Abby Zimet: He Who Hath Not A Uterus Should Shut the Fucketh Up – Fallopians 13:13
On a good day for duplicitous zealots peculiarly fixated on controlling women’s bodies, Lindsey Graham, a childless, partnerless ghoul who’s never experienced any pregnancy welcome or not, proposed a nationwide abortion ban backed only by a tiny, rabid minority that four months ago, and many times before, he insisted he opposed in the name of evidently fictional “states’ rights,” offering up a mountain of lies, dodges, racist taunts and delusional gobbledygook in a hapless attempt to mask his hypocrisy. Graham boasted his “Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act,” a title he may have swiped from John Cleese, reflects “a consensus view by the most prominent pro-life groups in America,” seemingly unaware that, ideologically, the most prominent pro-life groups in America reside many thousands of self-righteous miles to the right of a majority of Americans, roughly 70% of whom have long supported the right to abortion. (For proof, see even Kansas for God’s sake.) The ban is also, in name and intent, a lie. “Pain-capable” fetuses at that stage, according to vast medical evidence, do not exist; and 15 weeks into a 40-week pregnancy – or two months before a fetus is viable – is not “late term,” again according to established medical terminology or any pregnant woman who’s tried to comfortably sleep in, say, her ninth month.
By proposing a ban “wildly out of step with what Americans believe,” the famously groveling Graham is playing a disingenuous, deadly game whose irony probably escapes him. Courting a GOP extremist base while implausibly framing the effort as a moderate move that “will likely hurt Democrats when they try to explain to a reasonable person their opposition,” he did precisely what SCOTUS and their Federalist fans claimed to reject in Dobbs: Asking the feds to impose a nationwide law – banning rather than allowing abortion – that only extremists support. In the process of course he exposes one more time – Lost Cause, anyone? – the hollow pretense of “states’ rights.” At a messy, incoherent news conference, Graham struggled to explain away the screaming discrepancies. Most recently in May and repeatedly before that, one journalist inevitably noted, Graham had declared letting states decide the issue of abortion was “the most constitutionally sound way of dealing with this”; now, “Here you are.” Graham agreeably nodded away, but argued that with Dems’ “wacko” efforts to protect abortion, “I thought it would be nice to introduce a bill to define who we are.” An enthusiastic chorus on Twitter: “Even Stevie Wonder can see who Republicans are…Which is to say: Liars. We are big, giant liars…Bigly liars.”
With an eerie, Stepford-like group of “pro-life” Christian women posed smiling behind him – “Stranger in a strange land” – Graham stumbled on. He tossed out lies like confetti: A “strong majority of Americans” oppose abortion, “the child feels pain,” Dems support abortion “up to the moment of birth,” and most bizarrely, stripping women of the right to make their own bodily decisions will “get America back in line with the rest of the world.” Banning abortion will make us just like Europe, he jabbered, and protecting it will make us Iran. This is pure, evil, racist bullshit. In the last 25 years, three countries – El Salvador, Nicaragua, Poland – have rolled back abortion rights; 60 have expanded them. Abortion was common and reasonably accessible in Iran until last year, when a regressive “Youthful Population and Protection of the Family” law was passed with a “crippling” effect on women’s health and safety. European countries overwhelmingly support access to abortion; most also offer paid maternal leave, universal health care, and while we’re at it sane gun laws. The presser ended with a horrific story from a woman whose doctors found, in her 16th week of pregnancy, a “fetal anomaly” that meant her child would die soon after birth, bleeding “from every orifice of his body.” Would he deny her an abortion? In a “despicable show of cruelty,” also cowardice, Graham prattled, “The world has spoken on this issue.” He didn’t even look at her.
Deep in his malignant bubble, Graham insisted that, if Congress debates his bill and fellow misogynists “explain” how great it’ll be for old white geezers to decide what women do with their private parts, “we’ll do really well with the American people” and then we won’t have to be Iran. Umm, came the tepidresponse from much of the GOP, who except for gonzo Herschel and a guy who equates reproductive freedom with “Chinese genocide” seem content to let SCOTUS take the credit or blame for killing Roe. In that guileless spirit, Mike Pence later headed a loathsome roster of zealots, including Lindsey, at a sort of black-tie, “pro-life” Coachella variously dubbed a “Forced Birth Prom” and “We Want Women To Die Gala” hosted by the virulently anti-choice Susan B. Anthony’s List to salute the fall of Roe. Before registration became password-protected – have the shameless been shamed? – activists noted the event, giddily titled “The Celebration!”, came with a $100,000 price-tag for a “Defender” package; then a $50K “Warrior,” $25K “Guardian,” $10K “Protector.” What they were celebrating: An atrocity of a SCOTUS ruling by a handful of Christian fanatics that’s left agonized ER doctors asking, “How much bleeding is too much?” and, “Do we wait until the fetus is definitely dead, or is mostly dead good enough?” At the scene of the crime, protesters greeted guests with furious chants of “Fuck Lindsey Graham” and “Blood On Your Hands.” It’s the least we can do.
Abby Zimet has written Common Dreams’ Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, she moved to the Maine woods in the early 70s, where she spent a dozen years building a house, hauling water and writing before moving to Portland. Having come of political age during the Vietnam War, she has long been involved in women’s, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues.