We’re in the midst of another, but more heated, national debate on abortion this week. The (woman!) governor of Alabama signed into a law one of the most sweeping abortion laws yet, banning the procedure after 6 weeks, even in the cases of rape and incest. There’s a million different takes on the matter floating about the internet’s currents like that fleet of lost rubber duckies. Many of them, predominantly from the left but not a few from the right, are chiefly nonsense. However, this Quillette piece intelligently tackles one particular facet of the debate that’s annoyed me for years:
The Guardian’s headline on the Alabama story—These 25 Republicans—all white men—just voted to ban abortion in Alabama—channelled a dominant social-media meme by putting gender front and centre. Twitter and Facebook were rife with claims that Alabama’s bill, like other anti-abortion laws, was really all about men attacking women’s rights and bodily autonomy…
However, polling evidence suggests that American men, overall, are just as likely to be pro-choice as women. True, women are more likely to express support for abortion rights. But, surprisingly, women also are more likely to express opposition. Democrat women are slightly more likely than Democrat men to be pro-choice, but Republican women are more likely than Republican men to be pro-life. In other words, there is no major fault line in the abortion debate between men and women. (Emphases mine.)
Pro-life advocates are predominantly women. Women write the anti-abortion op-eds. Women organize and lead the anti-abortion marches and prayer groups. Women fund, staff, and administrate the pregnancy crisis centers throughout the country. The canard that the abortion debate is fundamentally about men controlling women is utter nonsense and cannot be believed by anyone with even the most tenuous grasp of facts, and the only people who parrot it in the media are the most disingenuous or most ignorant of hucksters and demagogues.
In fact, this bizarre mythos of the left is so ingrained and bereft of critical examination that it leads to episodes of sheer insanity, such as the recent incident where (male!) Pennsylvania state congressman Brian Sims verbally assaulted an elderly woman and teenage girls on camera, mocking and harassing them and threatening to dox them for the gross crime of protesting abortion. Doxing, where a person’s private information is spread throughout the internet in order to harass and threaten them in the real world, is among the vilest and reprehensible practices currently conducted on the internet—and here is a man threatening to do it to an elderly woman and teenage girls—for the sake of what? Some warped and twisted thing he believes is feminism. Where is the outrage from the left that a large, powerful man harassed a peaceful old woman and some young girls? If a Republican had done this, he would be done. Utterly done. His face would be plastered over the national news for weeks, and he would be (rightly, I think) driven from the public arena, if not indicted by a prosecutor somewhere. What have Democrats done to this anti-woman feminist? Nothing other than cough with embarrassment and say that it’s a shame Sims’s hasty tactics might instead discourage women from receiving abortion procedures. Genuinely. They have shrugged their shoulders at a powerful man assaulting vulnerable women on camera and plastering it over the internet. Read Emma Green’s piece over the Atlantic and see for yourself. This, apparently, is what feminism means.
The contempt progressive men have for pro-life women is essentially ignored across the board. I heard an NPR interview this week with a pro-life woman and a pro-choice man, the latter of whom snorted derisively at the woman when she defended her position. If a pro-life man had displayed such naked contempt for a pro-choice woman on NPR, he would also be done. He would be stricken from public record for his sexism and crimes against women. However, as a progressive, he could do no wrong. This is insanity. I’m beginning to believe among the most dangerous places for a woman to be is around a man who calls himself a feminist—there’s simply no telling how much violence he’ll be allowed (or even encouraged?) to do to her for the sake of women everywhere.
The elderly woman Sims assaulted, by the way, was praying by herself when Sims confronted her and mocked her for not only her political positions but for her faith. This is a complete inversion of the Covey Kid episode: rather than a complicated and ambiguous situation manufactured into national outrage by social media and respected(ish) journalistic outlets, this is a clear situation of raw bigotry pointedly ignored by reporters and woke crusaders alike.
Now, I loathe the establishment we have generally come to call “the right.” Any political body that gleefully produces a character like Donald Trump and obediently genuflects before him is one worthy of the fire. However, whereas the right represents decay, greed, laziness, self-absorption, general corruption and incompetence, the left represents a dangerous revolutionary impulse that would viciously devour the very thing it pretends to venerate. Given the choice between the two, I elect neither: “And I will show you a still more excellent way” and all that. However, if asked to put money on which movement would cause the most catastrophic ending for the United States, I wouldn’t bother to hedge my bets. Corruption decays, but revolution destroys. Progressives’ war for women may be the most destructive power brought against the fairer sex in our country yet.
edit: I just saw today’s Bret Stephens column at NYT, which I recommend by itself and as a dovetail to my own post. Stephens rightly diagnoses these sorts of abhorrent tactics in the name of social justice for what they are: der wille zur macht. It’s about power in and of itself. Deconstructionists claim to loathe all power structures, but the reality is they only loathe the ones they do not control.