone else to face consequences when you're sure you'll never face your own.
The "should have kept your legs together" crowd is just as ignorant and small-minded as the "why couldn't you just shoot him in the leg?" fools.
"All life is precious!"
And if you gave a substantial fuck after that life took a breath, I might believe that. But no. I've met a grand total of maybe four people who truly do.
For everyone else? Shame and control should be for the empire, but responsibility should be taken by their tribe.
Yeah, fuck that.
"Adoption is an option."
Fuck you. I say that as someone who all too recently found out he will never be a parent, and who no adoption agency will touch until I somehow find the ability to start throwing money at one. Put a pound of ground pumice in your lube and go fuck yourself.
"Actions have consequences"
If we hunted down deadbeat dads and indentured them into performing (or at least compensating for their lack of) duties, then I might believe this. But we don't and I don't.
Fact is, it's just another facet of the same old traps. Convince a girl she's only worth a damn if she's sexy, then bring on the shame if she gets it in her head to actually do something she wants to with it.
I mercilessly mock legislators who push gun control and think a rifle's sling swivel is for mounting a grenade launcher.
By that token, I will mercilessly mock people who try to put women in their place when they couldn't find a clitoris if I dangled a GPS beacon from one.
Take care of yourselves out there.
And try not to shove your nose into someone else's business while you're at it.