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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Long Goodbye

Posted by on January 31 at 13:11 PM

With Alito’s cakewalk onto the Supreme Court complete, and pro-lifers already lining up in a number of states to take on Roe, I’m curious if other liberals agree with this piece from the Atlantic Monthly.

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I've been thinking the same thing since the summer. While I wouldn't want to be the one to throw a woman's rights to the lions, it would motivate a lethargic left into taking some action.

It's also true that abortion is de facto illegal already in large portions of the US -- where it is not prohibited by law, but there are no practitioners. There is I believe ONE doctor in Mississippi willing to perform abortions, and he was chased out by Hurricane Katrina.

Conversely, abortion rights would not be imperiled in other states regardless of the federal law.

The problem with the article, though, is that it assumes that the right-wingers won't use federal power to coerce states even if they don't want to change. Remove Roe, and then you've got the Santorums and Brownbacks of this world withholding federal highway or medicare/medicaid dollars from states that permit abortions. These people will stop at NOTHING to get what they want.

I wouldn't say it just assumes that, Fnarf--I think it actually builds an argument. The article seems to be saying that the reason pro-life Congressman are able to maintain their pro-lifeness is precisely because they don't have to vote on abortion. If they did have to vote, many of them, knowing the majority of Americans are pro-choice, would calculate that a pro-life vote would lose them the next election.

I actually agree strongly with this article. I hate to see Alito on the bench, but I think that, after some period of chaos and uncertainty, stuff like is likely to spell doom for Republicans as we know them.

The problem with the article, though, is that it assumes that the right-wingers won't use federal power to coerce states even if they don't want to change.

There is an upside. Ideologically right wingers - well conservatives - are against using Federal power to beat up on the states.

Yes, the perception - maybe the reality - is that this does not happen often, or not lately. It is a core belief and you can at the last hold them to that.

Liberals always take conservatives at their word. Drives me crazy. SURE, it's part of the conservative ideology to restrict federal power and defend states' rights. But they've proven over and over again that they LOVE to beat up on the states when it serves their purposes. Look at Oregon's right to die law. Look at Terri Schiavo. Look at the drug war. Look at the Patriot Act. REPUBLICANS ARE LIARS, first and foremost.

The Republicans, not the Democrats, are the chief architects of the (unprecedented) expansion of federal power now. Bush's budgets are the fastest-growing ever. And it's not just the war; every facet of the government is just exploding with poorly-spent dollars. Look at the new prescription-drug fiasco -- costs just as much as Medicare did, but DOESN'T WORK.

I wish I could have faith in Pliny's argument, and maybe I do -- I do believe that exposing conservatives for what they really are is a winning proposition. But I'm afraid of what they'll be able to pass off in the meantime without the protection of law.

In some ways, as much as it pains me to say this, this could be the best thing to happen to women's rights. I'm not happy with Alito, but there are many other reasons to oppose him.

The fact of the matter is that Democrats and Republicans have been using this issue as a political football for ages. Both parties have benefited by rallying troops around this issue. This despite the fact that abortion rights are overwhelmingly supported.

Getting rid of Roe would activate - in a serious way - people who favor abortion rights (liberals and conservatives) into finally doing something about it. Roe v Wade pre-empted a movement that began in the states and was still gaining momentum. Yet, it may have been the wrong solution at the wrong time.

It is better for everyone to have a legislative solution. I would like to see a Constitutional Amendment protecting privacy rights in a way that would cover personal data in medical records (including abortions), on line records, etc. This would put the issue to rest for the majority in the country and our lawmakers can get back to the business of managing the government in more constructive ways.

Maybe it'll shake the "incest, rape, or me" women out of their complacency. Too many women, and men, assume that abortion rights really aren't that important, until they're faced with an unwanted pregnancy.

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