Pin It

Friday, March 26, 2010

Senate votes to criminalize 'coerced abortions'

Picture 13

What, exactly, is a "coerced abortion?" Well, according to a conspiracy theory-cum-marketing campaign bankrolled by the anti-abortion Georgia Right to Life, it's when a black woman is duped into ending her pregnancy by evil forces that want to exterminate minorities.

That may sound far-fetched, but GRTL has poured more than $20,000 into plastering Atlanta's neighborhoods with billboards claiming "Black children are an endangered species," and directing them to a website,, that lays out the "dark legacy" of race-based eugenics in America, as practiced by such nefarious groups as Planned Parenthood.

In fact, the website has a whole dog-and-pony show devoted to Margaret Sanger, the birth-control advocate who founded the organization that eventually became Planned Parenthood. The site uses a number of 70- and 80-year-old excerpts from Sanger's voluminous speeches and writings — which use un-PC terminology typical of the era — to suggest that she advocated abortion in the cause of racial purity.

Now, by current standards, many of Sanger's ideas regarding selective breeding, immigration and, yes, racial equality, are dated, ill-informed and even abhorrent. But Sanger's legacy today is primarily based on her then-pioneering idea that women should control their own reproductive freedom through the widespread legalization and availability of contraceptives. Despite what the GRTL tries to suggest, Sanger was not a proponent of abortion — coerced or otherwise.

Which brings us back to the Senate, where a bunch of white, male Republicans just voted to pass SB 529, as described in a Senate press release:

The bill defines the offenses of a criminal abortion to be when a person performs an abortion with the knowledge that a pregnant woman is being coerced, with the intent to have an abortion based on race, color or gender, or with the knowledge that a pregnant woman is seeking an abortion based on race, color or gender.  The bill also allows women to recover civil damages if they receive such an abortion, and ensures that they would not be held criminally responsible.

One of the many, many ironies here is that the same guys who decry "hate crime" legislation now seem to believe the government should try to discern the reasons a woman got an abortion.

But, of course, this isn't about philosophical consistency; it's about erecting another barrier to legal abortion. It's impossible to know whether this bill, if it were to become law, would even be enforceable, but it's undoubtedly intended to scare abortion providers with the prospect of hard time in an effort to push them into another line of work.

UPDATE: I hear from a very good source that this bill doesn't stand a hope in hell with the House leadership.

Tags: , , , ,

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Latest in Fresh Loaf

Search Events

Search Fresh Loaf

Recent Comments

© 2014 Creative Loafing Atlanta
Powered by Foundation