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'Late Night's' Take on the Alabama Abortion Law, Plus the World's Worst Take

By Dustin Rowles and Kristy Puchko | Politics | May 16, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles and Kristy Puchko | Politics | May 16, 2019 |


The Missouri Senate has passed a bill outlawing abortion at 8 weeks, and it is expected to pass its Republican House and be signed by its Republican governor. This comes soon after Alabama essentially outlawed abortion, and Georgia — thanks to massive voter suppression — passed a law making it illegal to have an abortion after six weeks. The Michigan legislature also passed a restrictive abortion law, but the Democratic governor is expected to veto it.

Hundreds of restrictive abortion bills have been brought up around the country, and while much of the focus has been on these draconian laws, the right to an abortion has quietly been curtailed significantly in recent years, just in terms of how difficult it is to get an abortion even late in the second trimester, how the availability of abortion clinics had decreased, and in how funding has disappeared. That is to say, even in states where abortions are legal, it’s gotten increasingly difficult to get one. And now states like Alabama, Missouri, and Georgia are trying to impress their laws upon the rest of the nation, where still two-thirds of Americans believe that abortion should be legal.

Take Indiana, for instance, where Mike Pence signed a law in 2016 requiring that women wait 18 hours and get an ultrasound of the fetus before they can obtain an abortion. The law is currently being held up in courts, but that is the law that the Supreme Court is likely to take up before Alabama or Georgia’s laws. And if I had to guess, that’s where John Roberts is likely to draw the line between upholding Roe and making it incredibly difficult to obtain an abortion.

No surprise, really, that almost all of these decisions are being made by men.

Late Night took up the issue last night, as Amber Ruffin, Jenny Hagel, and Ally Hord talked about what Alabama’s abortion ban means, but even as they could dictate the words coming out of their mouths, men were controlling their bodies, which is exactly what is happening around the nation.

It’s a great sketch with a lot of great points and a powerful message. But there’s a problem here. When we frame the battle for abortion rights as a man vs. woman issue, we speak only of cis-women and exclude the non-binary and trans men who will also be impacted by this bill. I mention this not to condemn the women of Late Night, but to encourage us to be more aware about breaking out of the gender binary thinking that excludes trans and non-binary people from debates that affect them too.

This is a scary time. In it, we need to band together to push back against the right-wing agenda that makes our bodies property of the state, whatever our gender identity.

Meanwhile, another man — our old friend Matt Walsh (not THAT Matt Walsh) — has provided the world with the absolute worst take in response to the Alabama bill.

It’s a goddamn shame that a Tweet’s ratio cannot be used in a court of law. Alas, because men still control an overwhelming number of positions of power, the majority of the country will have to wallow in our smug correctness while men who are horribly wrong continue making decisions for the rest of the country.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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