Monday, July 5

Will Someone Please Knock William Saletan Up Already?

William Saletan, "When Kagan Played Doctor: Elena Kagan's partial-birth abortion scandal". July 3

ONE More Time: it's not the human capacity for lying that surprises me. Nor even the borderline religious fervor with with it's carried out in the public press these days (like Oscar Levant, who knew Doris Day before she became a virgin, I'm old enough to remember the Press before it was liberal). Instead it's the sad, if not wholly unexpected, recognition that we've raised an entire generation of Americans who think "Lies" and "(Begrudged) Facts" are the two sides every argument is supposed to have, and are therefore entitled to equal amounts of our attention. Or else they're lying about it.

Take that title. Please. Within a few paragraphs we'll be allowing as how Kagan didn't "play doctor"--that is, she neither gave nor altered any medical advice--and by this time we'll have dispensed with the "scandal" bit, albeit inadvertently.

And by the half-way point Saletan will be lecturing the rest of us on what is and isn't science--but that partial-birth abortion routine will remain, cocked and loaded.

So let's start there, and let's begin by saying I Don't Fucking Care. The suggestion that an entire Collegeworth of physician specialists is in on a game to crush the Life out of viable fetuses twenty-four hours before delivery, on the grounds that doing so "before" "birth" obviates a moral dilemma over Killing a Child--and all in the name of earning a few bucks--is not merely beyond the pale; it's beyond fucking tin foil. If unchecked physicians regularly behave in a way we're more accustomed to seeing in tom cats, political operatives, and oil company executives then we're in much bigger trouble than this.

And, shit, we probably are, but that's in no small part because, somehow, believing that you can crunch the bones and quaff the bodily fluids of a 2000-year-old carpenter of whom there's not one jot of evidence apparently not only gives you some divine corner on the Cosmic Right and Wrong market, it gives you the right to tell everyone else to shut up.

I Don't Fucking Care. I don't know whether D&E was, or is, overtly or cryptically, considered no better or worse than alternative methods. God, you should pardon the expression, Knows I've heard the opposite often enough. Dunno if that was considered true in 1996 and not now, or if it still goes. I Don't Fucking Care. It's between a woman and her health-care provider. Not between a woman, her health-care provider, and some lyin'-ass columnist who styles himself the last word in Compromise on the subject (that last word--please remain seated!--being "Everyone should just agree with me"). I'm gonna just go out on a limb and say that if D&E is, I mean was a regularly-selected method for late-term abortions it's because that was considered medically indicated, and not because the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Satan & Partners, LLC.

Of course it's probably enough to note that Saletan's sources on the right are The National Review,, the Media Research Center, and the "respected conservative blog" Power Line. (Is it not enough evidence of what we've become to note that calling something a "respected conservative blog" is enough reason to disrespect it?) But then let's have a look at how the faux balance thing plays out. Kagan, who, we remind you, at worst got the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to agree to political wording in a political document designed not to cause one single D&E to be performed, but merely to preserve the option of doing so in furtherance of a woman's Constitutional rights and a doctor's medical judgement, a political document necessitated by the wholly emotional, phony PR campaign rhetoric of the opponents of those rights, is, according to Saletan:
being cynical about it. "There was no way in which I would have or could have intervened with ACOG, which is a respected body of physicians, to get it to change its medical views," she told senators on Wednesday. With this clever phrasing, she obscured the truth: By reframing ACOG's judgments, she altered their political effect as surely as if she had changed them.

While the gang at the National Review, et. al.:
are being naive about the relationship between science and politics

Not, mind you, cynical; not judged in the light of the previous administration's gaming climate science at NASA, or urging we "teach the controversy" over settled 19th-century biology, or, well, its crocodilian concern over partial-birth abortion. Nope. Just poor shorn lambs huddled together in a cold wind and not quite understanding where it comes from.

And this despite the fact that one side is either telling the truth or fudging it, while the other is continuing a forty-year jamboree of lying its ass off in pursuit of enforcing its own version of morality over common sense. And some guy who can't tell the difference has appointed himself referee?


nanute said...

Next thing you know they'll be going after her for being a Jew. Oh wait...Senator Graham, (R) Closet, asked her what she was doing on Christmas.

J Neo Marvin said...

I can hardly wait to tune in Hardball, where Saletan will be Matthews' very special guest, and the two of them will talk Very Sincerely about this Terribly Troubling Issue.

zuzu said...

After Dr. Tiller was murdered, there was an outpouring of support from women whom he'd helped. Every one of them faced a heartwrenching decision to end a wanted pregnancy: in some cases, it was their life or that of their fetus, and they chose not to sacrifice themselves and leave their spouses bereft or their other children motherless. In some cases, the fetus had such profound deformities -- of the sort that don't make themselves known until it's too late to get an abortion anywhere but the, what, two late term clinics authorized by law in the entire country -- that abortion was a mercy to the child, whose life would otherwise be brief and very, very painful. In some cases, the fetus had long since died in the womb and had to come out before sepsis set in.

What the ban on D&E took away from these women was the chance to hold their child. While, yes, the procedure is gruesome -- and name me one kind of surgery which isn't -- the procedure allowed the fetus to be extracted from the womb whole, instead of removed in pieces. A whole fetus could be swaddled and the parents could say goodbye.

Not to mention, this procedure was done because it was *safer for the patient,* but of course that makes no difference to the forced birthers.

Rugosa said...

One of the alternatives to D&E is a c-section to remove a dead or dying fetus. C-section is major surgery, exposing a woman to all the risks of anesthesia, infection, longer recovery, and increased possibility of complications in future pregnancies, for no benefit whatsoever to the doomed fetus or to the mother. The benefit is to the anti-abortion fanatics who can enjoy the moral smugness resulting from causing someone else unnecessary suffering.

Oh, and to anyone who says a C-section is "easy," I personally offer to administer a 6" incision through your abdominal wall.

Fiddlin Bill said...

A meta-sadness if you like: the world of ideas is such that you can write analysis like this every live long day and be dead center in the bullseye. You are appreciated! But gawd, the sea of stupidity keeps rising.

Joe said...
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Joe said...

I responded in detail in the Slate fray but I'm not sure many people paid much attention to this rank overkill. Talk of "deception," of how we should be "embarrassed," and a failure to explain how the courts did not rely on some one sentence statement but extensive medical testimony and briefing that everyone involved knew would come up in court, but somehow she "deceived" them. And, how we should therefore trust science less!

But, hey, he's pro-choice, right? What a tool.