Big Deception on Both Sides of Roe v. Wade

 

© 2017 Steve Feinstein. All Rights Reserved.

 

There are lots of practical and philosophical differences between the two major political parties in America. Some are real differences, some are more perceived than real and some are just clichés that one side likes to perpetuate to the detriment of the other:

 

  • Taxes
  • Free-market capitalism vs. Gov’t-controlled safety net
  • Affirmative Action
  • Immigration Policy
  • Health Care
  • Foreign policy/use of military force
  • Education
  • Woman’s/minorities/sexual orientation rights/pay inequality
  • Law enforcement/legal issues
  • Energy policy/Environmental/Climate Change issues
  • Media coverage

 

Those are the broad categories on which most elections are based, and at least within some limited range, negotiation/compromise between the two parties is theoretically possible, and actually happens from time to time.

However, there is one topic that is not on the list above, because compromise hasn’t been possible to this point: Abortion.

Abortion is the Democratic Party’s Line in the Sand.

The abortion constituency is a—no, the—major voting bloc for the Democrats. It cuts across all ethnic, racial, age, gender/orientation and economic lines in a way that no other important Democratic issue does. Liberals of every stripe are in favor of it, although perhaps for wildly different reasons. Nonetheless, they all arrive at this same destination, even though it’s often by dramatically different routes. The unquestioned availability of abortion is the common denominator of all Liberal voters. Some Democrats may be more business-oriented and like low taxes and limited restrictive regulations; some may be low-income/minority but have high-achievement children, so Affirmative Action is their thing. Some may perceive a wage gap or gender/orientation discrimination or feel strongly that we shouldn’t drill into the earth and strip Her bounty just to turn on the lights. And so on.

The common thread among them all: The continued legal availability of abortion. Many voters—too many—base their Presidential vote on this issue of so-called “choice,” mistakenly believing that the party of the President determines the availability and legality of abortion.

For the Democrats, a Presidential Supreme Court appointment means only one thing: the preservation of Roe v Wade, which Democrats feel preserves unfettered access to abortion. This issue, more than welfare, affirmative action, higher taxes on the rich, stiffer environmental regulations, relaxed immigration rules or gay rights, is the cornerstone of the Democratic platform. Strip away everything else, and the Democrats know that their core constituency will always vote for them as long as they can deliver the abortion issue. They may euphemistically shroud the issue with phrases like “women’s health,” or “choice,” etc., but it all means the same thing: the Democrats are the Party of Abortion. To justify it, they use the scare tactic of saying they will fight to “keep abortion safe and legal,” implying if the Republicans win the Presidency and appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court, abortion will suddenly become unsafe and illegal.

This is a perfect example of politicians using the ignorance of the majority of the voting populace to further the party’s goals. What a majority of voters don’t seem to realize is that if Roe v Wade were overturned by the Supreme Court (as incredibly unlikely as that is), the abortion issue would then simply become one of states’ rights, with the voters of each state deciding the particulars by referenda. Constitutional scholars point to the 10th Amendment, which reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Would the specific details that govern the procedure vary from state to state? Quite possibly—that would be up to the voters in that particular state. But some evil, unnamed Government power wouldn’t force the decision upon the voters. The states would decide it for themselves.

Abortion would not become “illegal” if Roe was overturned. Instead, the fifty states would simply decide for themselves how to handle it. The overwhelming likelihood is that in virtually all states, abortion would continue to be available and performed much as it is today, especially in strong Democratic states. It’s hard to imagine any states actually voting to deny access to the procedure, since it is accepted law and had been for many decades. Certainly, it would never be outlawed or restricted in New York, Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington, Oregon or any other strongly blue state.

No judgment is being made here on the relative appropriateness of abortion, so we need to resist the temptation to veer off topic. This is not a discussion “in favor” or “opposed” to the availability of abortion. Rather, this is simply the observation that a change in the Supreme Court’s position on Roe won’t have the legal/illegal effect on abortion that both sides imply it would.

However, the Democrats politicians who know this (and, unfortunately, not all do) are worried that this information might actually become common knowledge, because if it did, their vice-grip on their constituents because of the abortion issue would be broken. Overturning R v W will not push abortion into the threatened “back alley,” and—giving Democratic politicians the benefit of the doubt with regard to their legal grasp and understanding of the issue—most of them know this. They’re simply using the issue as a reprehensibly disingenuous way to prey upon a mostly-ignorant public’s fears.

Interestingly, the Republican Party is just as reluctant to level with its core supporters regarding abortion as the Democrats are to level with theirs. If the Democrats don’t want their voters to realize that a change in the Supreme Court’s position on Roe wouldn’t really affect the availability or safety of abortion, then the Republicans feel exactly the same, but for exactly opposite reasons: Republicans appeal to much of their base by implying that a change in the courts will result in abortion “finally being outlawed,” but that isn’t true—if Roe were overturned, abortion would still be available. It may well vary a bit from state to state and the availability of funding from third parties might be somewhat affected in the details, but abortion’s actual availability would not be impinged. Like the Democrats, the Republicans don’t want that to be widely known.

Obviously, this is a tremendously complex issue. New technology that makes fetal survival after 20 weeks a real possibility (unimaginable in 1973), partial birth abortion, parental notification, and concerns for the mother’s health (emotional as well as physical) are among the components that imbue this subject with its infinitely varied shades of gray. Stripping away the deceptive veneer of abortion politics that both sides currently employ exposes the reality that neither national Party has the power to change the general availability of abortion. Peoples’ votes should be based on national security, immigration, energy policy, taxation/Government spending, etc. Those are the things that the office of President can influence in a major way, not the availability and access to abortion. A Presidential vote—either way— based on “abortion” is an ill-informed, wasted vote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

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