An article in The Guardian makes the implausible claim that the GOP-controlled U.S. Congress is trying to ban late-term abortions, while simultaneously “forcing women to get them.”
The piece by Jessica Valenti, though it defies logic, plays to a crowd that seems ready to believe anything bad about the more conservative new Congress.
Valenti declares that we are “already trapping women into forced pregnancies” so we don’t need a law keeping them from getting one.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, Valenti says, “that Republicans kicked off their first day in control of the US Congress this week by moving to ban all abortions after 20 weeks.” But then she adds that the move confuses her. “Why is the GOP trying to ban later abortions,” she queries, “when they’re doing such a stellar job forcing women to get them?”
The build-up is breathtaking, and the news, if true, would be stunning. Unfortunately, the piece fizzles into a litany of tired complaints against the supposed ineffectiveness of conservative policies meant to curb unwanted pregnancies.
“Republicans,” Valenti complains, “are the ones who want to spend millions on abstinence-only ‘education.’” She accuses conservative of making up “fantastical lies” about the dangers of condom use and birth control pills. The nefarious conservative plot aims to “make sure that sexually active teens are more likely to have unwanted pregnancies.”
Valenti’s hand-wringing then turns to the woeful state of abortion-deprived regions. She laments “the 14 states with 20-week bans” and the “89% of counties in the United States [that] lack an abortion provider.” Worst of all, one-third of “women seeking abortions have to travel more than 25 miles to get one.”
But the horror does not end here. Women who do manage to get to a clinic where abortions are performed “may be met with mandatory waiting periods of up to 72 hours.” These hurdles, Valenti concludes, “can make getting an early abortion nearly impossible.”
But politicians aren’t the only ones at fault in creating this abortion steeplechase. Valenti also blames “those religious organizations that routinely intimidate and mislead women looking to end their pregnancies.” Some of these, she says, “lie to women about how far along they are,” while others “tell pregnant women they’ll probably miscarry so not to worry about abortion.”
The fact is that Americans generally favor what Valenti abhors: restrictions on abortions. The Gallup Poll from May 2014 found that a full 71% of US citizens favor restricting abortion access, with 21% asserting that abortion should be illegal under all circumstances. Only 28% form part of the Valenti camp, believing that abortions should be legal under any circumstance.
Another nationwide poll, conducted by CNN, found that a solid majority (58 percent) of respondents said that abortion should be legal under “few” or “no” circumstances, and that public financing of abortion remains heavily unpopular.
Valenti is correct about one thing: Pro-lifers do want to reduce the number of abortions, both to save the lives of the unborn children at risk and to save mothers the lifelong regret of having terminated not just their pregnancy, but their baby.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome