Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Why John McCain is not in charge of your abortion

Democrats infuriate me sometimes. Republicans do too of course (and more often, to be sure) but today let's focus on the Democrats. One of their unyielding tactics in this so-called culture war of an election is to FREAK OUT at the very notion of casting a vote for McCain because -- and I variously quote -- the ticket is "scary," "an affront to women," and "a slap in the face," and it has "remobilized the religious right."

Let's cut through all the crap. Democrats are using abortion as a wedge issue. Now, this is a really hypocritical thing for Democrats to do, because they famously criticize Republicans for using abortion as a wedge issue. The thinking seems to be, when the Karl Roves of the world mobilize (or "re-mobilize") their base by getting voters out to the polls in all-out-effort to affect abortion policy, that's bad, but apparently when Democrats want to affect abortion policy it is not only OK but it is "crucial!" and "essential!" and "why aren't you terrified?!" to insist that I absolutely, positively must vote for Obama or else McCain is going to take away any power I will ever have to make a choice ever again.

I would say that is "extreme."

It is also misguided, particularly when directed at me, because abortion is not, never has been, and I doubt ever will be my wedge issue. So you're not gaining my vote that way.

But here's the catch: it doesn't MATTER. Let me explain. After all, I've spent $100,000 on this legal education so I might as well put it to good use. The president is not in charge of abortion!

I know what you're going to say, because every foaming-at-the-mouth Obama supporter has already said it to me (and a few of the calm ones have, too): "But the president appoints Supreme Court justices, so (s)he really DOES have the power to overturn Roe v. Wade." Listen carefully:

If McCain got elected, and IF a Supreme Court justice or two died/retired/got sick of the lot of us and fled the country, and even IF McCain's goal was to use a litmus test to select a justice (which it is NOT, but even IF it were), and even IF that litmus test were whether the potential justice thought Roe v. Wade was a flawed decision (which, by the way, a lot of legal scholars agree is true, regardless of their politics), and even IF he nominated someone bound and determined to "end abortion now!" and even IF this person got confirmed by the Senate, and even IF within the next few years all this happened AND a case questioning a law restricting abortion made its way up the court system, and even IF the Supreme Court granted certiorari and even IF the law in question were worded in such a way that in ruling on it Roe v. Wade was overturned in its entirety, and even IF we were suddenly to find ourselves in a Roe v. Wade-less world, you know what would happen next?

At first, nothing. Because the issue would be kicked back to the states! Then, each state legislature would enact the abortion legislation or lack thereof that it saw fit. That is how this country works. Now, let's see, show of hands: who thinks that each state is going to immediately reenact exactly whichever abortion-restricting law was on the books in 1970? Who among you really thinks the last forty years haven't affected the popular consensus/majority will on this issue, let alone who is actually IN the state legislature now to legislate? (Some of whom were probably BORN around the time of Roe v Wade.) What if I were to remind you that early Supreme Court cases about the right to privacy included the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut, which invalidated a Connecticut law that prohibited contraceptives, and the follow-up Eisenstadt v Baird in 1972, which invalidated a Massachusetts law that prohibited contraceptives for unmarried couples? Yeah, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Birth control. Forty years of social change, people.

So if you really want to have a say in abortion laws, you should be talking to your state legislators. Perhaps you can start by finding out who they are.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent Blog!!!