The GOP's crusade to punish women gains steam: Alabama is trying to make abortion illegal, without any exceptions whatsoever

It's the ballot referendum of Donald Trump's dark, twisted dreams: A (totally unconstitutional) ban on abortions

Published April 19, 2016 2:40AM (EDT)

The State Capitol, in Mongomery, Alabama.   (<a href=''>mj007</a> via <a href=''>Shutterstock</a>)
The State Capitol, in Mongomery, Alabama. (mj007 via Shutterstock)

Over the weekend, Ted Cruz responded to a question regarding his one-time support for banning the sale of dildos, vibrators and artificial vaginas in his home state of Texas. When asked whether he'd move to ban retail sales of sex toys if elected president, Cruz backpedaled:

“Look, of course not, it’s a ridiculous question, and of course not,” Cruz told Sliwa on Friday. “What people do in their own private time with themselves is their own business and it’s none of government’s business. [Via Steve Benen]

Great! So, the government shouldn't interfere with private, personal activities, says Mr. Cruz. Logically speaking, therefore, "private time" could include activities such as smoking marijuana, participating in a same-sex marriage, or, say, having an abortion. All of these activities occur during "private time," and Cruz clearly said "it's none of the government's business" what people do in that time.

Well, then, case closed.

Of course, Cruz doesn't really believe anyone should have the constitutional right to an abortion. The Republican Party's small government conservatism ceases to exist when they believe the private activity is a sin against God and his messianic offspring, Ronald Reagan. As the saying goes, Republicans believe government should be shrunken to a size just small enough where it can still lord over the privates lives of American women.

Such is the case in Alabama, where voters this November could be given the opportunity to ban (or not) all abortions, without exception, by the Alabama state legislature.

NBC News reports:

[T]he Personhood Amendment would allow Alabama voters to answer the question of whether or not life begins at conception through a referendum vote on the November ballot. If enacted as is, Williams says the bill will totally ban abortion at any time during pregnancy with no exceptions.

He does expect amendments to be added to the bill to address situations of pregnancy resulting from rape or pregnancies that pose life-threatening complications for the mother.

Yes, voters in Alabama, known for their obvious expertise in theology, fetal biology, gynecology and philosophy will have an opportunity to exercise their knowledge on those topics while voting in the November general election. This is not unlike asking voters whether, say, neutrinos make up the majority of interstellar dark matter, or whether neutrinos aren't involved because they generally move about the universe quickly and are therefore incapable of maintaining cohesion -- you make the call. Voters are absolutely not experts in such matters and therefore should be deferred to expert study and debate. Indeed, whether life begins at conception is a vastly complicated medical and ethical issue which is still being hotly contested by supremely educated experts with knowledge in embryonic development, as well as those with advanced degrees in theology. Banning abortions across the board because voters said so is ludicrous on its face, which is clearly why the Republicans want the referendum to be on the ballot.

Not only that, but it'll have the added bonus of driving up far-right evangelical turnout, which is always a bonus when the GOP is busily self-destructing with just months to go before the vote.

Mainly, though, classifying fertilized eggs as persons with full human rights protections would, de facto, criminalize women and doctors involved in abortions, which would have to be re-classified as homicide. If fetuses are people, with equal protection and constitutional rights, then killing fetuses is homicide. And in the case of the Alabama referendum, it'd be homicide without exception, even though there are legally mitigating circumstances even when it comes to killing a birthed human.

Once again, Donald Trump was right. Republicans absolutely want to punish women, and referendums like this are exactly how. In this case, Alabama voters, with zero expertise on the matter, will likely classify fetuses as people, and the courts will have no choice but to either overturn the law, or to prosecute those who abort these so-called people.

One last word of caution. If you're planning on not voting in the general because your Democratic presidential candidate of choice isn't on the presidential ballot, this is further proof that you're out of your mind. Likewise, we've all heard the excuse that red state Democrats have nothing to lose by staying home in protest since the Democratic nominee for president won't win there anyway. This is nothing short of mind-numbingly nearsighted, especially knowing how dozens of other federal, state and local contests, as well as referendums not unlike the one in Alabama, will appear on our ballots.

Staying home if Bernie Sanders isn't the nominee totally ignores the creeping GOP control over everything from the state legislatures, where voter ID laws are disenfranchising good people, and anti-LGBT laws are stripping citizens of their civil liberties; to school board elections, where Republicans continue to shoehorn religion and total fiction into public school curriculum and text books; to horrendously misogynistic ballot initiatives like the one in Alabama, dooming women to premature death or unjust incarceration. When they talk about political naivete and ignorance, this is exactly what they're talking about -- failing to see the rest of the ice berg due to a tunnel vision focus on the presidential tip as if it's the only thing. It's not.

By Bob Cesca

Bob Cesca is a regular contributor to Salon. He's also the host of "The Bob Cesca Show" podcast, and a weekly guest on both the "Stephanie Miller Show" and "Tell Me Everything with John Fugelsang." Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Contribute through LaterPay to support Bob's Salon articles -- all money donated goes directly to the writer.


Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Abortion Alabama Anti-choice Donald Trump Reproductive Justice Reproductive Rights Ted Cruz