Monday, April 30, 2007

After This We Can Talk Welfare Reform

There are lots of things I don't understand about this world, many of which are the number of intelligent, awesome, analytical feminists who support the Democrats. From Katha Pollit:

So now you know. It really does matter who's President and which party controls Congress. A Democratic-controlled Congress would never have passed the Partial-Birth Abortion Act, which banned intact dilation and extraction abortions and, in flagrant violation of Roe v. Wade, lacked an exception to preserve the health of the woman. A Democratic President would never have signed such a bill. Nor would he have nominated the extremely conservative antichoicers John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, which on April 18 upheld, in Gonzales v. Carhart by a 5-to-4 vote (Roberts, Alito, Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas--all GOP nominees), a ban essentially identical to one rejected 5 to 4 in Stenberg v. Carhart seven years ago, when Sandra Day O'Connor was on the bench.
A Democratic president may have never signed this particular bill, but that doesn't make them staunch upholders of abortion rights. Poor women's right to abortion were extinguished with the 1976 Hyde Amendment. The Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate, when the Hyde Amendment was passed. Then Democratic Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter indicated that he would support the amendment, and this support was one of the reasons Ford backed-down on his thread to veto the legislation. In 1980 the supreme court ruled on the constitutionality of the Hyde Amendment; at this time there were two justices who had been appointed by Democratic presidents. If both of those justices had supported poor women's rights to abortion then the Hyde Amendment would have been ruled unconstitutional, but they did not.

I am not meaning to downplay the serious of the latest decision when I say that the effect it will have on women's lives is extremely limited, when compared to the effect of the Hyde Amendment. The most serious attack on American women's right to an abortion was a bipartisan effort, and the Democrats more than played their part.


  1. Anonymous11:17 am

    Only one of the Democrat-appointed Justices (White) voted how you suggest. The other (Thurgood Marshall) dissented, and consistently too when other cases came up.

  2. Anonymous10:02 pm

    In fact, the Hyde Amendment did not restrict the right of poor women to have abortions; it prevented the Federal Government for paying for their abortions with other people's money.

    Forcing some Americans to pay for the healthcare of others is every bit as unconstitutional as is a ban on abortions.