May 10, 2022Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

I love this correction.

It seems possible that overruling Roe *could* result in conservative politicians becoming less extreme, since under current law they can adopt extremist postures that never have real consequence. That gets them the votes of the extremists, and the normies just hold their nose and vote for them anyway.

With actual stakes they'll hopefully need to better reflect the will of their constituents.

The liberal politicians apparently were already getting results for their extremist positions, judging by the up-to-birth laws in Oregon, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Vermont. In the states where they dominate they won't have any incentive to become more moderate. In more balanced states they'll presumably need to work out compromises with the other side on where to draw the line, and that might be a moderating force.

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May 10, 2022Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

If "self-defense" is a defence to a murder charge, then even Oklahomans have a defense for "health of the mother"

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Curious take. They may roll that out as a fallback if necessary.

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Jul 3, 2022Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

I have some pedantic points about The Graph I'd like to share

1. It still actually doesn't include all the "most restrictive currently active law".

Michigan, my home state, on the graph shows up to 27 weeks, but we have a law that has not been overturned dating back to 1931 that completely bans abortions, post-roe it could very well be the basis of banning abortions almost entirely within the state:


so, it should probably be at 0 weeks on the graph

2. The Statista source is a bit odd. So, it contains 27 countries - the same amount as the EU countries - but is missing some (cyprus, luxembourg), and in fact includes some candidates, like north macedonia (non exhaustive).

Now, you could technically say that the source says "European" and not "European Union" which is fine. However my question then becomes: Why only include those 27 countries when there are in fact 40 or so?

(note: I ended up just looking at the 40 or so countries I was thinking of, and if you're curious the mean is 11, the median is still 12, and of course, the mode is also 12, the same thing is true if you only include European Union states, so the only thing this would effect is adding a couple more orange bars to the graph)


"Every state in Europe and all but one state in the USA post Roe provide an exception to the law for the health of the mother."

This just isn't true. Andorra & Malta both ban abortions full stop - including to save the mother's life. To even get an ectopic pregnancy abortion you have to go under review (as far as I know, this isn't guaranteed). I suspect the reason you said this was because of the Statista countries, but I'm not entirely sure.

3. Why only include cutoff points?

The graph, in my opinion, sorta fails just on conceptual grounds. It has no real regard for the qualitative aspects of abortion law, and for this the actual cutoffs are somewhat inaccurate.

For example on the books within Finland you cannot get an abortion upon request at any stage of pregnancy and it even requires signatures from multiple physicians. This sounds difficult, but in reality, the practice amounts to just going to a doctor, giving any reason, and they will sign off on it if it is 12 weeks or earlier.

Germany's law books say it is illegal to get an abortion at any time of pregnancy, however, up to 12 weeks they will not punish you for doing so (i.e. it is not criminalized). Do we include this as 0 or 12 weeks?

Britain allows for abortions for socioeconomic, mental health, or physical health reasons up to 24 weeks not upon request - but after a doctor signs off on it. Do we say Britain is 24 weeks, or do we think the culture is restrictive enough such that the laws on the books don't really matter?

These are just a couple of ways cross-country analysis is quite complicated! I'm not necessarily saying Finland *shouldn't* be considered a "12 week country" but rather that to put it in the graph is flattening a lot of information that is pretty crucial!

a broader problem with ignoring the qualitative aspects of law, and comparing Europe to America in the first place:

So the U.S. has a pretty unique context to it, that being the basis for which abortion law was based upon was Roe & Casey. Post-Casey Republicans have continually attempted to "test" what constitutes an undue burden (as opposed to "strict scrutiny" under Roe)

This has lead to laws that require the mother to get a complete breakdown of all potential health issues from abortion (similar to the original '82 law that lead to Casey), informing the mother that "the fetus can feel pain", the Hyde Amendment is obviously in play, laws the deliberately target abortion providers, and laws that require a waiting period (again, akin to the '82 law) (<- non exhaustive strategy list)

Obviously, there are restrictions within European countries (e.g. needing a doctor to sign off on it, needing to provide reasons like financials or mental wellbeing, so on and so forth) but these, to me, are quite different. They are to ensure the legitimacy of the abortion - which incidentally may make it more difficult. Like, the populous views a certain kind abortion as one that should be done, and those laws are there to ensure that. The laws I listed within the U.S. are there almost entirely to just get around Roe precedent and attempt to make it more difficult for those who get abortions (this is why, for example, the pro-life movement protests around abortion clinics. they don't want it to be easy for you).

So I think the graph, at the outset, could use some qualitative analysis. The Guttmacher institute and the U.N. provide global reports on "most restrictive" and "least restrictive" nations on abortion for good reason!

I also take issue with a few other points in the post itself, but my primary issue is just the graph. So this comment should be enough for now

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It's obviously super complicated and no graph could capture all of that. But if you wanted to attempt to capture it in a better visualization, please feel free, post it some place and link it, because I'd like to see how you tackle the exercise.

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May 11, 2022Liked by Handwaving Freakoutery

Thanks for the update and we see elsewhere a struggle to balance issues. I suspect that in the EU it was not quite the political football we see here. Even the aphorisms, pro-choice/pro-life try to disguise the awful choice that must be made. As far as the woman's body goes in most cases she made an earlier choice. The obvious exceptions need to be managed. It would be better if government never waded into the issue of personal choices. I do hope we evolve into some compromise as was done in the EU. I'm way pleased that we may remove Roe as a litmus test. Pity we couldn't use a belief in Marx or constitutional expansion as one.

Whether this results in election victories for Democrats is not easy to predict. Most of us are not quite as extreme as the far ends of the parties might want. The ineptness of the administration hasn't been managed by Congress so that needs to be improved. Congress along with the administration has responsibility for our bad economy and the abortion issue can't change that.

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I think, generally speaking, that the modern Republicans are out of touch regarding abortion, and the modern Democrats are out of touch regarding economics, inflation, covid policy, guns, and wokeness related issues.

The Republicans may be out of touch on more things than just abortion, but the lions share of stuff most commonly talked about seems to break Red right now, and the PredictIt markets for the midterms seem to reflect a bit of a red wave coming.

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I think abortion is a necessary evil. But I don't think it trumps the economy. The daily reminders are a constant irritant and I don't think it subsides even into 2024. We and nearly every nation must deal with spiraling deficits. I haven't seen anybody preparing the public, but transfer payments must get curtailed. Inflating your way out of debt has been the underlay for the modern economy but that was when interest rates were moderate as was the accumulated debt. Keeping capitol nearly free has benefited the 0.1% but done little for average Jo. Inflated assets were good for the WEF and few others. Don't have a clue where this is heading.

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"I think abortion is a necessary evil. But I don't think it trumps the economy. The daily reminders are a constant irritant and I don't think it subsides even into 2024. We and nearly every nation must deal with spiraling deficits."

These things are related, in that they all correlate to a lack of planning for the future.

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The issue, as I understand it, is how badly some of those "life of the mother" provisions are written.

This is, explicitly, up front, second order information. I.e.: I am referencing a story I heard from someone whose friend this occurred to.

But notionally, in Alabama, within very recent history (last 6 months) a woman had her fetus die. Straight up, flatline dead dead. And was unable to have this dead tissue removed because doctors were not certain they wouldnt get prosecuted for performing an abortion since -- as the dead fetus had not become septic yet -- it was not **clearly** a risk to the health of the mother. But even under a "fetal heartbeat" regime, this should have been a no-brainer.

I have heard that there are similar concerns in some states about ectopic pregnancies, which are non-viable ***100%*** of the time. Once we have Miles Vorkosigan style incubation chambers, it's possible that ectopic pregnancies can be saved. Current state of the art is that those fertilized eggs will *never* become healthy neonates, and the best case scenario is a spontaneous miscarriage, and the worst being maternal death.

Half the problem (at minimum) is that no competent medical professional is being consulted about the technical details of these laws.

Given that the person I heard that story from was repeatedly raped for several years starting when she was 8 years old, and I myself know someone who needed an abortion at 11 -- while I am sympathetic to the concept that the sin of the father does not translate to the child, I am **more** sympathetic to the notion that pedophile rapists shouldn't get to force their victims to bear their offspring.

I would generally be comfortable with a limit in the 16 - 20 week range, with an exception that says anyone under the age of consent gets to have one at any point prior to the stage at which labor could be induced or a successful caesarian could be performed. I accept that this is an imposition against the autonomy of the victim, but after a certain point we have gone from "this is an entity which can **only** survive via umbilical connection to the placenta and bloodstream of a specific human" to "this is a neonate which can be cared for by any semi-competent post-adolescent human, and it is thus incumbent to evict them in the least damaging manner possible".

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"A finer grained analysis shows that support for abortion rights is very strong at six weeks, relatively balanced at 14 weeks, and falls off considerably at 24 weeks."

This quote strikingly emphasizes the twilight-zoneyness of polling on abortion rights: morality by popular sentiment.

It evokes the language of polling on innocuous subjects: "36% of voters want higher taxes, while 42% say etc etc" but the poll is about Whether We Have Been And Will Continue To Murder Babies.

I recall that the Hutus were a majority in Rwanda.

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what do you make of the argument that this decision is a revisory step: meaning a tactical retreat to establish a stronger precedent than the "privacy" illogic of RvW? It has been suggested that perhaps the bodily autonomy argument during the vaccine mandates signaled a need for strategic reappraisal -- so in addition to rallying troops for the mid-terms, this move will also provide a pivot more aligned with future policy needs. From my perspective, this seemed like a plausible suggestion but political strategy isn't a subject I follow closely enough to judge accurately.

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May 10, 2022·edited May 10, 2022Author

Even the left wants to burn the privacy illogic and replace it with a consent argument. I don't think the SCOTUS decision, if it holds, is about policy at all. I think it's about correcting an awfully illogical and torturous bit of judicial activism. I actually think there's a good case that they needed to step into the arena back then and be a little activist because congress and technology weren't filling the gap. I think it's a lot safer to let Roe go now than it was back then, for everyone involved, and now the legislature is going to have to step up and do the job they were supposed to do in the first place.

I'm reading the current "codify roe" bill now and it seems as if it's basically a stock nationwide 24 week law. I think the only bits in it that would give the true majority of the country heartburn are that most people think 24 is too late and many (?) people probably think parental consent or notification is a good idea for minors.

I'd bet if they dropped it to 12 and removed the parental consent/notification clause they might be able to get someone to flip. If I were a Red senator I might even float that publicly and see if anyone bites.

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I guess I'm confused as I understood parental consent to have already been decided to have to include at least one parent in like 97, shortly after the informed consent pushback started trickling into the Supreme Court. Haven't stayed as up to date on the recent history - is parental consent being contested again for abortion?

12 is going to be tough to get because of how long the processing of sex crimes takes in this country, that said, your assessment is pretty spot on. Well explained, this is a tough topic and I appreciate those who can approach it with clarity and evidence beyond ideology. Thanks for writing it, cheers!

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Pro-abortion folks are hypocrites of the highest order. They advocate for choice but when it came down to it during COVID, they acted like the worse of the anti-abortion folks. My body my choice when it comes to killing a baby but when when it is about COVID and obscene profits for Pfizer and Moderna, take the shot or lose your job and don't get unemployment benefits. Seriously at this point, I say fuck it all. This country is finished. Going to move to Mexico and enjoy the Pacific Ocean breezes.

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Cynically, I think just about anyone who claims to support a political party is a hypocrite of the highest order, because of how the parties are built. First past the post game theory creates a war of incoherent hypocrisies.

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