Friday, August 12, 2005

False? Not false?

An anonymous commenter to my post about's analysis of NARAL's ad regarding Judge Roberts advises me that "The ad is not false" and directs me to Bitch Ph.D.'s reprint of NARAL's response email.

Unsurprisingly, I find NARAL's defense unpursuasive. For example, NARAL states that Roberts "sided with the bomber" because the SG's office filed an amicus brief and "[t]he filing of an amicus brief is discretionary." Well, firstly, it's discretionary as to whether the SG's OFFICE files an amicus brief. If you work for the SG's office, and the SG says, "file a brief," you file a brief. It's called working for someone. But regardless, I think that in practice, the SG's office rarely files an amicus brief without being requested to do so by the Supreme Court. So I don't think that's a particularly good response.

Besides, the reasoning and arguments (that by filing an amicus brief in a case which happens to include among its defendants a bomber, the filer is "supporting the bomber") could easily be applied to the ACLU arguing for the Nazi's rights to march in Skokie. There are plenty of overriding legal points that are made with disgusting litigants. Ernesto Miranda was a rapist.

But I think the whole thing is overblown. And by that I mean the entire abortion issue. I'm not sure why, but for some reason, the right to abortion has somehow taken on the status for the left as the supreme right that an individual can possess. And as a result of Roe v. Wade, the judicial branch, which should not be the forum for policy disputes, has become embroiled in them. One of NARAL's arguments in their response is that "reproductive health clinics were under siege by anti-choice extremists." So what? That's not a relevant point with respect to the legal arguments being made in that case. It's certainly a valid point when you want to argue before Congress or your state legislator, but it's not a legal argument, nor does it have one iota to do with whether Roberts is qualified to become a Justice.

Why is the right to an abortion the end-all be-all? There are, in my opinion, violations of individuals' rights to life, liberty and property on the part of national, state and local governments on a daily basis. All of them are constitutional, but from a policy standpoint I think they're ridiculous, and the choices that I am prevented from making impact nobody else, potential or otherwise. Abortion is, at the very least, the destruction of a potential human life and as a result there are certainly moral issues that should be debated when it comes to the policies of the state with respect to the practice. Roe hijacked the debate and it's now next to impossible to develop a nuanced policy toward abortion which could really reflect the views of the citizenry.

And I don't think even the most pro-choice idealogue could argue that Roe is a well-written decision, no matter how much they might agree with the outcome, if they're honest. Roe set up a trimester system which has been completely eclipsed by technology. Fetuses are viable much much earlier than they were in 1973, and I think it would be extremely simple to argue that based on the underpinning of Roe (that there is a right to terminate non-viable fetuses but that right diminishes as the potential viability of the fetus increases due to gestational age) abortion could be restricted almost completely in the second trimester at this point.

I'm in favor of the right to terminate a pregnancy. But to pretend that the issue is entirely clear cut and simple is ludicrous. And the fact that the issue has taken on such a status is far out of whack, especially in the case of a Supreme Court nomination, where it occupies such a small percentage of the Court's work.


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