Life of Montana abortion bills likely to end at conception

A person

The Montana legislature made national headlines last week, but not the good kind like you want. Representative Derek Skees of Lakeside sponsored HB 595, which would amend the state constitution to redefine “person” as “all members of the species Homo sapiens at any stage of development, including the stage of fertilization or conception.” Zygotes? People. Fertilized eggs that do not implant in the uterus as a result of IUD birth control? People. Ectopic pregnancies? People. Skees’s bill would criminalize not just abortion but a whole raft of women’s health services that most people consider morally neutral, if not inherently good. It’s a bold declaration of support for the lives of the pre-born, but does it do enough to make post-born lives miserable?

Enter Sen. Albert Olszewski (R-Kalispell). His bill would require doctors to take every measure possible to preserve the lives of fetuses beyond 24 weeks of development, including caesarian section and resuscitation after abortion or miscarriage. Doctors who don’t would be subject to criminal prosecution. Imagine, for a moment, the joy a woman would feel after procuring a legal abortion, only to watch her obstetrician resuscitate the fetus and present her with her new child. Don’t worry, though; that situation will never happen, because no obstetrician in her right mind would see a pregnant woman knowing that it would expose her to criminal investigation should anything go wrong.

Also, neither of these bills has a snowball’s chance of becoming law. Nor does Sen. Keith Regier’s (R-Kalispell) proposal to ban abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy. Even if they make it out of the legislature, Gov. Steve Bullock will veto these bills faster than you can say Roe v. Wade. In this way, they take on a pleasing symmetry. These laws that insist life begins at conception are unlikely to move beyond the concept stage themselves. As pure theories, they are free to be as draconian and unenforceable as the most virulent activist could hope. It’s kind of like the way their authors—middle-aged men from the Flathead, to a one—can rail against abortion without any fear of getting pregnant themselves. You can read all about their strange performances in this week’s column for the Missoula Independent. Probably, we’re going to get some letters. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links!

Man who has never done this before knows better than everybody

The working man

Now that the White House has ejected the Times from its press conferences, I must turn to New York’s second best newspaper for coverage of our confident and dynamic president. What will that serial monogamer get up to next? It turns out he’s going to keep spreading factual inaccuracies on Twitter, but it all seems more fun and crazy now, because switching from the Times to the Post is like scoring a movie with the Benny Hill Theme instead of Clair de Lune. Here’s the President of the United States:

So this may shock you, but President Trump’s claim is factually inaccurate. Although the New York Times did recently release a prominent new advertisement, it’s not the first time. Anyone who watched Comedy Central in the nineties remembers this commercial:

I forgot how much I hated that guy with the suspenders, but as soon as I saw him it all came rushing back. He’s a Chris Parnell character 20 years too soon. Anyway, the Times advertises pretty often, and President Trump seems to be speaking without regard for the truth. His main point is that the Times is bad, due to a shortage of fairness and accuracy.

That is, of course, the slogan of another news organization. “Reebok sucks,” he might have tweeted. “Try just doing it!” Such command of the language might send the delicate hands of New York Times readers clutching toward their pearls, but in the Post it reads pretty sweet:

The president also singled out the the [New York Times] in a tweet about fake news on Friday, saying “FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesn’t tell the truth. A great danger to our country. The failing @nytimes has become a joke. Likewise @CNN. Sad!,” he said.

His tweet came hours after Trump addressed a conservative conference where he wailed on the media about reporting fake news and the use of unnamed sources in stories.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the Post is the newspaper for people who hate newspapers. I, for one, am heartened to read that the president has been wailing on the media, and it gives me hope that he might bring back jobs and convince chicks to loosen up. Anyway, I gotta go. I spent all day making money instead of writing Combat! blog, which I give away for free. Reader, it is worth every penny.

Fuck it, Trump figures, how many of them can there be?


Donald J. Trump appeals to the better angels of our nature.

Character in a journalism student’s fantasy Donald Trump made headlines yesterday, because he said the United States should close its borders to Muslims. At press time, he keeps saying it. Finally, someone has the guts to tell it like it is. America has gone without a strong, loud, stupid leader for too long, and it’s also been too long since we made laws about kinds of people. Every time we made a law about a kind of people in this country—Indian removal, Jim Crow, Japanese internment—was a time Trump voters consider better than now. Yes, even Japanese internment. “What I’m doing is no different from FDR,” Trump told Good Morning America, referring to the worst thing FDR ever did. I know we recently said Trump had gone full racist, but now that he’s accused a domestic religious minority of conspiring with foreign enemies to obstruct his plan to make America great again, he has technically gone full Hitler. Unless, of course, he doesn’t really mean it.

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Friday links! Invincible perfection of ideology edition

Vladimir Putin and a puppy that later betrayed him

Vladimir Putin and a puppy that later betrayed him

We all know that one ideology is correct. That’s just common sense. So many ideas are wrong, and so many people are wrong for holding them, that there must necessarily be a way of thinking and behaving that is absolutely right. It’s like when you see land; you know there must be an ocean somewhere, because otherwise you would just be seeing space. But how can you know which ideology is correct? With your heart, obviously. And how can you know whether you are adhering to that ideology enough? Through constant vigilance—specifically, constant vigilance of others. Today is Friday, as other people will agree but maybe not enough. Won’t you believe perfectly in a perfect ideology and become invincible with me?

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Missoula city council moves to prohibit new homeless shelters

Without a shelter, a Missoula man is forced to stop being homeless.

Without a shelter, a Missoula man is forced to stop being homeless.

This morning, the Missoula city council is discussing an emergency measure to “prohibit new homeless shelters, soup kitchens and similar uses” until it can update municipal regulations. The emergency is that Union Gospel Mission—formerly the 3:16 Mission—has leased the old Sweetheart Bakery building on West Broadway. That’s how it appears, anyway. Councilman Adam Hertz insists the measure is “not necessarily geared at one entity,” even though the proposal would take effect retroactively and therefore block the mission’s plans to move. The important thing to remember, as the city council passes an emergency retroactive law to stop homeless shelters, is that they’re all committed to helping the homeless.

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