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Roy Moore Defenses Prove Anti-Choice Politics Have Never Been About Children

Mother daughter pro-choice protest

In less than two weeks, Alabama voters will participate in a special election to determine who will represent them in the U.S. senate. And yet, at this point, to call it a special election feels like an uncomfortable understatement. One candidate is a reasonable, seasoned Democrat who, while not particularly interesting or charismatic, isn’t someone who’s been accused of child molestation, an Islamophobe who’s called for a ban on Muslims in the Senate, or someone who’s waved a gun around at a political rally, called for the illegalization of homosexual acts, or co-authored a textbook saying women shouldn’t run for office.

In other words, he isn’t Judge Roy Moore, who has once again pulled ahead of Jones in polling this week and will likely become the first man banned from a local mall but welcomed to Capitol Hill—that we know of.

And while there’s substantial bipartisan opposition to Moore’s campaign, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP stars demanding that Moore suspend his campaign, and the National Republican Senatorial Campaign pulling its financial support for Moore, a number of conservatives and church leaders continue to stand forcefully behind him. Many have dismissed the accusations against him—which, this week, were proven to be thoroughly fact-checked after a failed right-wing sting operation meant to get The Washington Post to report a fake rape accusation against Moore—as “fake news.”

Moore has all but admitted to the accusations himself, conceding that he dated “young women,” and locals ranging from literally all of his co-workers to numerous police and locals in his Alabama town have all said Moore had a reputation for pursuing female minors.

And yet, others have stooped to new lows, not even denying the veracity of accusations against Moore but demanding that Republicans vote for him anyway. Some prime examples come from the White House—pushing the argument that a Democrat is somehow worse than a child molester in the Senate (“the last thing we need is another Democrat,” President Donald Trump has tweeted), and that Moore is the one to vote for if we want to see the Republican agenda meet success in the Senate (“We want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through,” Kellyanne Conway said on CNN last week). Some Moore supporters have even resorted to bizarre Biblical defenses referencing the normalcy of child marriage in the Bible, or the irresistible “purity” of young women, or even—I kid you not—comparisons of teenage girls to lawnmowers.

But one particular line of defense used to defend Moore vividly stands out. Last week on CNN, former Trump adviser Stephen Moore argued, “The Democratic candidate is for partial-birth abortion in a state that is highly Christian and Catholic, so there is no moral high ground here between the two candidates.”

In suggesting that Roy Moore is not a saint, Stephen Moore seemed to concede that the allegations against him are likely legitimate, but that they don’t matter simply because Doug Jones supports abortion rights. His stance seems to be that child molestation is not worse than “baby killing,” or abortion, and it’s certainly not an uncommon stance. When Moore’s supporters run out of ridiculous, pedophilia-sympathizing or Bible-thumping defenses of Moore, without fail, Roy Moore and Doug Jones’ different stances on abortion rights are their fallback plan.

The message this sends is that fetuses—and, following Conway’s logic, tax cuts for the rich—are prioritized above child abuse victims and sexual assault survivors in general. After all, what none of Moore’s supporters seem willing to acknowledge is that those who are accusing Moore were children when he allegedly abused them. Of course, long before this scandal of epically ironic proportions, there has always been ample evidence reinforcing the famous slogan, “Love the fetus, hate the child.”

Earlier this year, Congressional Republicans defunded the Child Health Insurance Program. Their attacks on family planning programs are—predictably enough—devastating to low-income minority families, as are their attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which has helped to enfranchise millions of low-income children and families across the country. Their attacks on affordable education, life-saving gun control measures to protect children, immigration policies that keep children with their parents, and common-sense family leave policies are just as harmful to children’s futures.

And, of course, lingering homophobia, transphobia, racism, xenophobia, and misogyny have always shown that while anti-choice politicians’ love for the fetus is unconditional, their love for children and living, born humans in general, on the other hand, is not.

The case of Roy Moore is particularly damning for anti-choice politicians’ claims that their movement is about children and not the subjugation and disenfranchisement of women. It shows that all they care about is that children are birthed. After that, whether they’re forced to live in abject poverty, forced to go to bathrooms that conflict with their gender identity, or even sexually assaulted and abused as children, it doesn’t matter to the anti-choice team. The utopia of anti-choice politicians is not—and has never been—a society in which children are loved, protected, and given the rights and resources they need to thrive. In their utopia, the well-being and human rights of children are irrelevant. Their foremost goal is to create a country where the state can force women to give birth.

Anti-choice politics have never been concerned with children, nor have they ever been concerned with women—not women who report egregious sexual abuse and damage a politician who opposes abortion, and certainly not the thousands of women whose health and safety are endangered by abortion restrictions that force them to resort to extreme measures, every year. Every year in the United States, 700 to 900 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes and roughly 65,000 nearly die; this is the highest maternal mortality rate in the industrialized world. Human rights and living standards—not of children and certainly not of pregnant women—are nowhere near as important to anti-choice lawmakers as simply forcing women to give birth.

Regardless of what happens on Dec. 12 when Alabama voters will hit the polling booths, the damage that Moore supporters have perpetuated can’t be undone. For years to come, their children will continue to live in a society where 67 percent of sexual assault survivors don’t come forward, where there are no consequences for those who sexually abuse children. Because at the end of the day, that’s the price of Moore’s victory and the price of his supporters’ anti-choice utopia.

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