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12 months ago
Great discussion, and I look forward to hearing the second part. Regarding "pregnancy outcomes", the Purvi Patel case is a good data point. Patel took abortion pills she had ordered from China, delivered a live son (gestational age was 23-30 weeks), threw the baby in a garbage bag next to bathroom trash and her old boarding passes, texted her friend that she would "clean up and go to Moe's" (her parents' restaurant), and put the bag in the dumpster behind the restaurant. She was tried and found guilty of child neglect. The abortion lobby rallied around Patel, with Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards declaring that "No one should be punished for having a miscarriage, an abortion, or for any other pregnancy outcome." Personally, I think pro-life groups treated their opponents with kid gloves. When someone shows you who they really are, believe them the first time. Calling throwing a live baby in a dumpster a "pregnancy outcome" is like calling rape "20 minutes of action". Patel later appealed and got off on a technicality, as while her baby was indeed born alive and she did indeed treat him like a piece of garbage, the prosecution hadn't been able to prove that her neglect (rather than the baby's prematurity) was what caused his death.
I can understand feeling depressed over how difficult it is to have dialogues with pro-choice people post-Dobbs. But if it's any comfort, more than a few of them weren't open to actually changing their minds to begin with. They just talked to pro-life people out of a sense of morbid curiosity, seeing us more as zoo animals (interesting creatures, but completely harmless behind a sturdy enough fence). Now that our votes actually count, they have no reason to be nice about it anymore. Most pro-choice people don't actually need to change their minds though. The person that says "legitimate medical procedure" to a description of partial-birth abortion and then goes on to "shout" all the abortions she's had? Probably not a great use of your time. The abortion grays are the people that we need to reach. And the abortion side had done a good job of that during the Roe era. The most compelling argument to an abortion gray is that "pro-life laws don't work". That is to say, pro-life laws will necessarily lead to women dying in back alleys or doctors refusing to properly manage miscarriages or that just as many babies will be aborted (so it comes down only to how safe these inevitable abortions are going to be for the woman) or that the foster system will be overrun or some other parade of horribles. There are good studies that address each of these concerns, but nobody is going to have time to read a study. All they need is a headline that says "Pro-life law X COULD lead to [insert terrifying outcome here]", which there is no shortage of. On the other hand, "safe, legal, and rare" worked. Well it didn't really (certainly not the "rare" part), but when abortion is out of the news and the numbers aren't trumpeted out it's quite easy to pretend that it did. Just accept abortion on demand as a necessary evil and never talk about it. The only way to answer "pro-life laws don't work" is to actually implement pro-life laws and demonstrate that they really aren't the end of the world, that we can legally protect children from abortion while also supporting pregnant women and new mothers so that pro-life states become the best place in the country to have a baby. Not something that can be done over night, but we weren't able to do it at all before Dobbs.
The election was a disappointment, but it could've been a lot worse. Abortion Democrats would've nuked the filibuster, codified abortion on demand into federal law, and possibly packed the Supreme Court with abortion judges (though I think that was more of a threat to pre-empt the end of Roe, one that the justices ignored because it was clearly empty) had they kept control of the House and netted two more senators (they did neither). Additionally, every pro-life governor up for re-election won decisively (most by landslide margins). And things look pretty good in Florida, which is set to pass a heartbeat bill soon. It was a difficult election, but it came at the end of a 50-year campaign to get to the starting line. And while Americans expressed major reservations about the pro-life movement, they gave us a chance. It's time to show up and build from there so skeptics give us another look. Start with implementing a better safety net for new parents and nominating a major pro-life presidential candidate that doesn't force us to relitigate Jan 6 and Stormy Daniels.