For a president who likes to fear-monger about so many things, Joe Biden’s performance in announcing his abortion executive order Friday perhaps takes the cake.
These claims included tracking the information women access on their cell phones, preventing women from traveling to other states to seek abortions, banning abortions nationwide by federal law, preventing the use of contraception and even preventing pregnant women from receiving the treatment they need during a medical emergency.
Republicans are not proposing any such things. Some on Biden’s list are clearly unconstitutional, such as preventing interstate travel and denying access to contraception.
It is unclear, even if Republicans wanted to pass a law to ban abortions nationwide, whether it would pass constitutional muster, given that the Supreme Court just ruled it is an area of law left to the states.
Biden’s arguments are all straw men meant to distort and distract.
The reason he made these outlandish claims is clear: He wants to drive turnout at the polls in the fall, when Democrats are expected to take a drubbing.
Biden said as much Friday: “The challenge is: Go out and vote. Well, for God’s sake, there’s an election in November. Vote, vote, vote, vote.”
In addition to fear-mongering about Republicans, Biden also hammered the Supreme Court, calling its Dobbs decision “extreme.”
“I want to talk about an executive order I’m signing to protect reproductive rights of women in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s terrible, extreme, and, I think, so totally wrongheaded decision to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Biden said.
What’s extreme is the legislation Democrats passed in the House last September, allowing abortions up to the time of birth.
“Let’s be clear about something from the very start,” Biden said of Dobbs. “This was not a decision driven by the Constitution. Let me say it again: This was not a decision driven by the Constitution. And despite what those justices in the majority said, this was not a decision driven by history,” he added.
Actually, the decision was very much driven by the Constitution.
As Justice Samuel Alito succinctly stated in his majority opinion, “We hold that Roe [v. Wade] and [Planned Parenthood v.] Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Further, it was a decision driven by history. Alito addressed the legal history of abortion in the U.S. at some length.
“At the time of Roe, 30 States still prohibited abortion at all stages,” he wrote. “In the years prior to that decision, about a third of the States had liberalized their laws, but Roe abruptly ended that political process. It imposed the same highly restrictive regime on the entire Nation, and it effectively struck down the abortion laws of every single State.”
Roe came before the Supreme Court because Texas was one of a majority of states that banned abortions.
“Until the latter part of the 20th century, there was no support in American law for a constitutional right to obtain an abortion. No state constitutional provision had recognized such a right. Until a few years before Roe was handed down, no federal or state court had recognized such a right,” Alito recounted.
“Not only was there no support for such a constitutional right until shortly before Roe, but abortion had long been a crime in every single State,” he added.
Alito went on to note that common law, which the U.S. inherited from Great Britain, at the very least banned abortions after “quickening,” when the baby could be felt moving in the womb, which was somewhere around four months into the pregnancy.
“By the time of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment [in 1868], three-quarters of the States had made abortion a crime at any stage of pregnancy, and the remaining States would soon follow,” Alito wrote.
The justice also specifically addressed the issue of whether the court would follow up Dobbs with striking down the right to contraception or same-sex marriage.
Alito cited Planned Parenthood v. Casey writing, ‘[a]bortion is a unique act’ because it terminates ‘life or potential life.'”
“And to ensure that our decision is not misunderstood or mischaracterized, we emphasize that our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right. Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion,” he reiterated in his opinion.
So it’s no surprise he’s doing the same with abortion, but enough Americans are now wise to his ways and won’t be distracted or fooled by him.
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