For almost five decades, Roe v. Wade has been established American law, guaranteeing the constitutional right of choice to all Americans. Even those Supreme Court justices now ready to toss that precedent aside have previously testified under oath during their Senate confirmation hearings that they believed Roe is established law that ought to be respected.
They lied to the Senate, and they lied to us. The fact that most Americans on both sides of the abortion question understood them to be lies at the time they were told does not alter their character as lies. And those lies have been accompanied by multitudes of other lies, as lies tend to be.
For example, we have been told for most of the decades since Roe that the pro-life movement was not seeking an absolute ban on abortion, that of course reasonable exemptions would be allowed in cases of rape, incest, life of the mother or health of the mother. Of course it would not apply to ectopic pregnancies, or to pregnancies in which fetal defects would make it impossible for the baby to survive. To impose a ban in those situations would be barbaric.
Likewise, we have been reassured that a reversal of Roe would not mean a national ban on abortion, but would merely return the decision-making powers to the 50 states, which would each craft its own approach to the issue. We have also been told earnestly that post-Roe, no one would be seeking to prosecute those who sought abortions, out of sympathy for women placed in such a difficult situation.
But now, on the precipice of that change, all such reassurances are being abandoned. Congressional Republicans are preparing legislation to ban abortion nationwide. Laws already on the books in various states in anticipation of Roe’s reversal would outlaw not just abortion but the crossing of state lines to seek an abortion. Think of them as fugitive abortion laws. Bills are also moving in state legislatures to treat abortion as homicide, with pregnant women, doctors, nurses and administrators as murderers or accomplices.
And those three exceptions? Republicans who today dare to support allowing abortion in cases of rape, incest or life of the mother risk excommunication from their party, in yet another example of the party’s increasing radicalism. The only acceptable position now is to insist that human life begins at conception, and all else flows from that. Read more