Sunday, July 17, 2022

When Will Dead and Maimed Women and Girls Become Old News?

It's been less than a month since Roe v. Wade was overturned, and already the consequences are being felt by women and girls around the country whose health and lives are suddenly imperiled. Many of these stories have gotten significant coverage. To name a few:

All of these cases occur fresh in the wake of the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision. All demonstrate, in vivid detail, how the health and safety of women and girls in America has been dramatically imperiled by the Court's imperious decision. Some right-wing commentators have labeled in "suspicious" how many of these stories are emerging so shortly after Dobbs. There is nothing suspicious about it: of course the consequences of banning abortion would manifest immediately after banning abortion. These stories are what will happen in the first month after Dobbs, and the second, and the third, and the twelfth. These stories are the new normal.

Which raises an important question: what happens when they become normal?

These stories are getting coverage now because they're novel. They are breaking reports about the new reality we live under. But in two, three, twelve months, these stories will still be occurring, but they'll no longer be new. Will they still be covered? Or will the media move on?

One can easily imagine in September and October and November newspaper editors deciding that the latest instance of a child rape victim being forced to scurry across state lines, or a miscarrying woman being left to bleed out in a hospital, or a patient denied prescribed medication by an overzealous pharmacist, are yesterday's news. They'll recede into the background, not because they've gone away, but because they're omnipresent.

This isn't an inevitability. News networks don't skip covering crime stories just because "there are muggings every day". One would hope that they'd apply the same logic to women. Every time one of these laws maims or kills or harasses a girl or woman in their community, that should be a story. The drumbeat shouldn't stop, because the story isn't stopping. It should never be "old news" .

We'll see. I'm skeptical. But we'll see.

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