Monday, November 14, 2005

Well gee, what a tough call

And also from the L.A. Times, a sob story from one of the leading Sob Sisters of our time, Kate Michaelman, the former NARAL leader. Her column, "This Time, Alito, it's personal" is one of those things that just makes pro-lifers want to throw up their hands and howl. The level of sheer inanity and dripping sentiment is enough sweetening for your breakfast cereal ten times over. Some points (with rebuttal encased in * *):

LOOKING BACK more than three decades to one of the most difficult times in my life, it's hard to say what seems more insulting: being forced to obtain my husband's permission to have an abortion after he had just abandoned my family or — many years later — Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s ruling that a similar requirement was not, in constitutional parlance, an "undue burden."

In 1969 — in those distant but suddenly closer days before Roe vs. Wade — my husband deserted me and our three small daughters.
**OK, so your husband left you. Well, let's do what a lot of women do; cry about it, eat ice cream, and call your girlfriends
over to roundly denouce him. Then move on.

After learning I was pregnant, and making the wrenchingly personal decision to have an abortion, I was forced to submit to an invasive and humiliating interrogation before a hospital review board in Pennsylvania. It ultimately gave its permission. I was in the hospital preparing for the procedure when a nurse informed me I would need my husband's permission too. I found him a few days later and he gave it.

** "wrenchingly personal"--no, that's deciding whether or not to have a masectomy or a lumpectomy. Those are wrenchingly personal. Deciding whether or not to kill your child isn't personal--it involves at least one other person pretty closely. Just because your husband left you doesn't mean you can just kill the child because it's going to be too hard. If it's too hard, you have it and give the baby up for adoption. People like me, who can't have their own children, would gladly take this burden off your hands. **

In the 1992 case of Casey vs. Planned Parenthood, Alito voted to uphold a Pennsylvania law requiring women to notify their husbands before having an abortion. Such a requirement, he ruled, was not an "undue burden" on most women. The vast majority of women, he noted, voluntarily discuss an abortion with their husbands, while the law provided a nominal exception for women in the most extreme circumstances, such as abusive relationships.

The only women who would be burdened were all those left in the middle — women like me, women in extraordinary and individualized circumstances that neither laws nor legal standards could possibly anticipate.

**So let's just have tailor-made law, OK? I mean, I'm sure every murderer or rapists has "extraordinary" and "individualized" circumstances, too, so let's just amend the laws to make them more palatable for our criminals. Yes! That's the way to set effective legislation in place!**

Alito's opinion in essence said the only women the law would burden were those for whom it was burdensome; his standard appeared to be that individual rights could be restricted provided that not too many individuals were at stake.

**I think the baby would be at stake. I also think that it takes two to make a baby, and, absent father or not, he should
at least know that his wife, or ex-wife, or girlfriend or ex-girlfriend, is planning to end the life they both created.
He *may* just have an opinion on the matter that should be taken into account.

That is precisely the problem with government regulating private lives. Politicians do not know how laws will affect each individualized case. Courtrooms are a citizen's last refuge from unjust laws. When judges do not see those in their courtrooms as whole people and diverse individuals, that final constitutional safeguard is eviscerated.

**The government regulates "private" lives every single day. It tells us how fast to drive, what we can and cannot put into
our bodies, etc. Part of living in a society means giving up certain rights for the benefit of the society. Our society
cannot and does not benefit when the slaughter of the current and future generations continues unchecked because
we want to protect the "private" life of the mother. And yeah, Kate, politicians aren't wizards. They can't forsee every
result of a law. But you know, I think the idea of saving the lives of children (who will, by the way, Kate, be paying for
your retirement via Social Security--but you know, since you're in favor of "choice", a lot of them won't be there to do
so--and the program won't be there for you. Call it their "choice." **

To be sure, Alito would likely say women such as me should not take his opinion personally. I don't. But his potential elevation to the Supreme Court comes at a moment when privacy rights hang in the balance on an array of issues. A woman's right to choose is the most immediately threatened among them. Many Supreme Court decisions on that topic have been decided by a single vote — Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's. If Alito is even slightly more conservative than O'Connor — as is obviously the case — his vote would be enough to render the protections of Roe vs. Wade functionally meaningless for millions of women.

**and yet, the rights of the tiny women in the womb are systematically violated every day, under a constitutional "right"
that doesn't even exist. **

That is disturbing enough. But far more is at risk. From the Terri Schiavo case to the Patriot Act, politicians at all levels of government show an increasing willingness to invade the most sacred areas of private life — from decisions about the beginning and end of life to the books we check out of the library.

**Remember what I said about giving up certain rights, kate? This is what I mean. And if somebody is constantly
checking out books from the public library about jihad and how to make bombs, I want the FBI to know about it.
Hell, *I* want to know about it. I really don't think the Feds are looking at my book list going, "hmmm...this kid's
reading Alexander McCall Smith! That must mean something!!" (um, yeah. She likes to read mysteries.) Can we
please stop whining about the Patriot Act?
And don't even get me started on Terri Schiavo. That's just another example of the Left's total absence of respect for
human life, which I find insulting and degrading.**

Politicians are inclined to do that sort of thing; they rarely respect limits on their own power. That is why we have judges — but if judges such as Alito are willing to give politicians such unthinking deference that they do not even attempt to ascertain how real laws affect real people, it is difficult to see how privacy can possibly be protected.

**Newsflash! It's not even in the Constitution!!**

That is why it is so disappointing that President Bush has chosen to be intimidated by the most extreme element of his political base rather than acting as what he so often purports to be: a leader. Because he has chosen to follow, it is up to senators to lead. This nomination will rise or fall on the courage of moderates of both parties. Neither Democrats nor Republicans should expect their claims of moderation to be believed if they support a nominee whose views are so extreme.

**Follow? Hmm...I think the President picked Alito for the seat, not the Senate. I think it's pretty clear the message he's
sending out. And the Senate will lead---but not the way she wants.
And it's our favorite word!! Extreme!!**

Bush's political strategy is already clear: to portray anyone who opposes Alito as obstructionist. That is a label senators should not fear. If their power to advise and consent — as well as the privacy of individual American citizens — means anything, this is a nomination that must be obstructed.

**Someone please give this woman a Con Law class. Judge Alito is one the preeminent jurists in the United States, by
pretty much mutual consent from people who know these things. If he's obstructed, it's because he's pro-life, and that's
it. And Kate and her colleauges in the Democratic party can pretty much tell Catholics and conservative Evangelicals
that there is no place for them in their party (which isn't going to help them in the long run).

photo: My cousin, Brendan, who is very glad that his mother didn't follow Kate's advice.

No comments: