The Supreme Court has begun the long march toward banning abortion with its affirmation of the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. First, “we told you so.” Anyone who claimed feebly during the Roberts Alito confirmation hearings that we really couldn’t know what their positions would be on the subject had their head up their ass. I don’t think the largely Republican voices who made these claims even believed them. But they were playing on hopes Democrats might’ve had that there was a chance, just a chance that we could hope they might actually be agnostic on abortion. Fat chance.
But what really burns me up in this quote from Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion. In another feigning of sympathy for an imagined pregnant woman having the banned procedure he writes:
…Justice Kennedy said that banning the procedure was in fact good for women, protecting them against terminating their pregnancies by a method they might not fully understand in advance and would come to regret later.
“Respect for human life finds an ultimate expression in the bond of love the mother has for her child,” he said, adding: “It is self-evident that a mother who comes to regret her choice to abort must struggle with grief more anguished and sorrow more profound when she learns, only after the event, what she once did not know: that she allowed a doctor to pierce the skull and vacuum the fast-developing brain of her unborn child, a child assuming the human form.”
Listen to the dripping condescension in this statement toward women:
1. that a woman wanting the procedure “might not” (read “cannot”) understand the procedure
2. any woman seeking an abortion violates the “ultimate expression…of love the mother has for her child”
3. a law which restricts women’s fertility choices is actually “good” for her
4. a woman who has an abortion must come to “regret her choice” when she comes to truly understand what she has done to an “unborn child”
And the language “pierce the skull and vacuum the fast-developing brain of her unborn child…assuming the human form” sounds like it could’ve been written by a Catholic priest. And in fact, Kennedy is Catholic as are many of the majority justices. I have a feeling U.S. abortion law has just been hijacked by the Catholic Church.
I find everything about this ruling repulsive. All I can say is thank God for the intellectual probity of Justice Ginsburg who wrote in the minority:
Justice Ginsburg objected vehemently that “this [Kennedy’s] way of thinking reflects ancient notions of women’s place in the family and under the Constitution — ideas that have long since been discredited.”
She cited century-old Supreme Court cases that upheld a paternalistic view of women’s place in society and contrasted those with more recent cases…that rejected “archaic and overbroad generalizations” and assumptions about women’s inherent dependency.”