Thursday, September 25, 2008

How Much Time Should She Do?

The How Much Time Should She Do? campaign is being run by NARAL Pro-Choice to highlight the extremist positions of John McCain and Sarah Palin by asking them: if you think that Roe vs. Wade should be over turned, how much time should a woman who has an illegal abortion serve in jail? After all, in many states abortion would become illegal automatically if Roe vs. Wade were to be overturned, and many others would move to outlaw the procedure very quickly after such a ruling.

The McCain campaign has responded by saying that it's preposterous to suggest that McCain wants to send women who have abortions to jail. But that leaves a pretty big question: why not? If a woman were to have an illegal abortion, she would be breaking the law. And the reason anti-choicers claim for wanting to outlaw abortion is that they believe it's "murder." Don't murderers go to jail?

What this campaign does is expose the truth behind anti-choice rhetoric. It's easier to be opposed to abortion personally and therefore want to legislate your views before thinking about the consequences. Some have argued that this campaign only heightens the rhetoric from anti-choicers, forcing them to propose a prison sentence, and is therefore dangerous. But personally, I have to ask -- what is wrong with anti-choicers heightening their rhetoric? Doesn't that only benefit us, by making the pro-choice side look far more reasonable -- which of course it is? I certainly think so. Many people want to "stop" abortion, without of course realizing that outlawing abortion doesn't stop it. A lot fewer people want to actually treat women like criminals, including particularly ardent anti-choicers:

One thing this video shows, in addition to the illogical nature of anti-choice arguments, is how very little those who oppose abortion actually think about the women who have them. How could one campaign to make abortion illegal for so long, without ever having thought about what might happen to women as a result? I'll let you draw your own conclusions there.

The How Much Time Should She Do? campaign does a few things:

1. It points out the extremism of the anti-choice view, including those held by public officials running for high offices.

2. It causes the viewer to think about the real consequences of outlawing abortion.

3. It brings the focus back to women, their health, and their well-being.

And I'd say there's a whole lot to like about that. We're never going to win the support of the most vehement abortion opponents. But the fight is for the hearts and minds of those whose views fall somewhere in between ours and theirs. Many people who oppose abortion do so because they're simply trying to do the right thing. I think it's about time we reframe what "the right thing" is, in a way that people who are uncomfortable with abortion can relate to.

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