There she was, a well-dressed woman silently protesting outside the Planned Parenthood office in Pullman. She had love in her heart for all the little unborn babies and a big blind spot for their mommies.
There are plenty of people in America — both men and women — who share her views on abortion. Pro-life activists are feeling pretty jolly these days, because they sense their ship is about to come in. The U.S. Supreme Court, with a 6-3 conservative majority, appears likely to move the goalposts on a federal law that has protected the right to abortion since Richard Nixon was president.
Yes, Roe v. Wade is squarely in the crosshairs of conservative politics.
Everyone knows Roe v. Wade, right? It’s the federal law that guarantees pregnant women the right to privacy, which includes having an abortion. It’s been around since January 1973, but Republican-controlled states have been steadily trying to abort Roe v. Wade.
Take a moment to savor the hypocrisy.
Broadly speaking, politicians in conservative states such as Texas, Alabama and Idaho care about children right up until the moment they’re born. After that, it’s a personal-responsibility, fend-for-yourself world out there. When Uncle Sam tries to give these states money for, say, early-childhood development programs, the wise old men who control the statehouse turn it down.
No handouts for low-income mothers who could really use a hand.
That well-dressed woman outside the Planned Parenthood building probably has a support network if she unexpectedly becomes pregnant — a hard-working husband, or perhaps her parents, who can chip in with childcare, or maybe a church.
Not every pregnant 17-, or 19-, or 21-year-old has those options. In many cases, they have to drop out of school — goodbye career! — and take menial jobs to pay for child care, and rent, and food, and medical expenses. Good luck with that if you’re a minimum-wage worker. America is an expensive place to raise a child these days.
Here’s some news for that kind and loving woman protesting outside the Planned Parenthood office: Not every woman who has sex wants to conceive a child. In fact, most sexually-active women do not want to become pregnant. The urge for sex is deeply wired in the human psyche, but the goal usually is pleasure rather than progeny.
Like good chess players, we should look several moves ahead.
By insisting that virtually every pregnancy result in the birth of a child, anti-abortion activists are pushing for more unwanted children. It really is that simple. A fraction of those children will be adopted into loving homes, but the majority will remain with their biological mothers — whether those mothers are ready or not.
Now ask yourself, is there a shortage of unwanted children in America?
How about this for an alternative: Every child is a wanted child.
The right to choose legal abortion puts illegal, and often unsafe, abortion providers out of business. More significantly, it allows pregnant women to retain control over their destinies. A whoopsie pregnancy does not have to lead to a decadeslong cycle of poverty and dependence on state aid.
Just like red wine on a white carpet, anti-abortion activists have another hypocrisy stain that simply won’t wash out. If you follow the news, you’ve doubtless seen a few anti-vaccine protesters clutching signs that read, “My Body, My Choice.”
Keep in mind there is enormous overlap between the anti-vax crowd and the pro-life crowd. If you made a Venn diagram featuring those two groups, it would appear as a single, oddly-colored circle; maybe not 100 percent overlap, but close.
COVID-19 has killed more than 700,000 Americans, and the disease continues to rage, but ruby red conservatives still refuse the vaccine and chant “My Body, My Choice” at protest rallies.
But their chanting stops when the conversation turns to a pregnant woman who is ill-equipped to raise a child. In what passes for logic in conservative circles, it’s OK for state government to push its big, greasy hands right between that woman’s legs to fend off an abortion.
The Republican Party purports to stand for individual freedom and limited government, but that’s simply not true. When it comes to abortion, father knows best.
Brock grew up elsewhere, but he has lived on the Palouse for 20 years. He has been a Daily News columnist since 2002.