Just One Win And Losses Don’t Hurt

Last week the fight over a woman’s right to choose was front and center in American politics again. I hope all women and all men who care about women take this seriously. Let’s explore.

I’m writing this on Monday morning for Tuesday morning’s publishing. Saturday I attended an event put on by an alumni chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Several speakers spoke of the importance of teaching the history of racial struggles and eventual victories to the younger generation. The same can be said for a woman’s right to exercise control over her own body in America. Saturday’s event was held in North Carolina and many in the crowd experience Jim Crow first hand. Young people take both a woman’s right to choose and racial equality for granted because they know nothing else. Rights gained can be taken away if not protected. While that should not be an obsession, it cannot be forgotten.

Sunday was Mothers’ Day and in my case that included a family gathering. The right to choose is far more than a women’s issue. Most men are some or all of the following: son, brother, father, uncle, husband, grandfather or the intimate partner of a woman. It is a rare American man who doesn’t love being in one or more of those roles. How can you celebrate Mothers’ Day – which to me is much more encompassing than simply Mom – and not care about, some of if not all of, the females in your life? Guys, that makes choice your issue also.

Several Republican controlled state legislatures have recently enacted so-called “heartbeat bills”. They essentially make abortion illegal as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected. In most cases that is before a woman knows she is pregnant. That is like telling you that you cannot call the fire department after you see flames or smell smoke.

Alabama is in the process of going even more radical. They are poised to make performing an abortion a felony punishable by between 10 and 99 years imprisonment. As that legislation currently stands there is no exception for rape or incest. There is an element in America who feels that having the child of your rapist is your revenge. Don’t ask me to explain that “logic”; it doesn’t make sense to me.

All of the above laws violate Roe v Wade and will be challenged in the courts. That is exactly what their proponents want. Much like terrorists, these domestic anarchists want the court fights because, like terrorists, they only have to win once and losses really don’t hurt their cause. (In fact in one way they help it – more about that below).

If they lose in court nothing changes and they suffer no penalty for their actions. If they should be successful in winning a case in the last appeals court before the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court chooses not to hear their case the lower court’s ruling stands and they get the one win they need. Similarly, despite what the last appeals court rules, if the Supreme Court decides to hear the case and they prevail there they have the win they want.

If Roe is overturned, or severe restrictions are upheld, (the more likely scenario), poor and working class women will suffer. The wealthy and their daughters will simply travel to a medically safe foreign country and obtain an abortion there. (Keep in mind that about 20 countries have a medical system that is superior to America’s.)

One of the dirty little secrets is that there are winners in this “dance” regardless of the outcome of court cases. They are the fundraisers, in fairness, on both sides of the issue. On the anti-choice side they provide the funding for a plethora of losing lawsuits. The fundraisers themselves get their percentage and thereby the incentive to continue. In some states the Republicans have taken the money game a step further. If the State Attorney General (who the taxpayers fund) refuses to defend what are clearly unconstitutional laws and virtually sure losers in court – that is their duty as good stewards of the taxpayers’ money – the Republican legislatures and governors have enacted laws allowing the Legislature to hire outside counsel. Their fees are paid with taxpayers’ money and the firms are always political contributors. Simply put, the elected Republicans are providing a return on investment to their financiers using your money. By virtue of paying taxes in those states, (remember that includes things like sales and gasoline taxes), you are helping fund the campaigns of GOP candidates whether you want to or not.

I could continue on this topic for pages but it’s time to wrap it up for today. Why should an old empty nester like me whose wife is past that part of her life care about this topic? The answer is my grandchildren are the most important people in the world to me, I care about America and I have a moral compass.

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