Pitching The Ball
I struggle to understand the criticism to the recent, “pro-life” Alabama law. Let me explain why.
This is not a law banning abortions. It merely restricts it to a strict standard. Nor is it meant as a one-off death blow to Roe vs Wade, because it still makes it possible to perform abortions if the life of the mother is “in danger” (cue thousands of girls saying they are thinking of committing suicide, et voila’….). What, I think, this and similar laws are meant to, is to chip away at abortion “rights” one bit at a time, paving the way for a decision of the Court that does not need a perfect law to be made: the decision, namely, that the US Constitution does not guarantee a right to abort.
The Supreme Court does not need a perfectly coherent law to discard Roe vs Wade more than it needed a perfectly coherent abortion legislation to issue Roe vs Wade. The issue is an issue of principles, not of technicalities. If the principle is coherently stated, there is nothing to prevent the Supreme Court to decide about its conformity to the Constitution. Actually, not even that is needed. Judge Roberts came out with the idea that Obamacare is a tax all of his own!
Certainly, everything can be made better. But give me ten or twelve sub-optimal laws knocking at the Supreme Court door than a perfect one.
The Supreme Court has, in the past, gone with the times. There is no doubt that an onslaught of abortion-limiting laws would create the social environment for a ground breaking decision. Laws like the Alabama one send in the sky a test balloon, and contribute to the societal changes the Supreme Court will, one day, ratify.
A better law still would be one that bans abortion qua abortion: that defends life from conception, does not make any exception for rape or incest, criminalises the mother for killing her baby, does not allow any health excuse* and, in everything else, gives the unborn the same degree of protection as the born baby.
But we are not there. Such a law would likely not be passed anywhere, not even Alabama. You chip away at abortion one piece at a time, and throw the Supreme Court a beautiful pitch.
It is for them to smash that ball out of the ballpark.
*mind, this excludes the case where a surgical intervention is necessary to save the life of the mother and, as an unwanted but inevitable result of the intervention, the child dies. This is, medically and technically, not an abortion.