Earlier this week, the legislature of the great state of Alabama — a state that has, for as long as I can remember, been a national leader in such brag fodder as infant mortality rate, illiteracy, and old-timey racism — passed four anti abortion laws that I'm legally required to describe as "draconian." During the debate, one frustrated Democratic lawmaker took the opportunity to point out what he sees as suffocating southern pro-life hypocrisy. And he did it in the most shit-stirry way possible.
Rep. Alvin Holmes, a Democrat from Montgomery, told womb-fixated legislators that he strongly suspects that their personal commitment to life would get awfully waffley if any of their white daughters were to become impregnated by a black man. He said,
Ninety-nine percent of the all of the white people in here are going to raise their hand that they are against abortion. On the other hand, 99 percent of the whites who are sitting in here now, if their daughter got pregnant by a black man, they are going to make their daughter have an abortion.
He then turned to a female colleague and asked her if she'd theoretically "let" her daughter give birth to a biracial baby (the colleague was like, "uh, yeah" and things got awkward fast). Pretty strong accusation wallop in that one. "You're so racist that you'd commit what you consider murder to keep your bloodline from mixing with the bloodline of a member of another race!" and "You're a hypocrite!" That's a lot to throw at people.
Now, on one hand, Holmes' statement is kind of right wing scream radio red meat. Black guy says something about white people in the south being kinda hypocrite-y! FIRE UP THE #TCOT AND POWER DOWN THE NUANCE!
(It's actually kind of amazing to me that the thing Republicans in the House took umbrage with here wasn't Holmes' implication that parents "let" or "make" their daughters have abortions, that daughters sex-parts are the property of their parents. That's super fucked up!)
But on the other, pretending that there isn't an element of hypocrisy among pro-life lawmakers who will never personally have to worry about their own access to abortion (because they are too old to get pregnant, or because they're too male to get pregnant, or both!) and definitely will not have to worry about their theoretical daughters' access to abortion (because before Roe v. Wade, rich southern white girls with respectable Christian daddies got abortions all the time and if Alabama gets its way and bars abortions after 6 weeks, they'll still be able to get them). There's also the whole "the only moral abortion is my abortion" trope, which describes the mindset of a shocking number of women who are pro-life right up until they need an abortion for themselves and then are pro-life again as soon as their feet are out of the stirrups.
Sure, if I were a pro-life southern white legislator, I'd probably be offended by Holmes' comment. But you know what is more offensive than being accused of racism? Actually having racist shit done to you. Holmes' Republican colleagues are the same people who defended racist language in a state constitution, advocated a wildly xenophobic anti-immigrant law (which eventually failed), and interfered with voting rights of citizens of color. They're the same people who just spent weeks wasting time and resources attempting to ramrod clearly unconstitutional and destined-to-die antiabortion legislation in a state where women successfully opting out of pregnancy is literally one of the least of its myriad problems.
Image via AP