You’ve probably already heard that if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade next month as expected, some 26 states are set to ban most abortions almost immediately, because they either have old pre-Roe bans still on the books, or because they’ve passed “trigger” bans that will become effective the moment the Court rules, if not when CNN misreports the news.
And while you might be worried about what the new legal hellscape will mean for reproductive health, women’s rights, and other constitutional protections, you may want to keep in mind that people who have been looking forward to the end of Roe also have a lot of concerns about what comes next. Like, for starters, how soon can they start executing people for performing or getting abortions?
See, we’re not so dissimilar, are we?
As Right Wing Watch reports, forced-birth advocates Stew Peters and Abby Johnson are very concerned about what’ll happen in the roughly half of states that are set to recriminalize abortion. You might remember Abby Johnson from her appearance at the 2020 Republican Convention; she’s the former Planned Parenthood director who says she suddenly became an anti-choice activist when her evil bosses told her to “sell” more ‘bortions and she saw, via ultrasound, a 13-week fetus recoil from getting aborted. She had a crappy movie made about her and everything! She told the story again at the 2020 RNC, because that’s her job now, even though journalists have pointed out it doesn’t really add up.
In any case, Johnson is now all in on the imminent criminalization of abortion, but she and Peters discussed the need to go far beyond simply outlawing the procedure that nearly a quarter of American women have by the time they’re 45. What good is outlawing abortion, they wondered, if you aren’t also killing people to make the point that you’re “pro-life”?
Here’s video of the conversation, from Peters’s internet chat show Tuesday; we were very impressed by the chyron reading “EXCLUSIVE: INSIDE PLANNED PARENTHOOD / THE UNDERBELLY OF THE SOROS PLAN TO KILL AMERICAN BABIES.” Because if you’re planning a campaign of Dominionist authoritarianism, you may as well throw in a little blood libel against Jews, too.
Johnson explained that she’s “a little afraid” that the outlawing of abortion won’t have any “teeth” behind it. Some states may ban abortion, sure, but “if there’s no criminal penalty behind procuring an abortion, you know, then so what?” She urged voters to find out what it would actually mean in their states when abortion is outlawed.
Peters didn’t need any prompting to jump right in: “It means that it’s murder. It’s murder.”
Johnson agreed: “If it’s murder, then it needs to be treated like murder.”
Fact check: from a legal standpoint, it’s only murder if a state statutes defines it as murder. Otherwise it’s a bumper sticker slogan.
While wingnut state legislators love introducing bills that would indeed impose the death penalty for abortion, none has passed, although that may change when Roe is gone. Louisiana Republicans are pushing a bill to treat abortion as “homicide,” although the bill as written doesn’t specify a penalty.
Peters was very excited about the prospects, if not particularly worried about trivial details like “passing laws,” because he’s on a mission from God:
PETERS: That’s right. We need a governor with the balls to stand up and say that: “I will bulldoze every single Planned Parenthood facility in my state. I will bulldoze any facility that facilitates this murder of unborn babies, preborn, real living people. I will make it a criminal offense to fund anybody that does this, and if you’re found out funding murder or carrying out murder, you will be executed. Period.” That’s what needs to happen.”
Fact Check: Planned Parenthood, as normal sane people know, is mostly in the business of providing a range of healthcare, including breast and cervical cancer screenings, sex education, STD testing and prevention, birth control, and other stuff women need, and also some men, and LGBT people use their services a lot also too. Not that any of that matters, bulldoze ’em!
Johnson went off on a tangent about how on earth could anyone see a difference between an eight-week fetus and a two-year-old child, because obviously they are exactly the same. It reminded me a bit of the fundamentalist view that real Christians must take the two stories of creation in Genesis literally, because it they’re only metaphors, then maybe everything else in the Bible is open to question too. Ya think?
So obviously, if life begins at conception, and a fertilized egg has all the rights of a two-year-old child, then anyone using an IUD is a serial killer, and anyone who performs abortions or prescribes some forms of birth control is Dr. Mengele.
JOHNSON: If we truly believe that abortion is murder, then we need to start acting like it.
PETERS: Abortion is murder, and those who carry it out should be executed. This is the most powerful prayer in recent history answered by God for the entire world to watch and witness and see his greatness, his glory, his power. This is a time that we all need to unite. We’re at war. This is a war.
Notice that throughout the conversation, both of them mostly talk as if they’d only want to execute abortion providers. Presumably they want a little plausible deniability when it comes to those who choose to have abortions, but it’s not difficult to see how they too might need a good killin’ to prove that abortion is murder. After all, those who “fund” abortion — George Soros, clearly — must be executed, so anyone who pays to have their pregnancy terminated would need to be made a lesson of, too.
Finally, the talk turned, as it so often does with True Believers, to the need for the cleansing fire of a literal war. Johnson’s all in on that:
JOHNSON: We went to war over slavery, right? Why? Because there was a group of people who were seen and treated as subhuman. And right now, in our country, there is a group of people who are seen and treated as subhuman. We are, in our society, at war, but maybe it means more than that.
And maybe it should. If there was ever a time, if there was ever an issue for us to actually go to war over—when this becomes illegal, and if these clinics try to remain open and kill these babies, then maybe direct action needs to take place. If there was ever an issue for us to stand up and say, ‘”this is something that we are willing to physically fight for,” this is it!
Gosh, wonder if anyone in the class can point out any significant differences between people who were held in slavery and a zygote? We’re certain Johnson thinks it’s a very ennobling comparison, at least for the holy fetuses. We have little hope that she’d recognize how deeply insulting the comparison is, since it suggests that enslaved people were helpless not-quite-humans who needed the benevolent help of real adults to be rescued. There’s always a white savior narrative, isn’t there?
We can talk a bit more about the appropriateness of that metaphor further, just as soon as the 54th Massachusetts Fetus Regiment marches into battle. But we suppose it’s a bit mean of us to expect Johnson to consider African Americans really truly people, given her own contention that it’s logical for her adopted Black son to be racially profiled, since after all, she explained, Black people really do commit lots of crimes.
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