Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Sunday, November 21, 2004


I haven't read Thomas Frank's book about the trouble in Kansas because I don't like Thomas Frank's writing -- his style is dry snobbery, which is ironic, because he can get things wrong. He wrote some byzantine piece for Harper's about the trash trash trashiness of pop music, and how unjust it was that his talented friend failed to strike it rich with his ironic version of the stuff. Yucko, on several levels. Keep your uncomprehending condescension to yourself, please.

Another, infinitely more consequential thing Frank gets wrong, according to the myriad mostly glowing and uncritical reports I've read of his new Kansas book: Frank says that the plutocrats who run the fanatic Christianist and plutocratic Republican Party never deliver on the abortion issue. Not true. According to this web site, "86% of US counties and 95% of rural counties do not have an abortion provider. This means that many women must drive hours and even cross state-lines to obtain an abortion." Myriad legal restrictions have been placed on abortion as well, and the number of ob/gyn's willing to do it has been shrinking and shrinking. The Christianists are getting what they want, little by little.

Maybe Frank addresses this, but from what I've read, people seem to take his thesis straight up and agree with it.

Anti-abortionists claim traditional morality, but they're freaky radicals. No society that I've ever heard of celebrates conception. (Well, sure, maybe a cigarette -- but at that point whether conception has occurred is still unknown.) People celebrate birth. People attain legal driving age, voting age, and drinking age based on the anniversary of their birth, not their conception. The census taker counts live humans, not live humans and fetuses. This is the way it has always been.

But who care’s who’s radical and who’s traditional -- what pisses me off is this. If Christopher Hitchens and the various Christianists were serious about the idea that abortion is murder, they would put a lot of energy and money into promoting contraception. But they don't. It's a war against sex.

Guess who’s winning. S-E-X.

Women pay the consequences of unwanted pregnancies, whether they have the abortion or carry the child to term, whether they give the child up for adoption or raise the child on their own. Some new Republican Congressman has said that single mothers should be barred from teaching in the public schools. He hasn't advocated the banning of absentee deadbeat fathers from public sector jobs.

It's a war against women.

As many people have said, and everybody should hear, the pro-zygote brigades think a rape victim should have to bear her rapist’s child -- even if bearing the child kills her. Thomas Frank apparently thinks the Bush Administration isn't going to “deliver” on this issue. I'm quite sure that if he's wrong, it will only be because of the filibustering powers of the Senate Democrats, but I hope Thomas Frank is right.

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