Abraham Lincoln, April 6, 1859: Letter to Henry L. Pierce
“This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave, must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.”
Substitute the words “unborn child” for “slave”.
What is simply astonishing about the reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn both Roe and Casey is the routine display of ignorance that pro-abortion partisans have displayed. Essentially the court ruled that the original case was wrongly decided; that Roe represented a violation of the separation of powers, and that regulation of abortion is a political matter that belongs in the hands of the political branches, in this case state legislatures.
Naturally enough, the idea of returning policy decisions to the voters via state legislatures is now defined as a “threat to democracy”. Those pesky voters do have an annoying habit of ignoring woke ideology and voting the wrong way. So voters simply cannot be trusted with democracy.
In the midst of the hysteria we are told that the decision to overturn Roe will eliminate the chance for woman to have a safe abortion. That is a flat out lie. It is a lie because there is no such thing as a safe abortion. One party to the transaction inevitably dies. And that party, the child in the womb, is the one who has nothing to say about the matter. Like slaves in the South, unborn children have no say; they are defined as anything but human beings who are entitled to the protection of law.
That is, after all, the point of abortion. We can go on and on about “social justice” and a “reproductive health” and all the other focus group tested euphemisms designed to disguise what the real issue is, but in the end it is about the deliberate taking of innocent human life. And pre-printed placard signs to the contrary, there is nothing in the U.S. constitution that guarantees the right of pregnant women to kill their unborn children.
That said, it is important to distinguish between the policy question and the legal question. It should be clear to anyone who actually bothered to read Justice Alito’s opinion on Roe that the legal question is a no-brainer. There is simply no reasonable basis for claiming a constitutional right to abortion.
The policy question is altogether different. (For the record, this writer thinks that abortion, like racism, is an appalling stain on the U.S. promise of equality under law.) But that question is a matter for politics, which is to say that the issue will be settled in state legislatures, whose members are actually elected.
That is certainly preferable to subservience to policy directives coming from a nominally apolitical Supreme Court. And let us not forget that the Supreme Court, like all U.S. courts, is supposed to be an anti-majoritarian body. It is supposed to decide cases based on laws as written, not as the Justices wish them to be or how the latest poll in Real Clear Politics reads. Actually writing and passing laws and policy directives is the prerogative of the legislature. (The issue of executive orders that infringe on legislative powers is a subject for another day).
In any event, as the days and weeks go by the policy issues around abortion regulation will be decided in state legislatures in accordance with local prerogatives. In an imperfect world, that is how it should be. It is called federalism.