More than an echo of the past months, the newly-proposed nationwide abortion ban is a premonition of worse things to come.
By: Ana Lucia Noriega
Image by DejaVu Designs on Freepik
On September 13th, US Senator for South Carolina Lindsey Graham, with great pride, announced his newest political project: a nationwide abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy.1 This law, presented in conjunction with the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America group, was instantly reported upon by notorious feminist intellectuals. Moira Donegan, sounding the alarm on the proposal, reflected upon the completely dismissive, condescending attitude from many male pundits and analysts extended towards feminists who previously expressed fears of this exact same meassure. Even when female emancipation is concerned, there still exist males who believe themselves to be the vanguard of reason, sensibility, and prudence. The risible nature of their childish delusions spells itself out.
Whilst Republicans had been threatening a national abortion ban for quite some time, particularly in anticipation for the fall of Roe v. Wade, never had such a concept been as real as it is now. That is not to say there is absolute unity in the matter: several Republicans — including McConnell, who himself seemed excited by the same idea back in May! — have expressed their distaste for the proposal, particularly in light of the upcoming midterms. It is not lost to them that the majority of Americans disapprove of legal restrictions on abortion. Fingers are pointing and mouths are shouting as the Republican party struggles to regain its composure.
With this move, Lindsey Graham has reaffirmed his new allegiances. His 2017 turn to the extreme-right shocked even the saviest of analysts.2 Initially, he was known as a moderate Republican, willing to work on bi-partisan legislation3. Graham was a staunch critic of Trump during the MAGA presidential campaign, just as he had, in a similar vein, opposed the Tea Party faction. And then, all of it changed — Graham became Trump's personal foot-soldier, and with that, a foot-soldier of the nascent fascist movement currently metastasizing across American society. Amidst fraternal discussions in Trump's lavish golf-courses, a nefarious alliance was sealed.4
In this way, Graham's collection of black shirts5 keeps on growing. He now wears them with pride, happily parading his continually-expanding wardrobe. He goes on Fox News to threaten riots if his master and patron is prosecuted. He proposes a nationwide abortion ban. He alienates the more strategic-minded Republicans in pursuit of bankrupt glories and honors. In the name of cementing male domination, he is ready to burn bridges and sacrifice alliances. Accordingly, he has no qualms with brazenly lying to his base. "The fetus can feel pain at 15 weeks!" he exclaims to justify the bill's absurd time-frame (though any time-frame for a non-contextual, universal ban itself is absurd on principle!), and with this, predicates the rotten foundation of his demagoguery. In his ideological senility, Graham expresses more vitality (of the right) than any of the geriatric representatives of the legal, official so-called "left."
As pointed out by The Hill, the bill currently has no chance of reaching Biden's desk. At least, not with a Democratic senate and congress. Nevertheless, take not this for a victory — Republicans, in spite of their current rifts, are merely stalling for time. It would do the left good to take Graham's promises to heart — that as soon as Republican political control is restored in the legislature, the bill will be passed — and respond as an “opposition” should.
This article must not be mistaken as an argument for electoralism. It is far from that. Rather, it is an argument for vitality, heroism, and faith. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, this proposal is merely a premonition of worse to come. Whatever the outcome of the midterms, two more years under a curtain of Democratic control will not alter the current course of a nation crumbling under its own contradictions. Fascism — a new fascism, a distinctly American kind — will continue its advance throughout the coming years, and soon enough will reach its current principal goal: the absolute conquest of political power.6 That is, unless a new generation — led by a genuine mass organization of a new type — stands in its way.
In the America that is to come, true heroism and civic-mindedness will come only from that new generation, full of courageous vitality, brimming with enthusiasm and life. It will come from disciplined women of new times, women who fear nothing, steeled and tempered in the odyssean struggle for the liberation of their sex-class. It will come from workers, from tenants, from prisoners, from colonized peoples, from immigrants, from prostituted women. It will not come from the Democrats, from the Ivy League, from the intellectuals and pure essayists, or from petty-bourgeois reformism. Rather, it will come from the masses and their creativity — from their organization and struggle. In the growing popular protest lay the seeds of a new, different future.
1. While this time-frame has been deceptively framed as "late-term," it is anything but. Such phrasing is profoundly unscientific and inaccurate to begin with! As per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “This phrase [late-term] has no clinical or medical significance. “Term” historically referred to the 3 weeks before and 2 weeks after a pregnancy’s due date. To be even more clinically accurate, ACOG now refers to early term (37 weeks through 38 weeks and 6 days of gestation), full term (39 weeks through 40 weeks and 6 days of gestation), late term (41 weeks through 41 weeks and 6 days of gestation), and postterm (42 weeks of gestation and beyond) – and abortion does not happen in this period [emphasis added]."
2. Lisa Miller's analysis of Graham's rightward turn following his March 2017 meeting with then-president Donald Trump was one of the many attempts to explain this seemingly inconsistent and personally contradictory shift.
3. See, for example, Politico's 2014 coverage of Graham's clashes with the Tea Party faction. Praises for his compromising, moderate nature abound.
4. Do not let this come as a surprise. The different factions of the bourgeoisie may fight bitterly in front of cameras, but they are nevertheless united by something that transcends petty political squabbles: el amor al chicharrón, the love of golf, the love of luxury — that is, love for their class.
5. Referencing the Italian Camicie Nere, the “Black Shirts” — fascist paramilitary units which were instrumental to Mussolini's rise to power in 1922, accompanying and carrying out the first growth of fascism in Europe.
6. The veracity and relevance of Lenin's words, "except for power, all is illusion," applies not only to the left, but to all forces hoping to conquer political power.