Ben Shapiro Forgets To Pretend Texas's Bad Abortion Law Was About Women's Health
Earlier today, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down two laws in Texas aimed at restricting access to abortion.
Of course, those who had argued for the law insisted that they were intended to do no such thing. These laws, they insisted, were not aimed at preventing anyone from getting an abortion, but rather to ensure that those abortions were safe abortions. They weren't trying to take anyone's rights away! They were just concerned about women's health and safety.
That has been the official line all along: Operation Piss On Their Heads And Tell Them It Is Raining. While those of us on the right side of history are cheering today over the fact that they were not able to pull this off, many anti-choicers are now so grief-stricken that they have forgotten all of their talking points and are now basically admitting to what these laws have been about all along, which is preventing access to abortion.
But who refuses to lie (this time)? It is Ben Shapiro! The former Breitbart goon says exactly what those of us opposing the law have been saying about it all along. He is well aware that the laws are sham laws created simply to restrict abortion. In fact, the piece is even titled "Supreme Court Strikes Down Health Regulations That Could Stop Women From Killing Their Babies." He just doesn't think there is anything wrong with doing that, because they wouldn't even have to do that if you would just let them outlaw abortion!
First things first: there is no right to abortion in the United States Constitution. Roe v. Wade continues to be one of the two worst decisions in the history of the Supreme Court, along with Dred Scott – a decision utterly unmoored from law, reality, and decency. But that so-called “right to an abortion” has generated an awkward political reality: those who oppose abortion on the state level have been forced to craft legislation that (1) either restricts abortion after a certain point in pregnancy, defined by the Supreme Court randomly based on the constituency of the Court at any given time or (2) mandates standards for health care that apply to abortion clinics, but also have the effect of limiting the number of abortion clinics operating.
This particular situation falls under the second strategy.
No, they haven't actually been forced to do any of that. They have done it all on their own! And yes, there is a constitutional right to abortion, that is what Roe v. Wade decided. That it was part of our constitutional rights for abortion to be a private decision made between our doctors and ourselves. Not the state. So when the state gets involved -- without proving a compelling governmental interest -- that means our constitutional rights are being violated. The state of Texas attempted to prove a compelling governmental interest, and they failed, because their law was stupid.
Shapiro did, of course, attempt to address the "health and safety" aspect of the law instead:
The majority on the Supreme Court decided that any such regulations were impermissible if they created “undue burden” on a woman seeking an abortion. This is illogical in the extreme. This is the equivalent of suggesting that Americans have a right to eat at restaurants, but health regulations by the state that shut too many restaurants are therefore unconstitutional.
Nope, not the equivalent of that at all! A better equivalent would be if a vegan governor and legislature voted to require all restaurants that serve meat to require their employees to be certified EMTs in case a customer choked on a piece of steak or had a heart-attack during dessert. And also required them to all wear gold-plated shoes. For reasons! And yeah, if a state did try to impose those regulations, it probably would not pass the muster of any court, because they wouldn't be able to provide a compelling government interest or explain why only restaurants that served meat were being targeted for these regulations.
Antonin Scalia did not get to write a dissent, because the devil won't let you do that in hell.
One need not be an advocate of discrimination against gays to believe that government does not have the ability to enforce the prevailing social standards of the time in violation of individual rights. There are many situations in which advocates of freedom dislike particular exercises of that freedom but understand that government attacks on individual rights are far more threatening to the public good.
Hey! You know what the Supreme Court has agreed, time and time again, is an "individual right?" Abortion! You know what they have agreed is not an individual right? Discriminating against people. WHOOPS! Sorry!
However, as I feel slightly bad about engaging in so much schadenfreude (kidding, I do not), I have a really great suggestion for Ben Shapiro and all the other doofuses out there who think states should have the right to make abortion illegal: PRETEND YOU ALL LIVE IN THE SAME STATE, AND HAVE MADE ABORTION ILLEGAL THERE. Then, don't have abortions. Problem solved! It's the exact same thing as living in a state or country that has made abortion illegal, except you don't annoy other people.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse