Okay, now that I’ve recovered from my Election night (and, by the way, birthday night) hangover, let’s try to figure out where the hell we are.
By now, everyone knows that the House of Representatives went to the Dark Side by a wide margin. And while The Force still controls the U.S. Senate, it is by a razor thin margin. But the one thing you must remember is that there are a number of Senate Democrats who vote pro-life. I have yet to see an analysis by the pro-choice groups, but although the Democrats still run the Senate, the pro-life forces are in pretty decent shape over there as well. In the House, they are firmly in control.
So, what this means is that the House of Representatives will pass any pro-life piece of legislation that is offered. They will no doubt come up with all sorts of ways to make abortion less accessible. We will probably see some kind of national 24 hour waiting period, so-called “informed consent” measures requiring women to view photos of the fetus, etc. Anything that is proposed will pass. However, the Republican Party is not dumb enough to go all the way and try to pass a bill or constitutional amendment banning abortion. That ain’t gonna happen folks. That’s because there’s no guarantee that they have the necessary two-thirds vote in both houses. And the Republicans are thinking that if they’re gonna lose, why ask their folks to stick their neck out on this controversial issue and piss off a bunch of possible pro-choice independents when the measure is unlikely to become law?
So, the House will pass some things and then send it to the Senate. Pro-life forces basically need 60 votes to pass something in the Senate and those votes over there will be close. But, let’s say they do pass a 24 hour waiting period. Fortunately, sitting down at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue (at least for now) is pro-choice President Barack Obama. If any pro-life bill comes to his desk he’ll veto it and that will be the end of it.
So, as far as attacks on the accessibility of abortion, there will be a lot of talk. You will get a lot of fundraisingletters from both sides asking you to contribute money to help their lobbyists fight the good fight but, at the end of the day, ain’t nothing terrible gonna happen.
There is one real problem, however, in the U.S. Senate. And that has to do with the situation when/if Obama gets to nominate another justice to the U.S. Supreme Court. That’s where it will get very interesting. Without having seen the exact numbers, I can virtually guarantee you that the pro-choice forces do not have the necessary sixty votes to confirm an obviously pro-choice justice. And while great deference is often given to the President’s nominee, if Obama nominates a clear pro-choice justice, there will be a major battle. That’s because the Court right now favors Roe v Wade by a 6-3 margin. If they can pick up another pro-life vote, then it becomes a 5-4 margin in favor of abortion rights. So, come nomination time the pro-lifers will be smelling blood.
So, the bottom line is that Obama will have to nominate some “stealth” candidate who has no clear position on abortion. It will be a crapshoot. And as history shows, other presidents have found themselves in a similar situation where they nominated someone hoping they would follow the President’s ideology only to find them on the other side of the fence. This could happen to Obama.
Stay tuned folks.