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Saturday, November 11, 2023


apropos of the prior post. Today I ran across this article in The Atlantic.
The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade more than a year ago, but in the time since, the number of abortions performed nationwide seems to have gone up, not down. And not just in blue states—even in red states where abortion has been banned, some sizable percentage of people can and do travel out of state or get abortion pills in the mail.

The anti-abortion movement is—no surprise—committed to stopping this flow of patients and abortion pills across state lines. One strategy that has recently emerged is an effort to revive and reinterpret the Comstock Act, a 19th-century anti-vice law that the movement claims makes sending or receiving any abortion drug or device in the mail a federal crime. Other approaches are proliferating. In Alabama, the attorney general has vowed to use existing state conspiracy law to prosecute residents for helping others seek abortions out of state. And in Texas, several counties passed an ordinance allowing anyone to sue a person driving on local highways who is bringing a patient to get an abortion, whether illegally in Texas or legally elsewhere…

The more that off-the-wall anti-abortion tactics proliferate, the easier it is to dismiss them as scare tactics. But that might not be the case at all. Any law can be enforced if enough people take part in rustling up offenders. Of course, the Supreme Court could be hostile to the anti-abortion activists’ new enforcement strategies, striking down laws limiting travel or rejecting conservatives’ interpretation of the Comstock Act. But this Court may not. The majority’s conservative leanings are clear, and many of the legal areas at issue are undeveloped enough to leave room for a sympathetic justice to side with abortion opponents. If that comes to pass, then the laws’ “unenforceability” can’t be counted on to protect anyone.

Mary Ziegler is the Martin Luther King Professor of Law at UC Davis.
Which led me here.

Stay tuned. Hip deep in this one at the moment, perhaps 50% through it. A nice complement to Kathleen's book. (Couldn't resist Photoshopping the Bourne movie poster graphic.)
Scholars have traced how an ascendant form of Christian nationalism—the belief that the United States was and always should be a Christian nation—was needed for Trump to edge out Hillary Clinton in 2016. But the influence of the anti-abortion movement went much further, and it had everything to do with money in U.S. politics.

Political scientists and historians of the religious right have told part of the story of the fascinating partnership between abortion foes and Republican leaders. Their studies often suggest that while pro-lifers became dependent on the GOP, the Republican Party did not fundamentally change its priorities. Some assert that the GOP co-opted the religious right, gaining its votes while offering little but speeches in return.

By focusing on the pro-life movement and its complex relationship with the broader religious right, this book shows that partnership with the movement had consequences for the GOP that went well beyond abortion. Anti-abortion operatives helped make control of the Supreme Court a deciding issue for conservative voters who had no legal background. And to gain control of the Supreme Court, abortion foes joined and ultimately helped to lead a growing fight against campaign finance laws, persuading many social conservatives and GOP leaders to oppose them as well.

 These shifts to a focus on judicial nominations and money in politics helped the GOP score electoral victories it might not otherwise have managed. But in the long term, the changes in campaign finance rules that the anti-abortion movement helped to achieve came at a terrible price for the Republican establishment—and had important consequences for the functioning of American democracy.

Of course, other factors helped to gut the establishment as well. To begin with, the GOP had long courted the kind of voters whose loyalty Trump later captured. For decades, Republicans had fueled whites’ anxieties about immigration and demographic change. Christian nationalism—and some evangelical Protestants’ investment in a masculine populism—did not begin with Trump. In the past, however, Republican politicians had effectively managed these forces. GOP voters had fallen in love with populists before, but the establishment had found a way to sideline them.

Gradually, however, the Republican establishment grew less able to marginalize insurgents. Americans increasingly disliked those in the opposing political party, and this negative partisanship triggered a surge in partisan loyalty. Whomever their own party nominated, polarized voters did not cross party lines because they viewed the opposing party’s candidate as unacceptable. Some of these changes affected both parties; negative partisanship became common among Democrats, and politicians on the left became more ideologically homogenous (and more progressive) than they once were. Democrats have relied on independent expenditures, dark money, and super PACs (political action committees) to fund their campaigns, and at times have outraised and outspent the opposition. And Democrats on occasion played a part in pushing more money into politics, passing laws like the 2014 Continuing Appropriations Act, which significantly raised the contribution limits that applied to political party committees. But partisan polarization has been asymmetric. The GOP veered sharply to the right on issues from climate change to immigration, and the party has proven more willing to play constitutional hardball than the opposition, holding up Supreme Court nominations and routinely forcing government shutdowns...

Ziegler, Mary. Dollars for Life (pp. 6-8). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition.
Whereas Policing Pregnant Bodies spans millenia back to the ancient Greeks (with a lot of focus on sociological / cultural factors shaping our current views on reproductive policy), Dollars For Life dwells principally on the increasingly partisan right-to-life / choice politics comprising the U.S. period encompassing my own nearly 78 years. I'm finding it in large measure a well-written exercise in "recall" providing a heightened awareness of the bigger picture as it exists today.

I also recommend two other relevant, excellent books already in my stash:

Quite worthy reads. Anti-choice advocates have every right to their (minority) opinions. That is not the same, however, as moral & legal license to dictate what other women must do.


Should Donald Trump manage to win the 2024 Presidential election, this hard-right group intends to hit the ground running full-speed on day one to eradicate every aspect of "liberalism" they can. Their Manifesto (pdf) runs about 900 pages. I'm down several hundred pages into it thus far. A few relevant teasers:
The next conservative President must make the institutions of American civil society hard targets for woke culture warriors. This starts with deleting the terms sexual orientation and gender identity (“SOGI”), diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”), gender, gender equality, gender equity, gender awareness, gender-sensi- tive, abortion, reproductive health, reproductive rights, and any other term used to deprive Americans of their First Amendment rights out of every federal rule, agency regulation, contract, grant, regulation, and piece of legislation that exists…

In Africa, Skinner writes, the U.S. “should focus on core security, economic, and human rights” rather than impose radical abortion and pro-LGBT initiatives. Divisive symbols such as the rainbow flag or the Black Lives Matter flag have no place next to the Stars and Stripes at our embassies…

Max Primorac asserts that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) must be reformed, writing, “The Biden Administration has deformed the agency by treating it as a global platform to pursue overseas a divisive political and cultural agenda that promotes abortion, climate extremism, gender radicalism, and interventions against perceived systematic racism.”…

Reverse policies that allow transgender individuals to serve in the military. Gender dysphoria is incompatible with the demands of military service, and the use of public monies for transgender surgeries or to facilitate abortion for servicemembers should be ended…

Focus on core diplomatic activities, and stop promoting policies birthed in the American culture wars. African nations are particularly (and reasonably) non-receptive to the U.S. social policies such as abortion and pro-LGBT initiatives being imposed on them…

Finally, conservatives should gratefully celebrate the greatest pro-family win in a generation: overturning Roe v. Wade, a decision that for five decades made a mockery of our Constitution and facilitated the deaths of tens of millions of unborn children. But the Dobbs decision is just the beginning. Conservatives in the states and in Washington, including in the next conservative Administration, should push as hard as possible to protect the unborn in every jurisdiction in America. In particular, the next conservative President should work with Congress to enact the most robust protections for the unborn that Congress will support while deploying existing federal powers to protect innocent life and vigorously complying with statutory bans on the federal funding of abortion. Conservatives should ardently pursue these pro-life and pro-family policies while recognizing the many women who find themselves in immensely difficult and often tragic situations and the heroism of every choice to become a mother. Alternative options to abortion, especially adoption, should receive federal and state support.

In summary, the next President has a moral responsibility to lead the nation in restoring a culture of life in America again...
I fixed some of their Art for them.

While this stuff might seem nominally scary, it would not surprise me one whit for this to end up being largely one more grift Op, perhaps just a tad up the socioeconomic-cognitive distribution above the Trump Rally MAGA Marks.
And, How About Those VERMIN?
Yeah, we are drowning in grotesque, often barbaric exigencies of late. Makes it difficult to even stay on one topical thread. Humor me...
I'm late to the party, but, yikes, the Apple TV+ series "The Morning Show." I'm now on S1:E4.

This series is simply brilliant. Aaron Sorkin was not the screenwriter, but the script is every bit as good. The topical relevance to this post is spot-on.


I finished Mary Ziegler's "Dollars for Life." Very illuminating. Combined with "Policing Pregnant Bodies," you get a complete picture of the acrimonious reproductive rights issue.
Also, below, I read Jonathan Ksrl's new book. Quite sobering. I am SO beyond sick of Donald Trump.

More shortly...

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