“Late term or even mid-term abortions are not frequent in Virginia or the country. The rationale for a 15-week ban is not to correct a terrible problem. It is to gain a foothold and gradually take away a woman’s right to choose.”
RICHMOND, VA – The Daily Progress Editorial Board recently penned an editorial letter concerning Governor Youngkin’s budgetary line item, which, if passed, will set aside money to imprison women who receive abortions under his hoped-for radical GOP ban on the procedure.
Opinions/Editorial: Abortion Bans Bring Legal Consequences
12/27/2022, by The Daily Progress Editorial Board
Tax dollars budgeted to imprison Virginians who violate new abortion restrictions in the state.
Could that happen here?
It already has.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin placed a $50,000 line item in his budget amendments soon to be considered by General Assembly. The money is designated for prisons which might need to enforce a new law supported by Youngkin. The law bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The governor’s spokeswoman says the money is just a technicality required for all newly proposed laws. It does not, she told the Washington Post, mean that women or doctors who violate the 15-week ban will be jailed.
Of course, nothing guarantees that going forward, future legislatures will forgo incarceration if Youngkin and other abortion opponents succeed in criminalizing the procedure in 2023. Think of it as mission creep among the forces of forced pregnancy.
The issue here is that the government dictates private healthcare decisions. Even an abortion ban that specifies no physical imprisonment likely comes with a public criminal record for those convicted of violation. That sanction represents a new “Scarlett Letter” as sexist and judgmental as the red “A” male leaders required Hester Prynne to wear in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel of two-faced misogyny.
It also does not matter that the latest available data show that in 2019, 97.5% of abortions in Virginia took place by 15 weeks of pregnancy. Of those, slightly more than half took place in the first six weeks. An additional 33.5% took place between weeks seven and nine.
Late term or even mid-term abortions are not frequent in Virginia or the country. The rationale for a 15-week ban is not to correct a terrible problem. It is to gain a foothold and gradually take away a woman’s right to choose. Fifteen-week bans give way to 12-week bans, which give way to six-week bans, and before you know it, abortions will be outlawed entirely.
And why do Youngkin and men who make up the majority of state legislatures get to make the call on the 15-week ban, plus any greater restrictions that might follow it?
Well, the men in United State Supreme Court decided that they should.
And why was that?
Well, the justices think state legislators and governors know better than the Constitution or individual women what is best for women’s personal health and families. This presumption is especially true for lawmakers professing Christian piety.
These Christian nationalist politicians likely include some folks who once sought the blessing of evangelical leaders like Jerry Falwell Jr., the son of the founder of the Moral Majority who reportedly liked to watch his wife have sex with other men. (Jerry Jr. denies that he ever watched.) Or maybe the pious pols looked for guidance to one of those Southern Baptist Convention leaders who stepped outside their marriages to sexually harass parishioners and staff. Don’t worry. There were just a few of them.
While setting aside seed money to deal with his hoped-for criminalization of abortion rights in Virginia, Youngkin will be pushing an agenda of reduced government regulation for multi-national corporations’ development in the state, because, you know, government interference gums up the process. Ditto for withdrawing from the regulatory regimen of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Ain’t no carpet-baggin’ tree huggers gonna tell the Old Dominion there’s a man-made climate change crisis to address.
No sir, supporters of small government such as Youngkin refuse to mandate vaccinations during a pandemic. They cut taxes on big businesses because those businesses deserve a break.
But women? Seems they just can’t be trusted with their own bodies, sex lives and healthcare. The ladies, you see, are the fairer sex. They must be taken care of, even though female students now make up more than half the students in U.S. medical schools. So let’s tell ‘em when they must have babies.
It’s time for Youngkin and the anti-abortion zealots to drop their hypocritical charade of male moral superiority, just like it’s time to grasp the legal consequences of abortion bans. The end game has always been the same, no matter where the restriction starts: Place control of women in the hands of men, just like the good old days.