Friday, June 24, 2022

Samantha Bee was prepared for the overturning of Roe v. Wade

So much for my plans to write either something evergreen or cover the January 6th Committee hearings today. Instead, I'm blogging about the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, the decision I was dreading when my pre-planned title for Samantha Bee asks 'What’s Next For America’s Embarrassingly Weak Gun Laws?' was "Monday the 13th is an unlucky day for reproductive rights."* That turned out to be today, which Sam was prepared for last night, beginning with Sam On Roe…with Covid.

Sam may have COVID, but the upcoming Roe v. Wade decision is too important not to discuss.
For my reaction, For my reaction, I'm saying "get well soon, Sam," then recycling what I wrote in May.
She...remind[s] me of what I wrote in John Oliver examines the Supreme Court after 'Last Week Tonight' wins four Emmy Awards, mentioning "all the bad things that can happen to health care, reproductive rights, civil rights, and voting rights as a result of this nomination..." If Alito's draft becomes the majority opinion, then bad things will have happened to health care, reproductive rights, and civil rights all at once. This will become one of those times when I wish the comedians and I weren't right.
Unfortunately, we were and I still wish we weren't.

Sam wasn't all outrage, doom, and gloom last night. She proposed a solution in Abortions on Federal Lands.

Sam heads to Yellowstone to talk with a legal expert who may have found a loophole, a literal plan B, that would allow doctors to distribute abortion medication on federal enclaves.

This piece was directed by Razan Ghalayini and produced with Annie Kopp. Editing by Andrew Mendelson.
I think this is generally a good idea, although as a former National Park Ranger, I can tell you that the National Park Service would want nothing to do with this idea, despite Sam using Yellowstone as a remote location for this segment. On the other hand, I think the Department of Veterans Affairs would be more appropriate and VA hospitals could at least provide this care to female veterans. The rest of us would be probably be out of luck.

I conclude by being a good environmentalist and recycling what I wrote in my second post on Alito's draft opinion, itself mostly a recycled reaction.
As for Oliver mocking Chuck Schumer saying "this is not your grandfather's Republican Party," yes and no. In terms of style, it certainly isn't, but on reproductive rights, it's been heading this way for decades. While I didn't mention reproductive rights in If I were still a conservative, disagreement with the anti-abortion movement inside the Republican Party, which had nearly completed its takeover of the party by 2000, certainly contributed. My environmentalism, which I did mention in that post from eleven years ago as a reason I left the GOP, leads me to favor birth control, including abortion as a last resort, in order to reach zero population growth. My feminism adds to my support for reproductive rights. I explained both in CNBC asks 'Is The U.S. Running Out Of People?'
U.S. birth rates have been dropping for more than a decade and fertility rates have been dropping for even longer than that. In fact, U.S. fertility rates have been at or below replacement rate since 1973, when Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion. Economic uncertainty and other factors have contributed to the trend.

Second, increased population is bad for the environment, as expressed by the variable P in I=P*A*T "where I is impact, P is population, A is affluence, and T is technology." Impact increases as both population and affluence increases; both drive up demand for resources and create more waste and pollution. Therefore, keeping population down will help the environment. By keeping human population below the carrying capacity for our species, it helps people as well.

Third, increasing educational and economic opportunities for women is the number one way to decrease birth rates and keep them down, although increasing economic security might put a floor under the declining birth rates. Women's education and a stronger economy will also increase affluence, which will increase impact if more efficient technologies don't counteract both affluence and population.
Notice that I started this section by crediting Roe v. Wade for beginning the current period of low birth rates. That Oliver cites an estimate of 75,000 more children being born if (when) it's overturned demonstrates its effectiveness at lowering U.S. population growth. Therefore, overturning it strikes me as generally bad for sustainability.

What I see as an unfortunate outcome is one that opponents of abortion regard as a good one, including for its economic effects as an alternative solution to the one I proposed last year.
[I]f not enough babies are born in the U.S. to meet our job demand, the country can allow more immigration. I'm O.K. with that, but Donald Trump became president in large part because many Americans weren't and still aren't. That's why, when one of my students asked in 2015 if the U.S. would ever adopt Chinese population policies, I responded no, that's not the American way. If the U.S. thinks it has an overpopulation issue, it would restrict immigration. The next week, Trump rode down the escalator and denounced immigrants. This is one of those cases where I hate being proved right.
If increasing immigration is not an acceptable solution, then increasing the U.S. birth rate would be. It's a way of avoiding what I worried about four years ago and have repeated several times since.
I have been in favor of zero population growth for as long as I can remember. However, I'm not sure the U.S. economy is set up for a stable or slowly declining population, a point I made in the Hipcrime Vocab: Why Slowing Population Growth is a Problem. We are going to have to figure how to do so. Otherwise, I might live long enough to experience the wisdom of the saying "Be careful what you wish for; you might get it."
I can say the same thing for the opponents of Roe v. Wade, who now seem to be moving on to restricting contraception. Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

*The Supreme Court released its decision in that case about guns yesterday and is expected to release its decision in West Virgina vs. EPA today as well. Stay tuned for my reactions to those as well as continuing coverage of the January 6th Committee hearings along with posts on evergreen topics through the end of the month.

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