War’s OK,
Where thousands die,
But one abortion,
Makes me cry.

Right-wingers maintain a lengthy political agenda. There’s the need for an unfettered military, lower taxes, corporate freedom, unlimited consumption, private (or no) health insurance, expanded empire, and other self-satisfying goals.

Then there’s abortion. The Right just doesn’t like it. Abortion, like birth control, allows women to enjoy the pleasures of sex without suffering the penalties of children. Naturally, conservatives aren’t keen on birth control either, except for themselves. Actually, the Right isn’t really into fun.

Pro-Choice CartoonYou might assume that their interest in abortion lies in the protection of children. Sorry, guess again. If anything, it’s embryos. Once the kid is born, forget it. These folks show no interest in child care, health care, nutrition, education, welfare, family services, or other common childhood needs. We’ll get you born, kid, but after that you’re on your own.

And they’re really good at getting unwanted children born, no matter what the condition of the child or the jeopardy to the mother. The Right isn’t into mothers, just babies before they’re born. In fact, they consider mothers as culprits. They had sex and now must pay the price, even with their lives if need be.

Take, for instance, AIDS. Nobody admits to liking AIDS. Even the pope doesn’t favor it. But it’s one of those potential wages of sin, much like unwanted pregnancy, and according to His Holiness, condoms actually promote the spread of the disease. The only form of birth control he likes is abstinence, a point of view very familiar in American politics.

Our federal and state laws often protect medical workers offended by abortion. They can refuse to participate in any part of it, even administrative work, without fear of losing their job. Why, one wonders, did they take the job in the first place? And, one further wonders, could this same principle be extended to National Guard troops who only joined up to protect their state from disaster but are subsequently ordered to invade other countries? Well, no, that doesn’t count. War doesn’t rise to the conscience level of abortion.

Especially for women. As soldiers they may be ordered to go out and kill, but they can’t get an abortion in a military hospital. Only lately can they even get a morning-after pill on base.

And now arch-conservatives are trying to convince African Americans that abortion clinics on their turf are committing genocide. Further, they’re saying that women are actually better off not being covered for abortions by Medicaid. These extremists are also successfully working to keep any abortion coverage out of the upcoming health-care bill.

It’s true, right-wing leaders are given to many obsessions (witness the Tea Party), but abortion is in a class by itself. Sex, ideology, and politics make a powerful team, one we’re not likely to see the end of in our lifetime.

OtheWords columnist William A. Collins is a former state representative and a former mayor of Norwalk, Connecticut.

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