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Supreme Hysteria
July 13, 2005
by Carey Roberts

The niggling nannies of N.O.W. fell into a swoon last week, courtesy of Sandra Day O'Connor's July 1 announcement to give up her seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Over the last 20 years O'Connor has provided the crucial swing vote that kept the abortion issue in play.

When Justice Harry Blackmun sat down to write the majority opinion in the fateful Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, he was confident that six other Supreme Court justices would join him. Still, he knew that proving that the right to abortion lurked somewhere in the U.S. Constitution would be a formidable test of his legal acumen.

First he had to hold that the Bill of Rights enunciates a right to privacy. But the Bill of Rights never mentions privacy rights.

So Blackmun posited that the right to privacy could be extracted from the "penumbras and emanations" of the Bill of Rights. Most people have only the vaguest notion of what "penumbras and emanations" mean, so that was good.

In the end Blackmun came up with this justification: "in varying contexts the Court or individual justices have, indeed, found at least the roots of that right."

"Individual justices"? "At least the roots"? Not even a second-year law student could get away with that far-fetched reasoning -- but that's what Justice Blackmun wrote.

And exactly how do privacy rights, whether they exist or not, translate into the right to abort?

Here Blackmun's thinking became even more obtuse, his logic more tortured. Blackmun finally concluded that a woman who is deprived of the right to kill is likely to suffer from "psychological harm."

So the landmark Roe v. Wade decision is not a legal treatise based on sound principle or rigorous logic. Roe really comes down to a chivalrous exercise in emotional hand-holding for women who are having second thoughts about their pregnancy.

Abortionists know full well that Roe is intellectually flawed, legally indefensible, and morally repugnant. Given that, don't expect to hear much in the way of reasoned discourse and sensible analysis over next few months.

So mark my words, a torrent of fear-mongering mantras will become the rallying cry of the rad-fems who want to stack the Supreme Court with more left-leaning justices who believe in the need for a "living, breathing Constitution."

Indeed, within hours of O'Connor's announcement, Sen. Ted Kennedy took to the senate floor to issue this sharp-edged ultimatum: "If the president abuses his power...then the American people will insist that we oppose that nominee, and we intend to do so."

Note that Mr. Kennedy studiously avoided the words "litmus test," "filibuster," or "smear campaign." Those words don't play very well on the six o'clock news.

Over the July Fourth weekend, feminists flocked to Tennessee, home base of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, to try out their new applause lines. Make note of these high-octane slogans, you will be hearing them countless times over next few months.

N.O.W. president Kim Gandy ridiculed President Bush's likely Supreme Court candidate as "a hard-right extremist justice." And Feminist Majority head Eleanor Smeal warned Frist to not "turn back the clock on women's rights."

That same weekend, Senator Kennedy used almost identical words in his Washington Post editorial: "This process shouldn't just be about whether the next justice would help roll back women's rights by overturning Roe v. Wade, the law of the land."

A quick check of feminist websites reveals a similar foghorn of slash-and-burn rhetoric and estrogen-driven hysteria.

The Feminist Majority issues this dire warning: "If Roe is reversed, women will be returned to the days of unsafe, back-alley abortions." To make sure the point isn't lost, the FM website adds an image of a wire coat hanger superimposed on the Supreme Court building. Nice touch.

The National Abortion Rights Action League features a picture of President Bush with this dark warning: "Don't let his choice end yours." That statement appears right under this chiseled inscription: "Equal Justice Under Law." Equality, of course, is exactly what fathers who have no say about the lives of their unborn children are clamoring for.

And the website of the National Organization for Women warns, "Justice O'Connor Resigns...Women's Lives on the Line." The N.O.W. doesn't clarify, however, whether this cautionary statement is meant to apply to the lives of expectant mothers or of baby girls.

Undermining the integrity of the US Constitution, applying a litmus test to Supreme Court candidates, and kindling an atmosphere of hysteria and fear - all this in the name of protecting a woman's right to kill.

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