100 years ago, families were being torn apart by the scourge of alcoholism. The religious right’s answer was to prohibit alcohol, and it was a shit show of epic proportions. It made terrible men like Al Capone rich. It filled jails with otherwise law-abiding citizens. The resources needed to police this policy presented a heavy burden on the tax payer. The resulting wars between bootleggers resulted in innocent people getting injured or even killed in orgies of violence. Not to mention the scores of folks who were blinded or died as a result of drinking alcohol made by amateurs instead of professional distillers.
Now the religious right is galvanized by the prospect of prohibiting abortions. If they get their way, it will once again be an unmitigated disaster. A procedure that is done by medical professionals and is statistically safer than gall bladder surgery will be performed by amateurs and will be as dangerous as getting stabbed by a rusty knife. It will put money in the pockets of people who may be acting out of concern, or out of the prospect of easy money, but whom nonetheless should not be performing medical acts. It will fill our jails with middle aged midwives and desperate teens. And trying to police this policy will place an undue burden on the taxpayer on behalf of organizations that do not pay taxes. We know this because that’s what happened the last time abortion was summarily banned.
Let me just say that abortion is awful (I say this as someone who started life as an unwanted pregnancy). Any woman having an abortion is having a terrible day. Fortunately, we know how to reduce abortions. In places that teach comprehensive sex education and grant access to free birth control (like Scandinavian countries) the abortion rate is much lower than jurisdictions that teach abstinence and restrict sexual health facilities (like the Bible Belt).
One would think that the religious right would embrace these policies since they result in their stated goals. But no, that is not the case. That’s because this isn’t about protecting the unborn, it’s about policing “slutty” girls. It’s about making certain that women who spread their legs out of wedlock suffer penalties, and that the spectacle of a young girl’s life being ruined will send a message to other girls about the perils about having sexual agency.
Matthew 7:16-20 King James Version (KJV)
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
And yet, these people often turn a blind eye to their own initiatives. Such is the nature of cult dynamics.