I spent this afternoon cleaning out some closets in preparation for giving them a fresh coat of paint. You know how it is: things pile up, like sports equipment and camping gear and canned goods and cheap plastic dildoes that have developed unsavory discolored patches, and before you know it you have a cobweb-clotted mass of trash on your hands. So I went in with my fistful of papertowels and my Windex and my spider shoe, and after a couple of hours my closets were all clean and tidy. It was satisfying! I wish I’d done it sooner, but I have this tendency to let things pile up in my closets until things and closets are both past any use.
You know what’s not like a closet? My uterus.
More informed and pithy reproductive-rights bloggers have already gone to town on William Saletan, but this is just ridiculous. There is nothing controversial about “early,” just as there is nothing controversial–per se, anyway–in “safe,” “legal,” and “rare.” Nobody prefers later abortions to early ones; nobody who recognizes a woman’s right to choose believes that delay is a feature. “Early” is a problem for the exact same reason that those other three are. Given the choice between hurting women and permitting women to seek abortion, pro-life lobbyists will always choose to make women’s lives much harder.
Most women do not need several months to decide that they don’t want to be pregnant–in fact, many women make this decision before they actually get pregnant. Most women opt for earlier abortions. It’s safer, it’s less costly, and–most importantly–you don’t have all that fetus clutter to worry about when you have houseguests or need a place to store your toboggan. Really, why would you delay an important medical procedure that only becomes more difficult as time passes? Why would you keep an unwanted pregnancy longer than you had to? Anybody? Or maybe I’m reading him wrong–maybe he’s arguing that women should feel guilty about not working harder to secure earlier abortions?
Can Slate get a blogger who understands at least on some abstract logistical level what pregnancy means? Who doesn’t need to be told that there’s a difference between being pregnant for an extra few months and not? It was one thing to listen to Saletan nattering on about how pro-choice advocates really needed to incorporate the idea of choice into their moral arguments, but to hear him talk about abortion as though it’s something you can just put off indefinitely, no cost-benefit considerations involved? Like getting a wart frozen off your pinkie?
The only way anyone could attribute any natural resistance to “early” to women in general is through misogyny. You have to believe women are perverse or stupid, or you have to believe that women don’t have bodies, that there is no experiential component to pregnancy. You also have to believe that the debate is between two groups who both want the best for women. How do we know that’s just not true? Well, women have to delay medical treatment in order to make people like William Saletan feel better about themselves. The problem here is access. Dignity. Solve that problem–stop forcing women to make medical decisions based on political shibboleths–and Saletan’s new concern-troll toll bridge evaporates.