After angry public reaction to the leaked Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito draft opinion on reversing Roe v. Wade, Justice Clarence Thomas said: “We are becoming addicted to wanting particular outcomes, not living with the outcomes we don’t like. We can’t be an institution that can be bullied into giving you just the outcomes you want. The events from earlier this week are a symptom of that.” The kind of events to which Thomas referred include pro-abortion activists blocking church entrances and protesting at the homes of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Alito.
It is difficult to determine when this generation of Americans on the Left decided to attack rather than persuade those who disagree. But an inflection point occurred when, for the first time in history, the Senate rejected a Supreme Court nominee, not because of ethics or lack of character, but because Democrats opposed his judicial philosophy.
President Ronald Reagan nominated to U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Justice Robert Bork, who represented — to Democrats like Sen. Ted Kennedy — a threat to move the Supreme Court to the right on issues like abortion and affirmative action. Kennedy viciously attacked. On the Senate floor, Kennedy described “Robert Bork’s America” as “a land in which women would be forced into back?alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens.”
Two years ago, at a pro-abortion rights rally in front of the Supreme Court, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., shouted: “I want to tell you, Gorsuch. I want to tell you, Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” Following this, Chief Justice John Roberts issued a statement: “Justices know that criticism comes with the territory. But threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous.”
Two years earlier, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., at a rally, called for the public harassment of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet members. Waters shouted: “If you see anybody from that (Trump) Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”
President Joe Biden, who once backed an amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade, recently slammed its possible reversal: “What are the next things that are going to be attacked? Because this MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that’s existed in American history — in recent American history.”
Even The New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet criticized the intolerance of the supposedly tolerant Left. In 2017, Baquet said: “I don’t understand how one can actually have an intellectual discourse in this country if you cannot have the opportunity to read thoughtful people with whom you disagree. We’re at a moment in the country right now which I think, you know, the left should do some soul searching too, right? … We don’t want to hear anything — we’ve long said this about this about the Right … but the Left as a rule does not want to hear thoughtful disagreement.”
I am pro-life. I oppose abortion. I live in California, where voters opposed abortion restriction propositions for parental notification and for waiting periods. As a federalist who believes that issues like abortion are properly left to the states, I see my role as a citizen, pundit and a person of faith to persuade, not threaten. There was a time when people on the Left felt this way, too.
COPYRIGHT 2022 LAURENCE A. ELDER
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Larry Elder is a bestselling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder.
The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.
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I don’t understand the hullabaloo about abortion. I’ll admit it to anyone who asks me.
I was raised to respect anyone’s life, irregardless of the color of their skin, their religion, their social standing, etc. I’ve always thought RvW was wrong and just plain murder. But, then, I’m a seasoned citizen and have seen some of the world. After viewing various cultures and their beliefs, most of which cherish the lives of their unborn and born equally, I still don’t understand the need to make murder legal, or something.
Near as I can figure, the current and past attitudes from some folks on abortion is more about creating chaos in our society, and the world, to allow the proponents of abortion to kill at will. Sort of a chosen blood lust to control a segment of the population which is deemed as undesirable for whatever reason. If given the opportunity to actually legalize the killing of those unborn, I can see how it can be broadened to post-birth, and beyond, for other lives considered to be undesirable. How many of the supporters of abortion actually know what the purpose was and is behind the founding of the abortion industry in this nation? I’d bet not many have taken the time to actually look at the history behind that movement.
Or, maybe, they just don’t care. At the present time, I’m sure someone is paying the bills for all the “protests” surrounding this issue, so the participants(employees) feel empowered to spend their time ranting and raving about their “rights” to terminate a life. And they should be held accountable for doing so. Whether an unborn baby or a fully formed human being, it makes no difference, its a life and there is no way to judge whether that heart should continue beating or not.
Just sayin’. Rant over.
Why are the Abhorrently Pro-Abortionist So Adamantly against the death penalty for Murderers?
Seems like those people worship the devil!
I would like to thank Larry Elder for so effectively arguing against himself in his recent editorial “Leftists bury another norm”. When he quotes Justice Clarence Thomas’ lament about people not accepting court decisions they don’t like, he perfectly describes over 40 years of the anti-abortion movement’s orchestrated harassment of women seeking abortions and the systematic dismantling of women’s healthcare. When he pleads for civility from today’s women’s rights protestors, Mr. Elder conveniently forgets how the anti-abortion movement has used “persuasion” at the point of a gun to murder abortion providers.
Mr. Elder also reminds us of Sen. Ted Kennedy’s predictions for a rightward-leaning Court bringing us back to back-alley abortions, (thanks, Tennessee), forbidding the teaching of evolution (here’s looking at you, Texas), and writers and artists being censored by the government (don’t say gay in Florida). Instead of Mr. Elder’s characterization of Mr. Kennedy’s words as being “vicious”, it seems they were sadly all too prescient.
To Mr. Elder, who personally opposes abortion, I say, “then don’t have one”. One’s personal opinion about abortion is relevant only to one’s person. If we permit the government to make decisions affecting any individual’s most private, personal autonomy over their own body, then we have effectively eliminated the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Mr. Elder’s arguments are a thin fig leaf over naked authoritarianism.
I would like to propose an honest invitation to turn “thoughtful disagreement” into positive action. I would welcome people on all sides of this issue to work together toward fixing the broken systems in our society which force so many women to seek abortions because of their lack of income, prenatal care, child care, housing and job security, or because of rape, incest, or abusive relationships. While the majority of Americans want access to abortions to remain safe and legal, surely there is common ground to be found in directing our energy and resources toward improving conditions for women so that abortions can also become rare.
Karen, you say, “One’s personal opinion about abortion is relevant only to one’s person.” But you’re forgetting that there’s another person involved – the innocent unborn child. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Is it too much to ask that a woman who doesn’t want a child should make sure she doesn’t conceive one – even if it means (gasp!) refraining from casual sex?
I agree that making abortion rare by “improving conditions for women” is something we should all work for – and, BTW, something that organizations offering women life-giving alternatives (efforts which, contrary to pro-abortion propaganda, DON’T end at birth) have been doing since before abortion was legalized.
Sadly, though, the abortion industry doesn’t want abortion to be rare. They make too much money from it. They constantly lie to women, telling them it’s no big deal, that they aren’t killing a baby but just “a clump of cells.” According to many former employees of Planned Parenthood, if a woman shows any hesitation about having an abortion, they are instructed to steer her into choosing abortion, rather than listening to her concerns, let alone offering her alternatives.
The “back alley” was largely a myth. There were always doctors who offered abortions clandestinely – but since they didn’t want to be caught, they were a lot more careful not to injure women than most of the legal abortion facilities. The claim that ten thousand women died from illegal abortion annually was made up out of thin air – the real number was less than one hundred.
If abortion is really about “women’s health,” then why does the abortion industry constantly fight against common-sense regulations designed to protect women’s health & safety, such as informed consent (including letting mothers see the ultrasound pictures of their babies), waiting periods, & parental consent for minors (which, among other things, prevents statutory rape), making sure the providers have admitting privileges at hospitals? Because it cuts into their profits.
And they accuse peaceful people who are offering alternatives of “violence” and “harassment.” In fact, violence against abortion facilities is very rare – and most often perpetrated by mentally ill people, or relatives angry that their wife or daughter was injured or killed there. And only 5 abortion doctors have been killed during the 50 years since Roe – deplorable, but hardly on a par with the bloodbath of 63 million babies butchered.
In any case, going by recent events, I’d say it’s the pro-abortionists who are the “violent extremists.”
Oh, and BTW, no one’s been forbidden to “say gay” in FL! During the pandemic a lot of parents became aware of how much inappropriate material was being shown to their children by teachers – and they did something about it.
I see you have all your talking points neatly lined up, but unfortunately, they are not borne out by facts. First, it IS too much to ask a woman who is a victim of rape (including marital rape), incest, a violent relationship, or the failure of birth control (including the deception or coercion of a partner) to “make sure” she doesn’t conceive one. 54% of women who have abortions were using birth control at the time of conception. Do these women lack “personal responsibility”? Second, 43% of women who seek abortions in the US (and over 70% worldwide) are either married or living with a partner. Are these women “engaging in casual sex”?
The organizations you claim have been offering women “life-giving” alternatives haven’t been very effective, have they, in preventing the poverty or lack of health and child care which are the driving forces behind many women’s decisions to abort. Nor are the forces working to eliminate abortion access working to support contraception access. This is a counterintuitive and counterproductive stance, which only serves to undermine the goal of reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies.
I will not dignify your accusation of the abortion “industry” only existing for profit, except to ask you if you feel the same way about the cancer-care “industry”. And do you really think that women’s healthcare facilities are spending a fortune on security measures because they are imagining the threats and harassment directed toward providers and clients?
As to the science behind the “clump of cells”, heart cells in a petri dish will “beat”, all on their own, divorced from any connection to a fetus. A fetus’s heart isn’t fully formed and able to beat til the 22nd week of pregnancy. This is the earliest a fetus might be able to survive outside the womb, and therefore the earliest it can possibly be considered an entity separate from the mother. Before that, the undeniable involvement of the woman’s body necessarily requires her permission for the pregnancy to continue to the point of viability.
You don’t address my assertion that government intrusion into this (or any other) intimate domain is a dangerous state of affairs. You also don’t give any reason why you couldn’t work hand in hand with people who uphold a woman’s right to her bodily autonomy. Let’s find ways of supporting real solutions for the social problems which force many women to seek abortions for lack of a better option. Let’s support evidence-based sex education, universal availability of contraceptives, a universal basic income, universal and affordable health care and child care, paid maternity leave and sick leave, high-quality education for all children, starting at pre-school, and subsidies for food and housing for struggling families. Many European countries do all of this. Wouldn’t this qualify as truly pro,-life?
You Obviously believe in the Death Penalty for Murderers, Correct?
I mean, If someone Murdered one of Your family members.
I do have sympathy for the women who conceive a child under difficult circumstances – but I can’t condone killing an innocent unborn child as a solution to anyone’s problems. The easy availability of abortion has made it the default option when the pregnancy is unplanned. Most women don’t really want to abort; all their instincts are telling them to protect and nurture the child. They are driven to abortion because the people who should be supporting them – the child’s father, their parents, friends, social workers, and even doctors – are urging them to “get rid of it.” (I learned that fact from a staff member of a local pregnancy resource center.)
“The organizations you claim have been offering women “life-giving” alternatives haven’t been very effective, have they, in preventing the poverty or lack of health and child care which are the driving forces behind many women’s decisions to abort.” That, I think, is the job of all of us, to work to make conditions better. Pregnancy resource centers do their best, but they can’t carry the whole burden.
“A fetus’s heart isn’t fully formed and able to beat til the 22nd week of pregnancy. ” Really? Then what do women hear and see when they look at their babies’ ultrasounds before then? And, speaking of ultrasounds, the unborn child’s organs, limbs, facial features, etc. are all visible by 10 weeks. Brain waves are also detectable. This isn’t a blob of tissue, but a developing human being – and calling it a “fetus” doesn’t make it less than human. We all went through that development, and we were ourselves throughout the process. Our genetic endowment is the same now as it was when we were first conceived.
“the 22nd week of pregnancy…is the earliest a fetus might be able to survive outside the womb, and therefore the earliest it can possibly be considered an entity separate from the mother.” But how does that make it OK to rip the child out of its natural environment, the womb, where it can survive, and deliberately render it unable to survive?
Most of us can’t survive without the help of others; I don’t know of many people who can claim to be totally self-sufficient. You admit that yourself when you say you want to work for “solutions to social problems” such as “a universal basic income, universal and affordable health care and child care, paid maternity leave and sick leave,” etc. Yes, I agree, that is a pro-life endeavor also – but it won’t help a child who isn’t allowed to be born.
“You don’t address my assertion that government intrusion into this (or any other) intimate domain is a dangerous state of affairs.” OK, I’ll address it now: I find it very dangerous to base a person’s right to live on whether they can survive on their own, and/or whether they are “wanted” by someone else. Devaluing unborn human beings has led to devaluing all human lives, so that a disabled person, or one who suddenly becomes dependent on others through an accident, a stroke, or some other disaster, is often treated as a burden, less valuable and less worth saving. I have a friend who is a nurse, and she sees that attitude all the time in the hospital where she works. I suspect you wouldn’t want your own doctor is feel that way about you.
And yes, it is a fact that the abortion industry cares more about their bottom line than they do about women’s health – that’s why they run to court invoking Roe v Wade every time a state passes legislation designed to protect women’s health and safety. Roe is the reason why we can’t hold them to the same high standards as the rest of the medical profession, and protect women from the likes of Kermit Gosnell and Leroy Carhart.
And yes, I think they are imagining “threats and harassment” where none really exist – because they define those things as ANY kind of opposition to what they’re doing, including peaceful people praying outside and offering women alternatives. All the pro-life people I know are strictly non-violent, like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Abortion is violence, so it would be totally contradictory for us to advocate violence against the abortion industry! In fact, converts from pro-abortion to pro-life, such as Dr. Bernard Nathanson and Abby Johnson, make the best spokespersons for life, because they know the truth about it from experience. And they know it’s not a good choice for anyone.
I use the word fetus because it is the scientifically correct term for an unborn or unhatched vertebrate (check your dictionary). In humans in the first two months of pregnancy, the correct term is embryo. Correct terminology does not devalue the human potential of a pregnancy. By using terms such as unborn or pre-born, you implicitly acknowledge the undeniable, biological fact that this developing life is inextricably connected to the body of the pregnant mother. What you fail to acknowledge is that a woman is more than a womb. She cannot be reduced to being merely a vessel for the purposes of procreation. To do so devalues HER life as fully human.
You are entitled to your sincerely held beliefs about the humanity of the human embryo and fetus. You are free to exercise your beliefs in your personal life and to speak about them publicly. My concern lies with giving power to the government to impose a certain set of beliefs on others who don’t share them. This is especially dangerous when this imposition intrudes on the bodily autonomy and integrity of an individual. It is this creeping authoritarianism which threatens the vulnerable in our society, fundamentally violating their basic human dignity.
Here’s a thought exercise. What if we decided to enforce vasectomies for every male upon reaching puberty. When a man is ready to take on the responsibilities of supporting a child he has fathered, and with his partner’s permission, the vasectomy can be reversed. Voila! No more unintended pregnancies! For the government to have the power to force every woman in society to carry a pregnancy to term against her will is no less intrusive.
The anecdotal testimony of a “staff member of a local pregnancy resource center” does not substitute for facts when it comes to the myriad of reasons why women seek abortions. I have listed many contributing factors in my previous letters. We all can do much to address the failures of society on this list, thereby supporting women and their families, and greatly reducing the number of abortion sought. But in the final analysis, I believe each individual woman can and should be trusted to make this most personal decision for herself. No elected official has the right to overrule the basic human dignity of her bodily integrity.
Yes, “fetus” is the correct scientific term, as are “zygote” and “embryo.” But no matter what one chooses to call unborn children, they are members of the human species. That’s not a “belief” – it’s Biology 101. Really, the only difference between an unborn child and a born child is that before the child is born the mother is its only possible caregiver. But why should that make the mother the sole arbiter of whether the child is allowed to live or die – especially when that “inextricable connection” is only of a few months’ duration? (And if someone invents an artificial womb, even that dubious justification for abortion will disappear.)
So, no, I can’t “trust” ANYONE to decide whether a fellow human being should live or die, no matter how “personal” the decision. As I mentioned above, this has opened the door to a general disrespect for others’ lives, and leads to a society where human rights, including the right to live, are only secure for those who can defend themselves, where “might makes right.”
And that “inextricable connection” means that if we allow our unborn children to be killed, we’re mutilating ourselves – like amputating a healthy limb. The mother is the natural defender of her child’s life; choosing life (or death) for her baby is also choosing it for herself. There are an awful lot of walking wounded out there, women who were lied to and told that abortion would solve all their problems, but instead have suffered physically, mentally, and spiritually from it. (Just ask anyone who’s worked at Rachel’s Vineyard.)
You say, “a woman is more than a womb. She cannot be reduced to being merely a vessel for the purposes of procreation. To do so devalues HER life as fully human.” True – but pregnancy is a normal function of a woman’s body, and in most cases she chose to engage in activities that resulted in conception. So I can’t agree that expecting her to respect the new human life she’s helped create is “devaluing” her – rather, it’s respecting her as a rational being who is capable of facing reality and taking responsibility for her actions.
Yes, there are many reasons why women seek abortions – but a large majority of them have to do with lack of support. This isn’t “anecdotal.” The Elliot Institute (afterabortion.org) has studied many statistics and found that 64% of women – nearly 2/3 – report that they were pressured into unwanted abortions. So the decision isn’t really being made by the woman, but by those around her who should be supporting her and her child.
While I do believe that the government has the duty to require all of us to respect one another’s human rights, starting with the right to life (without which no other rights have any meaning), I agree that we need to make abortion unthinkable before we can make it illegal. We women need to reject abortion, defend our children, and refuse to sacrifice them to someone else’s idea of what our lives should be – as we Feminists for Life say, “refuse to choose.” We believe that we women are strong and capable beings. Too many people are telling women that they can’t finish school, have a career, have a good life, etc., if they have a baby. We say, “Yes, you can – and we’ll help you.”