On Thursday, the US reached a grim milestone, counting 1 million covid deaths two years into the pandemic. And as the White House flies its flags at half mast through the weekend to acknowledge the staggering death toll, politicians have offered some...very different responses.
Embattled (an understatement) Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) introduced a bill on Thursday to require the Centers for Disease Control to count abortions in national death rates. Cawthorn’s Seeking Official Uncounted Lives Statistics Act, or SOULS Act, is about as stupid as its acronym would imply and would direct the CDC to include “to the extent possible, aborted children in death numbers and rates.” Helpful!
It’s not as if equating abortion with murder has ever yielded any violent consequences, like, say, state legislatures proposing bills to subject patients and providers to the death penalty, or, most recently, a Louisiana bill that would have jailed abortion patients. It’s not as if people like Lizelle Herrera last month have been jailed and charged with homicide for alleged self-managed abortion.
And it’s not as if there was a 2015 shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood by a man claiming to be a “warrior for the babies,” or an alleged arson at a Wisconsin abortion clinic just last weekend. I could go on, because examples of violent retaliation against abortion clinic staff and patients over this sort of messaging are virtually endless. But alas, Cawthorn has to find some way to stay in the news for something other than insider trading, leaked videos, and bringing loaded guns to the airport. One million are dead, in no small part because Cawthorn and many others in his party chose to make this a political issue. In fact, Cawthorn himself passionately spewed anti-mask, anti-vaccine messages. But, sure, let’s make this (and everything) about abortion!
This is, after all, a 26-year-old man-child desperately trying to cling on to his Congressional seat as his own party makes clear with each damning oppo dump, which I’d wager my soul is coming from Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, that they want him out. In recent weeks, ever since Cawthorn ran his mouth on a podcast about being invited to cocaine orgies by Republican colleagues (perhaps to impress the dozens of former classmates who signed a letter in 2020 calling him a sex predator???), the news cycle has been increasingly unkind to the freshman Congressman as his May 17 primary draws near.
First, it was a slew of news about his run-ins with law enforcement, including getting his drivers license revoked recently after being pulled over for reckless driving (multiple times). Then, it was his second citation for trying to bring to bring a loaded gun through airport security. And most recently, it was leaked photos and videos of the embattled Congressman partying in women’s lingerie, being groped by one of his staffers in a car, and appearing to thrust his genitals in another man’s face.
I suppose one way to get people to forget about all of… that… is to grand-stand about abortion with Roe v. Wade on its last legs at the Supreme Court. But unlike Cawthorn’s likely brief tenure in Congress, the internet is forever, and the tea has already been spilled.