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April 25, 2007

A Quick Confirmation and a Strategy Unmasked

On April 23, I opined that the next step in making abortion illegal at a national level would be when 'the five men now in  firm control of the abortion issue at the highest level of judicial review do what comes naturally to them: restrict the scope of abortion in the US by redefining how it can be restricted by criminal prosecution;' in other words, by simply extending the process of criminalization on a case by case basis, and thus redefining federal authority over the practice of Medicine. Little did I realize that the process was being impatiently advocated, even before those words had been written.  Katherine Parker's screed, which didn't appear as an  Op-Ed in the SF Chronicle until Monday, had already been published on a right wing website on Friday.

The impatience of anti-abortion forces to get into high gear betokens their long and successful practice of a simple generic technique they've used so successfully over the years to confound their liberal opposition: first define the moral high ground you plan to seize, and then claim it. Once a moral beach head has been occupied and controlled, preferably by an agency of the federal government, it can be expanded into a moral imperative as circumstances permit. 'Partial birth abortion' is a medically grotesque construction which most surgeons (other than right-to-lifers) would find both ludicrous and offensive, yet Parker adeptly turns the tables on their reality (and authority) by portraying standard medical terminology the same way.

It's a technique as old as the hills; consider the history of 'addiction' as a concept; always, a bit shameful and long considered a weakess, it had yet to be either studied or precisely defined by Medicine before it was successfully turned into a loathesome 'disease' with abstinence as only one acceptable outcome of treatment by SCOTUS decisions rendered on behalf of the Harrison Act prior to 1920. Amazingly, the Supreme's 'thinking' on addiction has not only stood the test of time; it has actually been greatly strengthened by drug war funding which has turned several federal agencies into tax-supported lobbyists for both criminal drug markets and the police deputized to 'uproot' them.    

In the most grotesque development of all, the expensive failure of any police agency to ever do so in lasting fashion is cited as 'proof' that a failing policy is essential: 'Just think of how bad things would under legalization!'

And so on...

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at April 25, 2007 05:24 PM