Abortion Rights 2021 thread

Our entire system of government was set up under the assumption that the people elected to it will be upstanding and generally honorable people. Frankly it’s amazing we made it this long.

Exactly, though the specific issue, in this case abortion, isn’t in the broad sense of things the crux. The crux is that the right essentially is arguing for a a pre-Civil War “states rights” situation where even slavery would be ok if the states voted for it.

Yes. Because the thing the right fears is the national majority actually creating a constitutional framework that reflects the broad desires of the country, which happen to run counter to the increasingly minority reactionary web of belief. It is essentially an existential struggle for the idea of what a nation should be.

It’s hard to not just feel caught up in the helplessness of it all. Right-wing, capitalist fascism is winning, worldwide. They’re using the structural advantages they have to rule as a minority. But they’re not even that much of a minority anymore. We’ve assumed the demographics would shift, but that’s not happening. Structurally and culturally, this is going to be what our planet looks like until it’s cooked.

Facing that, I wouldn’t be surprised if otherwise well-meaning liberals and leftists look at how the wind is blowing, glance at their families and friends, do some mental math, and decide that maybe it’s an easier path to keep their heads down, not rock the boat anymore, and just try to exist how they can.

Not everyone has that option. Tell that to racial minorities and transfolk.

Oh, I’m fully aware. But I think a non-zero number of folks on the left are going to… Retreat into their privilege, for lack of a better phrase. It’s not right, but as the structural inequities accumulate, I think it’s going to be harder and harder to convince people - especially those with families - that they need to keep endangering themselves to fight the fash for eternity.

This is the normal reaction to repressive regimes we see throughout history. Of course there will be some brave resisters, but an awful lot of people will choose to quietly get along with their lives, hoping to avoid attention and be mostly left alone. To a great extent, if there are actually any decent people on the right, they’re already doing this.

Another thing I recall from yesterday was one of the Justices offering comments to the effect that Casey and Roe were compromises between two opposing views, but it might actually be the case that there simply was no compromise to be had, that the two views were incompatible. I can’t recall who it was — it’s hard sometimes in oral arguments audio to keep track of who is speaking — but the argument, to me, was very chilling. The truth is that, if you think of Casey and Roe as compromises, they’ve been pretty successful compromises by the only reasonable standard, which is that a majority of the people approve of them and largely believe they should remain in place.

Democratic governance is, essentially, finding compromise between opposing views in a peaceful manner, in the most fair manner we’ve been able to come up with in human history. Once you take the view that a fundamental controversy over a human right involves no possibility of compromise, then authoritarianism is really the only way to decide it. Opponents of Roe and Casey will say that’s what those decisions are, impositions of authority, but that’s not true; they are obvious compromises, balancing the rights of the woman and the putative rights of the unborn child by placing the transition at the point where the unborn child becomes a viable human being in the absence of the host mother.

Thus the view of Casey and Roe is this: both the woman and the unborn child have (or may have) rights, and it is impossible to completely defend both sets of rights because they are in conflict; so we will compromise and choose a point when the rights of the latter outweigh the rights of the former, and that point is when the latter becomes a viable human being without the biological need for the former.

Whereas the views of the opponents seems to be this: whatever rights a woman may have, the rights of an unborn child always outweigh them. This is just a long-winded way of saying that the woman has no rights.

I agree with your analysis above; it’s cogent and IMO on-point. The similarities with the issue of slavery are profound, not in the content of the issue perhaps but in the way our system works (or fails to work) when trying to find a middle ground between irreconcilable differences. In the case of slavery, Black Americans paid the price for white America’s series of compromises that kept the Republic skipping along until it skipped right over the edge of the Civil War cliff.

Your last sentence really captures the essence of what the abortion debate is about though. It is clear from the utter lack of concern that many anti-abortion rights people have for actual (unwanted) children that the fate of children is immaterial to them and that their arguments by and large are not about any presumed sanctity of life or respect for humanity. What is essential is undermining decades of equalizing the economic playing field between men and women (using the binary here for clarity), and reinforcing, or re-establishing, a form of patriarchy. It works because fears of job loss and economic insecurity resonate with many people, and are fertile soil for attacks on women in the workforce. That, and the “barefoot, pregnant, in the kitchen” concept is sellable to working class women as a package of traditional values, security of place, and certainty of role even as it oppresses. That killed ERA in the past, and it is one of the ways in which women are brought in to the campaign to make them second class citizens.

Maybe? It isn’t as if those countries you mention didn’t / don’t have longstanding, festering problems that result from basic ideological differences. For Britain, Ireland comes to mind. For Russia, effective serfdom comes to mind.

And on the other hand, the political compromise of Roe has effectively survived and kept the peace in the US for 50 years.

I think probably all societies are made up of people with ideological differences, and every political system struggles to deal with those differences in an effective and humane way. I mean, you can have a system which solves its ideological differences through the expedient of exterminating one side in the dispute, but I don’t think that’s a better system than the US has.

You have three choices, run, hide, fight.

For me, hiding will likely not be an option, running probably is my best option, since my time in the military taught me I wouldn’t be that good of a fighter.

That said, a lot of folks on the left will be surprised when they can’t retreat into their privilege. The Republicans are going to attempt a cultural revolution type scenario if they get enough power. I wouldn’t even put the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge past them. “Intellectuals” are going to be actively hunted, after they go after the obvious fruit.

The thing is though Roe didn’t keep the peace because it wasn’t legislated, it was mandated. Conservatives literally never forgave Liberals for this, and have worked for half a century to undo this.

But it would never be legislated had they had an option - because they wouldn’t allow it. Without Roe there would basically be no abortion in America. So the issue “festers” because they don’t and have never accepted the political compromise. It’s what happens with slavery, civil rights, women’s rights, ect. There’s enough of us to stop you from enacting progressive legislation. So the only way you can fix things over us is to make us, because we can dig in tick like and prevent you from doing anything.

That’s the fiction at the heart of the American political process.

It actually kept the peace. It was (still is) the law of the land, and through it women’s rights were largely protected throughout the land. It’s true it didn’t end the ideological disagreement, but nothing humane will do that. It’s true that one side in the ideological disagreement continued to disagree, but that’s true of any ‘settled’ ideological disagreement. It’s true that extremists on that side tried to overturn it through legal and illegal means, but that would be true in any ‘settled’ ideological disagreement. If Roe had been legislated, it would simply have been repealed by the first Republican government in power. Instead of spending their energy on Justices who would overturn the ruling, they’d spend their energy on repealing the law.

Honestly, I think this is absurd.

I haven’t finished my coffee this morning but what i’m trying to say is that the political system doesn’t resolve these issues in a way a democracy should. It’s the equivalent of getting rid of slavery without a Civil War, and then southern legislatures spend 50 years trying to bring slavery back… and then one year they get lucky, and suddenly the whole of the US is a slavery supporting nation again circa 1920. That doesn’t look like from the outside like a political system that’s resolving political issues. It looks like a winner-take-all system where the losers nurse their wounds and their ideological differences, and sharpen those differences over generations and turn them into do-or-die political distinctions instead of resolvable disagreements.

Nobody in Britain or Russia thought about restoring slavery or serfdom once those institutions were abolished. Those issues were “resolved”, either democratically or not. In the US, issues fester rather than be fixed. I would argue this is directly related to the structural composition of the US political system rather than be due to the nature of ideological disgreements.

I understand the critique, but I don’t honestly see any system where that isn’t so; where fundamental ideological differences are peacefully resolved through normalized political processes and there is never any dead-ender resistance to the settlement and the society is never bothered by the dispute again.

The US e.g. solved the problem of racist voting laws with the Voting Rights Act. This was a piece of legislation, a bill passed by a massive bipartisan majority in the Senate and in the House. Strangely, this did not make the ideological differences disappear, and instead the dead-enders worked for decades to fill the Court with people on their side, people who would effectively gut the protections; and at the same time to elect their ideological brethren to state office to take advantage of the void created by the gutting of the legislation.

So it can’t be the case that the problem is that we don’t legislate compromise.

Essentially what i’m saying is that the US system functions without needing a consensus. I think (?) what you’re hearing from me is that we need to legislate compromise solutions, and what i’m saying is that fundamentally compromise solutions just don’t work in the US.

I don’t believe this for one minute. The Soviet regime certainly treated Russians in the hinterlands as, effectively, serfs. The British Raj regime treated an entire subcontinent as serfs.

For your definition of ‘works’, they don’t work anywhere.