What If Roe v. Wade Were Reversed? Europe Offers A Guide

A somewhat surprising court decision from the European Union gives a glimpse of what the situation in the United States would be if Roe v. Wade were overturned.

Linda Greenhouse, the veteran New York Times Supreme Court reporter, takes a look at a case from the European Union that offers a glimpse of what might happen if the Supreme Court’s Decision in Roe v. Wade were overturned:

Irish law prohibits all abortions except those necessary to save a woman’s life, and as a practical matter it imposes daunting obstacles to terminating life-threatening pregnancies as well. In a secularized Europe, Ireland is noticeably out of step. Of the 47 countries covered by the European Convention on Human Rights, only in the fairytale countries of Andorra, Malta and San Marino, where all abortions are illegal, is the law any stricter.

So a decision earlier this month from the European Court of Human Rights in the Case of A, B, and C v. Ireland, promised to be of more than routine interest. A challenge to the Irish law brought by three women asserting rights under the European Convention, it held the potential to express a Continent-wide consensus that abortion rights are human rights.

Instead of taking the opportunity to do that, though, the European Court ruled against the Plaintiff’s, refused to find a Continent-wide right to abortion, and upheld Ireland’s strict laws against abortion:

No right under the Convention was violated in these two instances, the court said by a vote of 11 to 6. Granted, “the process of traveling abroad for an abortion was psychologically and physically arduous” for these women. And granted also that in their particular circumstances, they could have obtained legal abortions in 35 to 40 other countries covered by the Convention. But because Ireland’s law is based “on the profound moral views of the Irish people as to the nature of life,” the court said, Ireland was entitled to an extra “margin of appreciation.” This phrase expresses a measure of deference toward a country’s right within the framework of international law to chart its own domestic course. With its extra margin, Irish law prevailed.

The women’s lawyers had asked the court to take account of the strong trend toward liberalizing European abortion laws, demonstrating, they argued, the existence of a consensus on a matter of international human rights.

The court did take the European consensus into account. But, perversely, it used that fact not on the women’s behalf, but against them, emphasizing Irish women’s ability to travel to any of dozens of countries, with “no legal impediment,” to end their pregnancies. Given that ability, the court concluded, Irish law “struck a fair balance.”

As Greenhouse notes. this is essentially what the state of the law would be in the United States today if Roe had never been decided:

Obviously, not all states would choose to join the anti-abortion bandwagon, even if they had the Supreme Court’s permission. California, New York, the District of Columbia, Connecticut and Massachusetts (once two of the most anti-abortion states, but times change) would remain places of refuge for desperate women, Englands to the Irelands that are Wyoming (which has no abortion provider), the Dakotas, or the Deep South, where a shrinking handful of doctors provide abortions in a hostile regulatory climate. More than a third of all women live in counties without an abortion provider, and that number is growing. Long-distance travel is made more onerous in the half of the states that require 24-hour waiting periods after “counseling,” necessitating two trips or an overnight stay.

Yet abortion remains one of the most common of all medical procedures. Nearly a quarter of all pregnancies end in abortion; put another way, nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended, and of those, 40 percent are terminated. One out of every three American women will have an abortion by the age of 45.

And if they can’t get the care they seek at home, where will they go? As the European Court of Human Rights seems to assume, there is always the airport.

Or the train, bus, or car. Now someone who is a strong supporter of abortion rights like Greenhouse will find this unacceptable. but I have to wonder, given the weakness of the intellectual basis of the Court’s argument for a 14th Amendment right to abortion in the Constitution, is it really such a bad thing that this matter be left to the states?

What’s even more interesting is the fact that the European Union, which is typically seen as further to the left than the United States, has rejected an argument that our courts accepted almost 40 years ago. Granted, the legal issues are different and Ireland’s claims to the sovereign right to write it’s own laws is stronger than, say, a similar claim made by the State of Texas. Nonetheless, one has to wonder whether this case in Europe will have an impact on how American courts view the issue the next time it comes before them.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    We would have a system where exactly the same act could be a capital crime in one state and — literally ten feet away, across a state border — perfectly legal.

    We would have a system where a resident of Texas could be prosecuted for what was a legal act in New Mexico.

    We would have a system where an anti-abortion state could demand to extradite American citizens from pro-choice states. Get an illegal abortion in Virginia, move to Massachusetts and Massachusetts then has to decide whether to hand you over for a medical procedure it considers perfectly legal.

    The historical comparison is to Dred Scott.

    The idea of states is obsolete. It has been for some time. But I suppose it’s more or less harmless so long as states are largely restrained by the federal courts and Congress. But to devolve actual power over this kind of thing to the states? States manifestly run by imbeciles? No. That’s carrying nostalgia for these ludicrous political artifacts too far.

  2. Tano says:

    I think all the trends are in the direction of increasing the freedom of individuals, not (re)imposing state-governmental power over the private lives of citizens.

    This decision seems to speak to the limited nature of European integration rather than some framework for more integrated nations.

  3. James Joyner says:

    @Michael Reynolds,

    But we have that now. Hell, we have that internally within states now. Drug and alcohol laws are the most obvious cases. But there are all manner of things that are perfectly legal in one state and not in neighboring states.

    Further, getting an abortion has never been a capital crime in any state. And one state can’t prosecute someone, even a resident, for actions legally committed in another state.

    The Dred Scott analogy falls short: Slaves were chattel under existing law. So, naturally, their owners retained property rights even once they crossed state lines. What was reprehensible about the Court’s ruling was not this innocuous finding but rather its stunning declaration that blacks were not legal persons and could therefore not sue.

  4. floyd says:

    Tano;
    The trend for the last 50 years at least, has been toward restricting freedom for responsible people and supporting, nay… subsidizing every form of perversion and irresponsibility.
    Personal responsibility and initiative is punished at every turn, replaced by a system designed to eliminate the personal consequences of both beneficial and harmful behavior.
    [Reference the “nesting” habits of the Cowbird]
    Every decent private activity is now either taxed or against the law and the burden increases annually.

  5. John p says:

    To James’ point: “What was reprehensible about the Court’s ruling was not this innocuous finding but rather its stunning declaration that blacks were not legal persons and could therefore not sue.”

    It puzzles me greatly how, in light of our view of natural rights both outlined in The Declaration of Independence and in respect to outlawing slavery and labeling the concept as unAmerican (again, as James does a good job of pointing out) that we have not viewed abortion in the same light.

    To me it is more of a mater of the natural, inalienable rights of the unborn child that, left to natural conclusions, would find protection under laws governing murder once it was born. To say that it should not be granted the same rights in the womb is to ignore natural inevitability. And furthermore, the only reason the child’s rights are not protected is because our system of law says so – exactly 100% like the Dread Scott case.

  6. Jay Tea says:

    Michael Reynolds’ examples are poor ones — state laws are often swayed by the federal government, if not trumped entirely. I would proffer prostitution and gambling laws as examples of how some things are left up to the several states.

    And while I’m squishily pro-choice, I agree with Doug here: the Constitutional foundations for Roe v. Wade are incredibly flimsy — to the point where I think they don’t mass muster. I think that abortion falls under the 10th Amendment, and is something that should be left to the several states as well. It’s just not something that fits in with the Constitution’s determination of areas of responsibility for the federal government.

    J.

  7. Axel Edgren says:

    “To me it is more of a mater of the natural, inalienable rights of the unborn child that, left to natural conclusions, would find protection under laws governing murder once it was born. To say that it should not be granted the same rights in the womb is to ignore natural inevitability. And furthermore, the only reason the child’s rights are not protected is because our system of law says so – exactly 100% like the Dread Scott case.”

    Utter biological simplification – there are unborn gestating residents of wombs that are not children (not human) and should not be protected under law.

  8. Jay Tea says:

    So, then, Axel, what are they? And when do they become “human” enough to merit having human rights?

    And does the fact that their circumstance is utterly not of their making, but (in most cases) the consequence of choices and actions of the womb-owner, affect that in the least?

    J.

  9. Simon says:

    It might be the state of the law today sans Roe with all else held equal, but it’s really quite difficult to speculate. After all, if we may artificially hold all else equal including the trajectory of the Supreme Court, one could say that but for Furman, the death penalty would be exactly as it was before that case. Well, it isn’t. Furman was reversed, in effect, but did that lead to the court sticking its beak out of the issue, as Doug seems to assume a Roe-less court would have done from abortion? Of course not. Abortion opponents would have continued to chip away in the courts, and we would have a messy patchwork quilt abortion jurisprudence mirroring (appropriately enough) the court’s death penalty jurisprudence.

    All else wouldn’t be equal, though, and it’s really quite imponderable what might have happened. More profitable to focus on overruling it now and what will happen afterward.

  10. grandpa says:

    If some states were to, by way of a Supreme Ct. judgement, secure the rights to ban abortions…would not the same arguments of a states right of self determination then allow local governments within a state to use the same arguments against the state…thus legalizing abortion in some cities and counties within a state which banned abortion. Just curious how that would work.

  11. Michael Reybolds remains an *&*&^%. So much for federalism and our constituion, eh Michael?

    But I love Ms. Greenhouse’s example. Maybe Wyoming doesn’t have an abortion provider because of its remarkably small population rather than trying to trying to infer some nefarious conservative correlation.

    But hey, she and Michael Reynolds should get along just fine.

  12. Janis Gore says:

    So when your sweet little college girl, Dr. Joyner, gets pregnant by that romantic long-haired commie ne’er-do-well, I suppose you’ll ship her off to a state where abortion is legal, because you can afford it? Or you’ll make her go through with the pregnancy?

  13. michael reynolds says:

    A woman has an illegal abortion in Texas. Texas law considers this capital murder.

    And please, don’t tell me that’s impossible or even improbable: it’s the essence of the anti-abortion position. And spare me the anti-abortion dodge about never prosecuting the woman. It’s political propaganda. Of course laws could be passed which would criminalize the mother and not just the doctor. It would be perfectly consistent with anti-abortion thinking.

    The woman returns to her home in Vermont.

    Texas files for extradition.

    Vermont then must decide whether to hand her over to a possible death sentence in Texas.

    There is nothing unlikely about that scenario. And arguing that we have similar issues with gambling or other minor vice laws is nonsense.

    In Dred Scott southerners attempted to enforce their “property rights” in another state that denied those rights existed.

    In this case an anti-abortion state would attempt to enforce its view that a woman’s body is not her own to control.

  14. Janis Gore says:

    Give it up for adoption, rear the child? What’s your choice?

  15. Trumwill says:

    Michael, the most likely solution to the woman’s dilemma would be having the abortion in Vermont or some other state where it is legal. Most likely, that’s where the abortion doctors would be anyhow. Texas would then have to lobby the federal government to pass a law preventing people from crossing state lines to flout their home state’s abortion law. And even then, the punishments and the like would be dictated by federal rather than local law.

  16. michael reynolds says:

    Anti-abortionists buy cheap moral superiority. They never want to face the logical consequences of their positions. They turn away from the complexities, the conflicts, the injustices of their position because to deal honestly with those consequences undermines their essential goal: owning that sensation of moral superiority.

    To formulate laws based on the anti-abortion position is to maintain that if a woman is raped, and becomes pregnant, she then loses her right to control of her own body.

    If she decides she’d rather not bear a rapist’s child, she can be prosecuted.

    If for whatever reason the rapist is not convicted, he will then have the right to sue for parental visitation and other rights. The rape victim can look forward to a life of sharing child rearing responsibilities with her rapist.

    But of course in the minds of the anti-abortionists, so what? So what? Because either A) That kind of thing only happens to bad people who deserve it, or B) I can always ship my wife or daughter or self off to another state where people value freedom and responsibility over smug self-righteousness.

    I’ll tell you flat out James: if it was your daughter you’d take care of her. You have the money. You know you would. You would do whatever you had to do to protect your little girl.

    You just want to ensure that when it happens to someone else’s daughter, a poor man’s daughter perhaps, that he and his daughter will suffer to provide you with a sense of moral superiority.

  17. michael reynolds says:

    Trumwill:

    Michael, the most likely solution to the woman’s dilemma would be having the abortion in Vermont or some other state where it is legal.

    The most likely solution for, let’s say, an $8 an hour hamburger flipper in Muleshoe would be to fly to Vermont to get an abortion? In what universe?

  18. Trumwill says:

    The most likely solution for, let’s say, an $8 an hour hamburger flipper in Muleshoe would be to fly to Vermont to get an abortion? In what universe?

    I assume that she has the means to go to Vermont for the abortion because she moved there after she had it.

  19. Grewgills says:

    Floyd and John P,
    You are in an IVF clinic that is burning down. In that clinic you see an infant and an ice chest with 100 embryos, you can only save one, which do you choose?

  20. Jay Tea says:

    Anti-abortionists buy cheap moral superiority. They never want to face the logical consequences of their positions. They turn away from the complexities, the conflicts, the injustices of their position because to deal honestly with those consequences undermines their essential goal: owning that sensation of moral superiority.

    Interesting observation, michael.

    Utter biological simplification – there are unborn gestating residents of wombs that are not children (not human) and should not be protected under law.

    Looks like both sides do it, Michael. There are no easy answers on either side.

    J.

  21. Jay Tea says:

    Dagnabit, messed up the formatting… my apologies.

    J.

  22. Janis Gore says:

    What do you see for James’s daughter, Jay Tea?

  23. Pete says:

    Michael, do you have any statistics which shows how many rapes result in pregnancy?

  24. michael reynolds says:

    Jay:

    I don’t deny there are moral ambiguities here. But as an American I resolve them in favor of individual liberty and choice.

    Let’s be honest. It’s a f*cked up issue. It’s hard with a capital H.

    But we are weighing the rights of a real, live, living, breathing, indisputable American citizen, (the woman,) against the rights of a fetus which may some day be a real, live, living, breathing, indisputable American citizen, but is not yet.

    However much we may wish that fetus could grow up to become on of us, that entirely understandable desire does not give us the right to tell an American citizen that we, not she, will have control of her body and the things inside it.

    In what universe does conservatism equate to the government telling a woman that she must bear a child? Conservatives act like a 5% tax hike is armageddon, but state cops or federal marshalls monitoring pregnant women to make sure they bear the government-mandated child isn’t a problem? It’s madness.

  25. michael reynolds says:

    Pete:

    No. But it’s irrelevant.

    We write laws with an eye to the extremes.

    Yes, most often the cops have the right guy. But we write laws that assume the cops may be wrong.

    Most speech doesn’t bother anyone. We write laws to protect the tiny minority whose speech does bother someone.

  26. Janis Gore says:

    Off-topic, and no need to go there Mr. Reynolds.

    I’m asking fathers what decisions they’ll make in, what we’ll call unfortunate circumstances, of adult daughters.

  27. anjin-san says:

    > Personal responsibility and initiative is punished at every turn

    Can you provide some specific examples.

    I have been pretty well rewarded for taking personal responsibility and initiative in my own life, and I don’t recall being “punished” for it.

    Do you have anything to offer besides slogans?

  28. Janis Gore says:

    I’m also asking fathers to consider if they truly want other fathers to make decisions for their own adult daughters.

  29. Pete says:

    I’m a father of two girls. If they got pregnant by any means other than rape, I’d encourage, if not insist, they go to term and either keep the baby or give it up for adoption. My wife had a miscarriage at about 14 weeks and had to deliver the baby. She was devastated by the fact that something which had been living inside her had died. It changed her opinion about when life begins and she is a card carrying feminist.

    It is sad that in an effort to protect a minority, as Michael pointed out, that many more women likely end up having abortions for convenience and then possibly face devastating psychological damage, as my wife did.

  30. Janis Gore says:

    Loose the hounds. I’m leaving to read a book about the Fourth Crusade.

    Happy New Year to All, and to all a goodnight !

  31. michael reynolds says:

    Pete:

    I don’t think most women suffer psychological damage. I’d ask you to accept that I have some personal knowledge on this.

    But do some women? Yes. Of course.

    As a pro-choice person am I sickened that some women behave recklessly and end up in this place needlessly? Yes. Condoms, the pill, the diaphragm, abstinence, there are alternatives, and a substantial number of abortions are the result of stupidity.

    I’m sure we both wish people would stop being f**king idiots. But I suspect we both also share a history of having, at one time or another, been f**king idiots. It’s a pretty common problem.

    I am also grateful that my frequent lapses of good sense have not been exacerbated by the government deciding to dictate my response.

  32. Pete says:

    As you said, Michael, it is a complex issue. Happy New year!

  33. Trumwill says:

    Janis, in your scenario, (absent rape or serious health issues) I would encourage my daughter to carry the baby to term. We’d take care of it if need be, or she could put it up for adoption. I don’t take the view that a fetus is indeed a human life, but it’s something to be preserved except under extreme circumstances in my view. Even if it’s an inconvenience to my family. I definitely would not help her take a trip to another state where abortion is legal. Nor would most pro-life people of any sincerity.

    (I should note that despite my philosophical opposition to abortion, I can’t bring myself to support a legal ban. Even so, I consider it a democratic issue rather than a constitutional one. My wife and I also have an understanding that in the event that our daughter goes to her and asks that I be left out of it that her request be honored. Her views on abortion are pretty similar to mine except more strongly anti-abortion on late-term than me and more softly so on early-term abortion.)

  34. michael reynolds says:

    Pete:

    Back at you.

    Happy 2011 to everyone.

  35. Trumwill says:

    A bit tangentially, I find the voicing of concern about the Wyoming situation by pro-choicers disconcerting. The most obvious solution is to compel rural docs to perform the procedure (or lose Medicare/Medicaid business). Rural docs includes my wife and that’s not what she signed up for. So we would be left with the choice of relocating, foregoing Medicare/Medicaid patients, or her performing that procedure. We would probably relocate, as would another doc, leaving one OB-capable doc in town (at most, she might leave too) and leaving my wife probably not delivering babies at all despite her extensive training in that area. Or maybe we’d buckle. If concern about abortion being convenient, that might be considered a chance worth taking. Or we’d have to have some waiver option. I don’t know, but it’s a troubling area of thought and one where I find myself pretty seriously at odds with some In the pro-choice movement and those that see abortion as an affirmative right..

  36. Brett says:

    I’ll tell you flat out James: if it was your daughter you’d take care of her. You have the money. You know you would. You would do whatever you had to do to protect your little girl.

    Thank you. This is what has always galled me about the “states’ rights” supporters on abortion – what it ultimately amounts to is that they’re willing to let access to abortion be determined on monetary grounds. If, say, James’ daughter got raped and pregnant, he could afford to send her to an abortion-friendly state (or hell, to Canada) to get it. But if you’re the poor woman without the money or even a car to get to another state, well, sucks to be you I guess.

    By the way, I’ve always found the “no abortions except for rape, incest, and life of the mother” contemptible in their own ways (although not as contemptible as the “no abortions” people). The fact that they’re willing to countenance abortions in those exceptions means that it’s all about whether or not the woman “deserved it”, not really about the life of the fetus.

  37. Brett says:

    That said, if it were my daughter, I would probably encourage her to have the abortion before the 12-15 weeks period. It’s not too long after that in terms of weeks that the fetus is viable outside the womb, and that’s where I think the true gray area is with regards to abortion – not conception, when the fetus is a mass of cells with no human form or brain.

  38. anjin-san says:

    > And does the fact that their circumstance is utterly not of their making,

    So when a kid that grows up in some ghetto shit hole turns to crime because he grew up in horrific circumstances not of his making and there are no oppotunities, no positive role models and so on, do you support cutting him some slack at sentencing time?

    Because there are people in this country who steal millions and have a lot less in the way of consequences than a ghetto kid who steals fifty bucks.

  39. Trumwill says:

    It’s pretty easy to find bad faith when you’re assuming at the outset.

    You would totally fly your daughter to Canada so that she could have an abortion (thus making you a hypocrite) and if you deny it you’re lying (thus making you a liar and a hypocrite).

    You would make a raped woman carry the seed of the crime against her for ten months, which demonstrates that you have serious animosity towards woman. And if you would carve out an exception for rape, it just goes to show that it’s not about life at all but punishing women for having sex.

    You would make abortion illegal even in parts of the country where legal access to it is supported (thus you are anti-democratic). Or, if you would let it be decided on a state-by-state basis, you’re simply reserving the right of wealthy people like you to take your kid across state lines while a poor person would not have that opportunity (thus you are anti-poor).

    It does keep things tidy, I suppose…

  40. Axel Edgren says:

    I absolutely support time-based limits that are more safe than lenient (to ensure that what is being aborted has not developed physically and cerebrally to the point where something that can be called human has holistically come into existence) but as long as the word “ban” is still on the table – no dice. I can’t trust the pro-life movement.

  41. Jay Tea says:

    I have extremely mixed feelings on abortion, to the point where I’m “squishily pro-choice” because for no other reason that I simply can’t feel confident enough about the issue to want to put my preferences into law. My “squishily pro-choice” is another way of saying “I’m philosophically siding with the pro-life side, but I am so conflicted that I’m going to just abstain from imposing that on others.”

    So in this case, I’m not arguing for either side, but playing devil’s advocate. That’s why I think it should be a state matter — that gives us 50+ laboratories to see if we can find a solution that a signficant majority can live with.

    “Only in cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother.” Ripe for abuse. Rape-induced pregnancy is very rare, but expect a flood of false rape reports so women unexpectedly pregnant decide a little white lie to get an abortion isn’t so bad.

    And “life of the mother” has been diluted to “health of the mother,” and then “mental health of the mother,” and then “she will feel bad if she carries the baby to term.” It’s happening already.

    Time-based limits on abortion: a slippery slope. The current record for a premature fetus surviving and thriving is just under 22 weeks — which is well within the second trimester. “Viability” has been creeping back further and further as medical advances have made it possible for save more premature babies.

    The staunch, militant, absolutists on both sides of the issue are the ones who shouldn’t be trusted. That includes both the Operation Rescue assholes, and assholes like Axel. Anyone who argues that it’s a black and white issue, and that anyone who doesn’t agree with them is doing so out of some ulterior motive, simply isn’t worth listening to.

    J.

  42. Janis Gore says:

    I’ve never dealt directly with the issue. I would not feel comfortable being involved with James’s family decisions.

  43. Janis Gore says:

    But, to address the issue in the post, you’ll probably have about the same regional distribution of children born out of wedlock that you do now.

    Here in what’s called the Miss-Lou region, most of the young women that I know of bear the child to term out of religious conviction. But how much do I know?

  44. Tlaloc says:

    “The court did take the European consensus into account. But, perversely, it used that fact not on the women’s behalf, but against them, emphasizing Irish women’s ability to travel to any of dozens of countries, with “no legal impediment,” to end their pregnancies.”

    In other words “f&^% the poor, if you can’t afford to take a vacation from work and fly to another country and get an elective surgery on your own dime then you obviously should be a parent.” How could that possibly go wrong?

    I confess I still find it amazing the naked hatred of the poor on display among the anti-abortion crowd. There’s almost no single event more likely to lead to child abuse, food insecurity, and ongoing poverty than unwanted pregnancies among the poor and young, and yet here they are trying to get rid of abortion and contraception for all intents and purposes (no not everyone can fly to sweden you pompous douchebags!).

  45. Jay Tea says:

    So, if someone is opposed to abortion, even if they don’t advocate for a banning, they still have to pay for abortions? They don’t even have the right to say “fine, whatever, just don’t ask me to pay for it?”

    ““f&^%” you right back.

    Also, note the term “elective” surgery. It’s optional, in the vast majority of cases.

    If you wanna say that a right you can’t afford to exercise is not really a right at all, then I want the government to buy me a gun. I can’t afford to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights, so I’m being oppressed.

    And buy me a printing press, too, while you’re at it.

    I’m not advocating a ban on abortion, but I’ll be damned if I also have to PAY for it.

    J.

  46. Axel Edgren says:

    “So, if someone is opposed to abortion, even if they don’t advocate for a banning, they still have to pay for abortions? ”

    Uh, YES; because otherwise you would start getting different demographics not wanting to pay for medical procedures they don’t care much about. For example, what would you tell liberals no longer wanting to pay for people getting lung cancer from smoking or eating “rural” food rather than proper diets? Personally, I would tell them to go to hell. I would also tell this to inbreds and religious fundamentalists who don’t want to pay for abortions. *For exactly the same reason.*

    “I’m not advocating a ban on abortion, but I’ll be damned if I also have to PAY for it.”

    It is a medical condition. If left untreated, it results in the very painful ejection of a pretty large thing out of your vagina, and will also cause a lot of hormonal and medical havoc before and after. But with an easy procedure long before you get the development of anything human, you can be spared all that.

    It’s not a controversial medical procedure. The only problem is that Christians in the US are being evil and solipsist.

  47. anjin-san says:

    > So, if someone is opposed to abortion, even if they don’t advocate for a banning, they still have to pay for abortions? They don’t even have the right to say “fine, whatever, just don’t ask me to pay for it?”

    Sort of like how I was forced to help pay for the Iraq war, no?

  48. Jay Tea says:

    It might have escaped your notice, but there’s a difference between a Congressionally-authorized military action by the nation as a whole and an individual’s elective medical procedure.

    For example, what would you tell liberals no longer wanting to pay for people getting lung cancer from smoking or eating “rural” food rather than proper diets?

    I’d say let the individuals make their own poor choices, and accept the consequences of those choices.

    What a terrible burden it must be for you, Axel. To be so smart, that you know what’s best for everyone everywhere, and you have no choice but to protect us all from making “wrong” choices. And I know you’d be a benevolent dictator, only keeping us from harming ourselves.

    Hey, while you’re at it, why not mandate that every sex act involving at least one male use a condom, unless the partners are specifically trying to conceive a child? That would go a hell of a way towards cutting medical expenses — reductions in STDs and unintended pregnancies would be tremendous.

    And if we all have to pay for individuals to exercise their rights, when will the government provide me with a gun? I have a spotless criminal record, so I will use it responsibly. And I’d really like to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights, but can’t afford one of my own. I’m being deprived of my rights because I’m not rich. I demand my 2nd Amendment right!

    J.

  49. Axel Edgren says:

    “It might have escaped your notice, but there’s a difference between a Congressionally-authorized military action by the nation as a whole and an individual’s elective medical procedure.”

    Not if that medical procedure is dealing with a legitimate health concern and isn’t different from other medical procedures. Lots of people do things that make them need medical procedures. For example, going outside to have a drink increases your chances of ending up with a need for medical attention. So does having unprotected sex. But there isn’t a 100% causality. You are being arbitrary, and consistency is teh sine qua non of all arguing and reason.

    ” To be so smart, that you know what’s best for everyone everywhere, and you have no choice but to protect us all from making “wrong” choices. And I know you’d be a benevolent dictator, only keeping us from harming ourselves.”

    I can think of few things I would like less, than spend any time or effort improving the lives of people like you or keeping you from hurting yourselves.

  50. george says:

    “It might have escaped your notice, but there’s a difference between a Congressionally-authorized military action by the nation as a whole and an individual’s elective medical procedure. ”

    Not if both are authorized by Congressional legislation. Congress doesn’t authorize each action taken by each soldier during a war, they authorize the military action and let individual soldiers make decisions within that context. Same thing with health care.

  51. Jay Tea says:

    Of course, Axel, your theory depends on the assumption that the government can actually do what it says it will do. And that’s a hell of a flawed assumption.

    Look at what we’re seeing right now with the wondrous ObamaCare program we have now. As Nancy Pelosi, they had to pass the bill before we could actually see what was in it. And what was in it?

    The essential destruction of the Medical Savings Accounts. Previously, as long as the money was spent on medical matters, it was fine. Now it can only be used for medications for which the patient has a prescription — which means if you want to use it for aspirin, go bother your doctor for a prescription. And doctors say they don’t have time for that shit. There is NO logical reason for this restriction — except to assert more control over people’s choices.

    Insurance companies being told what they have to do to offer children-only insurance, and saying “no, thanks” and getting out of the business entirely.

    In Massachusetts, which is essentially ObamaCare on a small scale, insurance companies are finding it simply not profitable to keep in business in the state — so they’re closing up shop.

    But all that doesn’t matter, because it was all done with good intentions. That it ends up making things a lot worse for a lot of people? Eggs, omelets.

    People have a right to make their own choices — and that means, necessarily, that they will make wrong choices. It’s a cycle: what keeps people from making bad choices? Experience. How do you get experience? By making bad choices.

    Or, as Michael Jordan said,

    I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

    It should take extraordinary circumstances to deprive individuals of their right to make choices about their own lives. The default should always to respect the rights of the individual. And that means letting them do what we think is wrong.

    And hell, a lot of the time it might be right for them.

    I’m an adult. I don’t need Daddy Axel to protect me from myself, from making “bad” choices. I’ll make my own choices, and live with them.

    And if my friend — my short friend — should happen to be killed in a car crash because her legally-required seat belt holds her in place while her legally-required air bag snaps her neck, because she had no legal right to disable either feature “for her own good,” at least I know that she died because a bunch of other idiots who don’t want to take responsibility for themselves demanded the government order them to take care of themselves. Her death will be a small price to keep alive all those people who say “we’re too stupid and stubborn to buckle up without being told to — save us from our stupid selves!”

    J.

  52. wr says:

    “Medical Savings Accounts” are nothing but a tax dodge for rich people, and a way for Republicans to pretend they’re doing something about helping people get health care. They are a cheap, sleazy lie, and if ACA put them out of business, it couldn’t happen fast enough.

    As for living with your own bad choices, that’s great. I hope that when the paint fumes finally clog your lungs, you live up to this and decide not to crawl to the nearest emergency room for that free care. Go ahead and die in your moral superority, if that’s what you want.

    Personally I believe in a society where citizens band together to make each others’ lives better. The fact that you don’t keeps me from mourning when your decisions catch up with you.

  53. Jay Tea says:

    wr, I’m hardly rich, and I used an MSA for years. It was an easy way to save money for emergencies — store up my medical receipts, then fax them all in for a nice, tidy check.

    But I’m not surprised that you’re a class warfare asshole. If something benefits the rich, it MUST be bad — even if a lot of other non-rich people take advantage of them.

    It also made a lot of sense — since the money HAD to be spent on medical expenses, it encouraged people to take care of themselves better.

    Finally, it was optional, so if you don’t like it (it enables people to take care of themselves, instead of depending on Big Nanny to tend to them, so I can see why you’d oppose it), you didn’t have to participate. It was an “elective” program that actually worked, and did not cost taxpayers a dime.

    Naturally it must be destroyed.

    J.

  54. michael reynolds says:

    I was sitting at a light one night, waiting for it to turn green. Along comes a motorcycle. He hits a very small, nearly invisible bit of divider. The rider and bike actually somersault through the air. They land in the middle of the intersection. It was quite spectacular. Very Hollywood.

    I ran to help. Fortunately the woman in the car behind me was a nurse and rather more useful than me. She removed the man’s helmet just in time. He had a bulge on the front of his head that stuck out so far it forced his eye socket to aim downward.

    Young guy. No doubt thought he was immortal. The young always do. God knows I did. And I witnessed this accident when I was young and an early member of the then-new Libertarian Party.

    Young people are immortal, and most conservatives are imagination-deficient. (I’ve long argued it’s the key identifier of the conservative mind.)

    But sometimes you don’t see the little bit of concrete, and the thing you never imagine happens, and you end up with your head twice the size it should be. And that’s when your fellow citizens pay for you to be transported by ambulance and treated at a hospital and — one hopes — survive to repay the favor.

    There are two essential factors necessary to a libertarian: youthful ignorance, or an utter lack of imagination.

  55. floyd says:

    “and most conservatives are imagination-deficient.
    (I’ve long argued it’s the key identifier of the conservative mind.)
    “””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

    Imagine that! (lol)

  56. floyd says:

    There are two essential factors necessary to a libertarian: youthful ignorance, or an utter lack of imagination.
    “””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

    So… I imagine that you imagine that libertarians are an unimaginative conservative lot.
    Or should I imagine that you imagine that all of those who don’t share what you imagine, just lack the capacity for imagination?
    Of course I must lack the capacity to imagine that….if you in fact imagine the latter, which was a lack of imagination on the part of those who don’t imagine what you imagine.
    Can you picture that?

  57. anjin-san says:

    Medical savings accounts seem like a good idea to me, wish there was one in my benefit package – taking otc out of the plan seems like a bad idea to me.

    That being said, all you need to do is look at the savings rates in this county to know that they are not the answer to anything, perhaps just a useful tool for those savvy enough to use them.

    Accusing the GOP of being owned lock, stock and barrel by the rich hardly makes one a “class warfare asshole”, or any other kind of an asshole. It is a simple statement of fact. One of the most truthful things GW ever said was when he refereed to “halves an have-mores” as “my base”.

  58. michael reynolds says:

    Floyd:

    See the problem is — and I honestly mean no offense — is that your snark reveals the truth that conservatives tend to lack imagination.

    I would add that I don’t mean conservatives are unintelligent. That’s not it. It’s specifically a lack of imagination. Which is why you can’t count the number of conservatives in high end creative jobs on your fingers and toes. Writers, actors, directors, choreographers, musicians, artists — what do you think the political breakdown is there? 90% liberal?

  59. sam says:

    @Jay

    “In Massachusetts, which is essentially ObamaCare on a small scale, insurance companies are finding it simply not profitable to keep in business in the state — so they’re closing up shop.”

    I hadn’t heard that, and when I went looking, I found that Harvard-Pilgram had closed up in Rhode Island in the 90s, but could find nothing on Mass companies. Can you supply a cite?

  60. Jay Tea says:

    Michael, here’s a theory. A creative one, even.

    Perhaps it’s because the liberals are more in tune with fantasy because they have problems with reality.
    Look at the aforementioned health care “reform.” It’s a full fantasy trip. It’s full of unintended consequences that a lot of us foresaw in general, but not in the particulars. And I find myself wondering if some of those consequences were so unintended — like the above-mentioned medical savings accounts.

    The problems of the left’s expressed ideology are largely rooted in too much imagination, and too little reality. And when they fail, it’s because they didn’t try hard enough or spend enough or the stupid proles didn’t know what was good for them.

    Like the protest sign says — communism’s only killed about a hundred million people — let’s give it another chance!

    Or, to steal (again) a quote from P. J. O’Rourke:

    America is not a wily, sneaky nation. We don’t think that way. We don’t think at all, thank God. Start thinking and pretty soon you get ideas, and then you get idealism, and the next thing you know you’ve got ideology, with millions dead in concentration camps and gulags. A fundamental American question is “What’s the big idea?”

    Exaggeration, of course. P. J.’s a hell of a creative guy. But his essential point is valid — it’s the overreliance on intelligence and creativity, utterly divorced from reality and responsibility. Great ideas — ideas that not only don’t work, but fail catastrophically, and then find some excuse for why the mess isn’t their fault, and we should let them try again and again and again.

    What’s that old definition of insanity? Dang, I forget.

    J.

  61. Axel Edgren says:

    “Start thinking and pretty soon you get ideas, and then you get idealism, and the next thing you know you’ve got ideology, with millions dead in concentration camps and gulags.”

    O’ Rourke was apparently a bit of a retard.

  62. Jay Tea says:

    O’ Rourke was apparently a bit of a retard.

    Yes, he was. He was a hippie, hard-blown leftist, right down to overthrowing the government in the name of The People and fighting against the fascist right.

    Then he grew up, got un-retarded, and became a conservative.

    He documented his evolution in Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut.

    I’m re-reading it, and man, was he retarded when he was a liberal. It’s amazing how much smarter he is now that he’s older, mature, experienced, and conservative.

    J.

  63. sam says:

    The problem with overturning Roe, is that it sits in a constellation of cases whose foundations are more or less similar, I believe. If Roe was overturned, if the majority’s reasoning in Roe is found to be defective, would Griswold v. Connecticut, Eisenstadt v. Baird, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, Lawrence v Texas (maybe even Loving v. Virginia), etc. survive? Would the doctrine of substantive due process itself survive (and if not, what would that entail)? I fully acknowledge that the statutes struck down in some of those rulings have zero chance of ever being reenacted, but this is because of the sea change in public attitudes that some of those rulings have brought about (which casts an ironic light on some of Justice Scalia’s reasoning in his dissent in Lawrence). The question is,what would the overturning of Roe v Wade entail for the constitutional regime that has developed in this country since at least 1930s?

  64. Jay Tea says:

    michael reynolds opines:

    <i.There are two essential factors necessary to a libertarian: youthful ignorance, or an utter lack of imagination.

    There are two essential factors necessary to michael reynolds: an ego so great that he knows what is best for everyone everywhere, and a totalitarian drive to write his brilliance into law so that no one can decline the benefits of his wisdom.

    People like that tend to take it poorly when folks reject their wisdom. When the stupid, ignorant, stubborn proles who make up the masses just say no to their betters, they need to be shown that they don’t have a choice. Because choices mean you might choose badly, and then nobody’s happy.

    And, as P. J. noted, that usually ends up with folks who just want to opt out of the elite’s grand schemes end up in gulags — or worse.

    So, michael, where do you intend to put all us folks who reject your genius? Care to show us the plans for your re-education camps and dissident rehabilitation centers?

    J.

  65. michael reynolds says:

    Jay:

    Hallucinating again?

    What’s your evidence that I want to write my brilliance into law?

    I realize it bugs conservatives when I say they lack imagination. And I can’t prove it directly. I can only point out that there are very few conservatives getting paid for their imaginations.

    It is this core lack of imagination that explains why in politics all progress in human rights comes from liberals. From civil rights to women’s rights to gay rights and even accommodations for the handicapped, it’s always opposed by conservatives. Likewise the basics of our social safety net. Not because conservatives are inherently evil, or stupid, but because they lack the ability to imagine anything better, or different, or to project themselves or others into the future. In other words, imagination.

    Thus we get the phenomenon of Dick Cheney suddenly discovering he favors gay rights. Why? Because he discovered he had a gay daughter. Now, a person with imagination can project that scenario and adjust their thinking accordingly. But for a conservative having a gay daughter is impossible, inconceivable — right up to the moment when it happens.

    No imagination.

    Face it: conservatives are a race of CPA’s. Totally necessary, totally useless, but much more Kiwanis Club than Hollywood.

  66. michael reynolds says:

    Jay:

    Although you do by the way demonstrate the other feature of the conservative intellect: panic.

    Straight from “This guy says I have no imagination,” to “Oh, my God, he wants me dead.” I wonder if low testosterone is a feature of conservatism as well as lack of imagination? You always go from zero to full-blown hysteria faster than we do. Like a bunch of little girls. Probably a hyperactive fight/flight response. Enemies all around us! Always after me lucky guns, they’re magically destructive!

  67. Jay Tea says:

    michael, when I want to be entertained, I will often turn to liberals. They are some of the funniest people I know. Some of them deliberately.

    And you mock a government run by CPAs. You looked at the deficit lately? That’s the direct result of people who imagine that if they just want things to be better, they’ll get better, who imagine that the money fairies will come out and pay for everything, who imagine that good intentions are all that matter when it comes to passing laws.

    Gimme a Congress full of CPAs any day. Give me just ONE CPA in the Obama cabinet. Instead, we got a ton of lawyers, who think that reality is defined by whatever they can get a judge or jury to accept.

    Reality can be a bitch, michael. I can see the appeal in pretending it isn’t there. Sadly, it is.

    J.

  68. Jay Tea says:

    and michael — let’s talk turkey here. I cited my short friend — what would you do if she was caught driving without her seat belt or having her air bag disabled?

    I don’t think it’s any of the government’s business whether or not I have health insurance. Suppose I refuse to submit proof of insurance, and cite HIPAA as my justification for telling my insurance company that have no business talking about my coverage with the feds. What should be done with me?

    I’ve got a friend in his mid-20’s who doesn’t have health insurance. He’s very healthy, takes care of himself pretty well. He ran the numbers, his routine care would cost him less than a policy, so he chooses to bet he won’t need major coverage and goes uninsured. What should be done to him?

    Concrete examples, michael. Real people, with real situations.

    J.

  69. anjin-san says:

    > You looked at the deficit lately?

    Please show us even a single post here that you made expressing alarm over the then record deficits being run up by Bush. Then you will have some credibility, something you have not even a tiny shred of at the moment.

    > I’ve got a friend in his mid-20′s who doesn’t have health insurance. He’s very healthy, takes care of himself pretty well. He ran the numbers, his routine care would cost him less than a policy, so he chooses to bet he won’t need major coverage and goes uninsured

    And if, God forbid, he falls down the stairs tomorrow and breaks his neck, he will be a charity case, dependent on tax dollars for his care. And the taxpayers will, like it or not, have to cover his bet. Sort of the individual equivalent of “private profits, public losses”. It has happened to some real people that I know personally.

    Is this the “personal responsibility” the right so prides itself on? I can save some $$$ on health insurance and if something does go wrong, I can just send the bill to the county.

  70. Jay Tea says:

    anjin, the Bush budgets were bad, but SUSTAINABLE. Since 2006, when the Democrats took over Congress, the deficit has TRIPLED, and it’s no longer sustainable.

    I see you skipped two of my examples and jumped to the third. Is that why my friend can’t take that bet? If that’s the legal rationale, why not carry it out in other ways?

    Let’s require all welfare recipients to go on birth control. We’re all already paying for them; they have an obligation to not cost us more, just like my friend. Further, let’s test them for tobacco and drug use, and alcohol abuse — again, they’re already costing us, we should make certain they don’t cost us more.

    Same reasoning you’re using, but even more justified. My friend is not on public assistance; he’s quite gainfully employed and pays his taxes.

    And what about my first two examples? My right to privacy, and my short friend’s desire to not be killed by her airbag?

    J.

  71. Jay Tea says:

    Plus, to get back on topic, if all welfare recipients are legally required to use birth control, that should cut into the demand for abortions…

    J.

  72. wr says:

    Hey Jay Tea — What will your best friend do if he loses that bet? Will he say “Heck, I bet and I lost, I guess I’ll die now”? Or will he go to the emergency room and accept care for which he can’t pay? If it’s the latter, then he’s just another freeloader.

    As for your new little brainteaser, the government can’t require welfare recipients to use birth controls because reproduction is a fundamental human right, something teabaggers only seem to care about when it’s their own rights.

    As for your “right to privacy” in the moronic example above, if it’s so vastly important to you that the IRS not know you have health insurance, then you will pay the tax or fee or whatever it is that non-insured people will have to pay. It’s just like your mortgage — if you desperately don’t want the IRS to know you own a house, then you can refuse to claim the mortgage interest deduction on your taxes. Wow, problem solved.

    As for your short friend, tell her to ride in the back seat along with all the other fictional characters who populate your mind…

  73. Jay Tea says:

    reproduction is a fundamental human right…

    No, it’s not.

    In many nations, conceiving a child out of wedlock is a crime — even a capital offense.

    In China, you need permission from the government first.

    And here in the US, we have laws forbidding reproduction in certain circumstances — incest and minors are two examples that come to mind.

    My right to privacy? Screw you. What I consider private information about myself is NOT up for you to decide. And the health of my body — and how I choose to care for it — is right up there.

    About my short friend? Nice to see you think people under five feet tall don’t have the same rights as “normal” people.

    As far as the rest of your inane comments and juvenile insults… go take a flying frak at at rolling donut.

  74. sam says:

    ‘My right to privacy? Screw you’

    I’m curious. Do you then accept the ruling in Row and Griswold that there is a right to privacy to be found in the constitution? I would think you do, when you say:

    “What I consider private information about myself is NOT up for you to decide. And the health of my body — and how I choose to care for it — is right up there.”

    Unless you think that a woman’s right to choose how she cares for her body is something the government has a legitimate interest in controlling.

  75. anjin-san says:

    > And the health of my body — and how I choose to care for it — is right up there.

    You can chose to care for it any way you please. Its how you pay for it that is at issue. It sounds like you are saying you are free to bet that you will enjoy good health and hope you never have an accident, and that you feel free to send the bill to wr, sam & I should it turn out that you bet wrong.

    Personal responsibility, tea party style.

  76. anjin-san says:

    > In many nations, conceiving a child out of wedlock is a crime — even a capital offense.

    So we should use the actions of other nations, including a brutal dictatorship such as China, to inform our idea about fundamental human rights are?

    That is a rather shocking statement coming from such a rugged American individualist…

  77. anjin-san says:

    > to inform our idea about fundamental human rights are?

    sorry – to inform our ideas about what fundamental human rights are?

  78. floyd says:

    “”See the problem is… 90% liberal?””
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    What Snark? I can’t imagine what you mean by that.

    There must be some truth to you imagination bias…. since it all comes from your obviously vivid imagination.

    The entertainment industry is by no means the only outlet for creativity and imagination.

    Also the entertainment industry is widely known to deny work to any person who doesn’t toe the their political line.

  79. anjin-san says:

    > Also the entertainment industry is widely known to deny work to any person who doesn’t toe the their political line.

    Ah so. The vast, multi-billion dollar entertainment business is actually a monolithic block, thinking and acting as one, with a defined “political line”. Tell me Floyd, have you EVER been out of Mayberry?

    Folks in the entertainment industry will work with pretty much anyone who will help them to make a buck. Believe it. The never ending whining about persecution of conservative/Christians is very tiresome. Since you guys seem to think you are the modern version of John Wayne, here is a bit of advice. Stop crying and act like men.

  80. Janis Gore says:

    Interesting. Seventy-nine comments on an abortion thread. One woman’s voice.

    Whatever makes you happy, I guess.

  81. sam says:

    floyd, the culture critic, scribbles:

    “Also the entertainment industry is widely known to deny work to any person who doesn’t toe the their political line.”

    Ah, bullshit. Tom Selleck, Kelsey Grammar, Drew Carey, etc. And in times gone past, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Buddy Ebsen, John Wayne, Walter Brennan, Ward Bond, etc.

    Dude, the entertainment industry is a business, you know, an enterprise engaged in making profits. If you can fill the seats, your politics are irrelevant.

  82. sam says:

    Hollywood, floyd version:

    Producer A: Jesus, this is a great script. It’s got everything and the writing is off the charts. We can make millions.

    Producer B: Yeah, but we gotta have the right guy in the lead. I’m thinking Dash Riprock. Dash’s last three pictures grossed over 400 mil apiece. He is hot, hot, hot. And the part was just written for him. Picture wouldn’t really work without him.

    Producer A: Yeah, but Dash is a conservative Republican. You know the rules, even if those other guys broke them. But then they were Australian. I not sure we should hire him.

    Secretary: Eh? What about the millions?

    Producer B: You’re right. I mean, we couldn’t show our faces in Spago if we hired him.

    Producer A: Shit, well, whaddya gonna do? Rules are rules. We’ll just have to shelve this and hope another script turns up that won’t require us to hire a conservative Republican.

    Secretary: Eh? What about the millions?

  83. floyd says:

    Sam;
    That was amazing! Heck a couple more lines of cocaine and you could be a hollywood screen writer! Go ahead and take the credit for yourself though… you deserve it!

    Anjin-san;
    I appreciate the complement, but while I have been exiled for many years from my beloved Mayberry, my faith has protected me from the corruption of this world which I must be in but not of.
    IMHO… A simple statement of fact, or even opinion, does not constitute whining.
    If you would like to see whining…. I refer you to the responses.

  84. sam says:

    “Sam;
    That was amazing! Heck a couple more lines of cocaine and you could be a hollywood screen writer! Go ahead and take the credit for yourself though… you deserve it!”

    And that’s what passes for rebuttal in floyd-land. Pathetic.