Links and Comments: Abortion, and Mayor Pete

Here’s a transcript of a portion of an interview with Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who ran for the Democratic nomination for president earlier this year. This transcript has been floating around for months, and when I saw it today on Facebook I decided to capture it and link it here. This is an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace.

Conservatives on abortion (as on so much else) are always black and white – simplex. (Womb to tomb, as if a just-fertilized zygote is the equivalent of a full-grown human being.) Reality is almost always more complex. Mayor Pete is a smart guy and seems to be good at skewering the simplex claims of his political opponents, as here:

The Guardian: ‘Slayer Pete’: Buttigieg emerges as Biden’s unlikely Fox News fighter

This has several more examples of Buttigieg responding to conservative arguments. I’ll quote just one.

When Fox host Steve Doocy tried to hit Biden for declining to debate Trump in person in the aftermath of Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis, Buttigieg deftly turned the tables.

“It’s too bad,” he said. “I don’t know why the president’s afraid to debate. All of us have had to get used to a virtual format. Parents are having to deal with e-learning, which is not what we’re used to. We’re having to take meetings over Zoom. It’s not something I think most of us enjoy, but it’s a safety measure.

“I think part of why the US is badly behind the rest of the developed world on dealing with the pandemic is because every time there’s been a choice between doing something in a way that’s more safe or less safe, this president seems to push for less safe.”

As I alluded in a previous post, I think even if Republicans get their way, installing another conservative justice on the Supreme Court, and rushing to do so because all the evangelicals who’ve supported Trump have done so for a primary reason of packing the Supreme Court with conservatives who will overturn Roe v. Wade (they feign innocence in these hearings —

Amy Coney Barrett’s hearing is a disgusting spectacle of GOP dishonesty

Every Republican in that room shares a determination to pack the courts with as many far-right judges as possible, to move American law in a radically more conservative direction. Yet they pretend that they find the very idea of politics coming into play in any judicial decision terribly offensive to their high-minded ideals about the proper role of the judiciary.

Is it any wonder that a party so spectacularly dishonest from top to bottom chose President Trump as its champion?

— even though it’s obvious that they nominated this judge, and not, say, letting Merrick Garland proceed to hearings, precisely to overturn Roe v Wade, not to mention Obergefell v. Hodges and any number of other progressive decisions) it will actually not matter much.

You can’t turn back the pages of history. (The moral arc.) Repealing Roe v. Wade wouldn’t actually change much. The red states have already reduced access to abortions to the point of non-existence. If Roe falls, it remains for the states to allow or disallow the procedure, and the blue states will continue to allow it. Pregnant women, including those in dire straits as described by Pete, will simply need to travel to blue states to get the procedure when they feel it’s necessary. Those who can’t, poor women in the red states, will be obliged to bear the children and live in poverty, because, again, conservatives resist social service programs, and sex education, and contraception, all of which might reduce the rate of unwanted pregnancies, and thus abortions, in the first place.

But when unwanted pregnancies occur, women throughout history have always found ways to take care of them. The issue is whether it’s done in back alleys, or in clean clinics.

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