The conservative choice

I haven’t used this site as a dump. The posts on here have all had some sort of structure, editing, thought. It’s a damn diary, Carol. It contains multitudes. Messy multitudes. Even the posts about baseball feel forced. I would love to just rave about how the Mets trounced the Phillies in the top of the ninth, but of course I have to go on Baseball Reference and find statistics and get the players’ names right for folks who might not know what I’m talking about. Also: Correct grammar? Once upon a time, perhaps. These days, I have no time. I’m too old. I ain’t worried about it.

Yesterday I had the misfortune of seeing a tweet from Andrew Sullivan the once-famous blogging maven behind The Daily Dish which said “Why can’t we all just figure out the abortion issue and get along” in so many words. It linked to his article which embellished more on the topic, so I gave the article a scroll and found myself not impressed. So I responded to Sully saying “There’s only one way this country can come together over the abortion issue” without actually saying what that one way was, because I feel it’s obvious. Abortion access now, bodily autonomy now, and so on. Sully responded, verbatim: “The trouble is that there are two bodies involved.”

Ohhhh Jesus, honey, you’d think a nuclear bomb went off in my phone. I haven’t muted the notifications because I love the chaos, but from 2:30 in the afternoon to right this moment I’ve seen my mentions fill up with splinter conversations spun off from Sully’s response. It’s the first time I’ve ever been on one end of an inverse ratio. The likes on my tweet are equal to the responses on Sully’s tweet, and vice versa. Does that make sense? It makes sense to me.

Now to get to the point: One of these splinter conversations began as an argument on whether or not an embryo is a human and went into a tangent on whether or not abortion is a “conservative choice”. Essentially, the right-leaning party of the talk said that when faced between moral absolutes – extreme restrictions on abortion and extreme pro-abortion activism – voters will tend to support conservatism. They didn’t mention what conservatism looked like in the lens of the abortion argument, but if you know the news, you know what conservatives and anyone on the right thinks about abortion.

But this got me thinking, which as anyone knows is a dangerous pastime. For so long, abortion has been tied to the left. It’s been marked as a socially liberal talking point. But what if we looked at abortion access as something conservative? (Stay with me now! I know! White man talks about a subject he knows nothing about and shouldn’t even be touching! He’s gonna introduce lots of logical fallacies! Just roll with it!)

Now, I know that it would take more time and words than I have available to get deep into conservatism. But here’s how I see it: Do you want to save money? Do you have some kind of moral code? Mazel tov: You’ve got some conservative blood in you. My friend on Twitter who was speaking about “the conservative choice” says that conservative means “valuing the things closer to you (family, religious community, country) more than abstract values such as human rights or equality.” They say that “a conservative promises to protect the particular and a liberal aims to reach for the universal.” For that reason, they say, folks would rather choose the right-wing option because they feel it pertains more to their own personal needs rather than putting them aside for the sake of the greater good.

But I have to wonder if pulling the rug out from abortion access is protecting the particular. Abortion access, whether people who need it have it or not, is both a universal and individual issue. Take it away and folks who become pregnant against their wishes will find themselves forced to spend a lot of money and undergo such mental anguish for a child they don’t want. Leave it in place and you have a nation where folks have the option to abort, save themselves some money, and keep a little bit of their soul intact. Not to say that abortion is easy, but it certainly provides a little more relief than unhappily having to carry something around in your womb for nine months.

Then consider the bigger picture of whether or not abortion is a conservative issue. Sure, if the country left abortion access up to the states, and the states didn’t want to fund it, then that’s fiscal conservatism. But consider the other ways states would spend money in order to prohibit abortions. Look at Louisiana, look at Missouri, look at all of the states that want to really enforce their anti-abortion legislation. How much money does that cost? How much money do these states give to their police and agents of enforcement? It seems like it costs peanuts to keep abortion access alive compared to the cop budgets of some states. And with regards to the social issue: Sure, it’s conservative – hell, fascist – to prohibit abortions and tell someone what they can or can’t do with their bodies. But is it really moral to strip away the rights of the living for the sake of something that hasn’t seen daylight? Isn’t it more of a conservative option to save a life instead of slowly kill it?

I know a lot of this doesn’t make sense, and I’m kind of just throwing out talking points here, but I’m a little tired of the idea that abortion access is some wild left-wing psychotic policy. We’ve had abortion access in America for decades now, and while it may not be codified, there’s no reason for it to disappear. It’s the conservative choice to keep abortion access alive and well in this country, because hell, the Overton window’s been dragged too damn far to the fascist right, and anything that once seemed left-wing or even centrist is now in the playground of the sorta right. It sucks, but it’s nothing that we can’t change.

It’s a real crappy day here in New York. Rainy, fifty degrees, wind blowing everything everywhere. I’m betting on no baseball today. The Mets and Phillies will have to find time to make up another game.

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