Remember how I posted awhile back on South Dakota’s intent to lengthen the already-ridiculous 3-day waiting period for abortions by decreeing that weekends and holidays don’t count toward the 3 days, as if people seeking abortions can only think properly on weekdays?*
Well, they’ve decided they need to clarify why they’re doing it. It’s not because we can’t think on weekends and holidays. It’s because anti-abortion activists take the weekends off just like the rest of us, meaning they don’t have access.
Which, on first glance, makes very little sense, until you get a bit further into their “explanation”, where they say:
One of the other purposes (of the bill) is to provide the woman with the opportunity to seek out counseling from other persons or individuals within the pregnant mother’s natural support system, such as the woman’s regular care physician, who’s never going to be open on a Saturday or a Sunday, or such as a clergy member
Hoooo boy, what a lot of loaded language to unpack.
So first of all, what catches my eye right off is the phrase “pregnant mother”. They’re coercively labeling all pregnant people as mothers, regardless of their feelings on the issue, or indeed their actual fucking gender. I would quite possibly actually slap someone who tried to refer to me as a “mother” simply because I was pregnant one time, if they said it to my face. Being pregnant and being a parent are two separate things, even before we get to the issue of NOT ALL PREGNANT PEOPLE ARE WOMEN SO YOUR GENDERED TERM FOR A PARENT DOESN’T EVEN WORK. Especially when you’re specifically talking about a subset of the population of pregnant people who are actively seeking to terminate their pregnancies, you’re probably going to find a fair number of them who do not see themselves as parents at all (unless they’re already parents to actual children, which 60% of those who get abortions are) because if you don’t intend to have the baby, why would you refer to yourself in relation to it like that?
From there I move on to raise an eyebrow at “natural support system”. It’s not overtly a bad phrase, but something about it bothers me, and I’m having a hard time putting my finger on it. Perhaps it’s the “natural” bit, which casts a certain air of judgment over just who the pregnant person includes in their support system. Because you know this guy means: the potential father, the person’s doctor, their priest (because obviously he assumes everyone would seek counseling from a Christian clergyperson), or their immediate biological family such as parents. But many people have very different support systems, including friends, chosen family, online friends, etc., which implicitly are excluded from this concept of “natural” support system. It also subtly casts the counseling that patients receive at the clinic - which they do, they always do, even where it’s not required by law, as it’s not in California but I did have to sit down and talk to someone for long enough to make sure I knew I had other options and they’d help me with those if I wanted to do something else - as “unnatural” and inferior, which is probably the other thing that’s raising my hackles.
But the real gem of this quote, the thing that throws their lies into stark relief, is a single word.Opportunity
As in, “give her the opportunity to seek counseling from places that aren’t open on weekends”.
I dunno about you, but when you’re legislating requirements for how someone handles a situation, I don’t really feel like you can call that “giving an opportunity” to someone. That’s called “forcing them to do things your way” and it’s a very, very different concept.
I mean, do they think that there’s a time limit between the initial consult and the actual procedure? Like, once you have your consult, the timer is running down and if you don’t finish up with your second appointment RIGHT THE FUCK NOW you’ll lose the chance to have it at all? Because people are quite capable of waiting an extra few days if they feel the need to
. They’re not being rushed by anybody but the ticking clock conservatives have turned biology into with their X-week restrictions and bans, so if pregnant people are
feeling pressured to hurry up and get their abortion, it’s not pro
-choicers’ fault. It’s standard business tactics, though, I suppose. Create the problem so that you can tout your ability to create a solution to it.
You can’t forcibly give someone an opportunity. That’s not what “opportunity” means. That’s not what “give” means, either. If you are taking charge and setting requirements, that’s force, control, and coercion, not generosity and opportunity.
If a pregnant person wants
to visit a CPC or a member of the Christian clergy who isn’t available on weekends, and get counseling, there is nothing in this universe
stopping them from waiting an extra couple days to do so before returning to the clinic or making their second appointment. Nothing. At. All. They already have
the opportunity to do so. They have
the opportunity to wait as long as they need to before making a decision.
I have an idea. Why don’t we
generously give everyone
the opportunity to consider their decision to undergo ALL elective medical procedures? Institute three day waiting periods before tooth whitening. Before rhinoplasties and breast augmentation. Before gastric bypass surgery. Before wart removal. Before laser vision surgery. Before vasectomies. Don’t the people undergoing all these things also
deserve the opportunity to consider their decision and seek out second opinions and counseling from their natural support network, including their hypothetical clergy? I mean, if that’s the logic we’re operating on, why restrict our legislative generosity only to pregnant people? Let’s give EVERYONE lots of time to think about their medical choices before they do anything.
Weekends and holidays not included, of course.
*I just heard a bit ago that the SD House passed the measure; I’m unclear on whether the SD Senate has also done so and it’s on to the governor yet or if there’s still a chance to stop it before it goes that far.