Friday, March 10, 2006

Buying the Abortion Cow

I’m not sure if some celestial event has thrown our mental alignment out of whack, or if maybe my tinfoil hat has finally succeeded in foiling his brainwave reader; but in a freak occurrence, I find myself in disagreement with Digby.  He writes about a recent bill which would allow insurance companies to refuse to pay for contraceptives; and theorizes that this is the beginning of the end for abortion rights.  And just as the NRA can push any boundary and keep winning, Digby suggests that abortion won’t be the last stand, but that they’ll keep pushing us back to Griswold and worse.  

And sorry, but I'm just not buying it.  The GOP helping out insurance companies, I buy.  The GOP giving away the store on the abortion issue, I'm not so sure about.  The NRA issue is different, as there is always another gun law to complain about (I believe that D.C.’s cause them great consternation).  But once Roe is gone and they get their abortion laws, they've lost a big vote getter.  And Griswold most certainly does not have the emotional appeal or the voter support.  (Picture angry pro-lifers holding giant posters of birth control pills and contraceptive sponges, and you’ll see what I mean.)  They'd be fools to overturn Roe, but they'd be braindead to seriously attempt to overturn Griswold.  I could see them bitching about it, I suppose; but voters couldn’t kick them out fast enough if they tried to openly run on an anti-contraceptive ticket.

And the GOP leadership isn't worried about "shrill" pro-choicers.  They're worried about evangelicals who don't need to save the unborn babies and stop voting.  And they're worried about the financial support that pro-choice oriented people will throw around to get rid of anti-abortion pols.  And they're worried about the fact that a majority of people are against abortion laws.  And most of all, they're worried about the media elites who lean Republican, but are certainly pro-choice.  The media loves down-home Republicans, tough-guy terrorist-fighting, and won't complain about the taxcuts that fatten their wallets; but I suspect that abortion is an area they'll still get pissed about.  Not Jim Brady anti-blogger pissed; but still pretty pissed.  As it is, they see the GOP’s anti-abortion stance as being part of that kitschy down-homey religion kind of thing that they like to admire so much from their elitist perches; and probably view it much the same way that I portray it, as a cheap vote-getter that won’t get past the speech stage.  Overall, the media just doesn’t see Republicans as being the danger that they really are, and think that liberals are over-reacting when we talk about this stuff.  But I suspect that all that would change, were the GOP to make a bold move to ban abortion; and the journalists would be far less likely to use the kid gloves on them much longer.  

Overall, while I’m sure that many Republicans are serious about overturning Roe, including many politicians, I don't see how Rove could be dumb enough to let them do it.  I posted recently about a Republican pollster (who blogs for NRO, btw) who complained about South Dakota’s recent anti-abortion law, basically saying that it went too far because it was too bold and validated the pro-choicers’ claims.  And I agree completely.  The GOP leadership wants to push “partial-birth abortion” bans, parental notification laws, and other such wedge issues.  Those make for good politics and make them look like moderates fighting a good fight against extremists who support egregious practices.  Plus, it fools the evangelicals into thinking that they’re doing something about abortion (whenever I use this argument against conservatives, they always cite the partial-birth abortion laws as proof that I’m wrong).  

But they don’t want to give away the whole enchilada.  They’ve got a good thing going.  And if they see the end of their reign nearing, the last thing they’d do is give-up one of the main issues that got them ahead in the first place.  In fact, it’s much easier to run on an anti-abortion platform when you’re not in a position to do anything about it.  The same goes for the rest of the Republican Fantasyland platform; easy to run-on, hard to implement.  They might talk about banning it, and they might give their insurance contributors a nice reward; but I don’t see them banning the whole thing.  If anything, their rhetoric is designed to move people deeper into the “pro-life” category, so as to increase their base.  But even that has its limits, as they require enough Democratic opposition to keep things interesting.  After all, there’s no advantage to being a pro-life candidate if everyone else is pro-life too.

As for the insurance companies, I'm not sure at all why they'd want to do this, as birth control must surely be cheaper than birth, right?  That's why they'll pay to have a woman’s tubes tied, but won't pay to untie them.  Perhaps there’s some element of this that I’m missing.  But whatever it is, I do think that this is mainly to please the insurance companies, while tossing a free bone to the base; and that this isn’t part of some grand plan to outlaw birth control.

1 comment:

virgil said...

I wonder if they might not go after Griswald instead of Roe/Casey. Go after the inherent right to privacy provision of Griswald, that is. That question was given a good chunck of Theater Space during Roberts, and Alito's confirmations, and would be useful in justifying all kinds of Security Industrial Complex shenanigans. I think you're spot on in your reasoning on abortion, getting rid of the antiabortion cause is like taking the glue out of particle board, all you're left with is dust.