Will pro-lifers be good winners?
Will pro-choicers be bad losers?
‘Can’t we all just get along?’ — Rodney King
“You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet“ Bachman–Turner Overdrive
“F… Clarence Thomas” — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot
Ooof, you think the fight over abortion was nasty? Well it looks like it’s getting even worse now that it is in hands of messy democracy.
The Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade, the 1973 landmark case that made abortion a constitutional right, was a bomb that scattered the fight onto 50 battlefields,
Man your stations. Lock and load. Fire when ready.
Pro-lifers, this is what you wanted. Are you ready? Have you got the organization, money, resources, and energy to man every battlefield against a more well-funded opponent?
Better yet, are you prepared to win graciously? No gloating? Respect the opposition? It’s all part of winning, you know
Same questions go for the losing pro-choicers. Can you shakes hand?
If the past few days are any indication, the insults, threats, mocking and even violence will be embedded in lengthy, disruptive 50-state fights over abortion rights and restrictions.
Pro-lifers, can you not push for legislation that criminalizes abortions? Some states are considering it. Can you not give every Tom, Dick and Harry who doesn’t have a direct interest the power to file suit to halt abortions. Look up tort and what it says about injured parties. Will you’d hard-heartedly push to ban abortions to save the mother’s life?
Can you take to heart that so many women seek abortions because they are desperate? Can you prove that you care as much about the mother and the born baby as much as you care about saving the life of a pre-born person? If so, get out your check books and help pregnancy care centers such as Aid for Women. There, pregnant women receive compassionate support, medical services, education and in some cases even housing. These are operated by caring people who provide the important and realistic alternatives to abortion.
Pro-choicers can you denounce the violence committed against pregnancy care centers? Can you stop portraying pro-lifers as a loopy, far right cabal that cares nothing about women?
Can you, for a change, be honest about your ultimate goal–elective abortions for any reason at any time up to and including the moment of birth? Can you at least recognize the gruesome nature of abortion?
Can you recognize that a fetus at some stage is a person? Can we have a serious discussion about who’s a person, and bring voiceless innocents into the human family?
Can you acknowledge that by reversing Roe, the Supreme Court actually reinforced democracy by taking the decision out of the hands of unelected men and women?
Can both sides familiarize themselves with the decades of public opinion polling that demonstrates that most Americans want a middle ground? I’ve been trying to point this out in op-ed columns for decades. If we’re truly interested in enriching our democracy, we’ll see that the majority of Americans would allow abortions early terms in pregnancy, but with restrictions like parental notification.
A 2019 NPR story once again confirms the public mind: “Poll: Majority Want To Keep Abortion Legal, But They Also Want Restrictions.”
While I was at the Chicago Sun-Times, a yet-again new editor-in-chief from Australia was truly puzzled by why the fight over abortion seemed to be omni-present in American politics? Because, I replied, because the Supreme Court took the issue out of the political realm by trying to resolve the issue by undemocratic decree. I pointed out that the democratic process in Europe had resulted mostly in abortion laws on the continent that generally were more restrictive than what was prescribed by Roe and ensuing American jurisprudence .
Years ago, I proposed that if we’re to legalize abortions, we should limit them to early pregnancy. How early? Some say viability, others said the first heart beat. I proposed that we use the same standard definition of death: When organized brain activity stops. I don’t know when that is or how that should be measured.
I’m pro-life. I accept the idea that in a democracy, the people through their elected representatives should set abortion policy. I have not always followed my own advice to avoid vindictive debate. I’m working on it.
But because we’re a democracy and not an autocracy, the Supreme Court has given us an opportunity to come to a mutual understanding that is graceful and compassionate.
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