Friday, April 20

Abortion & Congress

Skimming a progressive group blog, I read a post titled: "Why Democrats Need to Stop Relying on the Judiciary: Abortion and the Supreme Court."

I didn't read it, but I presume it suggests taking the fight to the legislature.


I'm against that for the 110th & 111th congresses.


It's hard for me to say it, because abortion decisionmaking was one of the first "this is an area appropriate for a 'small government' policy" beliefs I settled into as a kid/teen.

It's also hard to say it because we're talking about lives here. People will end up wheelchair-bound in nursing homes instead of at home raising their other kids because they were forced to have a C-section late-term abortion (very dangerous) instead of a dialate & extract abortion (not nearly as dangerous).

What's more, it's "those people"--the ones I barely know--the ones outside my class--who won't be able to fly to Timbuktu, Canada and get the procedure done. It's rather unconscionable for me to say, "Let's not focus on those policies for now!" when my judgment might be clouded by ethnocentrism and blindness to other social groups.


Nevertheless, I see two scenarios, both addressing the issue of lives:

  1. We spend a whole lot of legislative floor & committee time talking about sex legislation & get just rules passed.

    However, the rest of the time goes to "business as usual," which is all sorts of deals for huge businesses and unenvironmental / unjust trade.

    10 years later, everything is the same as it was in the 80's and early 90's, and people, not having really seen drastic results from a new world, hold their same views and bring the sex legislation debates right back where they are now.


  2. We spend a whole lot of legislative floor & committee time talking about
    • getting rid of (or at least capping at low levels!) agribusiness subsidies,
    • passing laws that say Monsanto can't sue & destroy small organic farmers for accidentally growing genetically modified corn that they didn't want in the first place (it blew into their fields),
    • introducing major green taxes and social cost internalization incentives (maybe we'll finally get electric cars back from the big companies! Or, at the very least, we'll stop having year-round peaches everywhere in the country),
    • reducing the military budget, increasing police, nature maintenance staff & supplies, education, quality-instead-of-shitty psychiatric care, etc. budgets tenfold (or something...at least double!),
    • rolling back super-wealthy-person tax cuts,
    • taking David Smith's advice on affordable housing policy at a federal level,
    • increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit program,
    • and even considering new tax schemes (I haven't made up my mind on "Fair Taxes" yet)
    and get many or all of these just reforms passed.

    However, the rest of the time goes to "business as usual," which is all sorts of deals for huge businesses and unenvironmental / unjust trade.

    This time, though, the legislation we passed directly limits and goes against "business as usual" and cripples its ability to happen in the future. Plus, we'll be doing something unprecedented, so there won't be nearly as much prejudice against it among the common person, and it the changes will actually have a chance to do something. Imagine Pres. Johnson's "Great Society" reforms without the riots over them not really doing much1 (because this time, the reforms make more sense). This national legislative focus has a much better chance to turn people into progressives and make them demand a different kind of "usual" for "business as usual" than a sex-based national legislative focus.

    Heck, once that happens, they might even demand progressive sex legislation.

    But I'm utterly convinced that progressive sex legislation isn't going to change people's worlds enough to make them demand progressive economic legislation.

Footnotes:
1 I don't quite agree with that explanation of the riots, but I've heard it said a lot, so it seemed quoteable.

1 comment:

the nut said...

I recently saw the perfect rebuttal to the Supreme's decision here (scroll down to "Best letter to the editor). Something tells me you would like it, too.

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