The new West Virginia abortion ban is premised on language straight out of The Handmaid's Tale

Some of the language from the resolution in support of the bill confirms its theocratic overtones:

Further Resolved, That the maintenance of a peaceful and prosperous society depends upon the subordination of power and interest to the well-being of mothers, as their bearing and rearing of children determines the existence and quality of our common life together with infinitely greater efficacy than any federal or state policy; and, be it        

Further Resolved, That we are cognizant that, as an institution, motherhood is prior to the state, and, as such, the state must work to serve mothers and their interests, as the health of any state can be determined, in the main, by their health and happiness. […] 

Further Resolved, That motherhood does not impose obligations only upon women, nor only upon fathers, but upon all of society, as when a woman becomes a mother she becomes the rightful recipient of society’s care and solicitude; and, be it            

Further Resolved, That she has a right to this care and solicitude, which empowers her in her ability to care for her children, and at the least, this right demands that the state protect her from powerful interests that would pressure her, through threats or promises, to reject her elevated position and return her to the ranks of “normal” citizens. …

Context is important. It should be remembered that this high-minded language is being used not to encourage “motherhood,” but to justify preventing any escape from it. The “care and solicitude” it espouses is being employed in the service of men to deny women or other pregnant people the right to control their own reproductive choices. This is not the language of empowerment, but of oppression.

As Tracy notes, the passage of this law is not an end for forced birthers, but a beginning:

Furthermore, the resolution suggests that this is just the first strike by the Republican-led legislature against reproductive rights in the state. “The criminalization of abortion must be only the beginning of West Virginia’s post-Roe initiatives,” it says.

As reported by Lisa Lerer and Elizabeth Dias, writing for The New York Timesthe national ban on abortion introduced on Tuesday by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is seen merely as a first step.

A 15-week ban would be “the beginning,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America and Students for Life Action, last week as she arrived at the Senate building. Ms. Hawkins said that she has been talking with congressional staff about introducing a federal ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy but called it a “work in progress.”

“Everyone here is focused on November,” she said. “We have our plans for January in place, but we’ve got to get to that point first.”

These people want Gilead, folks. They’re not going to stop until they get it. Unless we stop them first.

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