Yesterday, in the US Senate, Democrats let their abortion extremism hang out. No more faking it about "safe, legal, and rare": the new standard is "I mean, do you feel like it?"
After the leak of Justice Alito's draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, it was inevitable that Chuck Schumer would introduce some kind of abortion legislation. Even if his bill couldn't hurdle over a filibuster, the Democrats could as least use it as a planted flag in the culture war to come. Their base has spent the last week running into traffic yodeling about right-wing...
Yesterday, in the US Senate, Democrats let their abortion extremism hang out. No more faking it about “safe, legal, and rare”: the new standard is “I mean, do you feel like it?”
After the leak of Justice Alito’s draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, it was inevitable that Chuck Schumer would introduce some kind of abortion legislation. Even if his bill couldn’t hurdle over a filibuster, the Democrats could as least use it as a planted flag in the culture war to come. Their base has spent the last week running into traffic yodeling about right-wing fascism. And given that a majority of Americans support some kind of legal abortion, surely there was room to maneuver here.
Instead, Schumer decided to tap into his party’s dark id. The legislation he coughed up wouldn’t just codify Roe into federal law. It would go much further, permitting abortions at any point during a pregnancy right up until birth. It would have wiped out state laws that prohibit abortions even after Roe‘s “viability” threshold. The only requirement for a grisly late-term abortion would be that “in the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider, continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health.”
It’s “health” that clangs so loudly there. Such an elastic term could be read to cover just about anything, including mental health, a feeling of regret or the weariness that accompanies any pregnancy. The message is clear: find a creative enough doctor and a late-term abortion is yours.
Schumer’s bill is thus light years past Bill Clinton’s “safe, legal, and rare,” and even further gone from the pro-life noises that Democrats like Joe Biden and Jesse Jackson once made. And even then Schumer wasn’t finished. His bill would also demolish state-level parental notification laws, which polls find are overwhelmingly popular. It would even wipe out so-called conscience protections, which allow doctors to abstain from performing abortions if they have a moral objection.
When it comes to abortion, the most extreme of the first-world nations is Canada, which has no federal prohibitions whatsoever. Yet at least Up North conscience rights are generally accepted and the provinces have some regulatory latitude. Schumer’s bill would take the United States beyond even that. The new frontier of virtually unlimited abortion would be more in line with China than anything in the West.
All this was too much even for those pro-choice Olsen twins, Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. The pair, both moderate Republicans, introduced their own bill that would have actually codified Roe into law, enshrining the decision’s “undue burden” standard for abortions before fetal viability. Yet Democrats’ reaction was telling: they shouted down the bill as too weak. And that’s just it. Roe isn’t enough for them now. Polarized by decades of battling pro-lifers, led along by cerulean-district Dems like AOC, they’ve passed into moral oblivion.
Remember this the next time some progressive says Alito is ignoring the will of the people (hefty majorities want to outlaw abortions in the second and third trimesters). Recall it the next time you hear that Republicans are Lurching! Towards! The! Fringe! It may be that, as Collins speculated, Schumer’s bill was just a statement, a political document that was intended to fail. But then the substance of that statement is extraordinary — and every Senate Democrat except Joe Manchin voted for it.