Wednesday, August 24, 2022

A Snowball Gaining Momentum

Inevitable perhaps, but not predicted:

A quarter of a century ago, I ran across a survey which indicated that a plurality of American voters believed life begins at conception, were fairly equally split between the pro-life and pro-choice perspectives, yet were solidly opposed to overturning Roe v. Wade.

I was perplexed that a large number of people believed life begins at 0 months of pregnancy but were perfectly fine with a court decision that put serious restrictions upon a state's ability to limit abortion.  Legal experts soberly lectured the public that rescinding Roe would not rescind the right to an abortion but merely return the matter to the states. Admittedly, it is now more than two decades since I viewed that poll and I don't remember one in the interim which asked the same set of questions. Still, the American public should be given credit for understanding what most lawyers, constitutional law experts, and I did not understand. 

Stern, a writer at Slate on courts and the law, links in another tweet to an article by Slate justice correspondent Dahlia Lithwick, who notes of "this week alone" a

Louisiana woman, Nancy Davis, who will be forced to carry a skull-less fetus for the next 6 months, and the 16-year-old in Florida deemed too immature to abort, but seemingly just fine to be a parent. Republicans devoted last month to calling a child rape victim who was denied abortion care in Ohio and flown to Indiana for treatment a liar. We're hearing horror stories about women denied access to methotrexate, which is used to treat certain types of cancer, because it can be used for abortion. We're hearing about pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for Plan B and oral contraceptives. We're hearing about the Texas woman who carried a dead fetus for two weeks, and the women who cannot be treated for ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages until their own lives are at risk are now the stuff of daily reporting, as are the certifiably insane responses from Republican candidates, including Michigan's GOP candidate this week, who argued that 14-year-old rape victims should be forced to carry to term because the forced birth will provide a "bond" that is "healing."

Worse, these cruel responses to Dobbs probably are not certifiably insane.  Lithwick notes that Republicans may be doing "all this out in the open" because of "the inextricable need to perform religious extremism in many ways." More ominously, she suggests 

The other, possibly more depressing explanation, is that the forced-birth faction of the GOP, like the Trumpists who primary mainstream Republicans, believe that while they may not have the full authority of the democratic will on their side, they will always have the force of violence and vigilantism to fall back on. They aren’t as worried about a blue wave in November, propelled by angry women, and concerned fathers, and voters of color, and moderate Republicans, because law is increasingly being enforced by rogue state officials who are not in fact very bothered by the demands of popular majorities or even by electoral outcomes, should they even opt to concede to the existence of electoral outcomes.

The GOP is in a more enviable position than hosts and pundits at MSNBC and CNN realize. Republicans may regain their momentum, cruise in November to a majority in the House and the Senate and increase their majority control of Statehouses across the nation. Or they may not- and still demand, with the threat of violent mobs behind them, to remain in power.  At a minimum, the U.S, Supreme Court has unleased a terrible threat to reproductive justice and we are very likely nowhere near the bottom.

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