By D. Allan Kerr
The success of America’s right wingers in stoking gun owners’ fears is, in my humble opinion, the main reason it’s been so difficult to achieve meaningful gun safety legislation in recent years.
Despite a never-ending stream of mass shootings, it seems every time a new initiative kicks in for even something as innocuous as enhanced background checks, citizens are told it’s the first step to take away your legally owned firearms.
“Democrats are coming after your guns!” has become the rallying cry whenever a lawmaker brings up any sort of restrictive gun measure.
And it works. The masses are so terrified over even the remote possibility of losing their rightful property they resist any legislation intended to curtail access to guns for criminal purposes.
So it occurs to me that Democrats could apply this same strategy to the ongoing abortion wars.
Until recently, I’ve been under the impression even anti-abortion Republicans were willing to agree the procedure may be tolerable in cases of rape or incest or the health of the mother. Or even during the early stages of pregnancy.
But with the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs Wade possibly paving the way for national abortion bans, conservative Republicans have become emboldened and even more self-righteous than usual.
Republicans like Georgia’s U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker argue there should never be an excuse for abortion – except, obviously, when it’s convenient for Herschel Walker.
The pro-choice folks have come out in force as well to counter these GOP measures and threats. If they really want to hone a message that’ll resonate, however, they should emphasize what could be the inevitable conclusion of these GOP actions:
Republicans are coming after your condoms. Abortion laws are just the first step.
In writing his concurring opinion in the June reversal of the Roe decision, conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggested the highest court in the land also “should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.“
One of those rulings Thomas wants to reevaluate – 1965’s Griswold v. Connecticut – protected the ability of married couples to obtain contraceptives without government interference.
This decision overturned an actual Connecticut law banning the use of “any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception” by married couples.
“Would we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms for telltale signs of the use of contraceptives?” Justice William O. Douglas wrote for the majority in that 1965 Supreme Court decision. “The very idea is repulsive to the notions of privacy surrounding the marriage relationship.”
But almost six decades later, Thomas is apparently willing to go there. And he’s not alone.
Arizona Republican senate candidate Blake Masters reportedly declared on his campaign website in May he would “vote only for federal judges who understand that Roe and Griswold and Casey were wrongly decided,” but apparently removed this statement after a public backlash.
Now, here’s the sad truth – or at least my interpretation of it – and please don’t shoot the messenger:
As a species, guys in general don’t get fired up about defending abortion rights. And this shouldn’t shock the opposite sex, but the reason why is because it’s not something we personally have to undergo.
When any discussion is held to consider an abortion procedure, the final decision has to be made by the woman, not the man. There’s no way around that – it’s her body.
Men would probably need to feel we stand to lose something as well, in order for a greater percentage of the male population to weigh in on this debate. Threaten to take away our guns or our condoms and that’ll be sure to get our attention.
For the record, my wife doesn’t believe even the threat of a condom ban would be enough to spark more males to action, since we have the option of just walking away from an unwanted pregnancy. She says it would take something like a “sex tax” to get men off their duffs.
“You want motivation? Attack a man’s wallet and you’ll see an uprising,” she said. But that’s probably a subject for another time.
As someone lucky enough to revel in the joys of being a dad and a “Pappy,” I personally hate the notion of intentionally terminating a pregnancy. I like to think American society has evolved to the point where single motherhood or adoption are more warmly embraced alternatives than they might have been in years past.
But I’d hate to see young women turn to dangerous methods if healthier options are no longer available.
In the weeks since the overturning of Roe, clinics in 15 states have reportedly stopped offering safe abortions to women in need. In 14 of those states now, this access is no longer available, which means women seeking the procedure could wind up seeking more potentially harmful methods.
I was one of those who scoffed whenever liberals tried to warn that a conservative Supreme Court might overturn Roe. And remember, a couple of those justices who did so had claimed they never would.
I’m starting to realize maybe we shouldn’t take for granted things remaining the way we’ve come to know.