I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Abortion Ruling

The reactions to yesterday's ruling by the Supreme Court upholding the partial-birth abortion ban passed by congress have been interesting. I visit a lot of liberal sites like buzzflash and see a lot of talk about the Supreme Court having outlawed a certain type of abortion. I'd like to point out that the Supreme Court didn't outlaw anything in this ruling... it merely upheld a law passed by congress. And, if democrats are upset by the law, it seems to me the answer is obvious. Now that they control congress and the senate, pass a law legalizing this abortion practice. If the president vetoes it, muster the votes to override the veto. For a congressman or senator to blame the court for upholding a law seems to me to represent a dodge of their own responsibility as lawmakers.

The thing is, I've always thought that Democrats would benefit if Roe v. Wade were overturned. I truly feel like there is a pretty solid majority in this country that supports a right to abortion. Making the issue a court-protected issue instead of a legislative issue meant that Democratic voters could be complacent. It didn't matter if they voted or not, or who controlled congress, because abortion was a constitutional right according to the court. Republicans have gotten very good at hammering out restrictions that have popular support... things like parental notification, waiting periods, and now this partial birth abortion ban. Democrats are scared to vote against these things (though, no doubt some support them because they truly believe in them). But, if I were a Democrat, I'd be introducing pro-abortion legislation that Republicans would have a hard time opposing. A broad-based legislation that states that no woman can every be subject to prosecution for deciding to travel between states to obtain a legal abortion, for instance. (I don't think this is illegal now, but codifying it in law would be a huge symbolic victory.) Or, legislation that guarantees a legal abortion would be made available in cases of rape or incest. Plenty of people would oppose this, but I think it would be easy to brand the opposition as outside the mainstream.

The fact is, it seems like only Republicans have bothered to use the legislature as a political tool to change the law to reflect their wishes. Democrats haven't been introducing pro-abortion legislation that I'm aware of, they've only been opposing anti-abortion legislation. They should pick up some tips from the Republicans and actually pass some laws that support their values instead of always playing defense.

I suspect, if this battle is decided via legislation instead of via court fiat, what we'll wind up with will be laws that make abortion widely available, perhaps even publicly subsidized, but with comprises like waiting periods and parental notification. It wouldn't be a constitutional right... it would be statuatory law that would require constant vigilance to maintian and reflect the will of the public... you know, democracy.

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