Sunday 24 January 2021

A Victory for Human Rights as Biden Plans to Codify Roe v. Wade Into Federal Law

President Joe Biden - Promise to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law if SCOTUS rules against it.
Biden vows to ‘codify’ Roe v. Wade on anniversary of ruling - The Christian Post

The Biden/Harris administration will codify the SCOTUS ruling known as Roe v. Wade into federal law, if SCOTUS, with its new right-wing majority given it by Trump's appointees, ever reverses it.

Last Friday, on the 48th anniversary of the landmark 1973 SCOTUS ruling, President Biden said:
The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to codifying Roe v. Wade and appointing judges that respect foundational precedents like Roe. In the past four years, reproductive health, including the right to choose, has been under relentless and extreme attack. We are deeply committed to making sure everyone has access to care — including reproductive health care — regardless of income, race, zip code, health insurance status, or immigration status.
In 1973, SCOTUS had ruled by a 7-2 majority to support an application by Norma McCorvey, under the legal pseudonym, "Jane Roe" to rule that the ban on abortion in Texas in the person of the local district attorney, Henry Wade was unconstitutional. The main reasons given in the judgement was that a woman had a right to privacy under both the 9th and 14th Amendment, and that a blanket ban on abortion violated the right to Due Process under the 14th Amendment. The law banning abortions in Texas was thus unconstitutional and was struck down. At the same time, SCOTUS ruled similarly on the related case of Doe v. Bolton, that the Georgia ban on abortion was also unconstitutional.

Public support for Roe V. Wade
Source - Wikipedia
The depths to which the anti-abortionist 'pro-life' movement will go to reverse Roe v. Wade can be seen in the fact that in 1995, Norma McCorvey announced that she had changed her mind and became a vocal opponent of abortion, only to reveal before her death in 2017 that she still supported a woman's right to abortion, and had been paid by anti-abortion groups, including Operation Rescue, for her support. If effect, fundamentalist Christian groups had bribed her to lie.

Since the ruling, public support for it has tended to fluctuate quite widely but has rarely fallen below 50% whilst opposition to it has similarly fluctuated but never rising above 50%. In 2013 support for it was at about 53% with about 28% against it.

Needless to say, conservative Christian groups are outraged by President Biden's declaration. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (apparently still believing they have some residual moral authority after the child-abuse scandals), through Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, head of the US Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said
We strongly urge the president to reject abortion and promote life-affirming aid to women and communities in need. It is deeply disturbing and tragic that any president would praise and commit to codifying a Supreme Court ruling that denies unborn children their most basic human and civil right, the right to life under the euphemistic disguise of a health service.
Any reading of the opinions expressed by the Supreme Court justices in their 1973 ruling however makes it very clear that they tried to balance any rights of an unborn child with the rights of the mother, so the Catholic Church is deliberately misleading people with that claim.

What is rapidly becoming clear is just what an unmitigated disaster for the Christian right the Trump Presidency was. Not only has it resulted in an administration committed to opposing and undoing just about everything Trump stood for but it has also resulted in:
  • The first mixed-race vice-president who is also the first female vice-president.
  • A liberal administration that is oposed to white supremacist privilege and victimisation of minorities and in favour of a kinder, more tolerant and compassionate, inclusive policies.
And of course, any moral authority the evangelical Christian right might once have lain claim to went when they threw in their lot with a candidate who was the very antithesis of everything one might expect of a good, devout Christian. A serial adulterer, a rapist, a crook, an arrogant, self-adulatory, psychopath and bully with boundless avarice driven by vanity and self-aggrandizement.

Everything the extreme, evangelical Christian right hoped to gain from their support for the odious Donald Trump has come to nothing. Instead they now have an administration that stands for just about everything that is anathema to American white evangelical Christianity, whose influence in American politics has been diminished immeasurably as a result.

They have shown themselves willing, even eager, to abandon principle in return for power and influence and, as a last resort to come out in favour of the overthrow of democracy for the rule of a neo-fascist totalitarian, racist dictatorship.

They have relinquished any right they might once have had to moral leadership. Long may they remain in the moral gutter where they belong.

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