In a different world, we wouldn’t know where politicians stood on pregnancy termination.
Whenever the issue comes up in our parliament, I’m reminded of season 3 Veep episode called The Choice. If you haven’t yet watched Veep (in NZ it streams on Neon), you should. The show follows Selina Meyer, the maniacally ambitious (fictional) Vice President of the United States. In The Choice, aka The Abortion Episode, she and her team of bumbling yuppies try to land on the best, most inoffensive ‘abortion position’.
It takes a bold show to make abortion jokes work, but Veep, which aims its punchlines at useless legislators, nails it. Campaign Manager Dan draws foetuses of increasing size on a whiteboard and tells Meyer to “pick a number”. Someone else suggests starting with “As a woman”.
“No, no, no, I can’t identify as a woman! People can’t know that! Men hate that! And women who hate women hate that – which, I believe, is most women.”
Later in the episode, we gain her personal perspective: “Maybe I should just say, ‘Get the government out of my fucking snatch.’” And, “If men got pregnant you could get an abortion at the ATM. Let’s state the obvious.”
But she doesn’t state the obvious, appearing by the end of the episode on Good Morning America, rambling: “I believe that life is precious, and so are the hard-won freedoms that women through America enjoy today. As a woman myself, I know that freedom means the freedom…”
Cut to credits.
It’s fucking funny. But when it comes to abortion, such jokes shouldn’t be possible in the first place. There’s no reason abortion should be a political litmus test where there’s no right answer. It shouldn’t be a left-wing issue or a right-wing issue. It should be a health issue. It is a health issue.
The fact abortion was ever in the Crimes Act is a stain on this nation’s history (in my opinion, yadda yadda yadda).
A pregnancy termination is one of the most personal, private, and potentially painful situations a person can go through. To have that strange grief (or lack thereof) politicised by jack-offs wanting nothing more than to avoid alienating their voters, is an insult. To have that decision judged by other jack-offs, waving signs outside abortion clinics, is perhaps worse. Thankfully, that’s not so much of a phenomenon here, but I do sometimes catch the anti-choicers waving their cardboard on Dominion Road. I wish they’d occupy their time with a more useful activity – fostering a child, perhaps. Or promoting easy access to contraception for people of all ages and backgrounds.
New Zealand is a supposedly secular nation. We don’t mandate that people mark their foreheads on Ash Wednesday. It’s not a legal imperative that citizens get baptised. Why we invite religion (namely, western Christianity) into our government on these issues is beyond me. Interestingly, however, there’s no biblical precedent that abortion is sinful. Quite the opposite. Theologians have argued that the King James Bible, with its multiple depictions of what-could-be-considered-abortion, is actually fairly pro-choice. At the very least, it doesn’t prop up the argument that anti-abortion rhetoric is based on scripture.
Much like homosexuality, the bible doesn’t outright mention abortion much at all.
Politicians, beholden to their constituents, and even more so, to their campaign managers can’t state the obvious. But I can. So, in the words of Selina Meyer, fictional as she may be: get out of our fucking snatches. It’s truly none of your business.Support Villainesse