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The Left’s Flexible Attitude Toward ‘Rights’

Selective outrage over abortion restrictions and none over curtailing gun rights.

by
Rand Simberg

Bio

January 25, 2012 - 12:00 am

Recently, the Texas legislature passed (and the governor signed) a law with a seemingly modest requirement — that any woman getting an abortion in the state of Texas be allowed (and required) to see a sonogram of the fetus twenty-four hours prior to the surgery.

Note what the law doesn’t do. It doesn’t prevent a woman from getting an abortion. It (at most) slows her down by one day from doing so, should she choose to go through with it.

Contrast this with the hoops that gun owners must often jump through to purchase firearms — background checks, waiting periods, purchase limits within a certain amount of time. Or the requirement that they undergo training, spending money and investing time, to get a permit to carry their weapons, even in states where it is allowed. All of these are far more onerous than the simple requirement that a woman have an ultrasound picture taken of her womb, and see it.

Let us compare and contrast the two “rights.” One of them is enshrined in the Constitution, in black-letter law, in the Bill of Rights (the very second one, in fact). The other is a penumbra of a dubious emanation.

The former is violated in multiple ways, in multiple places, every day, and it takes continuous pressure and lawsuits, and sometimes specific laws, to get the government to respect it, and even then, they often continue to ignore the court orders.

Supporters of the “wispy penumbra” don’t believe that there should be any restrictions on it whatsoever, and express outrage at the slightest perceived encroachment.

Predictably, the “pro-choice” community exploded in outrage and lawsuits against this violation of a “woman’s right to choose” (even though it had no affect whatsoever on her “right to choose”). The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit and managed to get a temporary injunction against it, on the ludicrous basis that they were likely to prevail in court, when in fact their case was laughable. The Texas attorney general quickly filed an appeal to the Fifth Circuit to lift it, and on January 10, the court agreed that they didn’t have a case, and ruled that the injunction be lifted. On January 13, a three-judge panel authorized the state to start enforcing the law.  With little apparent sense of irony, the CRR characterized the ruling as “extreme.”

Well, Planned Parenthood was also furious, even though it already does sonograms prior to abortions — it just doesn’t want to show the pictures to the prospective clients. It characterized the decision as “abhorrent.”

But as the head of the Family Research Council notes, what’s really abhorrent is Planned Parenthood’s attitude:

“Her organization recognizes that the biggest weapon in the abortion debate is the ultrasound machine,” Perkins said. “For thousands of women, this window into the womb is the only persuasion they need to reconsider abortion. And, as Richards’s group has proved, pro-abortion activists will do everything in their power to stop mothers from recognizing the personhood of their unborn babies.”

“This is a country where Americans can’t even play paintball without signing a paper acknowledging the risks. How does it possibly make sense to let women undergo a major surgical procedure without giving them all the facts?” he said. “The media may be calling it a victory for pro-lifers, but in this case, women and their babies are the real winners. While Texans still have the right to ‘choose,’ at least they’ll finally know what they’re choosing.”

That is, they aren’t really in favor of choice, because they know that if women have all the info, they are often inclined to make the “wrong” choice — that is, to decide not to terminate their pregnancy and kill their gestating child. I think that, at this point, it’s fair to say that they are not a pro-choice movement — they are objectively pro-abortion, and want to see as many as possible. How else to explain all of this irrational hysteria over a common-sense law?

The question is not whether or not they want to maximize the abortion rate, but why? Is it just business — that they make money off abortions, and want to continue to see their business grow, or is it ideological (or both)? And if the latter, what is the ideology? Is it a concern about population growth in general (often a leftist trope)? Or something darker (so to speak)? Black women get abortions at far higher rates than non-blacks. Is it possible that this is part of Planned Parenthood’s “plan”? Maybe:

[Lila] Rose claimed that Planned Parenthood development officials in all seven states that her group contacted gave similar responses and were encouraging donations that were limited to funding only abortions for black women.

As noted over there, Planned Parenthood’s intellectual DNA goes all the way back to Margaret Sanger and her championing of eugenics:

Rose said that the study was done both because of the controversal views of Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, and Rose’s belief that the group was still following those founding principles. Sanger advocated using birth control, sterilization, and abortion to weed out “the problem of the dependent, delinquent and defective elements in modern society.”

Rose also noted that she was concerned that “80 percent of Planned Parenthood clinics are in minority neighborhoods.”

Just a coincidence, I’m sure.

At any rate, I’ll start taking their bleating about constitutional rights seriously when it becomes one tenth as hard to get an abortion as it is to bear arms.

Rand Simberg is a recovering aerospace engineer and a consultant in space commercialization, space tourism and Internet security. He offers occasionally biting commentary about infinity and beyond at his weblog, Transterrestrial Musings.
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