What would anti-choicers NOT impose if they could muster legislative majorities? Hard to know, but there is some disturbing history of what loony majoritarianism can lead to.
Anti-choice authoritarians have long been targeting not only abortion but birth control, and why think they’d stop there? In the last century 30 states enacted compulsory sterilization laws, upheld in a 1927 Supreme Court decision, and some remained in effect into the 1970s. It resulted in around 70,000 sterilizations and was an inspiration for Hitler’s policies of mass sterilization and murder. I’ve not heard that any states required abortions for eugenic reasons, but it would hardly be shocking.
The merits of the current Supreme Court case are same ol’-same ol’. “States’ rights! Let the people decide!” froth anti-choicers, though their ultimate dance-in-the-street victory would be a federal ban of all abortions by whatever means. Wild guess: few have read the Constitution, let alone the Federalist Papers, let alone the Cato Institute book “The Rights Retained by the People: The History and Meaning of the Ninth Amendment.”
The Founders created a republic, not a democracy. (It soon became a plutocracy, but that’s another story.) We don’t vote on everything. Minorities and individuals have rights the majority can’t trample. Otherwise we’d writhe under the majoritarian tyranny Tocqueville warned of, as increasingly we do.
“By [the democratic] system, the people shake off their state of dependence just long enough to select their master, and then relapse into it again. . . . they think they have done enough for the protection of individual freedom when they have surrendered it to the power of the nation at large. This does not satisfy me: the nature of him I am to obey signifies less to me that the fact of extorted obedience.”
The Ninth Amendment: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Note it well: by the PEOPLE, not state governments. Along with the unenumerated right to privacy, this was part of the basis for Roe.
What else could the amendment mean other than that there should be a presumption of an individual’s right to do X unless it is explicitly forbidden by the Constitution? A right doesn’t have to be enumerated. That would require a Constitution the length of a dozen New York phone books. The burden should be on government to justify DENYING a right, hardly on an individual to comb the Constitution for its enumeration.
Nowhere is the right to travel enumerated, for example, or the right to dress as I please, world without end, but that hardly means it’s constitutional for government to eliminate such rights. If government could outlaw any act not enumerated as a right in the Constitution, its power would be unlimited, and “The Land of the Free” would be an even sicker joke than it has long been.
So much for the Right’s hypocritical bilge about seeking limited government. “Get government off our back”? “Government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem”? Right. So let’s empower state legislatures to deny women the right to make this most intimate and private of decisions.
To be sure, that’s the authoritarian apotheosis we’ve long been goose-stepping toward. By all indications, all we can do now is hope majoritarian tyranny doesn’t go that far. But who knows?
Thanks to their decades-long refusal to make abortion rights a marquee issue, the Dumbocrats, by all indications, have reaped the ultimate whirlwind for their brainlessness and gutlessness. Thanks to this Neanderthal Supreme Court dominated those picked by Dubya and Trump, reproductive rights are soon to be up to state legislatures, few of which are famed for being honorable, sagacious or informed. Strong pro-choice majorities — at least 70 percent support the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision — haven’t mattered since the Dumbs (“It’s the economy, stupid!”) have done little to mobilize them and make abortion rights a voting issue.
Such poll numbers were what moved the loathsome but savvy political consultant Ralph Reed, formerly executive director of the hurricane-altering Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition, to advise GOP candidates to campaign “under cover of night”: that is, to steer clear of social/judicial issues and limit themselves to droning bromides about cutting taxes and regulations and “making America strong,” all the while counting on the Dumbs not to smoke them out. Reed knew his enemies.
As I discuss here, the envy-fueled puritan mindset that drives anti-choicers explains the paradox that has flummoxed many: Why do most of them oppose increasing information on and access to birth control? Surely even they can’t be dense enough not to know that the fewer unwanted pregnancies, the fewer abortions, as is the case in nations where teens have much greater levels of birth-control information and access. Ah, but that could lead to pain-free pleasure, with no fear of unwanted pregnancy, and pain-free pleasures inflame their envious rage.
It also explains why, despite our astoundingly high rates of SERIOUS crime (not to mention all the horrors that are legal), what makes “The Land of the Free” the world’s most jailed and litigious nation is the criminalization of consensual acts — ones in which no one was coerced or defrauded. “Live free or die”? Our national motto should be “Build more jails.”
Most anti-choicers are also inflamed by theocratic superstitions against the separation of church and state, as Bible-thumping they go for such lunacies as prayer in public schools and creationism— 97 years after the Scopes monkey trial. Their idea of sex education is the preaching of abstinence, long proven to be ineffective.
“Pro-life”? Please. Few have been advocates for greater maternal care, day care, parental leave, welfare benefits or health care generally, on all of which American policies are by far the most ungenerous in the advanced world.
They’re well-funded and could be a third of Americans, around the same percentage who are Biblical literalists. Indeed, the more the iniquities and looniness of their heroes are exposed, the more they shower them with donations. Many more pennies from heaven started falling on them after Dubya, with limp if any opposition from Dumbocrats, pushed through “faith-based initiatives” that force taxpayers not only to compensate for the outrageous tax-exempt status that religions have always enjoyed, but to directly fund them.
With no more than a week left in his failed 1984 presidential campaign, Walter Mondale found his biggest applause line: “Do you want Jerry Falwell appointing the next Supreme Court?” But though you can lead the Dumbocrats’ mule to water . . .
Will the “bombshell” of the leaked Supreme Court draft showing that the court is almost certain to overturn Roe — as if the decision couldn’t have been predicted — be enough to shake Dumbs out of their endless slumber? And will it be too late if it is?
As theocratizing we go, anti-choicers believe they have a pipeline to God that has inspired them with a grand vision. And they’re making it come true. Meanwhile maybe we pro-choicers in the tolerant majority can drive a few poor rape victims from Texas to Colorado for legal abortions despite the snorts and froths of anti-choicers that we’ll burn in hell for our failure to see that forcing more women to give birth to unwanted children is an essential part not only of Trump’s plan to “Make America Great Again” but also of God’s.
Swell with pride to pledge allegiance to America the Beautiful.