Roe v. Wade at 38, or Cal Thomas talks out his ass again

January 22, 2011 at 4:10 pm (Uncategorized)

Today is the 38th anniversary of the historic Roe v. Wade decision, which gave women the right to abortion. So how does my local newspaper mark the day? By running an op-ed by hardline right-wing conservative Cal Thomas, who compares abortion to slavery (yes, really) and child abuse, pontificates that fetuses have an “unalienable right to live”, and laments “50 million regrets”:

On Jan. 22, the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, think of it this way: 50 million branches of family trees cut off; 50 million regrets over what might have been; 50 million babies who could have brought joy out of sadness and a future that might have contributed substantially to the human race, snuffed out at the beginning of their lives.

Woe! 50 million innocent (and probably white – this is Cal Thomas, after all) smiley babies snuffed out. They might have cured cancer! Or solved poverty! Or something! And they were all healthy and perfect and aren’t here solely because of selfish, callous women who weren’t content to accept their God-ordained role as silent incubators!

…Yeah. But let’s take a closer look at that angst-inducing figure. Of those 50 million abortions Thomas agonizes over, how many of them were of severely deformed fetuses who wouldn’t have survived more than days or minutes outside the womb? How many were to women who would have died had they continued that pregnancy (and more than likely taken Babby with them, resulting in at least two deaths)? How many were to victims of rape and incest? How many were to women who were doing everything they could to prevent becoming pregnant, but those efforts failed? How many were to women who already had at least one child already and couldn’t afford another (hint: around 60%, which means those “family trees” weren’t exactly snuffed out of existence)? How many were to poor and/or minority women (groups to whom Thomas is not noted for his empathy or concern)?

I’d like to know how many times Cal Thomas has been pregnant. I’m guessing “none”, in which case he’s hardly qualified to wax grandiose on the glorious miracle of unplanned pregnancy. He’s never looked at that little stick reading “positive” and thought, “Oh, shit“, never seen his world and all his plans for his life come crashing down around him because the condom broke or the pill stopped working. He’s never had to realize that he’s working two jobs to feed the kids he has and he can’t feed another one. He’s never had to put his life at risk by carrying a fetus for several months, never had to deal with preeclampsia, toxemia, gestational diabetes, pulmonary hypertension, or any of the other potentially deadly complications that can arise in any pregnancy. He’s never had to see the horror on the ultrasound and realize that the cuddly baby he’d hoped to hold in his arms in a few months will instead only live a few short days in constant agony or else require untold surgeries and round-the-clock care for the rest of its life. He’s never had to deal with one violent takeover of his body being followed by another, longer one, never had to be confronted with a daily reminder of pain and hatred. And he’s never been told that the “right to live” of a blob of cells that can’t survive outside its host supersedes his own right to have control over his own body. In short, he knows not whereof he speaks and should shut the fuck up.

So let’s flip Thomas’s wail around into something more realistic:

On Jan. 22, the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, think of it this way: 50 million women who weren’t sent into the single-motherhood spiral of poverty; 50 million women alive today because they could safely end a pregnancy that was killing them; 50 million babies who wouldn’t have served as a daily reminder of the violence and abuse that begat them, and who didn’t become victims of violence and abuse in their turn; 50 million parents who didn’t have to suffer the heartbreak of watching their severely deformed newborn die in agony; 50 million children who didn’t have to come into the world unwanted; 50 million women who didn’t have to risk death or maiming at the hands of a back-alley abortionist; 50 million women who were able to change the world because they weren’t tied down to having unwanted children.

There. Fixed it.

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1 Comment

  1. Dani Alexis said,

    This post is made of win.

    I had to slap down a fundie on another blog I read today. We were discussing Exodus 12 and 13 (said blog is a collaborative attempt to read the entire Bible in a year), and someone mentioned that the whole “killing of the firstborn” thing is pretty awful. Said fundie (I assume, based on his nonsense interpretation of Ch. 12) was all “yeah, well, you know what happened today in 1973? That was a slaughter of babies too, but some people think that was good.”

    I was all “whoa, fucker” (not in those terms). I’m here because my mother could get a safe, legal abortion. I would NOT EXIST if she’d been forced to carry that fetus to term, and neither would SHE. So, yeah, I AM grateful that women can choose to live to fight, and maybe have kids, another day. That is NOT THE SAME THING as arbitrarily knocking off all the firstborns because someone has a bug up His celestial ass. Not at all.

    That said, I’m also amused by Cal Thomas’s branches lopped off the family tree. Because guess whose family tree would have been cut off at the root if I’d never been born? My father’s, that’s who. (And, as we all know, that’s the only one that REALLY matters, right? Women being just curvy incubators and all.) šŸ˜›

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