One of the most common phrases uttered by true conservatives, who are disgusted with Republicans in both houses of Congress who perpetually cave-in on standing for conservative values, is that there isn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties. But when we survey President Bush's appointments to the Supreme Court in light of the recent decision on the legality of partial birth abortion, we must beg to differ--in at least this one area.
Let's be candid and admit that if a Democrat were in the White House, we would have never got votes upholding the ban on partial-birth abortions from the justices who would have sat on the court in place of Roberts and Alito.
Liberal syndicated columnists, namely Ellen Goodman of the Boston Globe, have been obsessed with emoting sour grape diatribes about the ruling. Goodman, in her rant, Regulating Women was profuse in chiding the "swing vote" on the current court, Justice Kennedy (and remember, I said in a previous piece my "pipe dream" was that Kennedy would come back to his ideological roots when bathed in a conservative majority, ever so slight as it currently is) for his "paternalistic" comments in the court's recent decision, concerning the natural bond between mother and child. In fact, Goodman compared Kennedy's demeanor to the patronizing posture of Justice Joseph Bradley in the famous 19th century Bradwell case, where the Supreme Court was deciding if a woman should be allowed to serve as an attorney.
Two quotations from Bradley from that case are as follows...
"The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life."
"The paramount destiny and mission of woman are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. This is the law of the Creator." (Certainly this quotation must be puzzling to those who repeat the contemporary mantra about American jurisprudence having no historical connection to Judeo-Christian values.)
Interestingly enough, Goodman chimes on about how a "woman's right to choose" has been dealt a hemorrhaging blow by this ruling. She seems totally oblivious to the fact that both the congress and the general public have responded squarely against partial-birth abortion.
But even more remarkable, Goodman's rant never even mentions the unborn child. The narrative of the Supreme Court decision includes ten detailed pages graphically describing the gruesome procedures involved in terminating these children. Goodman never makes the argument that the autonomy of the woman outweighs the right to life for her unborn child, she simply never mentions the child as a factor at all.
That is not the only thing I find egregious. Accusations have already been made that the justices who voted to uphold the partial-birth abortion ban, did so, forsaking objective jurisprudence, while following their collective religious consciences. This is said because the justices voting to uphold the ban, all happen to be Roman Catholics. On the other hand, no dispersions are cast against Ruth Bader Ginsburg, despite her longstanding partiality as an advocate of feminist activism. Why wouldn't that sort ideological bent ostensibly threaten the integrity of Ginsburg's jurisprudence?
It has become common fare these days, to suggest that the progress of medical science has been held hostage by a minority of religious zealots who proffer and impose "superstitious" objections on the "enlightened" consensus (the stem-cell debate, and the issue of unlimited access to contraception by teens are notable examples). In reality, it is those advocating partial-birth abortions who are shown futile in their scientific understanding, by essentially claiming that an unborn baby that is otherwise viable outside the womb, is nevertheless not a person when three inches of its head remain inside the mother's birth canal. We need a warped sort of functionalism to find the logic in that sort of dichotomy.
The protest that the current ban does not provide an exception for "life of the mother," must be met with articulate rebuttal of what that phraseology really connotes. The "life of the mother" loophole quickly mutates into the "health of the mother" exceptions, which in turn becomes the, "I can't have this baby because it will upset me" open flood gates. We must reasonable ask then, which hypothetical medical condition does not threaten the life of the mother when all but the head is out of the womb, but becomes potentially fatal when the head passes through? In my opinion, the whole concept of "undue burden" rests upon such convolution. I doubt any court is going to deny a woman an abortion if it actually threatens her life to give birth.
We will also hear the reflexive argument that this ruling does harm to the fundamental right to choose, as though persons identifying themselves as "pro-choice" concerning abortion, generally have a libertarian predisposition for the concept of free individual choice per se. We could quickly deduce that the same folks who consider themselves "pro-choice," are suddenly against "choice" when the decision involves publicly funded educational options for children other than state school, or the constitutional right to bear arms as outlined in the Second Amendment.
Many people are celebrating this decision as a big victory, and maybe I should also. I am simply perplexed as to why the decision of the court wasn't 9-0, rather than just a slim victory because of who happened to appoint the last two justices.
On what shred of decency are the four votes against upholding the ban built upon?
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