Life, Legislative Hypocrisy and Lies

Unless you have been sleeping the entire week, you know that the Alabama legislature passed the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the nation…..and the majority male legislators were elated over the results.

Over and over, in speech after speech, these folks used the word “life” as if they were the world’s greatest interpreters of the word and its deeper meanings. Anyone who performed or otherwise abetted in performing an abortion will be prison meat, period! The penalty for doctors is up to 99 years in prison…unless there is proof that a pregnancy endangers the life of the mother.

Alabama was swiftly followed by the state of Missouri.

What makes both those states of interest in the discussion of life is the fact that both also reflect popular support for capital punishment for those convicted of major crimes, which action is contrary to the reverential speeches against abortion.

In short: they are playing their versions of God and, before long, they will not be alone.

It is also noteworthy that there were no such cries to protect any form of life when white crowds literally made the lynching of blacks into celebrations and brought their kids along…or when the Chinese Exclusion laws resulted in beatings, killings and other criminal acts against many who helped to build the American railroad system in the 1880s. Nor did the concern for life enter the discussion when the United States electrocuted the only man and wife team for spying for the Soviet Union.

The rhetoric that accompanied the Alabama action came from Eric Johnston, President of the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition who linked the pro-life movement to a variety of the worst 20th century atrocities, comparing abortion to “German death camps, Chinese purges, Stalin’s gulags (avoiding the pogroms) and the Rwandan genocide.”

Obviously, Mr. Johnson’s understanding of and concern for the broader truths of history in the United States that were hardly less atrocious are virtually lacking.

In the cases of those either already executed or scheduled for execution, one list of the Death Penalty Information Center lists 165 men, black, white and Latino saved from capital punishment by virtue of charges being dismissed, pardoned and even being totally acquitted of charges. In one case, Peter Limone had served 33 years in prison when charges were finally dismissed. In many cases, the growing reliance on DNA helped to make the difference. But the fundamental concern in all of those and hundreds more being processed across the country is the idea that life had a special role, and humans have to respect it in all cases.

Please know that none of my comments suggest all irresponsible actions by anyone should not be subjected to the laws of the nation and the states. But it was shameful and difficult enough in this great nation to pass enforceable laws establishing what should have been enforced from the first day we enunciated the equality of all people and the rights all, not just some, should enjoy.

That these conspicuous historical facts played no roles in either the rhetoric or action of the Alabama legislature or the powerful forces who could not even include the concerns of rape, abuse, and incest in their assaults on Roe v Wade and the rights of individual women. Hence, no matter how sincere or otherwise, the intoning of alleged concern for the reality of something called “Life” by the Alabama legislature and speakers clearly demonstrated their desire more to control those with whom they disagree rather than their collective understanding of factual history.

Their commentary and decision spoke more to the ideas of misunderstanding life and the imposition of hypocrisy and lies.