Recently, James Harder, who is running to unseat Joseph Yost for Delegate in the New River Valley, sent a mailer challenging Yost on his support of the concept of a personhood bill. Harder contended that a personhood bill would mean involving police in miscarriages. See also here. In doing so, Harder stood up for women who do not deserve the criminalization, ultimately, of both birth control and miscarriage. That’s part of what personhood-from-the-moment-of-conception-legislation does. If Joseph Yost supports personhood legislation (reifying a zygote from the moment of conception) then de facto he does support criminalizing miscarriage. Period. Indeed he voted for such a bill in 2012. Yost’s denials of the consequences for women who miscarry are just plain wrong. That didn’t stop Bearing Drift bloggers from hyperventilating and trashing Harder for a fundamentally pro-woman position.
Of all people, Joseph Yost should oppose personhood amendments. Unknown to Harder at the time was that Joseph Yost’s wife Lisa has gone through two painful miscarriages in the past year. Harder could not possibly have known that. I am very sorry for both the Yosts’ suffering. For women, though, the experience is much worse. She is grieving, and experiencing a breathtaking hormonal “drop off a cliff” at the same time. I know first hand that it is a profoundly difficult and traumatic experience.
But no matter how sorry I am that she and her husband went through this ordeal, that doesn’t mean Joseph Yost should get a free pass for supporting legislation which will have disastrous consequences for women, whether he admits it or not. Of all people, he should know better. Nor does it mean that women (or their allies) shouldn’t speak up strongly about this.
It is suspect and contemptible that the MEN of Bearing Drift think they can stifle women and their allies on this subject. (Yes, obviously, it was unfortunate that he mailer landed in their mailbox. I sincerely believe that was an accident. Harder has said as much. But Harder stands by the facts underlying the mailer, as he should.)
It is impossible to believe that Yost doesn’t get the implications of the personhood bill he has supported. It’s been years now since Del Cosgrove half-assedly stumbled into this argument. He became a national embarrassment, fodder for late-night ridicule. Even conservative women said the legislation went too far. And Cosgrove withdrew the bill. Though he still conceptually supports the notion of personhood legislation, AG candidate Mark Obenshain also had to withdraw his legislation. It is unthinkable that either Yost or Obenshain doesn’t understand the consequences of his position. That can only mean they are lying. There is absolutely no excuse to support a law, so hyper-conservative and draconian that even Mississippi voters voted against it.
Yost could use this as a teachable moment. He could enlighten fellow cons about what that type of legislation would mean in terms of outright savageness to women in some of their their most vulnerable and painful (both literally and figuratively) moments. 20 percent of women experience natural miscarriage sometime in their lives. They all deserve our compassionate support, not criminalization. Instead, Yost pretends personhood legislation wouldn’t affect women who miscarry along with those using birth control. He likewise pretends he is not pandering to the most extreme fringes of his party. Note: Yost could educate himself about birth control. He could also educate himself on the human side of women who, for whatever reason, find themselves in dire circumstances and decide they must have an abortion. But he won’t. That might make him challenge his too-convenient support of a horrendously misogynist bill.
So, spare me the phony umbrage (from the MEN at Bearing Drift; The fact is, a personhood amendment is right out of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” no matter how mocking, cynical, overbearing and drippingly contemptuous these Bearing Drift MEN are. The clumsiness of the mailing list notwithstanding, James Harder provided a service to call out Yost’s support of such legislation. Joseph Yost: More extreme than Mississippi voters. He needs to go.