On abortion rights, Democrats out themselves as controlled opposition
A draft opinion by US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on the controversial issue of abortion was recently leaked by Politico, and later confirmed as authentic by the Court. This has predictably ignited a fierce debate around abortion, e.g., whether or not women should have the right to terminate a pregnancy and, if so, what limits should be imposed on that right.
According to the draft opinion, representing the majority of the Court, America’s supreme judicial body has thoroughly repudiated the 1973 Roe v. Wade and another decision in 1992, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. As Alito wrote, the Court believes that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.”
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he says in the document, titled “Opinion of the Court.” “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.” Translation: Abortion will become a state’s rights issue, thus effectively outlawing its practice in a majority of states – even to the point of it being a criminal offense to either administer or receive an abortion.
My personal opinion is that this is a gross violation of human rights and an attack on civil liberties. I believe that a woman has the right to control her own reproduction and her body, and I believe, for example, forcing underage girls to carry rape babies to term is deeply immoral.
I also think repealing Roe and Casey is particularly egregious for a country that has a relatively high maternity mortality rate and also has no paid maternity leave and no universal or subsidized child care, on top of other important issues. The United States of America does everything it can to make motherhood a burden on the working class – and we have to be real about the fact that since abortion is accessible in virtually every other country on the planet, it means the wealthy will be able to have them still.
Furthermore, examining this opinion closely reveals that the conservative-dominated Supreme Court wants to continue imposing its ideology by overruling more decisions. For example, Obergfell v. Hodges, the case that led to gay marriage being legalized, or Lawrence v. Texas, the case that led to homosexuality being decriminalized, could be next on the chopping block based on Alito’s reasoning.
What is the most cynical aspect of this whole situation, however, is how the Democratic Party is using it as a rallying cry – despite the fact that they’ve fallen on their face continuously. The Democratic Party claims to be a champion of women’s rights and always warns voters that Roe could be overturned if they don’t vote Dem. But every time Democrats have had the ability to pass an abortion bill, they haven’t done so. For me, this issue is just another example of how the Democratic Party is controlled opposition.
For example, in 2007, candidate Barack Obama promised Planned Parenthood that “the first thing I’d do as president” would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act. Even when holding a federal trifecta for 72 working days, President Barack Obama did not do that – and then said later that the bill is “not my highest legislative priority.” After four years in office, it never happened; abortion went from a day one priority to never.
Democrats again effectively control the government, with the White House, a majority in the House and a tie-breaking vote in the Senate. Yes, it’s true that legislation effectively needs a supermajority in the Senate thanks to the filibuster – but mechanisms, like a reconciliation, do exist that could see abortion snuck through.
Instead of actually taking action to codify abortion rights, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi along with James Clyburn were just in Texas campaigning for anti-choice Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar instead of his pro-choice opponent Jessica Cisneros. Meanwhile, that same day her office was sending out fundraising emails talking about how important defending abortion rights are. Is there not a more perfect example of how hypocritical Democrats are on this?
With heated and extremely consequential mid-term elections coming up this November, Democrats are absolutely going to make the repudiation of abortion rights a key issue. They will craft their messaging to suggest that they are the party that will do anything to protect women and the other groups that could be thrown under the bus in the coming years. It’s all bogus. Democrats will do nothing – just like their track record suggests.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.