Roe 4-0

Roe v Wade is 40 years old today, and it’s kind of interesting how serious conservatives treat it with routine disregard. Here’s Andrew Sullivan (around 4:35):

I think it was a horrible decision. I think it ruined a lot of our politics in a lot of areas subsequently, and it’s been a bane of the culture wars. And insofar as it tempted evangelicals to come flooding into political life, I think it’s the worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court.

The argument behind this, as best I can reconstruct it, is that if states had voted for abortion one-by-one, evangelicals would have stayed in their churches and calmly accepted what they consider to be slaughter of innocents. I doubt it. Moreover, if this argument is true, does it apply to Brown v Board of Education, Loving v Virginia and Griswold v. Connecticut? If we had waited until school integration, interracial marriage and contraception were accepted by voters, there would still be states where the pill is illegal, the first interracial couple might have gotten married in Mississippi or Alabama a few years ago, and who knows that schools would look like in some other Southern (and Northern) cities.

Proponents of gay marriage seem to be worried that their cause will be hurt by the Roe effect, specifically, if Prop 8 is struck down and the court rules all gay marriage bans unconstitutional, the resentment over the Court’s imposition will mean that gay marriage will face 40 years of roiling controversy rather than quiet acquiesence. Maybe so, but I don’t see Utah, Alabama or Arkansas calmly accepting same-sex marriage within the next few decades. I’d rather see the Supreme Court protect the rights of a minority in the Prop 8 decision, as it did in Roe, Brown, Loving and Griswold. Forty years of Roe has meant forty years less misery and forty years of fewer deaths. A wide-ranging Prop 8 decision would be a boon for thousands of couples who will be in their graves long before their backwater states recognize what should be a basic human right. In return for that, I think we’ll be able to tolerate the noise made by evangelicals and the other retrograde political actors.

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138 replies
  1. 1
    redshirt says:

    There’s no doubt it was a huge bomb into our political scene, and can explain much of the craziness over the last 30 years.

    But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t the right decision – it was. This is more “Hostage diplomacy” as practiced by the Right. Do what we want, or we’ll wreck everything.

    Sorry, no.

  2. 2
    Pooh says:

    That’s not really the crux of the principled version of the argument, which is that it’s a bad decision from a technical/legal point of view, (which I have some sympathy for, since the opinion itself is kind of a mess and why not just decide the whole thing on Equal Protection grounds rather than intuit a “penumbral” right to privacy?)

    To put it another way, as much as the term “judicial activism” has been dumbed down, Roe is an example if there ever was one, which is easy to forget if you like the outcome of the case.

  3. 3
    Linda Featheringill says:

    So we “made” the right wing go nuts? Baloney. That’s a common statement from abusive people everywhere.

    Let us do what we think is right, defend ourselves from the abusive assholes on the right if necessary, and otherwise just ignore them.

  4. 4
    Broken Wingnut Tautology says:

    Remember, the entire Burkean and Oakshottian and Buckley’s political philosophy stems from the assumption: Tradition is good.

    When tradition is undeniably evil, vindictive, sin-crazed, conformist, and based on the supposed authority of the writings of inbred, misogynist Bronze Age farmers and nomads, then Andrew Sullivan, David Brooks, and Ross Douthat get all uncomfortable and squirmy and have a sad that people wanting basic human rights won’t compromise with their state-sponsored, theocratic persecution.

    Why won’t you simply be CIVIL with people who scream at you, murder you, and claim you deserve it because you are going to hell? WHYYYY?!?!?!!?

  5. 5
    gex says:

    Shorter Andrew: Let the terrorists dictate policy.

    The right keeps threatening to Second Amendment remedy everything. They are consistently looking to rule from the minority and force their policies on everyone.

    Andrew seems to think that simply placating them and refusing to govern in the manner our Constitution was set up is the way to solve that problem.

    Tell me why I should think that giving in to them is going to make them come around rather than encourage them to keep using terroristic tactics?

  6. 6
    curiousleo says:

    Yet another reason I’m glad I stopped paying attention to Sullivan. Worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court? gmafb. When does he ever show the ability to write about women or sexuality issue type decisions that are different than his own decision w/o showing his misogyny, total lack of understanding w/ regard to race, or poverty? Eff him.

  7. 7
    RSA says:

    And insofar as it tempted evangelicals to come flooding into political life, I think it’s the worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court.

    As much as I disagree with the political goals of evangelicals, I can’t help thinking that broad participation in democracy is a good thing. Sure, it makes things complicated, and I don’t like many of the outcomes, but what’s the alternative? Sully seems to be saying that the U.S. would be a better place if some people just shut up, but that’s not the way things work here.

  8. 8
    Mark S. says:

    Ugh, there’s no way I’m going to watch a video of Sully and Douthat. But I’ve heard Sully’s argument many times, and strangely, it’s always made by men.

  9. 9
    ericblair says:

    There was a segment on NPR about it this morning, which boiled down to saying that the abortion debate was going well before Roe v Wade got decided, and the push had a lot of backing from the legal community and wasn’t all from the grassroots.

    They did, however, gloss over the fact that the opposition to Roe v. Wade in the protestant community was deliberately created and took a while to get off the ground, as the big prod churches considered this a Catholic issue and didn’t really care. As far as I understand it, this was the first real modern conservative outrage engineering project that set the stage for the fun and games we have 24/7 now.

  10. 10
    Yutsano says:

    @Pooh: The decision itself is indeed a mishegas, since the Justices were trying to stretch Douglas’s concept of a right to privacy. But the God-botherers aren’t remotely concerned about that. It was another convenient excuse to shore up their membership and expand their power base, especially after all the other radical social changes that had occurred before. They seized the opportunity in the guise of protecting TEH BEBEHS!! but it was really all cynical power politics. Note they never pressured Dubya to ban abortion when he had clear majorities. Why is that I wonder?

  11. 11
    TS says:

    Andrew Sullivan cannot get pregnant – nor is he likely to have children given his sexual preferences – so his viewpoint on Roe vs Wade I find totally unwanted and misinformed.

    Then again, I find most of what he says distasteful and unwanted. His rant against the President after the 1st 2012 debate was the last time I listened to him or read his blog. I am pleased the blog is moving behind a pay wall – less people are then likely to quote him in other places.

  12. 12
    smintheus says:

    @gex: Shorter Sullivan, as per usual: Nobody but me matters.

  13. 13
    Yrogerg says:

    Sullivan also has cause and effect at least a little confused there; slacktivist has actually throughly documented that up until the 80’s, abortion was not actually treated a doctrinal litmus test among evangelicals, and that up through the 70’s the evangelical consensus was that abortion was a complex, issue and warrented in many cases.

    One could argue that the social-conservative push-back *against* Roe in turn enabled the evangelical right to crystalize doctrine around the issue, and that homogenizing their political doctrine allowed them to be come a much louder voice within politics, but that’s a much more complex and nuanced story that the one he’s telling.

  14. 14
    Mark S. says:

    @curiousleo:

    Worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court?

    Dred Scot, Plessy, Lochner, Buck v. Bell, Bush v. Gore, Citizens United, that case that said the government couldn’t ban child labor, etc.

    Sully’s a fucking idiot.

  15. 15
    schrodinger's cat says:

    If Andrew Sullivan was Andrea Sullivan, he would support the Roe decision. It is that simple, actually.

  16. 16
    Alex S. says:

    Oh god, why does Sullivan care? It’s probably because Roe vs Wade made evangelicals get into politics and fight gay rights… And so Abraham Lincoln forced the South to secede. And oh, if only Roosevelt had not enacted Social Security, we would not have the financial sector trying to lobby for deregulation.

  17. 17
    John says:

    The argument behind this, as best I can reconstruct it, is that if states had voted for abortion one-by-one, evangelicals would have stayed in their churches and calmly accepted what they consider to be slaughter of innocents.

    The funny thing is, evangelicals didn’t really care that much about abortion in the early days. It was Catholics who really created the pro-life movement, and evangelicals were wary of the whole thing and ambivalent about abortion. Ed Kilgore, I think, has posted some interesting material on this stuff, although I’m having trouble finding a link.

    I’m not really clear about what caused the shift, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to ahistorically read the current obsessions of the evangelical movement back in time as though they were inevitable.

  18. 18
    gex says:

    @smintheus: I find all conservatives believe in the kind of “democracy” that we saw under Saddam in Iraq or we see in North Korea right now. You can choose leaders/policies, so long as you choose the one I prefer.

  19. 19
    Anonymous says:

    On the gay marriage issue, once more, Sullivan speaks from a place of tremendous economic privilege. If you’re a poor gay or lesbian couple living in say, Mississippi, you can’t just pick up and move to somewhere that will allow you to get married. You also can’t just wait it out in a place like that. If it’s your right, then it’s your right everywhere at every time.

  20. 20
    f space that says:

    Ummm… No. Falwell and his ilk were originally segregationists. Abortion was just the next thing they could use for the Grift. It will always be something to rile up the rednecks to make that sweet sweet money.

  21. 21
    gex says:

    @John: The shift was that the IRS stopped allowing the south to continue segregation via whites only Christian academies that received tax exemptions and subsidies.

    Paul Weyrich is not shy about saying that Falwell and Robertson didn’t care about feminism or abortion. But when the IRS took away the tax exemptions for whites only religious academies, they got fired up. Didn’t really want to run around claiming they were fighting for segregation. So women and gays are the collateral damage to the issue that is THE culture war issue that has haunted this country since it’s inception.

  22. 22
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @gex: How are you holding up?

  23. 23
    JBerardi says:

    @Alex S.:

    Oh god, why does Sullivan care? It’s probably because Roe vs Wade made evangelicals get into politics and fight gay rights… And so Abraham Lincoln forced the South to secede. And oh, if only Roosevelt had not enacted Social Security, we would not have the financial sector trying to lobby for deregulation.

    Because if only we had pandered to the evangelicals with abortion, they’d have been totally cool with gay marriage…

    Seriously, the “it wasn’t bad, but it was bad because it made the biggest assholes in the country act like assholes” argument is laughably stupid. It’s amazing to me that anyone is willing to make it in public.

  24. 24
    El Caganer says:

    Sullivan should have joined the priesthood and left the rest of us alone.

  25. 25
    Nicole says:

    It’s now out of print, but “When Abortion Was a Crime” is a great look at the history of abortion in the nation during the time it was pretty much illegal nationwide (roughly 1873 to 1970, less than a hundred years). Medicine becoming bigger business had a huge role in it, as the anti-abortion movement was largely driven by doctors working to push midwives out of business, but I also wonder if the end of slavery had a place in it too- gain freedom in one area, and the conservative movement turns its attention to restricting rights in another area. It’s like an endless game of whack-a-mole.

  26. 26
    kc says:

    And insofar as it tempted evangelicals to come flooding into political life

    Yes, if only we let them have their way with our personal lives, they’d stay out of our political lives.

  27. 27
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Sullivan’s remarks indicate a complete ignorance of history in regards to the ascension of the so-called religious right. At the time of RvW, mainstream protestants generally and white evangelicals more specifically were pro-abortion or at least apathetic either way.

  28. 28
    gex says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Not sure how to answer that. Taking it minute by minute.

    Last night was the first night something really hit me hard. I had stopped home with a friend to get some things from the house. I wanted to put my iPad mini on the network so I scrolled through emails looking for the key.

    Then I got to the section of my inbox where I had messages that Kate sent. Hit me really, really hard. It’s going to be really hard.

  29. 29
    rea says:

    @Pooh: intuit a “penumbral” right to privacy

    You misunderstand how the Constitution works. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive list of your rights–you have all kinds of rights not explicitly listed (This is type of misunderstanding is exactly why Madison thought a Bill of Rights was a bad idea).

  30. 30
    Ash Can says:

    The “leave it up to the states” argument is a dishonest, bullshit argument that people make when they don’t want a law to be passed but don’t want to come right out and say so. In Sullivan’s case, he attacks the SC decision because he hates women and hates to see the apparatus of the state coming to their aid — but he’ll never admit that, of course, and will go to extraordinary lengths to cover his tracks.

  31. 31
    RaflW says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    So we “made” the right wing go nuts? Baloney. That’s a common statement from abusive people everywhere.

    Exactly. And this is basically the utter bullshit being said about Obama and the Dems these days. We cannot possibly talk about how insane the right wing has become, so it has to be the left’s fault.

    Because it always has been. Every time. Nothing is ever the responsibility of the conservatives. They are weaselly, blame-shifting scoundrels. This Roe crap is more of the same.

    Debate it on the merits of the legal reasoning, fine. But the “It created rancor” argument is utter crap. No surprise Sully chose it, then.

  32. 32
    David in NY says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    At the time of RvW, mainstream protestants generally and white evangelicals more specifically were pro-abortion or at least apathetic either way.

    Yes.

  33. 33
    Winston Smith says:

    @Mark S.:

    Dred Scot, Plessy, Lochner, Buck v. Bell, Bush v. Gore, Citizens United, that case that said the government couldn’t ban child labor, etc.

    This.

  34. 34
    mdblanche says:

    @Mark S.: I’m sure as as far as Mr. Bell Curve is concerned, Buck v. Bell isn’t even in the running.

  35. 35
    gocart mozart says:

    @Mark S.:
    You stole my point.

    I would add Schenck v. United States to the list also. Stateshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schenck_v._United_States

  36. 36
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Abortion did not cause the fundigelicals to get into politics.

    Jimmy Carter’s actions about their “private academies” to keep segregation alive de facto is what actually did it.

    Surprise, Sullivan is an idiot.

  37. 37
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    @Mark S.: “Ugh, there’s no way I’m going to watch a video of Sully and Douthat.”

    Well, maybe MAYBE if it’s a steel cage death match, where they try to pull live hand grenades out of each others asses.

    But probably not even then.

  38. 38
    RaflW says:

    @Yrogerg:

    that’s a much more complex and nuanced story that the one he’s telling

    Ding. Ding. Ding!

    I still kinda like Sully for some things. He does link to items I want to read and sorts through more conservatives that I’d ever want to read as primary sources, so he has a use as a link-finder for me.

    But his own writing is often far too reductivist.

  39. 39
  40. 40
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @gex:

    Yes, this. Said better than I did.

    Hang in their, gex.

  41. 41
    Ash Can says:

    @gex: It’s good to see you here. You and yours are in my thoughts and prayers.

  42. 42
    Pooh says:

    Seriously folks, I don’t think he’s saying it was a “horrible decision” in the “yes/no” sense, but from a legal process standpoint. That’s a fully defensible proposition. Think of how we think about the reasoning of Bush v. Gore, that’s how conservatives think about Roe. From their standpoint the result is wrong and was achieved through ridiculous legal gymnastics.

  43. 43
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    I think it ruined a lot of our politics

    What’s this “our” shit? Last I checked, he wasn’t a citizen.

  44. 44
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @gex: {{{{gex}}}}. Hang in there, and take care of yourself.

  45. 45
    kindness says:

    I read Sully but he refuses to see how full of shit he is on several issues. Abortion/birth control rights, Social Security/Medicare. Frankly when he puts A)his church or B)his Tory predispositions as the argument in a debate without anything else to hang his side on, he isn’t worth a shit and there is no use paying him any mind.

    But I still read him. I just pass over these posts because. well because you can only look at someone with their head stuck up their ass so many times before it is too dull to want to do again.

  46. 46
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Pooh:

    The thing is, the “legal process” point isn’t why the right is outraged over Roe v. Wade. Sullivan may think this, but the right is outraged because it’s another example of empowering a formerly oppressed group, just as the Civil Rights movement did it. The “legal process” standpoint may have validity on it’s own, but it’s a straw man to cover up the REAL problem with Roe v. Wade: granting agency to women, just as the Civil Rights laws of the sixties granted agency to African-Americans.

  47. 47
    Pooh says:

    @rea:

    The “right to privacy” is dicey legal territory, IMO. By comparison, several state constitutions have explicit rights to privacy (though really only two have any teeth, Alaska and Hawaii). To be clear, I think Roe was rightly decided but wrongly reasoned – it should have been an equal protection case. Basically, the court didn’t go far enough, which led to the unintelligbility of Blackmun’s holding

  48. 48
    gocart mozart says:

    @gocart mozart:
    Also, the case upholding the internment of Japanese Americans.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K.....ted_States

  49. 49
    bemused says:

    The Feb issue of Vanity Fair has a piece “The Accidental Activist” on “Jane Roe”, Norma McCorvey and other assorted involved people.

  50. 50
    Amir Khalid says:

    I’d agree that Andrew Sullivan’s a silly person: vain about his book-learning, but not as smart as he thinks; innumerate when discussing economic policy, or public policy in general; conservative only because of his Mummy fixation on Maggie Thatcher; and indifferent to human rights that don’t directly affect Andrew Sullivan.

    In a few weeks, he goes behind a paywall; we’ll see then how much atention he gets from outside it. (Less than he’s expecting, is my guess.)

  51. 51
    Pooh says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: That’s probably correct at this point, but the initial outrage was certainly driven in part by the, well, obvious activism of the decision. At this point that term has lost all meaning, but it had meaning at one point for a (this) reason.

  52. 52
    dmbeaster says:

    @rea: to underscore your point: right to travel, right to bear children and be a parent, right to decide your own medical care, etc. there is a long list of implied fundamental rights already adjudicated, and the law that such rights exist in the constitution even though not expressly stated is also well grounded. the whole right wong noise on this has always been dead wrong.

  53. 53
    Roger Moore says:

    @Ash Can:

    The “leave it up to the states” argument is a dishonest, bullshit argument that people make when they don’t want a law to be passed but don’t want to come right out and say so.

    This. Any time people make this kind of meta argument about process, it’s a sign that they don’t like the outcome but are afraid to say so. They went through exactly the same process with marriage equality. First it was wrong for a State Supreme Court to rule that the right to marriage was already protected because it was creating a new right out of judicial fiat, and it would only be really valid when it was created through the normal legislative process. Then when state legislatures started to pass marriage equality laws, they were ignoring their constituents and undermining the democratic process. I haven’t heard any argument for why the marriage equality initiatives are somehow invalid, but I’m sure it’s more because I’ve stopped listening than because nobody is making the argument.

  54. 54
    mistermix says:

    @Pooh: I was trying to find a more fully stated version of Sully’s argument but couldn’t this AM, so I went with that one. IIRC, and I could be remembering it wrong, his argument is that courts shouldn’t even be involved in decisions about divisive social topics like Roe. So even a Roe that was decided on equal protection grounds instead of right to privacy wouldn’t have been acceptable to him.

  55. 55
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Pooh:

    Given that Sullivan shows definite signs of being a racist and misogynist, his concern about the legal technical details of Roe v. Wade is nothing but cover for his true objection to it. Never mind that the “right to privacy” argument also underlies his own pet project, gay marriage, which of course affects him personally…it’s all about egotistical little Tory shit that is Andrew Sullivan, exiled wanna-be member of the House of Lords.

  56. 56
    Michael says:

    @Mark S.: Don’t forget Korematsu, which blessed Japanese internment. That was a pretty good one! The child labor case was, btw, Hammer v. Dagenhart.

    And I’m going to give Roe a defense here. Finding unenumerated rights in the Constitution is pretty uncontroversial outside of the most extreme elements of the legal right. A lof the rationale in, e.g., Heller, reduces to a very similar analysis — without explicitly saying it, Scalia finds a penumbral right to self-defense in the right to bear arms, even while acknowledging that the purpose of enacting the 2nd Amendment was *not* to codify a right to self-defense.

  57. 57
    JCT says:

    @RaflW: Not to mention the “Party of Responsibility” screaming “they made us do it” with their fingers in their ears.

    It completely absolves them of any responsibility for their actions, spaning an entire party of toddlers for us to babysit.

  58. 58
    David Hunt says:

    @Pooh:

    Seriously folks, I don’t think he’s saying it was a “horrible decision” in the “yes/no” sense, but from a legal process standpoint.

    That’s not what I got out of the excerpt. I’m can’t watch video at work, but the clear point of the quoted portion is that the Right Wing was mobilized by the RvW decision and that if they would have stayed quiet and left his gay self alone if those womens had just put up with forced childbirth.

    Okay, I unspun his statement a bit, but the “reasoning” behind this sort of statement chaps my hide. It’s basically saying, “If you’d only give the Right Wing everything they ask for and put them in charge of everything in the world, then we’d all live in peace and harmony without strife or poverty.” The Backlash, argument is B.S. of the highest order. The conservatives (social or other) are always looking to make further gains. Any setback will result in them continuing to fight and will be used in their talking points, but that’s true regardless of how obviously wrong they are. Any progress toward more equal rights for a disadvantaged class of people is going to “result” in them going ape, but they’re going to go ape no matter what. Foregoing victories like RvW doesn’t quiet them down. It simply changes what they’re going ape over.

  59. 59
    Calouste says:

    @gex: That’s the kind of democracy the US has been exporting to say Iran in 1953 and Chile in 1973 and dozens of other cases.

  60. 60
    Michael says:

    @Pooh: This isn’t really defensible unless you think there are NO unenumerated rights in the Constitution. And that baseline assumption is also indefensible. The whole “Roe was a bunch of legal gynmastics” thing has always bugged me.

  61. 61
    geg6 says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    You got that right. Fucker has no problem going against his church on gay rights. He’d surely be just as flexible in his faith if he had a uterus.

  62. 62
    Michael says:

    @dmbeaster:

    to underscore your point: right to travel, right to bear children and be a parent, right to decide your own medical care, etc. there is a long list of implied fundamental rights already adjudicated, and the law that such rights exist in the constitution even though not expressly stated is also well grounded. the whole right wong noise on this has always been dead wrong.

    Thank you. The whole “Roe was poorly decided, even if I like the outcome” is a bunch of garbage

  63. 63
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @gex:

    Most definitely the case in Iraq, where “democracy” basically means “a climate that allows US corporations to do whatever the fuck they want” and if the locals don’t like that, tough shit.

  64. 64
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Roger Moore: I think it works like this: initiatives are invalid too because the issue is a matter of conscience and faith, which won’t be silenced by a bullying momentary majority.

  65. 65
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    There is, I think, a serious argument about the ramifications of Roe as a privacy ruling, because it’s allowed the forced-birth brigade to chip away at the margins, whereas countries that passed specific laws to permit abortion (and have proper healthcare systems) have generally not seen those laws challenged.

    @Michael:

    The whole “Roe was poorly decided, even if I like the outcome” is a bunch of garbage

    There’s a difference between saying “Roe was poorly decided” and saying “Roe was decided in a way that made it possible for states to come up with the kind of technical shit that makes abortion difficult or even impossible in practice.”

  66. 66
    schrodinger's cat says:

    BTW what exactly are Douthat and Sullivan arguing about? Don’t they both agree on the issue of abortion? Can someone who can stomach actually watching the video, please report?

  67. 67
    FlipYrWhig says:

    BTW, doesn’t Andrew Sullivan support tighter gun control? Doesn’t that stand to agitate and mobilize previously apolitical people too?

  68. 68
    Roger Moore says:

    @mistermix:

    IIRC, and I could be remembering it wrong, his argument is that courts shouldn’t even be involved in decisions about divisive social topics like Roe.

    Which is insane. It’s precisely when rights are surrounded by divisive social issues that court protection is most important. If we only stand up for people’s rights when they’re uncontroversial, we might as well not bother to spell them out in the first place.

    Also, too, I somehow doubt that Sullivan would be so eager to stand on the same principle when discussing Lawrence v. Texas.

  69. 69
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Isn’t he Irish? I don’t get his Tory love, at all. How do you get to be a member of the House of Lords? Do you have to be born as one?

  70. 70
    liberal says:

    @Pooh:

    That’s probably correct at this point, but the initial outrage was certainly driven in part by the, well, obvious activism of the decision.

    Was Griswold activist? What about Brown?

  71. 71
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    Can he just go home to his NHS? Oh, wait – I forgot. He’s near the bottom rung of the British class ladder! Can’t have that, so he’ll stay here where people are inexplicably impressed by his accent. Fucker.

    Not that the Roe decision isn’t a bit of a legal mess, but he can STFU about its effect on US society, thankyouverymuch.

  72. 72
    artem1s says:

    One thing that struck me about the NPR piece on Roe this morning, was the numbers. After 40 years of funding, violent action and hyperbolic rhetoric, the anti-choice movement has not swayed public opinion on Roe one iota. In fact, they have lost ground with people who generally believe Roe should remain the law of the land and is reasonable policy.

    So of course the story, 40 years later, is how we are still split on the ruling. Or, the usual, both sides do it, BS.

  73. 73
    ET says:

    Oh yeah Roe v. Wade was ever so much worse that Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson. Yeah. I’m not a Sully hater but this is just silly and lazy.

  74. 74
    gene108 says:

    Proponents of gay marriage seem to be worried that their cause will be hurt by the Roe effect, specifically, if Prop 8 is struck down and the court rules all gay marriage bans unconstitutional, the resentment over the Court’s imposition will mean that gay marriage will face 40 years of roiling controversy rather than quiet acquiesence.

    I think Loving v Virginia would be more appropriate to compare, in terms of landmark Supreme Court cases of that era.

    The backlash against Loving has been relatively muted and the outcome has been embraced by conservative Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, whose wife Virginia is white.

    Also, too bi-racial President Barack Hussein Obama II just sworn into second term in office, winning a majority of the popular vote twice.

  75. 75
    Persia says:

    All I hear when I see people complain about Roe v. Wade is “we don’t really give a shit if poor women died.”

  76. 76
    liberal says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:
    But the situation in those countries is very, very different.

    In one of the first couple of issues of The American Prospect, there was an article looking at a related point commonly made, that in some European countries abortion is more restricted than here. THe author pointed out that yes, that’s true, but it’s in most senses far, far easier for a woman to get an abortion in the period where it’s legal.

    Not to mention that those countries very different histories on the relationship between church and state, and very different histories of religious belief itself.

  77. 77
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Persia:

    All I hear when I see people complain about Roe v. Wade is “we don’t really give a shit if poor women died.”

    When Andrew Sullivan needs an abortion he’ll give some consideration to the pro-choice argument. That’s just how he rolls.

  78. 78
    Maude says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    The blog might go down. Free is one thing, but to pay? Doubt it.

  79. 79
    Roger Moore says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    How do you get to be a member of the House of Lords? Do you have to be born as one?

    No. Most of the members of the House of Lords are life peers, i.e. people who have been granted non-hereditary nobility. Since the reforms under the Blair government, only a fraction of the hereditary peers have actually had seats in the House of Lords.

  80. 80
    eemom says:

    Glad to be celebrating the anniversary of an American feminist milestone via the opinion of a misogynist British asshole as conveyed by a guy who makes jokes about epidural deadened vaginas.

  81. 81
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: Thanks for making the point I was headed toward. Saved me the typing, and of course, I agree with all you said.

    @eemom: Well, there’s that. Irony was rushed to ICU when Facebook walked away from talks with Google for a search function because of “privacy concerns.” I suspect this will make recovery quite unlikely.

  82. 82
    Violet says:

    @Persia: As abortion is restricted more and more and the hoops made more challenging to jump through, middle class and even upper middle class women may find abortion harder to access. When that happens there will be push back. It is already happening in TX with the mandatory ultrasounds and shutting down Planned Parenthood’s ability to perform abortion.

  83. 83
    Chris says:

    @ericblair:

    Think.

    As Paul Weyrich puts it, the Prods didn’t give a shit about his “religious right” idea until Carter yanked out the tax exempt status of all white “Christian” institutions in the South. Manufactured outrage, indeed.

  84. 84
    Amir Khalid says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    There are genuine, blue-blood aristos who get to sit in the House of Lords, and then there are eminent commoners appointed to the House of Lords as “life peers”. (Life peerages lapse when the holder dies, and are not passed on to an heir.)

    It used to be that all aristo-type Lords got a seat in the HoL. But that ended in 1999 under reforms instituted by Tony Blair’s Labour government. This clown tried to pass himself off as a sitting member of the House of Lords as late as 2011.

  85. 85
    grandpa john says:

    Well for people who still insist that this irrelevant cretin has anything of worth to be followed and read, this latest ignorant piece of worthless shit will perhaps persuade a few of them different.

  86. 86
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Glad to be celebrating the anniversary of an American feminist milestone via the opinion of a misogynist British asshole as conveyed by a guy who makes jokes about epidural deadened vaginas.

    @eemom: You gotta admit it doesn’t get any more American than that.

  87. 87
    Michael says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: Sure, but that’s a realpolitik thing, not a baseless Constitutional “lesson” about unenumerated/implied fundamental rights…

  88. 88
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    As long as you perform some service of note to the Crown, you can be ennobled, provide you’re a British citizen, and being ethnically Irish isn’t an automatic disqualifier. Of course, nowadays inheriting a title doesn’t automatically get you into Lords, and since sometime in the 70’s only “life-lords” have been created…that is, the title dies with the individual, it’s not passed down to heirs.

  89. 89
    El Cid says:

    Yes, it was Roe which forced right wing forces to fund, motivate, and organize a massive reactionary religious movement rooted in Southern segregationist fundamentalist leaders like Jerry Falwell.

    If it hadn’t been for Roe v Wade, those nice people wouldn’t have stirred up all the trouble they did.

  90. 90
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    Historically, evangelicals didn’t give a flying fuck about abortion after Roe. They seized on it afterward because it was a good rallying point when they lost their special tax standing on their schools.

    Blaming Roe for the behavior of shitheads who didn’t care about Roe is especially egregious.

  91. 91
    Cacti says:

    And insofar as it tempted evangelicals to come flooding into political life, I think it’s the worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court.

    Heh, indeed.

    Far worse than that Dred Scott thingy that decided an entire group of people had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect” and set us on an irrevocable path to civil war.

    Or that other one where counting legally cast ballots in Florida caused an irreparable injury to George W. Bush’s constitutional rights…oh but this decision should never be used for precedent ever.

    Serious conservatives have such an amazing sense of history and perspective.

  92. 92
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @Cacti: It didn’t affect Sully, so he doesn’t care.

  93. 93
    Full Metal Wingnut says:

    @Pooh: I think I remember reading a piece either by Amar or Chemerinsky (constitutional law scholars for those wondering) saying that equal protection jurisprudence had not developed enough by 1973 to decide it on those grounds. Or something. I remember being convinced by his argument that Roe realistically could not have been decided on EP grounds

    It’s all chicanery anyway. Conservatives love Lochner.

    I know even RBG is critical of Roe. But sometimes ending suffering and injustice NOW is better than putting it off to wait for some “principled” solution. There’s a thin line between being a technical legal nerd and crypto-misogynist.

  94. 94
    grandpa john says:

    @JBerardi:

    laughably stupid.

    An apt description of most of Sullivans blather. I will never understand why many people think of him as God’s gift to blogging. I find him him an incredibly ignorant, bigoted, fool myself

  95. 95
    gex says:

    @Persia: If you recall around the time Tiller was murdered, Sully posted letters and letters from women who would have died without a third trimester abortion and from men who lost their wives for lack of one.

    Still, he could not countenance third trimester abortions because of his religious beliefs.

    IOW – even rich women can die for his religious beliefs.

  96. 96
    Barry says:

    @Pooh: “Seriously folks, I don’t think he’s saying it was a “horrible decision” in the “yes/no” sense, but from a legal process standpoint. That’s a fully defensible proposition. Think of how we think about the reasoning of Bush v. Gore, that’s how conservatives think about Roe. From their standpoint the result is wrong and was achieved through ridiculous legal gymnastics.”

    Please don’t pull ‘both sides do it’ on us.

  97. 97
    grandpa john says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: You could have stopped after the first 6 words and still be correct

  98. 98
    KG says:

    @rea: @dmbeaster: from a jurisprudence standpoint, a lot of those cases were decided in incredibly dumb ways. The Court was historically scared to use the Equal Protection Clause(s) to enumerate rights, so they would rely on the Due Process Clause which in a lot of ways is stupid. That meant they had to create two types of Due Process, substantive and procedural. Then, none of them would dare touch the Ninth Amendment when it came to unenumerated rights, because heaven fucking forbid that the courts in America do what Courts in England have been doing for a few hundred years in defining common law rights (which is just another name for fundamental rights in our system). That’s why you get the terribly twisted reasoning in Roe and a few hundred other cases. It’s why I expect that the Prop 8 Cases are going to be a clusterfuck of a decision, regardless of how it comes out – because the Court is stuck with about 100 years of twisted logic precedent, and no Justice has the testicular/ovarian fortitude to cut a better path through the bullshit.

  99. 99
    Full Metal Wingnut says:

    @Mark S.: slaughter house cases have to be up there. That egregious misreading of the 14th amendment allowed some silly shit, not the least of which was the incorporation crap. And Justice Miller misquoted Article IV, the hack.

  100. 100
    Persia says:

    @gex: How could I have forgotten that?

    And I’ve been thinking of you, and will continue to.

  101. 101
    El Cid says:

    Right, we conservative followers of limited Constitutional government are pretty sure that the Founders somewhere in that noble document delegated themselves the authority to tell women whether or not they had to gestate a fertilized egg.

    I mean, we don’t actually find words to that effect, but they’ve got to be there more clearly than any “privacy” nonsense.

    You see, if George Washington and Thomas Jefferson had wanted to deny the fedrul gubmit the power to enforce egg-bearing among the womenfolk, they would have explicitly granted the birthin’ gender the right to decide that for themselves.

  102. 102
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @KG:

    heaven fucking forbid that the courts in America do what Courts in England have been doing for a few hundred years in defining common law rights

    The English legal system dumped a lot of medieval kruft in the 19th century; English judges are happy to cite rulings from Canada, Australia, South Africa, etc. as cues for their own thinking. There are messy bits, but in terms of the appeals and judicial review, it comes across as a lot nimbler than the US, which inherited all the convoluted Bleak House shit and decided that it looked good.

  103. 103
    Full Metal Wingnut says:

    @Pooh: But Roe was a piece of mental gymnastics that caused a good result-reduced suffering and further strengthening unenumerated rights. Bush v Gore was pure, indefensible chicanery, a judicial coup.

  104. 104
    Brachiator says:

    @artem1s:

    @Violet:

    In fact, they have lost ground with people who generally believe Roe should remain the law of the land and is reasonable policy.

    Although surveys show that the majority support Roe, there are, what, four states where there is only one provider of abortion.

    And in Misssissippi and other states, it is not just a matter of making things harder for poor women. The abortion restrictions are clearly designed to make it harder on everyone. And even though there was considerable pushback in Virginia and elsewhere, red states are countering this with more attempts to restrict abortion.

    Roe may be settled law, but red states are doing everything they can to go around it by making it impossible for women to exercise their rights, or for clinics or hospitals to provide abortion services.

    This is the new battle ground.

    ETA: Sullivan is an ass.

  105. 105

    At a quick glance, this seems perfectly consistent with Sullivan’s political morality. He’s a Thatcherite who believes in tough love – you know, abuse. He loves strong Republican daddy figures who hate gays but they’re good people and they’ll turn it around any minute now, you’ll see. He wants to help the poor, but don’t you see that the more you hurt the poor, the more you’re helping them? Now he’s blaming the victim, an important part of the mindset.

  106. 106
    Watusie says:

    Cardinal Dolan is marking the anniversary with a big prayer service in NYC. I can’t be there, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that he will claim it is tragic that the Supreme Court as tied the hands of the right with this decision, while failing to utter a single syllable about IVF. However, anyone who genuinely believes that abortion is wrong because a new citizen is created at the moment of conception must also believe that the fertility industry commits murder and torture for profit. And despite there being nothing like Roe standing in their way, loud and proud “pro-life” politicians do nothing to shut the clinics down. And of course in this last presidential cycle they all lined up behind Mitt Romney, a man who has an unkown number of grandchildren in a freezer somewhere.

    I find this curious.

    OK, not really, I find this to be an example of rank hypocrisy. Overturning Roe would be a disaster for the right, because it would remove their ability to grandstand (and fundraise) on this issue.

  107. 107
    patroclus says:

    The best book I’ve read on this issue was “Crazy for God” by Frank Schaeffer – which is about his father, a sort-of Presbyterian who ran L’Abri in Switzerland, which was a counter-cultural religious retreat in Switzerland. After Roe, he took an extreme right-wing turn and wrote several books and made the film “How Shall we Then Live” which was virulently anti-abortion and got shown in non-Presbyterian evangelical churches throughout the 70’s. This, like the KKK film “Birth of a Nation”, created the movement, with which we still live today.

  108. 108
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @El Cid:

    Since the baby Jeebus wrote the Constitution Himself, and then delivered it to the Constitutional Convention on the slopes of Mt. Sinai on stone tablets, that can be viewed in the National Archives and Holy Worship Words center, we can be fairly certain that something about telling the damn sluts that they must bring every fertilized egg to term or be subject to unspeakable horrors by Lucifer’s little helpers is in there. You don’t need to check…you can trust me on this.

    I think I hit all the bases there, but correct me if I’m mistaken.

  109. 109
    Barry says:

    @David Hunt: “That’s not what I got out of the excerpt. I’m can’t watch video at work, but the clear point of the quoted portion is that the Right Wing was mobilized by the RvW decision and that if they would have stayed quiet and left his gay self alone if those womens had just put up with forced childbirth.”

    And he ignores the fact that the Right was already galvanized, mainly by the Civil Rights Movement.

  110. 110
    Barry says:

    @gene108: “I think Loving v Virginia would be more appropriate to compare, in terms of landmark Supreme Court cases of that era.”

    Except that that was pretty much part and parcel of the Civil Rights Movement.

  111. 111
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Barry:

    Except that that was pretty much part and parcel of the Civil Rights Movement.

    Which really is the key to understanding white male butthurt from the post WWII era to the present. Roe v. Wade can be seen as an extension of Civil Rights, except that it involves women, not African Americans. The bottom line is it was part of the disruption of the old order that motivated William F. Buckley in the first place…remember that the National Review fully endorsed segregation and Jim Crow from its outset.

  112. 112
    Ruckus says:

    Like all of sullys arguments, this one is disingenuous at best. It simply is him trying to find some kind of justification for his screwed up views. As always he rationalizes poorly because his views are impossible to argue for any other way.

    If this was the Cambridge debating society he would be laughed off the stage. We should do the same.

  113. 113
    Ruckus says:

    @gex:
    It’s always about money and the power that brings.

    Always.

  114. 114
    liberal says:

    @Watusie:

    However, anyone who genuinely believes that abortion is wrong because a new citizen is created at the moment of conception must also believe that the fertility industry commits murder and torture for profit.

    Agreed.

  115. 115
    Ruckus says:

    @gex:
    I hope that I am not intruding here to say that from my personal experience that it does get a little easier to deal with. You don’t forget but the pain will lessen overtime.

  116. 116
    John says:

    @Pooh:

    Once you accept Griswold, which most of these people supposedly do, I don’t see how Roe is a particularly indefensible decision. Clumsy, maybe, but not illogical.

  117. 117
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @redshirt: Agreed.

    It was a great decision given the number of women dying in back alley illegal abortions.

  118. 118
    Craigo says:

    @Pooh: That’s Griswold, not Roe. Griswold relied on the penumbras, while Roe used the due process clause of the 14th amendment.

  119. 119
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @RaflW: Sullivan featured a picture book about dogs under water. Really cute. I bought it immediately and love it, so he’s good for that.

  120. 120
    Roger Moore says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    since sometime in the 70′s only “life-lords” have been created…

    Except for members of the Royal family.

  121. 121
    Percysowner says:

    Proponents of gay marriage seem to be worried that their cause will be hurt by the Roe effect, specifically, if Prop 8 is struck down and the court rules all gay marriage bans unconstitutional, the resentment over the Court’s imposition will mean that gay marriage will face 40 years of roiling controversy rather than quiet acquiesence.

    The big difference is that marriage doesn’t have various steps that can be regulated so it can be delayed so long that the marriage itself becomes impossible. There will be age of consent issues, but there are with heterosexual marriages most states already say age of consent for marriage is 18 without parental consent. The same with waiting periods. Many states have a waiting period to test for STDs. It is unlikely that there will be a legal way to make getting gay marriage harder. They can’t say gays can only be married in certain regulated churches that have an surgical center attached. They can’t whittle away at the right to marriage the way they have whittled away at access to abortion. Yes, a certain group will get more vocal, and maybe lobby for an constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, but public opinion is turning against that, so I think it is unlikely to happen.

  122. 122
    Roger Moore says:

    @gene108:

    The backlash against Loving has been relatively muted and the outcome has been embraced by conservative Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, whose wife Virginia is white.

    I think there’s an important practical difference between Roe and Loving, which is that an abortion is an event while a marriage is an ongoing relationship. That means you can ban future abortions without legal consequences for people who had them in the past, but you can’t ban interracial marriage without some kind of obvious injustice, either dissolving existing marriages or grandfathering them while banning new ones. Once you reach a critical mass of interracial marriages, the genie will be out of the bottle and won’t go back in.

  123. 123
    El Cid says:

    @liberal: Whereas a corporation exists as a person only so long as is necessary to assert and defend property and rights.

    The moment, however, that anyone argues that therefore it is right and proper that this person owes personal income taxes, that corporation is no longer a person and this is silly and why corporations are just other people and shut up.

  124. 124
    eemom says:

    Here’s a piece that some might consider just a tad more worthy of highlighting today than sullivan shit.

  125. 125
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Pooh: I used to think that but it seems like if you read the Bill of Rights they did intend to give people a degree of privacy and protection from government overreach and intrusion (honored in the breach!). Medicine didn’t really start to get seriously regulated until the late 19th and early 20th century (and hardly so in the late 19th in the US, Europe is another story), and even when certain medical procedures were banned, the discretion given to doctors was quite broad enough to shield patients until the culture wars really got cranking in the mid-20th century. A US doctor could still perform abortions in the ’10’s and ’20’s at their discretion without much fear of prosecution or persecution.

    The extreme state intervention in what was a private medical decision is really the novelty here.

    State intervention in medicine is a necessity, especially now that medicine is on scientific footing and no longer a craft. But the state should always have to justify its intrusion into the private lives of citizens.

    There is no compelling state interest here that would override the citizen’s natural right to privacy.

    If you pull back to curtain on miscarriage and pregnancy this should be even more clear. Abortion is often debated as if a pregnancy is like a treasury bill, quietly earning interest until it comes due. When in fact it’s a big bloody mess and no person should have to have their personal life and their medical problems strewn all over the public sphere and the courts like that (unless they must appeal to the courts for protection from other individuals, and they should still have their identity shielded to the extent possible).

  126. 126
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @curiousleo: Noted Constitutional Lawyer and Totally-Non-Foreign American Patriot Andrew Sullivan.

  127. 127
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Mark S.: Men think a pregnancy is everyone’s beeswax. Women know better.

  128. 128
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Roger Moore: Lawrence v. Texas went further on privacy than Roe v. Wade.

    The majority decision SOUNDS like an articulation of the ‘victimless crime’ doctrine and a defense of illicit drug use (among other things) in the privacy of one’s home.

    The justices don’t even bother to write an apologia about why it shouldn’t be interpreted this way.

    Hahahahahaah!!

  129. 129
    Xenos says:

    This is yet another example where Sullivan reveals he does not have that deep an understanding of American culture.

    He apparantly does not know that, in 1973, most Southern Baptists, and evengelicals generally, were not opposed to abortion rights. They were brought over to that position in the years after RvW, as part of a deliberate policy by religious authorities to expand their influence by making, for the first time, a major issue out of abortion as a risk to ‘family values’.

    Like so many millions of sheep, the evengelical laity decided that they had always been at war with abortion, and the rest is history. RvW was not an affront to evengelicals until they decided to change their doctrines – it was a temptation.

  130. 130
    asiangrrlMN says:

    Yeah, so fuck Sully with several rusty pitchforks™. As Fred Clark (Slacktivist) has explained, evangelicals were pro-choice before they were anti-choice.

    Sully, as usual, twists the facts to fit his preconceived notions and then declares what he thinks as the truth.

    I’m with mistermix. Let the SCOTUS (please, please, please) declare DOMA unconstitutional and let’s have federal laws in place first protecting the rights of queers who want to marry – then deal with the bullshit that will follow the decision.

    Then again, I’m not a strict Constitutionalist, so what do I know?

  131. 131
    Wolfdaughter says:

    @gex:

    You probably won’t see this since I’m late to this thread, but my deepest sympathies to you. Take extra care of yourself for the next weeks and months–you are very vulnerable right now to colds etc.

    And in time, may the happy memories with Kate come to be a solace to you. And rely on all the love you will receive from others close to you.

  132. 132
    liberal says:

    @El Cid:
    Huh. In my vitriol towards the whole corporate personhood thing (evidenced in an OT post I made over at lawyers guns and money), I thought about things that we meatspace persons are subject to (like the death penalty) and somehow missed this obvious one (income tax). Thanks.

  133. 133
    MosesZD says:

    I think it’s the worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court.

    Really? He thinks that? I should think he needs to read-up on bad Supreme Court decisions, like the force sterilization of people by the State…

    And, of course, there’s a lot of well known bad Supreme Court decisions such as: Dred Scott, Plessy vs. Ferguson, Citizens United, Declaring George Bush President, and a bunch more on that laundry list…

  134. 134
    Doug Woodard says:

    @ Mark S. – Hammer v Dagenhart. Of the list, Dred Scot has to be the worst.

  135. 135
    Darkrose says:

    @patroclus: I’m halfway through that, and I’m honestly boggled at the change in Schaeffer Sr.

  136. 136
    El Cid says:

    @liberal: Corporations are just people. Hell is other people. Therefore…

  137. 137

    […] to let the states come around to making abortion legal, one by one. I say that’s hooey, for reasons well articulated by Mistermix. But I want to articulate some of my own reasons, […]

  138. 138
    shep says:

    Sullivan doesn’t even know his history (besides being an idiot). There was no big Evangelical backlash to Roe. It was a contrived and inculcated backlash orchestrated by Paul Weyrich in reaction to threats to the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University and took place years after Roe:

    In the course of the sessions, Weyrich tried to make a point to his Religious Right brethren (no women attended the conference, as I recall). Let’s remember, he said animatedly, that the Religious Right did not come together in response to the Roe decision. No, Weyrich insisted, what got us going as a political movement was the attempt on the part of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to rescind the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University because of its racially discriminatory policies.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/s.....d-schools/

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