Irin Carmon rightly notes that conservative commentators will condemn with just about any proposal involving Michelle Obama. The latest controversy is the Obama administration’s recent efforts to encourage, promote and facilitate breastfeeding, especially Michelle Obama’s advocacy as part of her anti-obesity campaign. I just want to chime in because this is such a perfectly beautiful example of how, if rightwingers were true to the values they’re so happy to shove down our throats, they would act very differently.
One of the recent changes is that the IRS has classified breast pumps and other lactation-related supplies as medical supplies, which means families may use their HSAs to purchase these things. The result is that new mothers who have decided to breastfeed can use their own money to buy breast pumps and supplies and receive a slight tax deduction for these purchases. As Big Government interventions go, this sounds pretty innocuous, right? Not overly intrusive? Not spending a lot of the taxpayers’ money? Not doing anything to hurt non-nursing moms and their partners? According to certain much-trumpeted conservative values, this should be seen as a really great idea. I should elaborate, you say?
Sullivan points us to George Packer, who gives us this fabulous gem from Newt Gingrich:
Yesterday Newt Gingrich outlined the Republican strategy going forward, saying that the Democrats “will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for forty years” by signing civil rights into law.
Packer goes on to explain how this is a wholly inadequate comparison, so I won’t go any deeper than this:
He said WHAT about Lyndon Johnson and the Civil Rights Act?
Does he really want to compare health care reform to civil rights as if this is something that makes the Republican party look GOOD? Does he really want to remind everyone of how the GOP benefited from supporting segregation and racial oppression?
Good work, Newt. Keep on doing what you’re doing; keep on showing us how you’re not just a cynical, bigoted asshole, you’re also a stupid asshole.
It appears that She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Given-More-Attention is enjoying the sound of her own voice on Facebook again, this time to promote the March for Life and shoot her mouth off about how the pro-life movement is so very empowering to women. I won’t name names, as this is SWMNBGMA, after all, and I won’t provide a link for the same reason. We need to ignore this woman. She leases far too much space in our national consciousness as it is. So I won’t contribute to her page hits, but I will shoot my own mouth off on the subject.
Perhaps because its leaders cottoned on to the fact that telling women to suck it up and suffer their lot made them look like ogres, the pro-life movement has been billing itself for some years now as pro-woman, and framing abortion as something dangerous, traumatizing and uncaring to the women who suffer through it.
Sikivu Hutchinson writes at The New Humanism:
There has been very little national discussion of how women of color will specifically be affected by draconian restrictions on abortion in the health care bills’ mandated insurance exchanges. At approximately 6% of the U.S. population, African American women have a disproportionate number of abortions.
However, skyrocketing numbers of black children who are homeless, in foster care and/or Child Protective Services illustrate the gravity of caregiving issues facing many African American families. And black abortion foes offer no viable program for addressing this moral and social crisis. They offer no viable program for the dilemma of an 18 year-old who had her first child at age 12. They’re MIA when it comes to concrete assessment of how this 18 year-old (multiplied by 10,000) raising her second child by an incarcerated older man, develops parenting skills, deals with anger management, gets an education, gets a job, finds health care resources, puts food on the table and grapples with the probability of being a single mother for the rest of her life.
These are necessary points, but at the risk of sounding callous, they shouldn’t come as a surprise. The discrepancy comes down to a fundamental difference in how pro-choicers vs. pro-lifers approach the issue of abortion rights.