Software Nerd

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The SCOTUS delivered the Christian anti-choice groups a victory today, making a tiny hole in the "health of the woman" right offered by Roe v. Wade. Now, the Christians will try to enlarge that opening.

The strategy of the anti-choice camp appears to be as follows:

Attack abortion frontally on the intellectual front, to make people think it is bad in some way; but, do not attack it frontally on the political front.
  • Politically, ...
    Target some subset of abortions that represents a small percentage of abortions, and which can be classified in a way that uses the intellectual case (see above) to push people into making an exception for that subset. So, for instance, target abortions by girls under 18 under the parental-notification pretext, or target certain procedures by calling them "partial birth" or by invoking the idea that they are more "cruel", or target abortions conducted by government hospitals
  • Make abortion an important aspect when deciding on political candidates. Even without changing the law on abortion, politicians have a lot of ways to change the laws on health and safety. So, for instance, a sympathetic politician can create law that specifies that facilities where abortions are performed should have certain physical characteristics that resemble a hospital. Doing so will put many clinics out of business. Also, such politicians can bring in laws like waiting periods, or mandatory counselling that make the process more tedious.

Check out this article by anti-choice professor Hadley Arkes, writing about why he hopes the SCOTUS would decide what it did decide today:
What the Court would be saying in effect is, “We are now in business to consider seriously, and to sustain, many plausible measures that impose real restrictions on abortion.” That would invite a flood of measures enacted by the states. They might be restrictions on abortion after the point of viability, for instance, or even earlier, with the first evidence of a beating heart. Or requirements that abortionists use a method more likely to yield the child alive. Or provisions that ban abortions on a child likely to be afflicted with disabilities, such as Down syndrome.

Each restriction would command the support of about 70 or 80 percent of the country, including many people who describe themselves as pro-choice. And step by step, the public would get used to these cardinal notions: that the freedom to order abortions, like any other kind of freedom, may be subject to plausible restrictions; that it is legitimate for legislatures to enact those restrictions; and that it is, in fact, possible for ordinary folk, with ordinary language, to deliberate about the grounds on which abortions could be said to be justified or unjustified.

Clearly, the Christians have a plan.

I strongly suggest that this is a good time for activism. Write your Congressmen telling them to reverse the law. Write your newspaper, protesting the law. If the Christians see no resistance, it will only embolden them.

If you have only a few minutes, at least send in this pre-written petition, asking for a separation of church and state. Even if it is not exactly how one would word it, your congressman will get the point: that you want the church to keep away from the state.


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