netcurmudgeon (netcurmudgeon) wrote,

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Weasel words

I was listening to NPR's Morning Edition this morning while I was getting ready for work and caught their story on the Republican Presidential candidate debate that took place yesterday in Ames, Iowa.

Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo, while making the point that he was against a national healthcare system used the phrase "womb-to-tomb". In the moment I thought that it was a clever rephrasing of the old saw "cradle-to-grave" and went about my day.

Apparently, one of those background thought-threads that run in my brain latched onto womb-to-tomb and spent much of the day chewing it over. This evening I got a mental ping! as that thread rose to the surface and presented its findings.

Womb-to-tomb is not a harmless redressing of a tired old catch phrase. It is a linguistic stealth weapon carrying a payload of far-right Republican ideology. By replacing cradle with womb Mr. Tancredo is asserting that life begins at conception not at birth. A long-held position of Republican orthodoxy is that a foetus -- or even a blastocyst -- is a person and is therefore subject to the protections of law. Especially in the right-wingers' eyes, protection from being murdered. As, of course, they equate medical abortion with murder. The rhyming phrase is so slick and neat that it almost slid right right into my lexicon. Sneaky bastard.

Makes me glad that I live in a blue state. Makes me shudder for the women who don't.
Tags: abortion, language, politics, republicans, weasel words

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