By John F. Di Leo -
When the modern abortion movement first began, a century ago, Planned Parenthood founder and hero Margaret Sanger was quite clear on her belief in the theory of eugenics. She wanted to reduce the numbers of undesirable people in America (you know, all those “other” races and ethnicities), and abortion was the easiest way that sprung to mind. But it didn’t catch on; it was too extreme.
So, when a renewed effort for legalization of abortion really kicked into high gear in the 1960s, it was couched in a mantle of compassion instead.
“Since people will get abortions anyway,” we were told, “the horse is out of that barn, you know… we need to legalize the practice, so that it can be safe, legal, and rare.”
This was the promise: that legalization would protect the mother from the back alley abortionist, that legalization would defend her from the infections and shoddy workmanship and inherent malpractice of so-called doctors who work on the other side of the law.
Since society has already given up on saving the baby, they told us, let’s at least save the mother. It may not be full compassion, whole-hearted compassion, but at least, this distasteful choice is born in compassion, of a sort. At least the Left’s intentions were good.
Or so we were told.
The Texas Case
So the people of Texas accepted that theory, and attempted to apply it. In 2013, the state of Texas set rules for abortion clinics, requiring that they meet the same standards of equipment and sanitation that any other place calling itself a clinic would have to meet. Nothing extreme, nothing burdensome. Nothing that you don’t have to do if you want to call your operation a 24-hour emergency care facility, or a suburban outpatient center, or a plastic surgeon’s office, doing facelifts and tummy tucks. Just normal cleanliness and waste disposal processes, normal record-keeping and reporting requirements, and admission privileges at nearby hospitals.
This last one is particularly noteworthy. You know how your regular doctor is sometimes late for an appointment because he’s held up a bit at the hospital, performing or assisting on a surgery or a birth? That’s because you want your doctor to have a relationship with the hospital. He practices there too, as well as in his office or clinic. We need that relationship, because if anything goes wrong at the clinic, you need the doctor to be able to get the patient into the right hands at the hospital quickly.
And, in case you haven’t heard… the abortion procedure happens to be one of those things that has complications sometimes. Complications that can and do prove fatal.
So there’s nothing unfair, nothing burdensome in the Texas requirement.
The people of Texas were just taking the abortion supporters at their word, assuming that they included the “safe” part of “safe, legal and rare” on purpose. Since the practice obviously isn’t safe for the child, it just had to be the mother they were concerned about. Right?
Hence the Texas rule. There has to be some noticeable difference between the back-alley abortion mills of the past and the legally-established abortion providers of the present.
In short, if you want to run an abortion clinic, it has to be a proper clinic. Fair enough.
Whole Women’s Health vs. Hellerstedt, Commissioner, Texas Dept of State Health Services
The Center for Reproductive Rights immediately challenged the Texas law, and fought it all the way to the Supreme Court. The Court voted five to three to strike down the law on Monday, June 27, 2016, in an opinion written by Justice Stephen Breyer… and rooted in the fancy that there’s some Constitutional “right” to abortions somewhere in the “emanations and penumbras” of a document that was written in 1787, but was hidden so well as to be first noticed by William O. Douglas in 1965, nearly two centuries later.
We see now that when it helped their case, the Left maintained that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare”… but when it was no longer necessary, they decided that the “legal” part trumps the other two desires. In their world, you can’t make safety a condition on making it legal, after all. And hey, if safety requirements cause it to be rarer too, well then, they’ll be happy to throw “rarity” under the bus as well. Keeping abortion legal is what counts.
Looking beyond this case, we must consider that many states impose reasonable conditions on abortion: parental notification if the mother is a minor, a 72-hour waiting period to think about such a momentous occasion, a requirement to lay out other options such as adoption… things like that. This 5-3 decision has excited the Left in ways we haven’t seen since 2009 when they assumed control of House, Senate and White House all at once again. The Left is now motivated to be aggressive in attacking all other safety-related and judgment-related restrictions. We should expect many more challenges, each more aggressive than the last, in the effort to make abortion every bit as much a part of American life as going to school, driving a car, or watching TV.
The Real Motivation?
America is therefore left with many quandaries, as we go forward from here. We see that the Supreme Court has fallen even further than perhaps we had feared… We see that state after state must now expect to shell out billions they don’t have for legal fights, as massive challenges are bound to spring up… And we now know that all the Left’s protestations for good, safe healthcare for America’s troubled young mothers’ was actually just poppycock, all along.
And on a philosophical level, perhaps it tells us something else, if we think hard about it.
We have been told that “Abortion should be between a woman and her doctor”… but now the Left has admitted they don’t care if the abortionist is really a legitimate doctor at all, and they’ve cheered at seeing the high court strip that requirement away from the law.
We have thought of the abortion debate as involving, principally, three parties; the mother, the child, and the doctor. The Left gave up on the child’s life years ago… and now we see that they’re willing to toss any rule that would protect the mother’s life too.
So who’s left to protect?
Well, there are an awful lot of abortionists in this multi-billion dollar industry, and they write a lot of campaign checks to Democratic Party candidates, from your local state rep all the way up to the man or woman who seeks the White House.
The Supreme Court – and the abortion movement – have finally made it clear. Between the mother, the child, and the “doctor”… we now know whose side the Left is on, and who they’re willing to sacrifice on that altar of theirs, in order to keep the gravy train of (often taxpayer-funded) donations flowing in their direction.
Copyright 2016 John F. Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is an international trade lecturer, actor, and writer. His columns are found regularly in Illinois Review.
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