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Commentary

Garcia's logic on U.S. abortion rights is as twisted as Alarcón's was on Cuban human rights

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The Florida Channel; AP
PRETZEL LOGIC Miami state Sen. Ileana Garcia (left) and the late Cuban National Assembly president Ricardo Alarcon

COMMENTARY Right-wing state Sen. Ileana Garcia's abortion remarks recall the doublespeak communist officials like the late Ricardo Alarcón are famous for.

Former Cuban foreign minister and National Assembly president Ricardo Alarcón was one of the communist regime’s most powerful figures. He was also one of its most Orwellian, a master of dictatorship doublespeak who could dismiss the island’s human rights repression — “Cuba has no political prisoners because political opposition doesn’t matter here,” he once remarked — with the kind of pretzel logic only the most Kool-Aid-drunk ideologues can muster.

But a few days before Alarcón died last Saturday, we were reminded that all too often the folks who can be as pretzel-logical as Cuban communists are their mortal enemies: right-wing Cuban politicians in Miami.

As Republican state Sen. Ileana Garcia drove home with her gobsmackingly ludicrous remarks about abortion at the Miami Beach Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club.

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Attempting to explain why Florida’s new, more restrictive abortion law allows no exceptions for rape victims, Garcia claimed it’s a way to save women and girls trapped in human trafficking. She argued it will help prevent trafficking victims who become pregnant from getting abortions. And if they can’t get abortions, their traffickers won’t consider them valuable “commodities” anymore.

“They release [those pregnant women and girls] from the trafficking ring,” Garcia concluded. “That’s why we went to that point” of not excluding rape from the new law, which allows legal abortion only in the first 15 weeks of pregnancy instead of the previous 24-week limit.

READ MORE: Right now, it's Latin America who can help America regain its senses on abortion

First, this exposes Garcia’s wanton ignorance of human trafficking rings. If the trafficker wants his pregnant “commodity” to get an abortion, she will. Or does Garcia really believe monsters who hold other humans against their will and force them into prostitution stop and say: “Wait, I need to follow Florida’s new abortion statute”?

Second, it’s wantonly cruel. It showcases the extremist suggestion that even trafficking victims should be forced to carry their traumatic rape pregnancies to term to satisfy pro-life dogma.

And third, speaking of dogma, Garcia’s is the sort of tortured syllogism a doctrinaire doublespeaker like Alarcón would have been proud of. In 2008, a Cuban student named Eliecer Avila had the guts to publicly challenge Alarcón about the shackles the regime clamped on freedoms like foreign travel. Alarcon’s response: If Cubans were allowed to fly out of Cuba “the skies would be too dangerously congested” and pose a safety risk for el pueblo the communist party is ordained to protect.

If Garcia weren’t the daughter of Cuban exiles and the founder of Latinas for Trump, you might be excused for thinking she studied the rhetorical arts under communist apparatchiks like Alarcón.

In fact, if Garcia weren’t the daughter of Cuban exiles — and if she weren’t the founder of Latinas for Trump — you might be excused for thinking she studied the rhetorical arts under communist apparatchiks like Alarcón.

It could have explained her equally ludicrous remarks earlier this year about race. Black people, she said, should “move on from” racism, just as she got over it — a White Cuban whose own experience growing up in Miami, she astonishingly asserted, was “not at all” different from theirs.

CLUELESS DISINFORMATION

Soon after that came her chilling declaration during Florida Senate debate that “gay is not a permanent thing.” The belief among the religious right that LGBTQ people can be programmed out of their biological orientation has of course all the scientific grounding of creationism; but Garcia capped her speech with the clueless disinformation that most transgender people who do the full surgical transition “end up committing suicide.” In fact, a Harvard-led study last year affirmed that trans people who complete the gender surgery are less likely to commit suicide.

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The Florida Channel
Miami state Sen. Ileana Garcia on the Senate floor in Tallahassee this year.

But factual data like that mean little more to reactionary politicos like Garcia than they do to revolutionary pols like Alarcón. That’s what makes the U.S. Supreme Court’s apparent decision to trash Roe v. Wade, a half century of legal precedent and constitutional abortion rights so worrisome. The ideological movement that’s led to it is, for the most part, as contemptuous of reasonableness — the sort of reasonableness that marked the original 1973 Roe ruling — as the ideological regime that Alarcón helped to lead is.

You don’t arrive at 1984-esque pretzel logic like “there are no political prisoners because we’ve outlawed political opposition,” or “making rape victims carry pregnancies to term is good for them because it prevents future rape,” unless you’re trying to enforce an unreasonable mindset.

Unless you don’t mind sounding as illogical as your mortal enemies.