John Oliver on American states' absurd, punitive abortion laws

How is it that a comedian can see how absurd these laws are? They are only designed to keep women in their ‘place’ and that’s pretty much it.

It is interesting that the same people who want to save the babies don’t want to take care of them after they are born. The ‘pro-life’ people seem to be the first ones to scream that we need to cut SNAP and programs for mothers & children and so forth. It just shows how ‘pro-life’ means ‘pro-birth’ and that’s it.



Perhaps I can shed a little light on the situation. I think your comment (understandably) conflates two different issues: Pro-life and Anti-Choice.

Do you recall the young gentleman at the start of the Oliver clip? “Life starts when you can hear a heartbeat. That’s it. But that view shouldn’t be forced on other people.”

That man is Pro-life – and god bless him. He’s thought about, and he has well-reasoned argument that goes back to the Hippocratic oath of Ancient Greece. But is NOT anti-choice. He accepts others may have a different viewpoint.

However, these abusive TRAP laws aren’t Pro-life, as they do almost nothing to further the dignity of life. These laws are Anti-Choice. As you note, these laws are about harassing women, especially poor woman, who are disproportionately women of color.

The Anti-Choice stance is broadly unpopular, so those who want to pursue this anti-woman politics [1] have to sell their policies as “Pro-Life.”.

The Pro-life argument applies to a helluva more than just abortion – just ask Pope Frances. It typically includes opposition to capital punishment, for example. It can easily be extended to paying for pre-K as a national obligation. The Pro-life argument is and should be a vital part of our national dialogue.

Unfortunately, the defenders of patriarchy have chosen abortion rights as one of their key issues, So they hide behind the sincere rhetoric of “Pro-life” Americans, of whom there are many, while trying to use the power of the state to force their views on women.

Hence the poverty of our discussion about this difficult issue.

[1] and who seem to be disproportionately middle-age white men from states with a history of legally sanctioned racism

p.s. A little bit about me. I grew up in one of these states. I am old enough to remember Roe v Wade. Planned Parenthood has had a profound affect on my family. This is not a just semantics to me: I am fiercely Pro-Choice.


Although there are individual exceptions, the overall forced-birth movement has nothing to do with protecting life. It is about enforcing traditional gender roles and using unwanted pregnancy as a means to punish women who don’t obey.


Alabama trying to pass a law specifically to shut down a completely new clinic that abides by all the previous laws, because it is 2000 feet from a school, is really nasty. I Googled a bit and couldn’t find any regulation in Alabama’s code about how close a liquor store can be to a school. Maybe someone more lawyerly than I can find out. Not that I’m against liquor stores, but it would be illuminating.


Thank you for clarifying. My view has been if you want to reduce the number of abortions, then teach sex education starting at 10 years old and every year after that. Make sure that contraception is available. If that happened, the number of abortions will go down!

But the anti-choice people find that to be even worse than abortions.


We need more bills like this:


your view is well-supported by science, except that it’s easier than this.

The early years of the W administration were quite sincere about Abstinence Only education. Not only did they lavishly fund these programs, they even did “field trials” of sorts.

The findings were interesting. “Comprehensive Sex Ed,” what you are describing, works best. Not a huge surprise there. However, how it worked was quite surprising.

Teens didn’t have less unprotected sex. Rather, they delayed the age of coital debut by, on average, about six months. Conversely, Abstinence only programs had no measurable effect on the average age of coital debut.

That is, if you tell a kid “don’t fuck,” they ignore you. But you say, “here are the facts, make up your own mind”, a bunch of them will actually abstain, waiting until they are a bit older to get their freak on.

As for the plunging teen age pregnancy rates? That’s Norplant and other long term female contraceptives. We can tell its not condoms, because, sadly, STDs are not plummeting.


Besides HPV in girls. Thanks to vaccination. Why the hell isn’t there a recommended schedule for boys? It’s not like there are only straight people.


Not sure, but the HPV vaccine was offered to me for free in grad school circa 2011


But a single guy who wants Viagra is merely operating on the principle that “If you build it…”

I’ll show myself out.


I would have liked to get it in high school. But my insurance doesn’t cover HPV vaccine at all for males, and it costs like $500 for a full course.

Seriously though, I take every opportunity I can to get vaccinated. It’s like next-to-free superpowers. In exchange for a few days with a sore upper arm, I gain invulnerability to Pertussis, a scourge of humanity that has dogged us throughout the ages. That kind of thing.




If someone is pro-life, and also a staunch defender of the right to bear arms… are they still pro-life or pro-choice?

Yeah, I wonder how many ‘pro-lifers’ also identify as ‘libertarians’…

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Yeah, I still hate tetnus though. Apparently I am a tetnus… Err… Super taster? (Stretched analogy is stretched)


Well… Vaccines by their nature need to cause some irritation.


Tetnus shots turn my arm into a wet noodle. It’s a fun party trick, but annoying otherwise. (Some might argue my brain is a wet noodle)


I feel that it is the parent’s right to choose how to handle things, but frankly I would get behind mandated FREE aid for those that need it.

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I thought that kids in abstinence only programs were more likely to have unprotected, non-vaginal sex, to preserve their “virginity,” as highlighted in this educational video by Garfunkel And Oates (NSFW language):


that’s a fun one. I can spin that several directions.

Which shows the power of both the pro-life and pro-choice arguments, and why it’s important recognize that “Pro-life” is quite a different thing from the anti-woman coercion that masquerades as “Pro-Life”, such as the TRAP laws.

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