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The Party of Family Values


Plenty more where this came from:

TIM: Life begins at conception. Pregnancy is a gift from God, which is why I’m cosponsoring this anti-abortion legislation after asking my lover to have an abortion. I’m 65 and she’s 32, but you probably figured that out already.

SCOTT: When you’re a pro-life, pro-family values Republican doctor running for Congress, you understand the value of human life. I had an affair with a patient and then pressured her to have an abortion. I also fired a gun outside my wife’s bedroom. Who better than me to forcibly take the choice away from American women? I had to send my girlfriend out of state to get her abortion. Liberals are hedonistic monsters and it just makes me so angry!

ERIC: Being pro-life means that every human life is treasured. As a proud husband and father, I had an affair with my hairdresser, tied her up, took photographs of her while she was naked and then threatened to release the images if she didn’t keep silent about our affair. I also sexually assaulted her. Abortion is immoral, which is why I signed this legislation further restricting it in my already oppressive Family Values state. Women like the hairdresser I abused should not be trusted to make this decision.

This is another thing I discuss in my Roe piece — the substantive and political implications of the fact that affluent women will generally gave access to safe abortion under any legal regime:

Another staple of the pro-choice, anti-Roe argument is that, because abortion rights are generally popular, the protection of the Supreme Court isn’t really necessary. Wittes asserted that “the Supreme Court has prevented abortion-rights supporters from winning a debate in which public opinion favors them.” Rosen recently and tellingly argued that the transformations if Roe is overruled or gutted “may be less dramatic, in practice, than liberals fear” because “the main effect would be restricting the access of poor women who have little access today.”

It is very odd indeed to argue that overruling Roe is no big deal because its greatest effects would be on the most vulnerable populations. (It’s true that, because of Casey, the access of many poor women to abortion has been greatly reduced. But from a pro-abortion rights perspective the obvious answer is to move toward the more robust protections of the original Roe rather than making abortion even less accessible.)

But the inequitable impact of overruling Roe is important politically as well. The women who pay the biggest price for abortion criminalization and most regulations are the least politically powerful.

Even when abortion is banned by a state, affluent women generally have access to safe abortions, either through the “gray market” of doctors who quietly perform them or by their ability to travel to other jurisdictions. As a result, many affluent pro-abortion rights Republican voters can keep voting Republican knowing that more restrictive abortion laws will not affect them or people similarly situated. After all, before Roe the vast majority of states kept abortion bans on the books even as national majorities become supportive of abortion rights.

Elections are not referendums; supporting a particular unpopular position doesn’t necessarily spell electoral doom for a party. And that’s doubly true when the population affected most by a law has little political power. This is exactly a case where judicial protection of a threatened right is both appropriate and in many cases necessary.

The de facto Republican position on abortion isn’t so much “abortion should be illegal” as “abortion should be illegal but not so illegal that I/my wife/my daughter/my mistress/my intern couldn’t get one.”

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