by James Wallace Harris, 6/25/22
Predicting the future is impossible, but we can speculate. The Supreme Court just changed its mind about how it interprets the Constitution regarding a woman’s right to an abortion, so can we expect it will change its mind again? Congress could pass a law giving women a right to an abortion but the Supreme Court could knock it down. The most lasting solution would be ratifying an amendment to the Constitution. That probably won’t happen anytime soon. But when might it be possible?
Anti-abortionists fought to reverse Roe v. Wade for half a century, will it take that long for the political pendulum to swing back? Polls show that a majority of Americans want abortion to be a legal right for women, so how did anti-abortion voters win? The common answer is they joined forces with the conservatives. The conservatives have also worked for decades to get what they want, and are succeeding because they have formed a tight coalition among several special interest groups.
I would assume feminists would have to join several other special interest groups and work with the Democrats to get what they want. Is that possible? What alignment of special interests would beat the alignment of specialist interests the Republicans have formed?
We must admire the conservatives for their dedication, focus, and work to get what they want. Are liberals willing to make an equal effort? Will liberals make a more significant effort to join school boards, get elected in city and state governments, work to influence law school curriculums, and do everything else the conservatives have done since the 1970s?
I have read many books about how conservatives have achieved their political goals over the last fifty years. Many of their tactics have not been honest or ethical. Will liberals go to such extremes? We are currently watching the conservatives subvert democracy to game the system. They have been sowing doubt on all the tools liberals would use to get what they want, especially science, education, medicine, journalism, and common sense.
Liberals have always relied on intellectual proof to fight for what they want, and conservatives have completely undermined intellectualism. Liberals can’t rely on logic to get what they want. They will need to build a coalition of passionate wants. Conservatives have won what they wanted with well-managed minority interests. Can liberals find enough minority interest groups to create a larger coalition than the conservative groups? They have the feminists, LGBTQ+, some minorities, environmentalists, and anti-gun, but who else? They used to have labor, but that’s not so anymore.
It would be great if the liberals could claim the scientists, but scientists are often people first and scientists second. The Republicans have done well with certain religious groups, are there other believers that would passionately support the liberals?
Are there interests that liberals could take back from the conservatives? The core driving force of conservatives has been anti-taxes. Greed is the most powerful political interest of all. If the Democrats could find ways to solve social problems by spending less money it would be a huge factor. If Democrats could find ways to improve the financial health of families and individuals without increasing taxes it would also help. Voters want security, stability, and law and order. Republicans have always been able to capitalize on that more than Democrats. If liberals want to swing the pendulum back their way, they need to change that.
I doubt I’ll live long enough to see the political pendulum swing back to the liberal side. The conservatives are still gaining momentum. I’ve seen a lot of change in my life, and if I live another ten or twenty years I expect to see a lot more. I never imagined that Roe v. Wade would be overturned. But then, the future has always been everything I never imagined.
12 thoughts on “When Will Women Have a Constitutional Right to an Abortion?”
James, even Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not approve of Roe v. Wade. https://www.law.uchicago.edu/news/justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg-offers-critique-roe-v-wade-during-law-school-visit
As for your contention that conservatives have achieved their changes by means liberals feel ” Many of their tactics have not been honest or ethical.” you might be surprise to find that conservatives feel the same way about liberals. I believe that the problem is that
many liberals do not understand the concept of civil rights. The civil rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights are not given by their including in the Bill of Rights. They pre-exist the foundation of our and any other government. They are Rights given to us, humans, by God, or the Gods, or however that works out. The Bill of Rights was inserted in the Constitution simply to affirm the pre-existence of those rights. The argument that the right of privacy gave women the right to an abortion is, frankly, utter stupidity. Partially because the body that is being aborted is not hers. It is another human. And our laws are supposed to protect those humans, too. She felt that focus on the woman’s other rights would work better, and be more supportable under the law. She also felt that the decision, as written, was in support of the physician, not the woman.
Personally, since I’m not absolutely certain when a fetus becomes a person, I’d set the barrier at conception. Prevent conception, you do not need an abortion. Yes, I’m aware that there is only one 100% effective means of preventing conception. Abstinence. Don’t have sex, you won’t need an abortion. Now, there is the matter of consent. I don’t believe children can give informed consent, though I’m also not sure at what age a person should be considered an adult. I would not require a woman or girl who was raped to carry the child to term, since they didn’t give consent. I’d encourage and support it, for women who were willing, since it was not the baby’s fault, or even a child if she were physically mature enough it wasn’t an abnormal health risk. Back when I was young, puberty in females wasn’t usually reached before about age 14 or 15. Now it seems to be happening around age 9 or so for some girls. Body weight of around 100lbs seems to be one of the triggers. That is something that needs to be thoroughly discussed and researched. What declaring Roe v. Wade unconstitutional does, however, is not to outlaw abortions, but to throw it back, again, to the various states. Where it belongs.
The 10th Amendment, “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.” assigns that power there. You can vote for what you want. You should,, nay, MUST, vote, if you expect to have things go your way, but you must also be aware that they may not. Maybe one of the good things about this mess is that it will encourage more folks to get involved in voting. It seems that about 1/10 of the eligible voters actually vote. Note that I’m not inclined to allow people who are not citizens to vote. I do not have a problem with requiring voter id, and id checks to vote. Of those who are eligible, if we could get at least 90% to vote, we’d actually have a good idea of what “We The People” really want.
And as a conservative, fiscally, and a bit of a social liberal, figure a way to pay for the social programs liberals want, and explain it in deep detail, so we know that it’s not going to be another unfunded mandate, you might manage to get some of my votes. Democrats, LBJ, to be specific, are to blame for much of the problems we have in this country now. Republicans, specifically including Nixon, share a great deal of the blame for not fixing those social problems when they had the chance, too. We’d all be better off if those two major parties got their fecal matter in one neat pile, and started doing their jobs. Both are supposed to be making this country better, and I’m not seeing a whole lot of evidence that they’re actually working for that purpose.
I think I’m a few years younger than you are, and I spent about the first third of my adult life trying to make sure we’d all have all the civil rights we’re supposed to have, and in that time and all the subsequent time watching folks of both sides chipping away at those rights.
Many of my liberal friends aren’t for unlimited abortion rights. And many of my liberal women friends have said they would not choose abortion themselves. But they support the right of other women to make that choice. My personal belief is men don’t have a right to say anything about this issue since we have a terrible track record for supporting children.
Yes, I agree, conservatives consider liberals wrong too, but they generally use the term amoral, rather than unethical.
This essay wasn’t about specific legal issues or historical rights but just speculating when things might change again. It will. Things always change.
I find defining personhood at conception rather problematic. Nature creates a lot of persons that it soon eliminates via spontaneous abortions. Also, if you give personhood rights to a few cells, what about all other animals? At that level, the cellular beginnings of all organisms are very similar. Since I’ve been a vegetarian since 1969 I think a lot about animal rights too. Personhood is an artificial distinction. Why not rights based on how much an organism is aware of reality? I have to eat plants, so I’m willing to kill them. Nature is very eat, or be eaten, so any suggestion of rights stands outside of nature. It’s an ethical consideration decided by humanity. And such decisions are made collectively. I doubt a majority of people will decide personhood starts at conception, but if they do, I’m all for democracy. However, I’d prefer a winning majority to be set higher than 50%. I’m tired of living in a polarized society.
To me, it’s the extremists on both sides of the political spectrum that have eroded the majority’s rights.
If a fetus is a person, are we now to count fetuses for the US Census? Can fetuses be declared as dependents on tax forms?
If it’s a crime to terminate a fetus because it’s a person and that would be murder, would it not also be a crime for that person (fetus) to use someone else’s organs (the mother’s) against that person’s will? After a baby is born, it has no rights to anyone else’s body. Declaring a fetus as a person and saying it has the right to use the mother’s organs against her will gives that fetus special rights that no other person has.
Also, how are two cells considered a person under the law? Or four cells? Or eight? That person can’t even eat, breathe, or think. It has no vascular system, no nervous system, no skeletal system — nothing other than DNA which would give an indication that it could become a human. It seems absurd to consider that a person. Is it human? Yes, of course. But there stages to human development, and just because something is part of the life cycle, does that grant it the same rights as a fully formed, aware person? Why? Just because? And why do the fetus’s rights supersede the rights of the person who is an aware participant in society?
Also, why does the government get to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term? That seems crazy to me. If you don’t like abortion, fine. Don’t have one, try to convince others to avoid unwanted pregnancy, and provide education and easily accessible contraception for said reason. But don’t enforce beliefs that affects someone else’s body. You do you and let other people make the choice for themselves under the care and guidance of a physician.
I concur with you. As for your question “When Will Women Have a Constitutional Right to an Abortion?”, it will be at least until a lot more people (can or will) understand and deal with the issues highlighted in my latest post entitled “🏛️⚖️ The Facile and Labile Nature of Law: Beyond the Supreme Court and Its Ruling on Controversial Matters 🗽🗳️🔫🤰🧑🤝🧑💉”:
May you have a wonderful and productive weekend!
Boy, you really get into things. But at the surface level, I think we worry about similar problems. My solution would be to maximize democracy because the current ways of being represented politically are easily corrupted.
I am delighted that you read my said post. Thank you. I would be very grateful if you would kindly leave a comment there as a token of your visit. You are very welcome to copy and paste some or all of your previous reply as part of your forthcoming comment to be submitted to the comment section of the post, to which your esteemed reply clearly pertains and also belongs. Please feel free to expand on your comment if you have additional matters to convey about the post and any salient aspects of its contents. Thank you in anticipation.
It’s a pretty good bet that the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, and North Koreans funded this movement to overturn Roe v. Wade. They’re delighted by the conflict and division in the U.S. This Supreme Court decision–the worst since Dred Scott–balkanizes the States. American women in some states have abortion rights, in Red States…not so much. Years of turmoil ahead weakening our courntry.
I believe those countries will take delight in the decline of the American empire, but I do not blame them for the Supreme Court decision. Many Americans are truly against abortion, and I accept that. If you want to know who is to blame for the politicization of those beliefs read this book: https://www.kurtandersen.com/evil-geniuses
Jim, I did read and review EVIL GENIUSES: http://georgekelley.org/evil-geniuses-the-unmaking-of-america-by-kurt-andersen/
But this 40 year effort to ban abortion in the U.S. needed funding all those years. Of course, individuals contributed to Pro-Life causes, but it takes Serious Money to sway Senators for decades. Countries that want to divide us and fuel conflict have the money to fund such efforts. Nothing in politics happens without money.
Master politician Mark Hanna once said: “There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money and I can’t remember what the second one is.”
George, that’s why the next book I recommend is:
The conservatives made a strategic move that paid off better than money. By adding the right non-political courses to law school curriculums decades ago they were able to eventually gain control of the courts.
Jim, you’re right. Conservatives targeted the courts and after decades of applying this strategy, we now have the dysfunction and conflict our enemies planned for. Plenty of Dark Money greased the wheels for our decline.
When we invent a time machine, apparently.