The Republican Media- No. 36
"This right of privacy," Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun wrote for the majority in Roe v. Wade on January 23, 1973, "whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment's reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”
Over the past 36 years, "this right of privacy" has been questioned not only by most constitutional scholars on the right, but by many on the left. Being less conserved with the United States Constitution, however, conservative politicians have focused their arguments elsewhere.
And so it went in November, 2010 when former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential nominee Mike Huckabee, who has continually decried the opportunity of a woman to seek an abortion, was asked on Fox and Friends about the full-body scan recently adopted by the Transportation Safety Administration at the nation's airports. He remarked
I’ve said, ‘OK, Mr. Obama, take your wife, your two daughters and your mother-in-law to Washington Reagan National Airport and have them publicly go through both the body scanner and the full enhanced pat-down in front of others. If it’s OK for your wife, your daughters, and your mother-in-law, then maybe the rest of us won’t feel so bad when our wives, our daughters and our mothers are being put through this humiliating and degrading, totally unconstitutional, intrusion of their privacy.'
I wrote at the time
Reverend Mike Huckabee has himself discovered a right to privacy in the United States Constitution, thereby acknowledging a sound legal basis for the 9873 Court ruling which granted to women the right to terminate a pregnancy. Much obliged, Governor; you have given needed assurance to those of us unsure of the constitutional foundation of abortion rights. Welcome to the pro-choice community.
I waited in vain for Huckabee to walk back the remark, to claim he "misspoke" or to issue some other statement distancing himself from his assertion that there is a constitutional right to privacy, the cornerstone of the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling largely legalizing abortion.
But there was none. And now we have another conservative Republican and ardent opponent of reproductive choice making the same claim, this time while speaking to a small group of constituents. A Facebook rumor sparked this exchange one week ago between Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, whom the Daily Kos' Kailie Joy Gray notes has a 100% rating from the National Right to Life Committee and a 0% rating from NARAL (h/t to Scott Keyes of Daily Kos):
CONSTITUENT: They’re saying that they’re going to start, in 2013, putting microchips in government workers and then any kid that enrolls in school, starting in pre-school, will have a microchip implanted in them so that they can track them. [...] Is that true?
GRASSLEY: No. First of all, nothing can be done to your body without your permission. It’d be a violation of the constitutional right to privacy if that were to happen.
Privacy for me, not for thee. It has now been one week. Nevertheless, we'll see if the national media, which in 2010 ignored the assumption of a pro-life enthusiast of a constitutional right to privacy, will similarly ignore the acceptance in 2013 of a fundamental pro-choice argument from a pro-life, sitting United States Senator. Waiting, waiting...