A new anti-abortion law passed by Alabama legislators was signed Tuesday by Gov. Kay Ivey, who said, “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.”
The Alabama Human Life Protection Act is very strict, including 99-year prison sentences for doctors who perform abortions that aren’t necessary to save the mother’s life, and no exceptions for rape or incest. As I wrote yesterday, for all the media outrage, even the lawmakers who passed it don’t expect it to go into effect. Gov. Ivey even explained that it’s similar to a longtime Alabama abortion ban that was rendered unenforceable by Roe v. Wade, and is probably just as unenforceable. Supporters expect opponents will immediately get a federal judge to put a stay on it, and hope that will set up a court battle that will lead to the Supreme Court reconsidering Roe v. Wade.
Opponents know that’s the strategy, as well, so it’s worth bearing in mind when you hear all the hysterical reactions that it’s largely political theater. Both sides know the law won’t go into effect unless the SCOTUS alters or overturns Roe V. Wade, and all the fury on the left about it is really disguised fear of that possibility, not concern that this particular law will actually be enforced.
One question is whether this law is the right way to challenge Roe v. Wade. Even the Rev. Pat Robertson thinks it’s too extreme and is likely to lose in court.
But the bill’s creators wanted it to be extreme to insure that it did get challenged. The hardline aspects such as prison for abortion doctors might be viewed as the type of items you demand when you’re going into deal negotiations and ask for things you know you won’t get just so you have something to give up while preserving what you really want. Whether that kind of Trumpian “Art of the Deal” strategy will work in dealing with the Supreme Court remains to be seen.
In the meantime, the pro-abortion sector is reacting to this and other, less extreme recent state moves to limit abortion in ways similar to the reaction you get by whacking a beehive with a baseball bat. One reaction to the Georgia “heartbeat” law was so ridiculous, it was condemned and mocked by all sides. That was actress Alyssa Milano’s “Lysistrata”-style call for women to go on a “sex strike” until the Georgia law is repealed. So far, that appears likely only to harm her own husband (assuming he is, as she puts is, a “cis male.”) But even he claims it’s not serious. Or hopes it isn’t.
That story also points out one of the favorite straw man fallacies of the pro-abortion lobby: that the pro-life position is just about men wanting control over women’s bodies. It’s actually about concern over the life of a third, separate and distinct human being: the baby growing in the woman’s body. Calling on women to go on a “sex strike” for abortion would never work because polls show a slightly larger percentage of women than men are pro-life.
And as some opponents pointed out, they were glad to see Milano admitting that sexual abstinence is an effective method for preventing abortions.
Another specious pro-abortion cliché being trotted back out is the claim that pro-life people only care about babies before they’re born and do nothing to help children or single moms after birth.
To put that to rest once and for all, here’s what happened when an author on Twitter challenged pro-lifers, “What have you personally done to help single mothers? I’ll wait.” She didn’t have to wait long. At last check, the responses were closing in on 3,000. They were far more generous and charitable than the standard pro-choice response: “I help single mothers by making sure their babies can be dismembered.”