The Future of Legal Abortion


Last week I argued that Missouri Republican Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin’s anti rape, anti abortion stance is shared across the GOP. Akin, who opposes abortion in all cases, including rape, famously said, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Despite being a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Akin uses non-scientific reasoning to perpetrate one of the most offensive and ignorant campaign season’s comments to date. When news of Akin’s spurious comments about a woman’s bodily response to rape swirled around in the blogosphere and across news desks, pundits connected the Missouri Republican senate candidate to vice president hopeful, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. Both Akin and Ryan (along with other GOP colleagues) share the desire for an absolute abortion ban. There ensued a flurry of corrections and clarifications, particularly as Ryan attempted to distance himself from House colleague Akin saying on Pittsburgh’s KDKA, “I believe rape is rape, there’s no splitting hairs.” Then there were others who distanced themselves from Akin. Romney called on Akin to step out of the race. John Cornyn, the Texas Senator who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee asked Akin to step out of the race. Other big-name Republicans asking Akin to quit were his would-be colleagues, including Missouri’s junior senator Roy Blunt, who issued a joint statement together with former Missouri U.S. senators John Ashcroft, Kit Bond, John Danforth, and Jim Talent. In advance of the Republican National Convention Tampa, the Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, instructed Akin to not attend. But no one spoke about the reality of the GOP’s platform on abortion. They diverted the media’s attention, focusing on rape, legitimate rape, forcible rape and showing signs of contrition for their blatant misogynistic comments. Among crisis communications professionals, the mantra for repairing a crisis is formulaic: 1) demonstrate you are appalled at the offense, 2) offer your apologies, and 3) offer an easily remembered meme. For Ryan, it was the simple ‘rape is rape’ meme to get the focus off of Akin and off him (momentarily).

For the GOP, Akin created a crisis for the Republican convention’s rollout of their freshly polished version of their 1976 platform. Back then they wrote “We protest the Supreme Court’s intrusion into the family structure through its denial of the parents’ obligation and right to guide their minor children. The Republican Party favors a continuance of the public dialogue on abortion and supports the efforts of those who seek enactment of a constitutional amendment to restore protection of the right to life for unborn children.”

I need to stop here to give a nod to GOP’s obfuscation in the phrase “the Supreme Court’s intrusion into the family structure through its denial of the parents’ obligation and right to guide their minor children” and to ask “Can you be anymore disingenuous?” Then in 1980, the GOP’s platform stated that they affirm “support of a constitutional amendment to restore protection of the right to life for unborn children.” When did the original constitution protect the unborn? It seems to me the 14th amendment quite plainly states that born persons are protected, not unborn. Fast forward to 2000 when 30-something Paul Ryan argued vociferously against any exceptions for abortion. In fact, in this video, Ryan states “Let me just say this to all of my colleagues who are about to vote on this issue, on the motion to recommit, the health exception is a loophole wide enough to drive a Mack truck through it,” Ryan said. “The health exception would render this ban virtually meaningless.” In other words, let the women die.

Forward to September 2011, when the five presidential candidates at the Palmetto Freedom Forum were asked whether they would support legislation under Section Five of the 14th Amendment, that would restore legal protection for unborn children. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich said they would support such legislation. Mitt Romney said that he feared such legislation would provoke a constitutional crisis. Instead, he would focus on appointing judges who would return abortion regulation to the states. Then there is the fact that despite a sour economy, Ryan co-sponsored eight bills to that infringe on women’s rights (H.R. 212, 217, 358, 361, 1179, 2299 , 3803 and 3805). One has to wonder how Ryan can say with a straight face that he’s working hard for middle class America. It seems to me he’s working hard for the Catholic Church and for more accolades bestowed on him by the National Right to Life.

Now, it’s Convention week for the Republicans. And despite their denials of their War on Women, there’s ample evidence from all their legislative attacks on women’s reproductive and parenting rights. Readied as a draft for the convention, the draft of the GOP’s 2012 platform statement further demonstrates their draconian battle against women. It reads, in part, “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”  And “We must protect girls from exploitation and statutory rape through a parental notification requirement. We all have a moral obligation to assist, not to penalize, women struggling with the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy. At its core, abortion is a fundamental assault on the sanctity of innocent human life. Women deserve better than abortion. Every effort should be made to work with women considering abortion to enable and empower them to choose life.”

So, let’s ponder the implications for each line of the above text, keeping in mind that it’s not the entire text and keeping in mind that the above text was approved by the Convention. The implications bear careful consideration.

#1- Amending the 14th Amendment to give legal status to the  unborn would unquestionably violate the rights of women.

#2- Protecting girls with parental notification from exploitation and statutory rape overlooks the grim reality that parents are often the perpetrators of sexual crimes against young girls including trafficking. And when young girls are pregnant, asking parent’s permission or notifying the parents often leads to disastrous results for the young girls including abuse and abandonment.

#3 – Assist women with unplanned pregnancies is a noble idea and is in effect for many state sponsored and faith-based charities, including Mormon and Catholic faiths. But coming from the ‘let’s reduce the government’ Republicans, it seems disingenuous to add more governmental interventions that are focused on abortion. In fact, the Republican party has been responsible for targeted regulations against abortion providers, all additional government interventions.

#4 – Abortion as an assault on human life is a value judgment that says the sanctity of innocent human life, the zygote/embryo/fetus, trumps the sanctity of woman’s human life. Abortion has saved the lives of millions of born citizens called women. Why don’t they count? When Republicans wave the flag and talk about the American dream, shouldn’t that include women’s American dreams to control their own lives, including their reproduction?

#5 – Women deserve better than abortion is, again, a value judgment coming from an informed mindset steeped in patriarchy and misogyny. Further, the judgment flies in the face of evidence-based research from respected scholars, practitioners and from women’s own stories. Can it be that the RNC wants to deny women’s realities, deny science and, more importantly, deny their war on women? The fact that a recent CNN poll found that the majority (83-88%) of Americans approve of the abortion exceptions for rape, incest and the physical health (screw her mental health) of the mother. Yet, folks like Akin and Ryan want no exceptions. Period. It’s like Ryan said when talking about rape, “ The method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.” So, now rape is a method of conception?

#6 – Enable and empower women to choose life makes me recoil in Handmaiden’s Tale-type horror. How does one enable and empower a women to choose life if it isn’t through coercion? Women who do not want to be pregnant, will find a way to end their pregnancy, legal or illegal. How can men like Romney and Ryan be so obstinate, so willfully driven to impose their religious leanings on women? What happened to the separation of church and state? Hell, what happened to women’s rights?
So, this is what the Republicans value in their recent Convention platform that they approved. Ideologues are running the show. Paul Ryan wants no exceptions for abortion. Romney has said he would not oppose abortion in instances of rape. His position, however, puts him at odds with the official GOP party platform and with his little buddy, Paul Ryan. The official GOP platform wants to give legal rights to products of conception and to define ‘person’ as beginning at fertilization with an amendment to the 14th Amendment. Simply they want to make a cluster of cells a legal person while simultaneously annihilating a woman’s legal right to an abortion. Let’s not forget that birth control is also on the firing line amongst the current incarnation of the Republican party.

Writing about the Republican Party, Root columnist, Keli Goff, wrote that they seem “determined to set the health of American women back by more than a century, with targeting abortion no longer enough. Birth control rights are increasingly in the line of fire.” Speaking about the GOP candidates, she compared their treatment of the health, safety and rights of American women to Shari law and wrote , “I’m at a loss to see any real difference between the manner in which Sharia law penalizes women who are raped and the efforts of Perry and his Personhood cohorts to penalize American rape survivors with a nonconsensual pregnancy.” Other pundits argue that the extreme ideologues in the GOP want an American Christian Taliban.

All I can say to voters, think very carefully about your vote in November.

Our media-saturated culture conditions boys and men to dehumanize and disrespect women in magazines, television, and film and in everyday life. The message is clear. Womanizing is about power and privilege, a sense of entitlement. And in religion and politics, we see the same culture of misogyny. The latest comes from Missouri Republican Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin. Akin, who opposes abortion in all cases, including rape, said, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Mr. Aiken, oddly enough, is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, yet he uses non-scientific reasoning to perpetrate one of the most offensive and ignorant campaign season’s comments yet. To wit a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology that states, “an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year,” in the United States, meaning that about 5 percent of women who are raped do become pregnant. And of that 5 percent, 50% choose to abort the pregnancy. Imagine—Science defying the logic of the GOP.

Beyond what Akin said is the logic that informed his gaffe. If you get pregnant, it wasn’t rape. That’s it. If you are violently and sexually penetrated by a rapist’s penis, against your will, and you are impregnated, then it wasn’t rape. But even beyond that logic is his unquestionable stance against abortions for any reason; hence, he believes if you get pregnant, you should carry the pregnancy to term.

This faux science is not new. In fact, his canard has been floating around the anti abortion Republicans for some time. Let’s go back to 1998 and a statement from Fay Boozman, the late Fay Boozman of Arkansas. He was running for U.S. Senate, and he said fear-induced hormonal changes could block a rape victim’s ability to conceive. In 1995, North Carolina State Representative Henry Aldridge said, “The facts show that people who are raped, who are truly raped, the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant.” Then there’s a similar statement from 1988. Pennsylvania Republican State Representative Steven Friend said, “The odds of a woman becoming pregnant through rape are one in millions and millions and millions.” He said, “The trauma of rape causes women to secrete a certain secretion which has a tendency to kill sperm.” One has to notice the covert message that almost excuses the perpetrators and blames the victims of sexual violence.

I’m reminded of an incident at an Allentown PA abortion clinic where a mother and daughter were verbally accosted by a particularly aggressive protester. The mother told the man that her daughter was raped. And rather than back off or show some modicum of compassion, he screamed,“If the child was conceived in rape that’s the way God wanted it.” [see video]. Essentially, disregard the violence. Disregard her pain. Disregard her humanity. Fr. Frank Pavone said essentially the same thing in an interview years back. He claimed (and still does) the mother was harmed once. Abortion would harm her again and kill her unborn.  Again, no regard for the violence, no regard for the woman, no regard for what the woman wants.

The fact remains that Todd Akin will never know what it means to be a woman, to be trapped in a bed, shoved down on a parking garage staircase, or tied to pole in an abandoned basement. He’ll never know what it’s like to be violently assaulted by some aggressive, indifferent friend or stranger or relative. He’ll not know what it feels like having someone gag you, rip off your clothes and enter your most personal, sacred, private part of your body and do so violently, hatefully forcing himself into you, ripping you apart, filling you with unwanted sperm, and knowing you cannot escape the thing growing inside of you. Todd Aiken will never experience being a woman who is pregnant from a rapist and being told you have no choice. Yet, I’m betting, he’s pretty self-righteous when he says women should have no choice.

Like the majority of the GOP, including the Vice President hopeful Paul Ryan, Todd Akin’s message is clear: No abortion for you! Your body is to support the rapist’s fetus against your will. And when you see the face of the rapist in that child, you will be judged harshly if you cannot love that face.

My sense is that this debacle is further evidence of what is known as the GOP’s war on women. But right-wing media figures have downplayed and dismissed Republican Congressman Todd Akin’s controversial remarks on rape and abortion, calling them “dumb” and a distraction. The public response to Akin’s comments more or less drove him to offer a feigned apology. I say feigned because it now it appears that, all the while, the people really in charge of the GOP—fundamentalist anti-choicers among them—have been writing a party platform that not only makes all of that a lie, but is in effect a promise to make the personhood of fertilized eggs the law of the land.

The draft official platform strongly supports a “a human life amendment” to the Constitution:

Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed, the draft platform declares. “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

Let’s be very, very clear that such an amendment—which Mitt Romney has said unequivocally he would sign—would not only criminalize abortions of any kind for any reason, but also would outlaw many forms of contraception, in-vitro fertilization, and treatment of pregnant women with life-threatening conditions such as cancer. Moreover, it would also criminalize miscarriage.

So, there you have some of the facts. The problem isn’t Akin.

It’s the central position of the GOP controlled by fundamentalists who believe women have no rights. Which side of history will you be on?

Decades from now, what will the historians say about the morality crusade? How will the movement, led by religiously hysterical conservatives be recorded? The movement of a minority, intending to pass laws impacting the majority population, certainly will be evaluated for its intended and unintended consequences. I’m arguing that the scribes of cultural movements will note, no doubt with regret, that the oppressive laws stimulated the growth of illegal activities. And in the footnotes, some historians will wryly add that many of those who championed the draconian laws were privately against them. I’m not talking about abortion (yet). I am talking about the campaign that was the essence of the mostly failed alcohol prohibition here in the United States. But the similarities between prohibition and the current morality movement against abortion are disconcertingly similar. While there are many to consider, here are just a few.

Culture

Prohibition was fueled by the grim reality that people were dying from extreme forms of alcoholism. The move from drinking beer and wine to guzzling distilled spirits created a nation of drunkards. Those who called for temperance believed it would reduce illness, absenteeism at work, accidents in cities and on farms and, generally, improve the moral character of our nation.

Abortions were available prior to Roe for women of means. For other women, abortions were illegal, unsafe and often deadly. Curiously, there was little to no concern about abortion until Roe. Once it passed, anti abortion sentiment was fueled by images of fetal remains that scavengers collected out of garbage bins and out of clinic freezers. This sentiment was furthered with the misnamed partial birth abortion frenzy debated by hysterical and uninformed legislators. Current anti abortion turmoil has extended to legislation impacting clinic facilities. It’s really a bit of irony to think how similar this is to what finally nailed the coffin on alcohol. Rather than anti drinking campaigns, the anti saloon league worked better by closing all the saloons. It’s conceivable that current legislation might be headed in the same direction to not make abortion inconvenient but to make access impossible by closing clinics.

And when the cultural history of celebrities in the United States is written, the books will note the prohibition stars like Al Capone and Lucky Luciano, and the abortion celebrities like Abby Johnson and Troy Newman. They will be featured as single-issue stars who rose to fame then burned out.

Politics

Women were central figures in public protests against drinking alcohol. While the initial movement urged a form of moderation that came from a sincere desire within, rather than a forced decision, the women’s temperance groups eventually urged absolute abstinence.

Women continue to be central figures in public praying and protests outside abortion clinics. Being faithful heterosexuals, they also urge abstinence from sex until marriage.

Prohibition lobbying attracted single-issue voters like abortion attracts single-issue voters. Like Prohibition, the movement toward the repeal of Roe v Wade was started by Republicans and joined, later, by a few conservative Democrats.

Religion

Prohibition was energized by religious fervor, especially Protestants. Abortion is both a Protestant and Catholic issue in general. In the minority, Evangelicals and Fundamentalist Protestants and conservative Catholics have been vocal opponents of Roe.

Language

Prohibition gave our nation new terms like bootlegger, scofflaw, teetotaler, the drys and the wets, and rum running. Legal abortion has provided new vocabulary terms like anti, choice, prolife, and partial birth.

The above are just a few of the similarities between prohibition and abortion. The people who believed in prohibition thought that government could make life better. It’s no different than those who believe the government should overturn Roe to make our nation a more moral nation. But, like those who thought the government had no right to interfere with alcohol consumption, there are those, a majority, who believe that government has no place in legislating morality, including abortion. Prohibition was a failed social experiment that ignited organized crime, killed thousands of innocent citizens in the name of morality and law, and during the period leading to WWI, linked booze with anti-German war propaganda.

It stands to reason that if abortion is outlawed, there will be similar unintended consequences, some quite deadly.

Stop Bullying Women

For many years, anti-abortion activists have lobbied their state legislatures to pass laws that require abortion clinics to share certain information with their patients.  These so-called “Right to Know” laws take many forms:  giving the patient a brochure that shows the stages of fetal development, taking an ultrasound and showing it to the woman, reciting a script to the patient that is a litany of things that can go wrong with an abortion, etc., etc.

Although the pro-choice movement regularly opposes these laws, I have written in the past about how the affect of these laws on the woman is rather minimal.  For example, most women casually look at the brochures, if at all, then toss them into

the garbage.  I’ve been in the rooms with woman as they observed their ultrasound, asked questions about the fetus then proceeded to have the abortion.  It’s all a rather big waste of time if you ask me, but if the anti-abortion movement wants to spend their time on this kind of stuff, go for it.  And, after all, it’s all well-intentioned, isn’t it?  Sure, they would prefer to make that woman’s act totally illegal, but since they can’t do that they want to make sure that a woman is making an informed choice.  How compassionate of them, huh?

Meanwhile, up in New York City, the City Council has taken a great interest in the activities of a number of “crisis pregnancy centers” that, according to testimony provided in a hearing, are engaging in “deceptive” practices designed to convince the woman that they are actually medical facilities.  It seems that the staff in some of these cpcs a

Ultrasound Before Abortion Procedure

re doing some interesting things.  For some reason, they are collecting personal and insurance information in the waiting room, the consultations are taking place on examination tables with the woman in the stirrups and “scrub suited consultants” are giving free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds.   On its face, it sounds a little deceptive to me but I’m sure these reports are not accurate because we’ve been told so many times that cpcs do not engage in this kind of behavior.

Still, this crazy ole City Council is concerned about this alleged behavior so they passed a law requiring the cpcs to post signs saying they have no doctors on site and don’t’ give advice about abortions or birth control.  Sounds kind of like the “Right to Know” laws that are being imposed on abortion clinics.

But, lo and behold, here comes the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative Christian advocacy group, and they challenge the law, saying it would have violated the center’s right to free speech.  And, recently, a local judge agreed with them and slapped an injunction on the new law.

Putting aside all the legal mumbo-jumbo and the current status of the law, what I cannot sort out is why anti-abortion advocates want abortion clinics to inform women of everything but the kitchen sink, but when the NY City Council wants to ask them to give out just a little information about their centers, they balk at the idea?

Somebody help me here, please!

Jennifer misses the action.

She misses the adrenaline rush, the nervous stomach, the sweaty palms.  She misses the television cameras, the high-powered meetings and the inspiring convention speeches.  She even misses the feeling of wondering if the person approaching her is her assassin.

Jennifer is a veteran of the abortion wars.

Protests

In the 1990’s, she ran a busy abortion clinic in Florida.  During those years, she experienced it all:  the swarms of protestors surrounding her clinic, the bombings, the daily telephone death threats, the butyric acid attacks, the stalking and, yes, the killings.  She was in the middle of the maelstrom.

Today, she works for a small non-profit organization, raising money for a good cause.  It’s a satisfying job but it’s not enough.  She misses the wars.

Now, I am no psychologist but after talking to her the other day I have developed a theory.  Just hear me out.

In her day, Jennifer commanded a lot of attention.  A physically stunning woman, she didn’t fit the stereotype of the beleaguered abortion clinic director or the hardcore feminist.  She swallowed up a room with her infectious laugh and turned a lot of heads.  She also thrived on being the center of attention.  She enjoyed the media interviews, testifying before the legislature and staring down those protestors who dared to think about closing her clinic.

After hours, Jennifer played hard.  She enjoyed her wine and her men.  She could drink her (mostly) male doctors under a table and the next day greet her patients with her dazzling smile.  She enjoyed calling the shots.  She even derived a sordid sense of satisfaction when she heard her protestors mumbling under their breath “there she is, that’s the one who runs the abortuary.”

Protests

Then she left her clinic to run another one in an inner city, a non-profit facility run by a board of directors.  Suddenly, she was reporting to a bunch of folks.  Then, the federal government passed several laws restricting the rights of protestors and things started getting quiet outside the clinic.  She was suddenly in a different world and she started to lose her edge   Then the clinic closed its doors.

Although she enjoys her current job, a few years ago, in an attempt to recapture some of her passion, she set up a fund for poor women who needed abortions.   But she told me this weekend that it didn’t work, that her juices still weren’t flowing.  She then admitted that she felt that the folks she was working with on the fund didn’t really appreciate what she brought to the table, i.e., they didn’t realize she was a hardened veteran of the abortion wars.  While she admitted these feelings were “kind of silly,” I could tell that she was hurting.

And my reaction to her was:  honey, join the club.

I told her how I also miss the old days as well.  I miss seeing myself on the network news or reading my pithy quote in the New York Times.  I miss being surrounded by throngs of angry protestors who were screaming:  “Richards, you are going to hell!”  I miss hob-nobbing with Members of Congress who needed my political advice.  In a sick way, I miss the abortion wars as much as Jennifer does.

I am sure others feel the same way.  I am reminded of Diane Derzis, a sassy southern woman who used to run a clinic in Birmingham.  In 1994, I flew down to observe an Operation Rescue event that was taking place at a different clinic across town.  When I arrived, I hung around, watched the happenings, talked to our escorts and chatted with the police.  Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I saw a red convertible approaching and noticed that Diane was in the driver’s seat.  She was all dolled up and drove very slowly past the angry throng.  The local anti-abortion folks knew who Diane was and they started screaming at her.  Diane just waved.  What struck me, however, was that she wanted to be seen, she wanted to be yelled at.  She missed the action.  Indeed, later on she told me that she was actually “pissed” that they weren’t at her clinic. 

The craziness was an aphrodisiac.

The more I think about Jennifer, Diane, myself and our other colleagues, I realize that to some extent we’re like combat soldiers who have seen action and have been sent back home.  We were forced to go cold turkey and miss being in those dangerous situations.  For Jennifer, she misses watching her security camera trying to spot the next trouble-maker, she misses reviewing the protocols for a clinic bombing, she misses those interminable meetings with her designated FBI agent.

And, to add insult to injury, no one has ever said “thank you.”  Oh, sure, the folks she works with on the abortion fund know who she is, they’ve seen her resume and they are aware that some “stuff” was going on years ago.  But they really can’t appreciate what Jennifer did and the gravitas that she brings to the table.  So, that leaves Jennifer with her worn press clippings, her fading pictures and her memories.

Jennifer is a fighter.  She will ultimately prevail.  She will be fine.  And, yes, she deserves a pat on the back for a job well done.

But she’ll always miss the action.

Election Results for the House of Representatives

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.

House of Representatives

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.

A short rant, if I may.

I read with interest the October 24 edition of “Evening Hours” in the New York Times which

NYT Evening Hour

reported on events around the city benefiting the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Korean American Community Foundation, the Frick Collection, the Norman Mailer Center and the International Fine Art and Antique Dealers.  Lots of pictures of people in evening gowns and tuxedos.

Then, in the middle of the page, there was mention of a “dinner” at the Pierre hotel where people were celebrating “50 years of women’s advances since the birth control pill.”  There was no mention of who was having the party.

Was not that dinner hosted by a particular organization?  Or did a bunch of folks, including Cybill Shepard, just happen to be in the neighborhood and decided to party for the night?

I know exactly what is going on here.  Even the liberal New York Times felt they shouldn’t stir things up by mentioning that the party was hosted by the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League.

Shame on you, New York Times…

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