“There are more tears shed over answered prayers than unanswered prayers,” St. Teresa of Avila said. Republicans may soon learn just how that works.
It used to be that Republican politicians with no fixed views on abortion could pray loudly for an end to Roe v. Wade. They knew that their stances would please abortion foes while not alarming the pro-choice majority. As long as Roe remained a law protecting the right to end a pregnancy, pro-choice voters open to other aspects of the Republican platform could shrug at such candidates.
“Abortion goes back to the people,” says a Wall Street Journal editorial, as it puts on a brave face in the wake of the Supreme Court’s striking down of a popular right. They’ve got that right.
And President Joe Biden concurs. “Roe is on the ballot,” he announced right after the ruling. And Democrats who’ve been engaging in anticipatory grief over expected losses in the midterms have new hope for holding onto their legislative majorities.
The GOP ought not take solace from a poll taken right after the ruling in which 78% of Republicans said they favored the decision. It really should worry about that 22% that, despite all, still identify as Republicans but want a constitutional right to an abortion.
For not only has this ruling rattled the all-important suburban swing vote, but it has also unleashed right-wing radicals who are already launching threats at women who go to states where abortion remains legal. The nastiness is just beginning.
No lesser an authority on curtailing of rights than Justice Clarence Thomas has come right out and said the Roe ruling puts same-sex marriage and even contraception back in play. It helps not that his wife is a prominent insurrectionist who has made common cause with the savages who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Chief Justice John Roberts has clearly lost control.
The outcome of overturning Roe is not a simple matter of sending the issue back to the individual states. The civic culture is already dealing with the Texas law that waves bags of money at creeps willing to hound women they suspect of having abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
A six-week limit is a virtual ban; many, if not most, women don’t know they are pregnant that early on. Interestingly, the Mississippi law that the Supreme Court upheld in the Roe case — a 15-week limit on abortion — would not have outlawed the procedure. The vast majority of abortions are done within 15 weeks. Mississippi, however, is one of many states that has passed another law triggering a real ban should Roe be thrown out.
Nowadays, 54% of abortions are pill-based procedures. States that are prohibiting abortion, Louisiana, for example, are trying to outlaw the mailing of abortion medications from elsewhere. Good luck with that. And are they going to stop cars at the state line to inspect handbags?
Some abortion foes want women ending their pregnancies charged with a capital crime, like murder. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he’s into that.
The willingness to trample on Americans’ privacy has developers of apps that track menstrual cycles concerned that their users might get hacked and harassed over whether they give birth. These services, such as Apple Health, Flo and Clue, are used both by women who want to get pregnant and those who don’t.
Some “pro-life” activists want Congress to ban abortion nationwide. “That,” The Wall Street Journal opines, “will strike many Americans as hypocritical after decades of Republican claims that repealing Roe would return the issue to the states.” But “that” is something they will undoubtedly try.
Answered prayers have their consequences.
Froma Harrop, a syndicated columnist, writes for the Providence (Rhode Island) Journal. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.