Last week ABC 4’s Vanocur Group debated the confirmation of federal judges. Inevitably, the issue of abortion came up. Inevitably, because the right wing of the Republican Party wants not only to overturn Roe v. Wade but criminalize all abortions. And if they can get enough votes in the Senate and on the Supreme Court, they will succeed.


Republican consultant Dave Owen opined that he wanted the Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade because, he claimed, Roe had been wrongly decided. Instead of making abortion per se illegal, Owen wants the issue returned to the jurisdiction of individual states. He thought it a good idea that some states would make abortion tantamount to murder, while others would decide that a woman choose.

I argued that such a result would produce chaos and endless litigation, almost civil war. Plus'though I acknowledged that reasonable minds could disagree about the merits of Roe’s legal and factual underpinnings'I noted that Roe was settled law whether or not it had legal or medical merit.

Former U.S. Rep. Enid Greene replied that segregation had also been “settled law” by prior decisions of the Supreme Court. In the twisted logic Republicans employ, she implied that the intellectually consistent must support the continuation of the racial discrimination of Dred Scott if they also supported the continuation of rights under Roe.

That position is, of course, ludicrous. Under Greene’s reasoning, the rights of a one-day-old blastocyst, the undifferentiated cellular mass that results from the happy meeting of egg and sperm which might, with a lot of luck, become a human, is legally and morally equivalent to the rights of a person in the minority. For most far-right Republicans, the blastocyst would have even more rights than a gay man or lesbian.

Greene’s willingness to resort to such chop-logic is symptomatic of the real agenda of the far right. Simply put, the religious zealots now in control of the Republican Party and the White House want to tell you how to live your life in the manner they deem “moral,” and to use the power of government to enforce their chosen morality. They want to tell you whether, when and how to be born, how to live and, witness the Terri Schiavo case, even how and when to die. But they hope you won’t notice how intrusive they are trying to be in your life until it’s too late'until they have appointed for life a majority of the Supreme Court that agrees with their particular brand of religious-based morality. Until they have slowly boiled the frog of your personal freedoms.

The length to which the religious right will go is, from time-to-time, made apparent by their more arrogant leaders in public debate. The latest outrageous look behind their fancy words was offered by the execrable majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, Tom DeLay. Objecting to a bill to expand federal funding for stem-cell research'research that might lead to a cure for such diseases as diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s'DeLay said the bill’s passage would be a “vote to fund with taxpayer dollars the dismemberment of living, distinct human beings for the purposes of medical experimentation.

The scary part? DeLay actually believes it. And so does half the country.

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Bruce R. Baird

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