Republicans are playing puns with ‘abortion’

In the world of medical care, the word “abortion” has a simple and straightforward meaning. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, induced abortion “terminates a pregnancy with drugs or a medical procedure”. When states ban abortion, that is what they are banning: drugs or medical procedures that end pregnancies that do not result in a live birth. Now that horror stories are rapidly piling up to illustrate the high human cost of banning abortion, Republicans are becoming more like, uh, mischievous about what they do or don’t consider an abortion.

In the text of the bans that are enacted or reinstated now that the Supreme Court has struck down Roe v. Wade, “abortion” is generally understood as a medical intervention to terminate a pregnancy. But in trying to bamboozle the public, Republicans suddenly start pretending that all kinds of abortions aren’t really abortions.

Trying to bamboozle the public, Republicans suddenly start pretending that all kinds of abortions aren’t really abortions.

During a House hearing on abortion rights last week, Catherine Glenn Foster of Americans United for Life, a woman who had previously falsely claimed that DC was fueling streetlights by burning fetuses, once further illustrated the utter shamelessness that anti-choices apply to the art of lying. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-California, discussed the recent case of a 10-year-old rape victim who was forced to have an abortion in Indiana because her home state of Ohio had banned the procedure. Framed by Republicans’ previous decision to walk away from this one — falsely claiming it didn’t happen — Foster pivoted to deny that abortion is abortion. Acknowledging that forcing the delivery of a child rape victim would “probably have an impact on her life”, (probably?!) Foster, with a flippancy that you really have to watch the video to absorb, lied and said that “it would not be an abortion”.

Needless to say, there is no “life impact” exception to Ohio’s abortion ban, since abortion bans impact the lives of all people forced to give birth. And that abortion was absolutely an abortion, which Foster knows full well. Make no mistake: Foster and his allies wouldn’t hesitate to sue the doctor for practicing it if they could. Indeed, anti-choice activists have already legally persecuted doctors for terminating pregnancies in 10-year-olds. Abortion is just non-abortion in front of the cameras, to maximize the cruelty they can inflict while avoiding the political consequences of doing so.


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This game has been going on ever since the overthrow of Roe began to flood the public consciousness with these resulting horror stories. Women were denied termination of ectopic pregnancy since the laws prohibit abortion if there is detectable cardiac development, even if these pregnancies are all non-viable. Women who miscarry are denied treatment because although there is no way to save the pregnancy, they are still technically pregnant and any intervention to alleviate their suffering is an abortion.

The real reason Republicans keep calling pregnancy prevention “abortion” is to create an excuse to ban birth control.

Cause this pain is very much the purpose of these abortion bans, as shown by the fact that GOP-controlled legislatures reject opportunities to exempt miscarriage care, life-saving treatment or termination of ectopic pregnancy from their abortion bans. But when confronted with their own sadism in public, they pretend that somehow these abortions are magically not abortions and therefore not a problem.

RELATED: Post-Roe Gaslighting: QAnon’s Party Denies Very Real Rape of 10-Year-Old

John Seago of Texas Right to Life blamed “a communication breakdown of the law, not the law itself” for doctors who are afraid to terminate aborted pregnancies. But doctors are well aware of the legal risks. The Texas Abortion Ban Is One Exception if “the mother’s life is in danger”. The patient described in the New York Times article was told that she could terminate her pregnancy after a miscarriage “only if she was bleeding so excessively that her blood filled a diaper more than once an hour.” Doctors seemed well aware that they needed dying patients to justify abortions. As journalist Irin Carmon pointed out on Twitter, in the same article, Seago admits that Texas abortion law requires doctors to refuse to treat patients who miscarry. Otherwise, his other claims are just noise he spews to distract from the horrific realities he is deliberately creating.


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The puns around “abortion” long predate the current moment. Right now, abortions that anti-choice have banned in practice become non-abortions when they enlighten politicians and journalists. When strategizing how to suppress access to contraception, anti-choice activists and Republican politicians take a broader view of what they consider “abortion,” a view that includes popular forms of birth control. Even during his confirmation hearing, Judge Brett Kavanaugh equated birth control with abortion. Republicans justify this lie by claiming that birth control pills and IUDs prevent fertilized eggs from implanting, which is false. The ancient works by preventing ovulation and the the latter by preventing the sperm from meeting the eggs. Republicans sidestep that by claiming that both “could” prevent a fertilized egg from implanting.

Of course, all sorts of things women do “could” impact implantation, including behaviors Republicans approve of, like having sex with husbands voting for Trump, cleaning toilets, or dieting. . Impossible to know, because half of the fertilized eggs do not implant for some reason. But of course, this whole ploy is bad faith on the level of “ivermectin cures COVID-19” nonsense.

RELATED: The End of Roe v. Wade: American democracy is collapsing

The real reason Republicans keep calling pregnancy prevention “abortion” is to create a pretext to ban birth control, a goal that Judge Clarence Thomas openly implied was underway in his agreement on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health.

“Abortion” is a pretty flexible term in Republican circles! The same abortion can be both an abortion and a non-abortion, depending on the time. When it comes to terminating the pregnancies of child rape victims, it’s sort of an abortion when you stop the doctor who did it and a non-abortion when you speak into a microphone in front of cameras. . When you’re trying to convince voters you’re not coming for their birth control, it’s fine to call the birth control pill “birth control.” But when writing the policies that govern whether people can actually get this birth control, it suddenly became “abortive” and therefore prohibited.

The meaning of words is constantly changing, depending on political necessities. What remains fixed, however, is the ultimate goal: to end women’s autonomy by any means necessary.



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