What they are working on this year is Government that prohibits you from using contraception, that forcibly collects your urine, hair and blood, and that puts you in prison or deports you if it does not like the speeches you attend. This stuff is happening all over, all the time now. This is what Conservative Government is like this year. It sort of seems to me that this ought to be a bigger National Story.”
~ Rachel Maddow
…[T]he idea of exceptionalism is surprisingly consistent in both areas of Conservative rhetoric. It seems to me like the “My country is the best and most exceptional country in the world” is just a step removed from the “My abortion is most necessary and my reasons are the most valid, and my abortion is the one acceptable abortion of all the abortions ever.”
Our blogger Lauren has previously written here on the Abortion Gang about “The Exceptions” and why the “I’m-pro-life-except-in-cases-of-rape-and-incest” or “I’m-pro-choice-but-not-after-X-number-of-weeks” frameworks are so problematic. But the personal exception takes these even further. Because, don’t kid yourself, anti-choicers get abortions every day. And each one of them in “the exception.”
I recently finished reading Carol Joffe’s Dispatches from the Abortion Wars, and she illustrates this concept perfectly:
The palpable sense of isolation and corresponding lack of solidarity with other patients were for me one of the most interesting things to emerge from this study. “I am a Christian – I am not doing this casually,” clearly suggesting that others in the waiting room were not so thoughtful and moral… Perhaps the starkest example of isolation came from one woman’s response to the question of whether she would “ever consider being part of a group that supports people who get abortions.” Her answer was an emphatic no. As she put it, “I wouldn’t support them because… it [might become] a habit for everyone.” The speaker was a twenty-year-old mother of one, about to have her second abortion.
Even more extreme were those stories of clinic protestors who then showed up inside the clinic when they or their daughter had an unplanned pregnancy: “The provider community wrly describes this unique patient group as ‘the women whose three acceptable exceptions for an abortion are “rape, incest, or mine.”’” For even more examples, please read Joyce Arthur’s excellent essay “The Only Moral Abortion is my Abortion.”