Friday, February 24, 2012

Can Roe v. Wade Be Repealed More Easily Than Thought?

And if so, why hasn't the GOP done anything about it by now?

I was reading over the website for the Indiana chapter of the Constitution Party, and I came across this paragraph:

"Republicans claim to be pro-life but from 2000-06 when they had control of the House and Presidency they did nothing to overturn Roe vs. Wade when they could have done so easily. Also the Republican Party actively campaigned for John McCain in the last presidential race, who is not pro-life. Some of our pro-abortion supreme court justices were appointed by Republicans. What have Republicans actively done to defund Planned Parenthood?"

"Did nothing to overturn Roe vs. Wade when they could have done so easily?" 

That's a new one on me!

Well, not entirely. I have heard such a claim made by members of the Constitution Party before. They are a splinter group of disaffected Conservatives who trace their roots back to the American Independent Party, which was the 3rd Party founded by radical segregationist George Wallace.  Today, the Constitution Party does not seem to embrace the segregationist side of the Ultra-conservative movement they came out of.   

But what about this claim that the Republican Party, which has long positioned itself in people's minds as the "Pro-Life Party," is balking at the Holy Grail of the Pro-life movement: Repealing the landmark Supreme Court decision known as Roe vs. Wade

I decided to email the Indiana Constitution Party about it and ask. Here's what I wrote:

I was reading through your comparison between the GOP and Constitution Party, and I came accross this:

"Republicans claim to be pro-life but from 2000-06 when they had control of the House and Presidency they did nothing to overturn Roe vs. Wade when they could have done so easily."

I find that fascinating, and wondered if you could elaborate? Can the Republicans overturn Roe v. Wade now? What would it take or what would it have taken to do so.

Kevin Wayne
I had written my email address incorrectly, so when they attempted to reply, it bounced back. But I got a call from an Audrey representing the Constitutions within about an hour after emailing them, and she got my correct email address. What she told me in that phone conversation and what was in the reply was what I had anticipated her to say, having some familiarity with the issue myself. Here's her email reply, and the links included in the main body of her text I've added for clarity:
Sure Kevin I’d be happy to explain.

The Sanctity of Life Act was a bill first introduced in the United States House of Representatives by Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) on July 20, 1995, and cosponsored by Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-WY). It was reintroduced with similar text by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) in 2005 in the 109th United States Congress, 110th United States Congress, and 111th United States Congress.

The Sanctity of Life Act would have defined human life and legal personhood (specifically, natural personhood) as beginning at conception, "without regard to race, sex, age, health, defect, or condition of dependency." The Sanctity of Life Act further would have recognized that each state has authority to protect the lives of unborn children residing in the jurisdiction of that state. Such legislative declarations are nonbinding statements of policy and are used by federal courts in the context of determining the intent of the legislature in legal challenges.

The Act would have amended the federal judicial code to remove Supreme Court and district court jurisdiction to review cases arising out of any statute, ordinance, rule, regulation, or practice, or any act interpreting such a measure, on the grounds that such measure: (1) protects the rights of human persons between conception and birth; or (2) prohibits, limits, or regulates the performance of abortions or the provision of public funds, facilities, personnel, or other assistance for abortions.

Ron Paul's reintroduction of the bill was introduced the same year as the We the People Act, which would have removed “any claim based upon the right of privacy, including any such claim related to any issue of ... reproduction” from federal court jurisdiction.

Neither the Sanctity of Human Life Act nor We the People Act passed. In fact, neither bill had very many co-sponsors showing that Republicans pay lip service to the pro-life issue just to get re-elected but hardly any are serious about stopping abortion or they would have done so by now.

Feel free to visit Wikipedia about more information on either bill.

Audrey Queckboerner

Public Relations Director
 Abortion this year has come on my radar screen in a way that it hasn't in the past. A lot of it could be because I've been educating myself on the fallacious claims by Feminists as responded to by the Men's Rights Movement, and the inequity of the way society deals with False Rape Claims. As well, my supporting the GOP Primary campaign for President by Ron Paul and the November General Election Candidacy of Joe Shriner has served to heighten my awareness of the issues at hand. Both of these Gentlemen, though coming from different Political-Philosophical perspectives, are Pro-life. 
But back to the thing about Ron Paul's Pro-life legislation. The claim is that his proposed legislation would have in effect, overturned Roe v. Wade, but that the Republican Party (which Paul is a member of) didn't lift a finger to support it. Based on my research, this claim would appear to be 100% on solid ground. 
What the Sanctity Of Life Act would do is what is known as Jurisdiction Stripping. Congress has the power to do this in regards to the Federal Courts that are inferior to the Supreme Court, and can also  make exceptions and regulate the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. In plain English, the Federal Courts and the SCOTUS would have no more power to strike down any Abortion restrictions passed by the States. The Sanctity Of Life Act would also declare Life to begin at conception. Congress has been able to do this successfully on more than one occasion.
Further info on Jurisdiction Stripping:
So what's up with the Republicans and why hasn't most of the Pro-life movement informed us?
Furthermore, the GOP had both branches of Congress and the Presidency from 2005 - 2006. Why, when Ron Paul re-intro'd his legislation, did the Pro-life movement squander an opportunity to beat the drum sin favor of this legislation and get people on the phone and emailing their Elected Representatives about this?

For me, it boils down to one very simple answer: The Pro-life Movement specifically and Evangelicals in general have become over the years, a lap dog for the Republican Party. 
Ronald Wilson Reagan was supposed to be the big hero of the Christian Right, and of the Pro-Life crowd. That man as Governor of California, signed abortion into legality. There are excuses being made for his doing so that lightly populate the Right-Wing Blogosphere. But those tend to ring hollow when one realizes that as President, he appointed two Pro-Choice Supreme Court Justices, O'Connor & Kennedy, despite promising to do otherwise as a candidate. To this day the mawkish adherents of Reaganolatry seem to refuse to come to grips with how they were played. 
George W. Bush has also been roundly criticized for his feckless non-support of the Pro-Life position. See evidence of this and devastating criticisms of the GOP in general here, here, here, here, herehere, here, and here.
Today, we are in the midst of a Primary Season and it has come out that GOP Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum actually endorsed Pro-Choice Republican Arlen Specter in his Senate Primary race against Pro-Lifer Pat Toomey. Santorum has in more than one instance, proven to be a serial liar, to make a blunt point.
Some Pro-Life Christians just don't seem to get it. Reagan or Santorum can utter pretty words about God and set hearts aflutter, proving that Love is indeed blind. 
What is most interesting about the current GOP race is the way Ron Paul has been challenged for his approach to the Pro-Life position, by holding to what he sees as a Constitutional mandate for the States to be able to regulate on the issue. Personhood USA took umbrage with Paul on the issue, and published his response to their questions.
But where is Personhood USA's support of the Sanctity Of Life Act? Why are they not informing their adherents of this?
Or why haven't they called Rick Santorum on the carpet for his endorsement of Specter, and his lying about having made a deal with the Pro-Choice Republican? Or his having voted to fund Planned Parenthood?
They claim they don't wish to hurt Ron Paul's candidacy.
I call Bullshit, plain and simple.
I think the Chickens have finally come home to roost. The Pro-Life movement has for so-long been in the back pocket of the Repubs, that when scared GOP Politicians tell them such a move (as overturning Roe v. Wade) would not be a good idea, they listen. Christians hear pretty words from Santorum on not criminalizing something people have come to see as a right, and they suck it up uncritically!
Or perhaps it's worse. Perhaps the bias in favor of the GOP has crystallized so much among Pro-Lifers that when an Anti-War advocate such as Ron Paul appears on the scene, they will throw him (and the Unborn) under a Bus. Better to do that than admit that very little of the policies supported by the War-Mongering, Social Services for the Poor cutting, Patriot Act supporting Republicans are actually "Pro-Life" in any meaningful sense.
I did find one Pro-Life group that supported the Sanctity Of Life Amendment, calling it "A Life at Conception Act would legislatively overturn Roe v. Wade and end abortion-on-demand by defining life as beginning at conception." But mostly what I found related to the issue was either silence on it, or this hot air piece which claims that stripping the courts of jurisdiction on abortion would cause there to be confusion over who has the right to legislate on what, and leave bad decisions of the lower courts on the books.  That is refuted by 1) the fact that Congress has done Jurisdiction Stripping successfully in the past 2) as the Heritage Foundation has pointed out, the Courts would no longer be able to defend such bad decisions against laws passed by the States and 3) Chief Justice John Roberts himself was an enthusiastic supporter of Jurisdiction Stripping. 
The Conservative Pundits in the Blogosphere seem really good at coming down on groups like Democrats For Life or Progressive Christians like Jim Wallis for perceived inconsistency on Abortion, but those words will ring hollow in time if they are not equally willing to call their own Conservative/Republican allies on the carpet for real hypocrisy as well.
The Abortion Wehrmacht has gone on too long unchecked and will simply continue to roll on without decisive action. If legislation such as Ron Paul's Sanctity Of Life Act is the real remedy for bringing down Roe, what are we waiting for?
In the meantime, accountability needs to happen, when Politicians such as Reagan or Santorum break promises. It needs to happen in regards to Jim Wallis & Sojourners, DFLA, or anyone else who's getting our money and supposed to be working for us in Washington DC.
I have some ideas for accountability brewing in my head. Stay tuned.