The arrogance and hypocrisy of Republicans pushing anti-abortion laws in our country are astonishing.
Alabama's GOP state Sen. Clyde Chambliss may well top the list. He sponsored that state's newest legislation that bans abortions at every stage of pregnancy and criminalizes the procedure for doctors, threatening them with possible prison sentences of up to 99 years. The ban includes an exception for cases when the mother's life is at serious risk, but makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
"When God creates the miracle of life inside a woman's womb," Chambliss said, "it is not our place as human beings to extinguish that life."
Excuse us, sir, but unless you believe every child was conceived by immaculate conception, God didn't make that life. Someone like you, maybe wtih the help of a little blue pill, made it, along with a woman who may or may not have planned to become pregnant. And neither of you is a god.
Opponents have vowed to challenge the ban in federal court if it becomes law.
But make no mistake. Women will not go back. And frankly, plenty of men won't either. There are lots of people who still believe life begins when we draw breathe outside the womb.
The American Civil Liberties Union already has sent Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey a copy of a $1.7 million check Alabama had to write to plaintiffs over a previous anti-abortion measure. In that lawsuit, the state was forced to pay over a law requiring abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges.
This time, too, even supporters of the Alabama abortion ban expect a lower court to block the measure.
But that's exactly what Republicans want. They are spoiling for a fight to get this law — and other states' abortion-restrictive laws like Georgia's fetal heartbeat bill — before the Supreme Court where they hope the now-majority conservative court will overturn the 46-year-old Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision.
In GOP thinking, the time has never been better, thanks to the appointments of Brett M. Kavanaugh and Neal Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
"Until now, there was no prospect of reversing Roe," said Eric Johnston, who founded the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition and has spent more than 30 years trying to ban abortion. No doubt he and his ilk would also like to take us back to the days when Planned Parenthood was founded in 1916 — when it was illegal even to provide information about preventing pregnancy.
Cecile Richards, the former president of Planned Parenthood and now the founder of the new women's political group, Super Majority, says Roe is hanging by a thread.
"Obviously this [Alabama ban] completely flies in the face of Roe vs. Wade," she said. "But this is a right women have had for all these years, and women are not going to go back."
Nor should they. Support for Roe is stronger than it's ever been. A PerryUndem poll conducted in late December found that 73% of voters do not want Roe overturned, and 67% say abortion should be legal in "all" or "most" cases. Though disputed by the right, the poll's legal-or-illegal findings closely track recent yearly Quinnipiac University polls going back to 2017. The PerryUndem poll also tracks with a July 2018 poll from NBC News and The Wall Street Journal.
Aside from public opinion, consider the fact that more women than ever have recently run for elected office and won. And 20 percent of Americans who have marched in various protests said they were marching in support of women's rights.
Another PerryUndem poll finding was that voters are not as torn on this issue as conventional wisdom suggests. Internally, 68% say they do not struggle with how they feel on abortion. Three in 10 said they do struggle with the issue.
The poll did, however, find that Republicans are divided: 49% do not want Roe overturned, while 48% do; 42% of Republicans want abortion legal in all or most cases, while 57% want it illegal in all or most cases. One in three Republicans thinks society benefits from women having abortion access. And 42% say women (44% say men) benefit from having access to abortion.
In recent years when Republican politicians pushed their abortion restriction bills, they framed them as protective of women's health. For instance, they targeted abortion clinics to make them unnecessarily adopt hospital standards on things like door size and obtaining hospital admission privileges. The end result usually forced clinic closures. But in Alabama, the ban effort didn't even pretend to be about the health of women.
Abortions existed before Roe vs. Wade. Coat hangers and back-door home abortions were immensely unsafe, and women died routinely, even after they reached a hospital emergency room. Similarly, full-term childbirth is no safety panacea, according to choice advocate and presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand.
"These life and death decisions need to be made by the women most impacted, Gillibrand said. "We have the highest maternal mortality rate of any industrialized country. And if you are a black woman your chances of dying in childbirth or within a year of childbirth — because of institutional racism — are four times higher. In some cities, like New York, it's 12 times higher."
Women are noticing. And organizing. And marching. And running for office.
Neither women, nor the men who love them, are going back.