Even before the Supreme Court has issued its verdict on the most recent abortion case, its leaked draft already is “Krakatoa, East of Java.” The draft has had an immediate impact in disrupting the political arena as well as the life of untold millions. We are just in the beginning stages of the latest abortion irruption so it still remains to be seen how the decision will unfold. In the meantime, what if anything can be known or suggested about what is to come?
SUPREME COURT FREEDOM OF CHOICE
Speaking as a non-lawyer, my understanding of the choices facing the Supreme Court are/were:
1. Support abortion and claim the Constitution does too
2. Support abortion but claim the Constitution does not address it
3. Oppose abortion and claim the Constitution does not address it
4. Oppose abortion and claim the Constitution prohibits it.
Given these choices, the Supreme Courts have chosen two different options. The original decision by the Court was Option 1. As a result there has been a proclaimed constitutional right to abortion for the past 50 years.
The new Court decision based on the leaked opinion is that the original Court decision for Option 1 was in error and there was not and is not a constitutional right to abortion. Instead the Court has chosen Option 3. The result will be the issue is remanded to the states, all 50 of them, to decide on their own.
For some people, that decision is not enough. They want a nation-wide ban of abortion to be accomplished through federal legislation. Most likely this means that the people who opposed the federal mask mandates:
now will support an intrusion into the body of a woman that they would not accept on the face of a person. While the prospects of such a law are nil in the present Congress, who knows what the future will bring starting with the next House of Representatives.
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR
People have a habit of not thinking things through. They go for the immediate short-term gain without considering the consequences. To be fair, sometimes it is difficult if not impossible to recognize all the possible outcomes of a given decision. Science fiction abounds in alternate realities generated by the different possible scenarios derived from a single decision. One of the more common examples is when the magic genie appears to grant you three wishes. No matter how carefully you try, the wish always backfires.
Consider the two very recent examples by the two Trumpican presidential candidate wannabees. In Texas, the Governor has tried to make the border his path to greater political office. He would build a wall there with Texas taxpayer money. He would dispatch Texan military forces to patrol the border. Then he decided on his best stunt ever: he would establish a “blockade” on vehicles (trucks) entering Texas from Mexico.
His stunt immediately blew up in his face. He did not think the issue through. It was a sudden decision devoid of preparation. The results were exactly what anyone who thought about it would have predicted – LINES, LONG LINES, VERY LONG LINES. Long lines involving perishable items. Long lines involving medicine. Long lines involving vehicles running on a limited supply (tankful or less) of gas. Long lines of enraged people. What a great way to prove one’s worthiness to be Commander in Chief. Let’s see if the Governor of Florida can top that!
Sure enough in the “I am the better Trump” contest, the Florida Governor responded with his Disney ploy. As payback for Disney daring to defy the would-be 2024 presidential candidate’s action, the Governor responded in adult fashion with “Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah! I’ll show you who is boss.” He thereupon took away Disney’s self-governing status and passed the huge tax-buck onto the surrounding counties which now have to pick up the tab. Fortunately for those counties, the Governor’s action may not be legal since it requires legislative approval. Thus the biggest Florida state tax increase may be averted.
These examples illustrate the truism of unintended consequences. After decades of clamoring for the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the dog chasing the car finally caught it. Now what?
SUPPOSE THE ALITO DECISION HAD BEEN FIRST
First, let’s engage in a hypothetical. Suppose the Alito decision had been the decision of the Court in the original Roe v. Wade case, what would have happened then? Obviously there is no way to know for sure but some actions seem likely.
1. States would have proceeded to pass their own laws much as they have been doing and will do based on the expected ruling.
2. There would have been an effort to pass a privacy amendment to the Constitution. Given the widespread use of surveillance cameras and the intrusions of Big Tech, such an amendment is needed now more than ever. It is not enough to rely on judges inhaling vaporous emanations from the Constitution to pass legislation. We still need such an amendment.
3. Supreme Court ratifications would be more civil. Since the abortion decision had been remanded to the states, the rancor over Supreme Court approvals would have diminished. There would have been no need to hold a vacancy open for months on end. There would have been no need to rush an approval through either. There would have been no need for Senators to carry on like crazy people posturing for the infamous base. Candidates would not have had to lie to Senators. Just think, the reversal is due to three liars and a fourth judge who should have recused himself on 1/6-related cases because his wife is a co-conspirator.
4. People would not have had to hold their nose when voting for a President because of the desire to have the winner appoint judges who would reverse Roe v. Wade.
Politics in the United States would have been much different these last 50 years if so much of it was not viewed through the prism of abortion.
The list of unintended consequences is only beginning to emerge.
1. When does child support start?
2. When can you take a child deduction for taxes?
3. Can you deport a pregnant woman or will citizenship be based on where conception occurred?
4. What happens in cases of assault and/or abuse if person-fetus is harmed?
5. What happens in cases of assault and/or abuse if the person-fetus is murdered?
6. What happens if the mother smokes, drinks, or uses drugs and risks the health of person-fetus?
7. What happens in the multiple test-tube fertilizations when the excess is discarded? Who will be charged with murder?
8. What other prohibitions will be sought as medical technology continues to develop alternate means of achieving the same ends of an abortion without technically having one? Will mail be searched or prohibited? Will out-of-state travel be restricted? Will states have to build a wall to prevent travel?
Think of what happened when Covid-is-a-hoax and the vaccine-is worse-than-the-disease people then died of Covid. What happens when unwanted pregnancies occur in anti-abortion families? What happens when the women who men are trying to control have an unwanted pregnancy and decide they want an abortion? To the best of my knowledge there are no state laws asserting that no woman can have an unwanted pregnancy just as the body cannot prevent a pregnancy due to rape. What will those pregnant women then do? Will the first words of the mother upon giving birth be “Where is the nearest fire station?” How much time will be allowed before maternity wards release the unwanted baby? Are fire stations going to be redesigned with drop-off receptacles for the unwanted babies? Will those receptacles be subject to the same security rules and restrictions as drop-off voting bins? So many questions. So few answers.
Remember what happened the last time the wishes of the Evangelicals were fulfilled? For decades, Protestant evangelicals had rallied for the prohibition of alcohol on a national level. It was not enough that alcohol sometimes was prohibited locally or on Sunday. It needed to be banned everywhere for all times … except for medicinal purposes, of course. Those efforts eventually paid off. That time it was not through the Supreme Court but in an amendment to the Constitution. Welcome to the Roaring Twenties. The amendment soon was reversed in abrupt fashion. The fervor of the religious could not overcome the wishes of the majority of the Americans. Once the law went into effect, everybody was confronted with its meaning and impact and eventually the majority prevailed.