Pining for a bygone era that never existed

I remember when we watched Jesus Camp and we were all a little bewildered about the obsession with abortion. I remember in the discussion that followed we all talked about that and someone asked me why abortion was singled out so much. Like, why abortion and not, say gay marriage? (I mean, obviously they're obsessed with gay marriage, too, but the way in which they tie everything to abortion is baffling and just plain weird.)

Well, I remember struggling to put into words what my thoughts are about why it's abortion that the fundies are so obsessed with. I couldn't really articulate my half-formed ideas on how it all fit together. But in a post on Pandagon a few days ago, Amanda Marcotte manages to pull it into one cohesive argument that finally coalesced my own thoughts on it for me, and gave me that "eureka!" moment that I've been struggling to get to for so long now.

I think she absolutely hits it on the head that abortion is really a gateway to a deeper, much larger issue for the people who are obsessed with trying to return to that mythical America that only exists in their fevered imaginations and Leave It To Beaver reruns. It's not so much abortion per se (although there's plenty in that issue alone for them to hang their hats on), but an entire feminist bingo extravaganza that has very little to do with saving every last blastocyst and everything to do with returning women to their rightful place. As she puts it so well:

But for the small cadre of hardcore anti-feminists, you have to understand that they’re deeply invested in a fantasy and in the fantasy that they can vote that fantasy into existence. That fantasy is, as cliched as it is to say, a fantasy version of the 1950s, where women knew their place and everyone was happy all the time.


And dismantling reproductive rights is the key to this fantasy. Topple that, topple feminism. There’s a weird logic to it---women generally maintain careers because they can limit their fertility and aren’t always taking time off to manage a brood of 5-10 kids. Once the cost of day care outstrips any salary you can command, you have to quit your job. PTAs and church bake sales depend on housewives to exist. Feminists were right to think that the right to contraception and abortion are fundamental to women’s liberation, and anti-choicers agree, so they want to take that away.
There's a whole lot more to her argument so I hope you'll take the time to read it, because I think she's hit on a very valuable insight.

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