Democrats Shouldn’t Become Abortion Extremists
Since it appears that Republican pro-life abortion extremists are on the verge of achieving their long time quest to overturn Roe v Wade, Democrats may feel that they need to become pro-choice abortion extremists to restore a woman’s right to choose, nothing could be further from the truth, in fact, Democrats becoming pro-choice abortion extremists could guarantee that some American women never have a right to an abortion, access to an abortion, or both ever restored.
The leaked draft opinion written by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito sent a shock wave of reality to all Americans. For the first time in 49 years Americans of all faiths, Americans of all races, Americans of all genders, Americans of all ethnicities, Americans of all economic classes, Americans of all ages, and all Americans of no religious faith will have to surrender a right that all Americans took for certain, regardless of their personal intention to ever personally exercise or personally not exercise the right.
There are currently 22 American states that have dormant unenforceable laws prohibiting abortion that become active enforceable laws prohibiting abortion, if and when, the Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade. 7 of the 22 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia are politically controlled by Republican pro-life abortion extremists because they prohibit abortion to save the life of the mother, and in instances of rape or incest. Of the remaining 15 states, 9 of them are politically controlled by Republicans that should be considered at minimum light-weight pro-life abortion extremists because they prohibit abortions after 6 weeks, a time frame that most medical experts agree can be before a female can self-recognize she is pregnant.
Now that victory is in sight for pro-life abortion extremists, they are showing signs that overturning Roe v Wade is not enough. Missouri is the first state currently considering penalties for abortions sought by Missouri residents in other states. It would allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps a Missouri resident have an abortion. Anyone from the out-of-state physician or medical assistants who perform the abortion procedure to whoever helps transport a person across state lines to an out-of-state clinic. Two weeks ago a bill was voted out of a Louisiana House committee that would charge a woman who had an abortion with murder.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a conservative Democrat who has supported anti-abortion legislation in the past, said he would veto any legislation that applied criminal penalties to a pregnant female, “ It’s self-styled as a pro-life bill, but in my opinion, it moves in the wrong direction, there is a much better way to do this “. Sensing the new momentum the leaked Alito draft opinion has given to Republican pro-life abortion extremists to reach beyond just overturning Roe v Wade, has forced pro-choice Democrats to face 2 new realities:
1) Constitutional access to an abortion for American women will end
2) The same Supreme Court ruling ending constitutional access to an abortion could also end the constitutional right to contraception drugs and devices, same-sex marriage, and sex with an individual of the same sex
Unfortunately, it appears the new realities are tempting some pro-choice Democrats to become pro-choice abortion extremists in their quest to restore constitutional access to an abortion. Last week the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate place a motion to allow an up or down vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA). Although Democrats knew in advance that the vote would fail, they felt a vote was needed to demonstrate that the Republican Party is solely responsible if women lose their constitutional access to an abortion. In announcing the vote Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said:
“ Come next week, Senate Republicans will have to answer for everything they’ve done over the years to embolden the hard right’s hostility against a woman’s choice. They will not be able to hide from the American people and cannot hide their role in bringing Roe to an end. The vote will tell, next week. America will be watching. All week we’ve been seeing Republicans try to duck, dodge and dip from their responsibility for bringing Roe to the brink of total repeal.
That’s what they’ve been trying to do for decades. Next week, the American people will see crystal clear that when given the chance to right this wrong, the Republican Party will either side with the extremists who want to ban abortion without exceptions, or side with women, with families, and the vast majority of Americans “.
Schumer was right, the failed WHPA 49–51 vote did reveal Republicans to be pro-life abortion extremists but it also revealed that Democrats may become pro-choice abortion extremists. The WHPA bill that Senate Democrats wanted a vote on was the same legislation passed by the Democrat-controlled U.S. House, it contains 2 provisions that would also change abortion as we know it today in America, and the Democrats’ unwillingness to so far compromise on the 2 provisions puts them on the road to becoming abortion extremists. The 2 provisions are:
1) Current abortion laws prohibit having an abortion in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, the WHPA would make it legal to have an abortion any time before a woman gives birth
2) Current abortion laws allow religious healthcare providers like Catholic or Baptist hospitals to choose not to provide abortion procedures, the WHPA would force religious healthcare providers to offer abortion procedures
Regardless of how one feels about either of the 2 provisions, they are provisions that go beyond what currently exists because they grant abortion rights that don’t currently exist, so if Democrats won’t compromise on them it makes Democrats abortion extremists. It’s extremism that cost Democrats 3 votes in last week’s WHPA vote. Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski voted against the WHPA specifically because there was no exemption for religious healthcare providers. Senator Collins released the following statement:
“ I support codifying the abortion rights established by Roe v. Wade and affirmed by Planned Parenthood v. Casey. That’s not what the Women’s Health Protection Act would do, unlike some far-left activists, Senator Murkowski and I want the law today to be the law tomorrow. That’s why we introduced legislation in February that would enshrine the important Roe and Casey protections into law without undercutting statutes that have been in place for decades and without eliminating basic conscience protections that are relied upon by health care providers who have religious objections to performing abortions “.
Democrat Senator Joe Manchin also voted against the WHPA for the same reason saying: “ Make no mistake, it is not Roe v. Wade codification, it expands abortion “. The 3 votes of Senators Collins, Murkowski, and Manchin would not have given Democrats the 60 needed votes to bring the WHPA to the Senate floor for a vote, but their 3 votes would have meant that a 100% of all Senate Democrats voted to protect access to an abortion, and all but 2 Republicans, 95%, voted to take away a 49 year right of access to an abortion.
Their 3 votes would have enabled Democrats to draw a clear line of distinction between Democrats’ support for a woman’s right to control her body, and Republicans’ support for the government’s right to control a woman’s body. Instead, the WHPA makes Democrats very vulnerable to the charge of being pro-choice abortion extremists, allowing Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to remark on the Senate floor the day of the WHPA vote: “ Our Democratic colleagues want to vote for abortion on demand through all nine months, until the moment the baby is born. The American people need to see what the far left has become, so I’m glad the Senate will vote today. We will stand with the American people, stand with innocent life, and block the Democrats’ extreme bill “
McConnell’s second in command of Senate Republicans, Republican Whip Senator John Thune, said: “ They’re not even attempting to nuance this at all. It’s all, you know, abortion up to the point of birth … which doesn’t even attempt to try and win over people who might be persuadable if they were a little less aggressive in their approach. They’ve decided they’re going full monty on this “. Democrats presenting the WHPA as a law to preserve the current access right to an abortion is disingenuous at best and an extreme overreach at worst, because the WHPA goes beyond current abortion laws that exist today.
Republican pro-life abortion extremists want to eliminate all access to an abortion Democrat pro-choice extremists want to multiply current access to an abortion, both groups of extremists are extremely wrong. Since Republican abortion extremists are on the verge of overturning Roe v Wade by resorting to extreme tactics, it’s understandable that Democrats might be tempted to resort to extreme tactics of their own, but Democrats need to heed the wisdom of the old proverb: A bird in the hand is worth 2 birds in the bush.
For 49 years it has been legal for a woman to have an abortion until her 3rd trimester of pregnancy, for 49 years it’s been legal for religious healthcare providers to refuse to perform abortion procedures. Before Democrats become pro-choice abortion extremists by attempting to legalize abortion any time before birth and forcing religious healthcare providers to perform abortion procedures that violate their faith, they should continue as mainstream pro-choice Democrats focused on saving the current bird of access to an abortion that’s in their hand now, and leave the 2 birds of abortion any time and forcing religious healthcare providers to perform abortions, in the bushes!!!
Isaac Newton Farris Jr. is the nephew of Martin Luther King, Jr. and serves as Senior Fellow at the King Center. Growing up in one of the most socially and politically active families has given him a unique perspective on current events. Drop by his website for straight talk free of one-sided political spin.
Originally published at https://isaacnewtonfarris.com on May 16, 2022.