In the Washington Post last week, Linda Hirschman alleges that John McCain’s pro-life position could lead to a kind of “police state” if he were elected president. She writes:
“In the 1980s, when abortion was severely limited in then-West Germany, border guards sometimes required German women returning from foreign trips to undergo vaginal examinations to make sure that they hadn’t illegally terminated a pregnancy while they were abroad. According to news stories and other accounts, the guards would stop young women and ask them about drugs, then look for evidence of abortion, such as sanitary pads or nightgowns, in their cars, and eventually force them to undergo a medical examination — as West German law empowered them to do.
“Sounds like a nightmare of a police state, doesn’t it? Like something that could never happen in this day and age — and certainly not in the United States? But depending upon the outcome of this presidential election, it could happen here. This is how.
“Republican presidential candidate John McCain opposes abortion, believing that life begins at conception. Imagine that he’s elected to the White House and, not long after, one of the aging Supreme Court justices dies or resigns. President McCain appoints a suitably conservative replacement, and a complaisant or cowed Senate confirms the nomination. Then, an ambitious district attorney in Alabama, Delaware or any one of more than a dozen other states with old abortion laws still on the books or a new, untested abortion restriction prosecutes a local clinic for performing the procedure. (Legal scholars pretty much agree that laws from before Roe v. Wade can be revived.) The clinic goes to federal court; after appeals, the case goes to the Supreme Court, which votes 5-4 to overturn Roe. And we’re back to the ’60s .”
Was America a “police state” before 1973 when Roe v. Wade was passed? Hardly. States had their own abortion laws before Roe, but America was hardly known for its draconian, interstate enforcement of abortion restrictions. I don’t know about you, but this kind of argument sounds to me a little bit like fear-mongering.
What is conspicuously absent from this whole piece is what is always absent from pro-choice proponentsâ€”a serious consideration of the humanity of the unborn. Hirschman fears that McCain-appointed justices might define the unborn as “persons” who are entitled to the protections of the fourteenth amendment, which says that no state may deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Hirschman raises the specter that a “fetus” might actually become defined as a “person” in law, but she makes no arguments why this shouldn’t be the case. She merely assumes that a woman’s right to choose trumps every other consideration.
This article is terrible, but it is also telling. The pro-choice movement continues to have no regard for the rights of the unborn. What a tragedy.