Skip to main content

Losing Roe Could Be a Nightmare — For Republicans

 Of all the atrocities a six-to-three Supreme Court could inflict on the world, the overturning of Roe v. Wade is, dare I say, among the least of them.

Yes, reproductive rights are as important as ever. Yes, it’s obscene that any Western country should still be wasting time on something so stupid. But the implications of a Roe-less future needn’t be as bleak as popular imagination would have it. And it could end up blowing back on Republicans, big time.

I’m not convinced the Republican party even wants Roe overturned. They’ve certainly said they do — and repeated it ad nauseum — but they say a lot of things they don’t mean.

Roe has been the lynchpin of the scam they’ve been running on evangelicals for decades. Republicans promise to get rid of Roe, and evangelicals promise to vote for them forever, based on that one issue.

The beauty of it is that they don’t even have to deliver on the promise. As long as Roe stays in place, they get to work the same scam over and over. Why would they want to kill Roe when promising to kill it works so well?

But now that their supposed goal seems in reach, they need to be careful what they wish for. Once Roe is gone, single-issue voters might start looking at other issues — like healthcare, infrastructure, environment, racism, economy, and yes, Covid — all of which Republicans are eager to not talk about.

And let’s be clear. The Republican party doesn’t give a rat’s ass about abortion. Abortion has never been anything more than a convenient way of keeping single-issue voters in line, while at the same time vilifying Democrats as fetal murderers.

Let’s remember that roughly two-thirds of the electorate approve of easy access to abortion, and consider it a basic right. Republicans are not on the right side of this issue, no matter what SCOTUS does.

Let’s also remember that Roe was always a jerry-rigged construction, a judicial solution to a legislative problem. It never really “legalized” abortion per se — that would involve a law-making body — it simply made it unconstitutional to deny a woman the right to abortion.

Once that right is taken away, Congress could theoretically issue a national ban on abortion. But it’s hard to imagine anything like that passing both houses in any foreseeable future.

Which means that actual bans will need to be enacted on a state-by-state basis. Twenty-one states already have “trigger” laws ready to enact on the day Roe goes away.

But you can bet that a lot of other states will go in the opposite direction, expanding and liberalizing access to reproductive choice in every way science allows — evolving medical technology will surely favor the good guys. And it’s not hard to envision pro-choice states aggressively marketing abortion services online to anti-choice states.

This will be problematic for those states, almost all of which will be red.

For one thing, abortion will be forced underground, which means the administrative burden of policing and enforcing it might prove too expensive, unwieldy, and conspicuously foolish for any state to maintain.

At the same time, many of those states will see their laws actively circumvented by neighboring states. Abortion clinics will pop up right across their state lines, complete with shuttle services — some provided free by social service agencies. There will also be abortion pills widely available online, which will prove damn near impossible to interdict.

But it’s the political ramifications that will really give Republicans fits. Because going Roe-less means if you’re a Republican legislator you’ll have to put your vote where your mouth is. It was easy enough for these hypocrites to condemn abortion, loudly and self-righteously, knowing that a ban was constitutionally impossible. It might not be so easy when they have to face actual voters on the issue.

Roe has long given them cover to be as bombastic as they want about an issue they can’t do anything about. Now, if a ban is on the table, it won’t be quite the slam dunk they think it is. Remember, they have two-thirds of the population disagreeing with them. In 2011, when the Mississippi legislature put their so-called “personhood” amendment to a vote, they lost by eighteen percentage points. And that was in a solidly anti-abortion state.

With Roe gone, politicians who’ve been hiding behind it forever may find their constituents aren’t happy at all about losing a basic right they’ve taken for granted. If you’re a Republican running for office in a red state, this is not the issue you want to fall on your sword for.

And the same goes for us on the left. There are any number of dire, life-threatening issues that will come before this deeply illegitimate Supreme Court. We have treated abortion rights as a litmus test for far too long. While we’ve dutifully obsessed about it, other rights that are arguably more important — voting rights, to name one — have been inexcusably compromised.

We have enough existential ills demanding our attention, and some triage is called for. We need to pick our fights wisely.

 

Comments

  1. Well said. Thanks for thinking this out.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love your articles Andy. Here’s one that goes along with this one, “liberals are the true ‘pro life’ people and it’s time to take that back from the conservatives” That single issue is control of women and control of the conservative vote as you state here. True pro life supports funding birth control world wide, good education, gun safety laws, climate change activism, educating the citizenry about the dangers of over population and supporting the freedom to live life as we wish as long as it doesn’t damage someone else. Why is it that conservatives feel they have the right to tell others what they should do when they don’t want to be told what they should do? How do we deal with ignorant and stubborn hypocrisy?

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Because Things Just Aren’t Scary Enough

There’s been considerable buzz in the last week around an op-ed column in the Washington Post that purports to scare the shit out of you, but is a must-read nonetheless. It was written by Robert Kagan, an establishment policy expert, long associated with Republican administrations. Now divorced from the GOP, he has become an outspoken never-Trumper. The piece is both a dead-on analysis of our current moment in history and a dire warning for the very near future. While I don’t subscribe to all its assumptions, I find its basic premise disturbingly plausible, maybe even likely. The essay envisions a dystopian nightmare enveloping the 2024 presidential election, the culmination of a constitutional crisis that is clearly already in motion. As things stand now, Kagan says, the groundwork is almost in place for Trump to steal that election. Kagan insists that Trump will indeed be the candidate, that he will challenge the results if they don’t fall his way, and that this time he has

I’d Rather Not Be So Partisan

Since moving to my modest suburb outside Detroit, my interest in local politics has been marginal. I personally don’t have much skin in the game — no school-age children, no business interests to advocate for, no history in the community. I’m generally content to pay my taxes and enjoy the benefits of living in a relatively well-run town. Even so, as a citizen I feel responsible for knowing something about the people who run things. So while I don’t follow the workings of the city council, I do pay attention when its members are running for office, which happens in off-year elections every two years.  So this is the year, and, as expected, the front yards are abloom with lawn signs. I get to vote for three of the six candidates. The unspoken rule is that the election process is kept strictly non-partisan, so these candidates do not publicly divulge their party affiliations. Which almost makes sense. After all, the upkeep of our roads, sewers, power lines and other infrastructur

Inflation and the Supply Chain are Joined at the Hip

Back in the early eighties, inflation was on everyone’s mind. Prices on everything had been going up since the Vietnam War, and the country was caught in a vicious spiral of people and businesses getting rocked by higher prices, expecting them to go even higher, and raising prices in anticipation of them going still higher. Rinse and repeat. The expectation of higher prices drove prices higher. It was an eye-opening experience. The candy bar that cost a dime when I was a kid was suddenly 75 cents. My first mortgage carried a 12-percent interest rate adjustable every year, which meant it could’ve escalated to 18 percent in six years, a terrifying prospect. Luckily, interest rates peaked before that could happen, and the so-called Great Inflation of the seventies and eighties finally subsided. But ever since that time, big business has been obsessively paranoid about anything that smacks of inflation. Inflation cuts into their precious purchasing power. It degrades the value of t