So, he rules, we’ll spare you all that grief and sorrow by deciding you can’t have a partial-birth abortion (if your state so decides), even though there was substantial testimony from medical experts and groups, such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, that this now potentially criminal form of second-trimester abortion is sometimes safer for women than other forms. This is for your own good, of course.Where have we heard this before? You are too mentally challenged to master the rigors of a higher education, so we’ll keep you out of universities for your own good. You are too gentle for the rough-and-tumble world of business, so we’ll keep you out of the high-paying professions for your own good. You don’t understand complicated political issues, so we’ll spare you the confusion of voting, for your own good. You are too frail for competitive sports, so we’ll keep you from running or swimming or discovering your body’s capabilities, for your own good. And now paternalism’s last stand is over motherhood. You don’t know when you are ready to become a mother; whether you are suited to become a mother; what to do when something has gone dreadfully wrong with your pregnancy. So you can’t decide.
The smartest thing I was ever taught about politics and media is that this sort of media coverage of politics in media outlets that aren’t focused on politics — coverage in Elle rather than Ms., the local news rather than the national news — is the most important kind. It reaches the kind of ill-informed somewhat disengaged people whose views tend to swing elections.