Arizona Abortion Law Hides Behind Disingenuous Racial ‘Justice’
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer yesterday signed a law making it a felony to perform abortions based on the fetus’ gender or race. This from the woman who backed a racist immigration law?
[Outraged New Yorkers got this vile billboard yanked.]
According to Brewer and her Republican colleagues, the law counters a trend of race and gender-based abortions, and doctors who perform such procedures should serve jail time.
Brewer’s spokesperson explains, “Governor Brewer believes society has a responsibility to protect its most vulnerable — the unborn — and this legislation is consistent with her strong pro-life track record.”
There are a few problems with this law. First, the invasion of privacy; as Bryan Howard from Planned Parenthood’s Arizona chapter points out, “This law creates a highly unusual requirement that women state publicly their reason for choosing to terminate a pregnancy — a private decision they already made with their physician, partner and family.”
More pressing than privacy, though, is that there doesn’t seem to be evidence that people are getting or performing abortions to curb a single gender or race.
“We can’t assume that an African-American woman or a Hispanic woman that gets an abortion is doing it because doesn’t want to give birth to a child of that ethnicity, or of a certain sex,” said Anjali Abraham of Arizona’s ACLU chapter.
Howard’s colleague at Planned Parenthood, Arizona policy director Michelle Steinberg, took the racial analysis further, contending the law demonizes certain women, “You’re painting them as either evil women intent on having an abortion or you’re a woman trying to manufacture black genocide.”
Arizona’s not the only place where race has been injected into the abortion debate: the anti-abortion group Live Action tried to shore up support by insisting Planned Parenthood was condoning race-based abortions, and the activists at Life Always recently erected a billboard in New York City that features a picture of a little black girl and an inflammatory assertion, “The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.”
Residents and activists were infuriated by the ad — Planned Parenthood called it “a condescending effort to stigmatize and shame African-American women” — and it was eventually taken down.
The racialized anti-abortion efforts, now codified in Arizona, justify their actions in the name of racial justice. They want to protect people of color, they claim, but are in fact creating a mythical “welfare queen” for the pro-life set, perpetuating a “we know best” attitude for entire populations.
Realizing they can’t create laws that end abortion entirely, these pro-lifers have fabricated a problem that needs to be righted, pulling on racial heartstrings to obscure their true intent.
While we’re all accustomed to politicians manipulating information and emotions for their own ends, these endeavors are more unseemly and disingenuous than usual, and become especially mendacious in Arizona, where Brewer and company hope to enact an immigration law that allows law enforcement to card anyone they think may be an illegal immigrant, which means anyone who doesn’t pass an immediate color test. Arizona supporters of this measure feign racial concern to justify one law, yet have no such concern when it comes to other legislation.
It’s truly flabbergasting, but not nearly as disgusting as the fact that Brewer and her allies can spout their alleged, totally self-serving empathy while keeping a straight face.