The fundamentalist fringe of the Republican party believes they’ve won a major victory now that Roe’s been struck down. They’re wrong, but we’ll save that for later.
An awful lot of Republican voters celebrated this weekend, even as protesters flooded the streets in cities across the nation. Republican party insiders know better. They’re counting the marchers and examining the present demographics of Texas and Georgia, and they’re slowly coming to the realization that they may well have just lost the mid-term elections by a landslide. Democrats haven’t been this unified since before Obama.
Two weeks ago, the DNC was looking down both barrels of a well-deserved shellacking in November. Their incumbents are not spectacular; their president has elevated “lackluster” to an art form; their veep isn’t just an ex-cop but a corrupt one. Inflation’s through the roof and the economy is demonstrating that loud sucking sound as the porcelain walls rise and start to spin. (Mix metaphors thoroughly, then flush.)
Friday’s ruling didn’t change any of that. Politically, all it did was mobilize the Democrat base, terrify a bunch of independents, and drag an awful lot of #ForwardParty idealists and Portland communists back into the fold kicking and screaming, with the unspoken admonition: “This is what you get for not voting for Hillary”, and never mind that you could say the same about Bernie except that he would have won. If I were a soulless DNC Party hack, I could dream of nothing better.*
Not that this has been a win for Democrats; far from it. Fifty years ago, Roe was a fragile castle in the air, a magical creation of spun fantasy by some of the most inventive legal minds ever born. It is frankly amazing that it lasted as long as it did, and it’s almost beyond belief that Congress never in all that time managed to codify the ruling into statute. It could have happened under Clinton; it could have happened under Obama — and it didn’t. The number of party loyalists keeps dropping; they’ve turned into people who will hold their nose and Vote Blue, because even without any hope of effective change, virtue signalling is a powerful motivator.
Again: Even a landslide victory for Democrats this fall won’t reverse this ruling. That’s no reason for them not to try, but it’s only a matter of time before the voters realize that only a fundamental change in our politics — a viable third party or some other form of paradigm reconstruction — could ever have that power.
It’s later. Now is when we discuss why this is not the win that the fundamentalist fringe think it is. (Remember: This is written for them; if you’re an outraged Pro Choice Democrat, you may still be in the Anger stage, and this won’t do much but irritate you further. Revisit it in a week, maybe — or not; your call.)
There are between six and eight hundred thousand abortions in the United States annually, a substantial percentage of which are medically necessary. Overturning Roe won’t change that number by much — perhaps a few thousand. What it will achieve is to increase the number of people who end up buying a bus ticket for a week away from home. Among the young and the poor, it’ll vastly increase the number of suicides and runaways. We’re unlikely to return to the bad old days of coathangers and back-alley practitioners; today, we’ll see people taking abortifacients by mail while not under a doctor’s care, and a lot of those will develop sepsis and die.
Even a nationwide ban on abortions — which will never happen — won’t change those statistics except negatively: Births won’t go up, but preventable deaths will.
If your goal is to preserve and protect lives, it’ll cost money: free pre-natal care and delivery, paid maternity leave across the board, increasing welfare programs for single mothers, improved education, narrowing the income gap, improving access to contraceptives, and so on. If life does indeed begin at conception, we must always remember that it doesn’t end at birth, and that for many years thereafter a child is a delicate and helpless creature deserving of our protection. If you prefer charity to government programs, that’s fine — as long as you give. Today. Give until it hurts and then give some more. Do that every month for the next eighteen years.
Otherwise, your hypocrisy will do nothing but cost the lives of the young, the poor, and the innocent.
*NOTE: I know some party hacks personally. Very few are actually soulless, although most are venal, narrow-minded, and short-sighted. A couple are True Believers, bless their hearts. -Editor
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