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Amanda Marcotte’s Continuing Assault on Facts, Decency, and Reason

Usually I avoid responding to political columnists who are obviously afflicted with particularly insidious forms of dementia which of necessity includes Amanda Marcotte. But this particularly insane rant – which exists solely to take unsourced and spurious accusations against crisis pregnancy centers – is so blatantly dishonest and delusional that it demands at least some sort of response. The basic thrust of Marcotte’s argument is that some European countries (Marcotte singles out Finland for this article) give expecting mothers a box full of neat goodies, which is evidence that the more pro-choice a country is, the more pro-motherhood they are.

In addition to the fact that this is a leap in logic of fairly stunning breadth, it is also the case that Marcotte’s premises are dead wrong. In the first place, the push in Scandanavian countries towards encouraging mothers to keep their kids is nothing new. Europe, as has been noted by many on the right (and in particular by Jonathan Last) is facing demographic collapse. Countries like Norway and Finland are doing essentially everything they can to ensure that their population reproduces at at least replacement rates, which is something that no doubt pisses Amanda Marcotte off to no end.

More importantly, Finland is significantly more hostile to legalized abortion than the United States, and it isn’t close. In Finland, it is illegal in most cases to get an abortion after the 12th week of pregnancy. Getting an abortion requires the consent of not one but two doctors, and requires the woman to provide a reason for her abortion. If the abortion regime I just described were proposed in the United States, Amanda Marcotte would be screaming her head off because of the very severe impingement on abortion this would represent compared to the way it is currently practiced in the United States, where there is for all practical purposes literally no limits on when or why an abortion can be performed, and people like Amanda Marcotte have thus far mostly successfully fought to keep women from having to even see an ultrasound, much less see two separate doctors and justify their abortion to them. 

Marcotte realizes all this in the intellectual sense, but since it directly contradicts the point she is trying to make, she dismisses it with the following bit of nonsense:

There are strong limits on it after the first 12 weeks, but since it’s easy to get one in the first 12 weeks, demand for non-health-related abortions after that is really low.

It is true that Finland, like a lot of countries, has a law requiring women to give a reason for an abortion and that a doctor has to sign off on it. Some folks have rather dishonestly suggested that means Finland and other countries like it are less liberal and respectful of women’s rights in this regard, even suggesting that the generous benefits are paid for by giving up rights. Emily Matcher in the Atlantic tried this one: “Paternalistic abortion laws are, perhaps, the flip side of generous government benefits: The government provides amply for the babies you do have, but in return it gets to quiz you about your reproductive choices.”

This is, simply put, utter horses**t. The reason that a lot of countries require you to give a reason for an abortion is because they liberalized their abortion laws before we did, which meant writing “compromise” laws that had these paternalistic fingers all over them. They haven’t bothered to update the laws since then because there’s no reason to.

So Marcotte realizes that Finland’s abortion laws are significantly more restrictive than ours, that they represent a “compromise” from our current regime, but dismisses that fact as irrelevant because… because of the historical way they came about. Which, I guess, is interesting, but doesn’t really change the fact that from both a legal and practical standpoint, it is much more difficult to get an abortion in Finland than it is in the United States. If Amanda Marcotte thinks that Finland’s legal regime is better than America’s with respect to abortion, then she should offer to trade.

In reality, of course, Amanda Marcotte just needed a handy cudgel to beat crisis pregnancy centers with and it was irrelevant to both her and probably most of her audience that her facts directly contradicted her point. But this of course is how it is with the entire abortion lobby – facts and reason are sacrificed at the altar abortion every single time.

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