Disclosure: I’m not anti-abortion or pro-abortion. I’m ambivalent. It’s a complex personal and moral matter about which I have mixed emotions. I approach the issue from the standpoint of public policy and law.
Predictably, the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft of its pending ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson brought forth an instantaneous uprising of enraged, even hysterical, pro-abortion protesters. The probable leaker would fit this profile: a female, feminist, pro-abortion, progressive Democrat who clerks for one of the three liberal SCOTUS justices. Her motivation would be to instigate public harassment of the justices and energize turnout by pro-abortion voters against Republicans in an election year. Activist mobs have already taken to the streets outside the homes of conservative justices to hold noisy, menacing protests.
This stands as the most egregious leak in SCOTUS history and constitutes a betrayal of a law clerk’s oath of silence, undermining judicial process. If not a prosecutable crime, it’s certainly grounds for firing and even disbarment of such a clerk (they’re lawyers).
In Colorado, the most despicable act was the vandalism of a Catholic church in Boulder where pro-abortion slogans were painted on walls and doors, and a statue of Mary and Jesus was similarly defiled. Rationally, Colorado is the least appropriate and unnecessary place to protest. The Roe ruling has served to block states from banning abortions but allows some restrictions. If Roe is overturned, abortion law reverts to each state. It will change nothing in Colorado where our Democrat-controlled legislature and governor preside over the most permissive abortion laws in the country. And the population centers of Boulder and Denver are progressive, pro-abortion strongholds protecting the Democrats’ lock on state government.
By the same token, abortion won’t be banned in New York either where Democrats also dominate. Nonetheless, Mayor Eric Adams launched this overwrought rant, “New York City knows that a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions is hers and hers alone. This potential assault on their freedom by right-wing extremists cannot stand. We’re ready to fight like hell!” Really? With whom? They’d be shadow boxing.
To justify its contrived 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, the liberal SCOTUS majority fabricated a so-called right to privacy in “the penumbra” of the First and other Amendments. The term “penumbra” was a shrewd substitute for factual Constitutional context and justification.
The word “privacy” appears nowhere in the Constitution or any of its Amendments. And there’s no absolute right to it. Private property isn’t protected from regulation and taxes. Privacy doesn’t shield your body or belongings from a TSA search at the airport — without probable cause, no less. Nor is your privacy honored by the IRS when it audits your personal or business finances.
Objective Constitutional scholars have long-reasoned that Roe was a faulty Constitutional ruling. Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a woman and reliable SCOTUS liberal, concurred with that assessment.
At the extremes, there are those who believe life and personhood is created at conception and flatly oppose abortion at any stage; their absolutist opponents believe aborting a pregnancy is a woman’s fundamental reproductive right and flatly oppose any restrictions on it. This disagreement defies compromise. (The largest grouping of Americans fall somewhere in between those extremes.) There’s nothing wrong with honoring one’s beliefs on abortion as they apply to oneself. But forcibly imposing your beliefs on those who disagree is another matter. The closest we can come to having it both ways as a matter of public policy will be at hand if Roe is overturned.
In the name of both federalism and democracy, each state will decide through its legislative process based on the values of the people in that state. So, abortion might be banned in some states but legal in others, within varying restrictions. People who live in a state that prohibits abortion or is too restrictive can travel to a state that’s more accommodating. That would be merely inconvenient for such a consequential act.
A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood fretted that their clinics would be “besieged” by visitors from states with anti-abortion laws. That’s a strange argument. Planned Parenthood is in the mass abortion business and is well-funded. What business would mind being besieged by customers? Moreover, political and financial supporters of Planned Parenthood figure to be happy to cover the travel expenses of those who need financial assistance. And PP could lose their clinics where abortion is outlawed or keep them open and serve as an abortion travel agency.
As an added post-Roe bonus, we’d eliminate or, at least, tone down one of America’s most divisive issues.
Michael Rosen is an American radio personality and political commentator.