Today's New York Times is running an article about the shift in rhetoric that the anti-choice movement has taken. Over the last decade, the anti-choice movement has moved from arguing that the fetus is completely separate from the mother, and therefore worthy of protection to arguing that abortion is never in the best interest of the woman. This is an appropriation of the rhetoric of the reproductive rights groups that support a woman's right to choose.

I find the appropriation both typical of the extreme conservative movement (i.e. "But affirmative action is discrimination"), and absolutely frustrating. They're using this argument despite the fact that 30 years of research suggests that most women have no long term effects from the abortion (psychological or physical) It continues to infantilize women, suggesting that adult women cannot make medical decisions on their own, and cannot live with the repercussions of those decisions. Certainly, electing to abort a fetus can be devastating to a woman, but as Jessica Valenti points out in her recent book, noone's really talking about the effect that the protests in front of abortion clinics, and the general move towards stigmatizing women who have abortions, has on women who elect to have this procedure.

(Does this remind anyone else of "The Yellow Wallpaper"? Men doing their best to help a woman, no matter the devastating cost?)

This argument was at the center of the recent defense of the "Partial Birth Abortion Ban" lawsuit, in which the supreme court upheld the ban on the procedure (nevermind that there's not actually a procedure called this, and the law itself is really vague). Fortunately, Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her dissenting position that “The court invokes an anti-abortion shibboleth for which it concededly has no reliable evidence.” At least some of the justices understand the importance of actually using factual evidence rather than just annecdote and emotional manipulation that insults reasonable people and infantalizes women everywhere.

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