I have a great love for Katha Pollitt and her columns for The Nation. Her column this week is no exception. Check it out here:
Sorry. I’m upset. For the first time, the Supreme Court has ruled that the health of an actually existing human woman doesn’t matter, never mind Roe. Nor does a doctor’s judgment. What counts, according to Justice Kennedy’s majority decision, is that this particular method of abortion “devalues human life.” Besides, the woman, confused little flower nodding her head in the breeze, needs to be protected from regret, the “grief more anguished and sorrow more profound” that might come when she realizes the exact nature of the procedure.
Regret! If that’s a criterion, no one could ever decide about anything. Maybe we women should call up Justice Kennedy whenever we have a big decision to make. “Um, excuse me, Justice Kennedy, Bob just proposed, but what if he’s not The One? And while I have you on the phone, the job in California sounds so great, but what if I never finish my novel? And what if I vote Republican because I’m scared of Osama, but then Congress tries to make me have a baby?” Numerous commentators have downplayed the significance of Gonzales v. Carhart–you can still get an abortion, just not with this method, which was only used in about 2,000 cases a year anyway.
But that ho-hum approach overlooks what is new here and where it’s going. I’ve mentioned the paternalism and the Roe-disregarding lack of a health exception. But let’s not forget the sheer useless moral posturing: A woman can wind up injured, and her fetus will be aborted anyway, but the tender sensibilities of Kennedy and his four brethren will be protected! What other procedures will they find “shocking” down the line? It’s not as if the alternatives–dismembering the fetus in the womb and extracting it piece by piece; poisoning it and delivering it dead–are delightful to contemplate. Why shouldn’t they find more and more abortions unacceptable–maybe even all of them?