Make McAuliffe Defend Death On Demand
Democrats have been wrong on every civil rights question from slavery to segregation; from welfare to abortion. They owe the rest of us answers.
FIRST THINGS FIRST — if you like baseball and supporting our local law enforcement, then We Back Blue is hosting a baseball game for charity this upcoming Saturday on 18 September in Woodbridge, Virginia.
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SECOND THINGS FIRST — the US Supreme Court is getting ready to hear a landmark case in October that will most likely end up repealing Roe v. Wade and send the question back to state governments.
Former governor Terry McAuliffe (D) is keen to weaponize this in order to revive a sagging Democratic base still bruised after beating two progressive challengers in a divisive primary.
All of that is set to change.
To wit, check out this article from Professor Robert George over at First Things talking about how he believes that the US Supreme Court’s hearing of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health will indeed end Roe:
Next year, the Supreme Court will hold that there is no constitutional right to elective abortions. In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case pending before the court, it will return the issue to the states for the first time in forty-nine years. It will do so explicitly, calling out by name, and reversing in full, the two major cases that confected and then entrenched a constitutional right to elective abortion: Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992). And the vote will be six to three.
Why do I think so? I have no inside information. I know most of the Justices, but I would never ask what they intend to do in a case, and I’m sure none would tell me if I did. But it’s widely thought, and I myself believe, that six of the Justices believe Roe and Casey to be grossly unfaithful to the Constitution and unjust. None will want to entrench those precedents. The question observers debate is whether some of the six might prefer merely to chip away at those precedents. The reasons for this gradualist approach would be to avoid making the Court seem politically motivated and to avoid drawing the Court further into political fights (by, for example, empowering a push for court-packing).
Of course, for those who pry just a tiny bit? You figure out pretty quickly that I am — and perhaps you may agree — many things long before I am a Republican: a conservative, American, Virginian, and ultimately a Christian (as expressed by my Catholic faith) and in that order.
My opposition to abortion isn’t merely just a religious predication. Every human being has the basic right to exist. Or as the philosopher cum naturalist Albert Schweitzer argues very simply — life respects life.
One doesn’t have to be a religious fanatic in order to defend a very simple and basic premise. Doing away with it destroys several fundamental ideas of what justice — that which is owed — is founded upon.
Which is why ending Roe is going to seriously upend the conservative movement. Not because we get to question our priors, but precisely because we are going to have to ask ourselves the tough question: What precisely are we trying to conserve?
Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin is going to have a moment to define what that is to a conservative base who is straining and starving to hear one thing and a suburban center who doesn’t want to hear too much and hasn’t the stomach for it.
Some food for thought, ladies and gentlemen, on how to walk that tightrope:
Natural Law and Natural Rights
Once upon a time, Americans might have given an answer you could readily find in the works of Thomas Jefferson and the Scottish Enlightenment. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness was the abridgement Jefferson made from George Mason’s original draft:
That all Men are born equally free and independant, and have certain inherent natural Rights, of which they can not by any Compact, deprive or divest their Posterity; among which are the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursueing and obtaining Happiness and Safety.
Much of this preamble is borrowed from John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government written at the same time as the English Bill of Rights of 1689 — just at the time of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the rise of King William & Queen Mary to overthrow a monarch of suspected papist leniencies in favor of Protestant liberties threatened by French King Louis XIV.
Societies — in short — are built to protect our basic rights, among these the right to life, liberty and property. What is government then but the society we create to defend these rights? What is family but a little society? How else are we as persons fulfilled if not in the context of one man and one woman united in the sole institution — marriage — that creates new citizens?
What do we owe this institution? This polity? This society?
What it means for us in the conservative movement is that — should Roe be scrapped — our ideas of personhood and what we owe are about to change dramatically.
To date, we have engaged upon a very individualistic and perhaps even selfish and atomized idea of who we are and what is owed. Roe v. Wade was an outcropping of that 1960s mentality of self over family; sentiment over responsibility.
Too many want our cake and the ability to eat it as well.
Yet deep down, we all know — all of us — that our political leaders, judicial system and society can do far better.
What Changes If Roe Changes? EVERYTHING.
The questions raised by the profiteers of abortion will be legion should Roe disappear from the American landscape. Most of these questions will be utterly dishonest in an attempt to use an exception as the rule. Some will even by terribly barbaric and insist that abortion should be celebrated — obstinacy being the sin even God can’t forgive.
Conservatives as a movement will have to re-examine a few priors:
On LIFE, what will it truly mean to have the Fourteenth Amendment extend the basic right to exist to children who have yet to be born?
On LIBERTY, what will that concept mean? Will it be license separated from reality? Or like the Romans, will it be a tyranny that replaces the old potestas patria — the power of a father to put his children to death — with the potestas matria exercised today?
On PROPERTY, will we continue to exercise these rights independent of the oikonomia and the oikos — the family — whose purpose our economy exists to serve?
These are not pie-in-the-sky questions. These are some truly existential questions that drive at the question what — if anything — conservatives are attempting to conserve. Surely it has not been life after 63,000,000 abortions and counting. Surely it has not been liberty after 20 years of fighting the war on terrorism and watching the America of September 10th slip away. Surely it has not been property in an environment of economic shutdowns, mask mandates and quasi-forced vaccinations — or you lose your job.
Allow me to suggest the following.
Perhaps what we are missing here is the truth that there is no better society to defend a person’s rights than their own family.
Children require their biological parents; men and women have duties to them and one another. Our careers and vocations, our homes and property, our liberties and pursuit of happiness are all channeled and even improved by these realities — and when we chop them up and atomize them? We tend to be less happy, less free, and quite frankly less alive.
If it is not the basic building block of society — the family — then precisely what are we in this game for? To be scolds?
The First National Debate On Hobbs v. Jackson Will Be The ONLY Virginia Gubernatorial Debate
So here it comes.
The Virginia gubernatorial debate at the Appalachian School of Law this Thursday, September 16th is going to the be the first and only debate of the entire campaign. More than this, it is going to be the opening salvo of what a post-Roe world might look like.
Bear in mind that neither McAuliffe or Youngkin can have any impact on the US Supreme Court decision whatsoever.
But with a 3-3-3 bench consisting of three conservatives (Alito, Thomas and ACB), three progressives (Sotomayor, Breyer and Kagan), and three about-to-find-outs (Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Roberts) — one really has no idea how this SCOTUS is going to lean. All that we do know is that the status quo is about to change.
Guess who is going to have a very keen opinion on all of this and has had to consider their position on this question for many years, folks? Women voters.
Need some numbers? One in four US women have had an abortion. 10% of women make it their top issue.
Just in case you think the comment “women voters” is a touch man-ish? 14% of Democratic women and just 4% of Democratic men feel the same way about abortion as a top-issue.
74% of Republicans identify as pro-life. One-third of all Republicans view pro-life issues as their top issue. Of those, 30% say it is their only issue — their reason for being political at all. Independents are torn in half, yet most Americans support European-style restrictions on abortion-on-demand.
True to form, “Fast Terry” McAuliffe is going to have an opinion on abortion on demand because his donors have an opinion. Blood money indeed.
Planned Parenthood will continue to push for Pyongyang-style policies without restrictions demanding abortion up to and beyond the point of birth, including abortion-by-mail (or as a fellow TRS reader mentions — “death on demand”) and prohibitions on common sense sanitary regulations considered routine by the standards of modern dentistry.
McAuliffe should be made to stand on the line and defend all of this death and abuse. What government in their right mind aids and abets the extermination of future taxpayers?
Yet we can take it one step further.
Simply put, take a page out of the Jack Kemp playbook and insist that every child has the right to their biological mother and biological father — and that every ounce of our attentions ought to be strained to the end of defending and strengthening family rather than pouring billions upon billions of dollars trying to fix the wreckage that abortion culture does to American families.
Focus On The Family; Make Them Explain
That children — especially the most defenseless — deserve the full protection of our laws in a system that doesn’t stop at birth seems like a common sense principle. But in saying that, such a position includes a quality education where parents (not government) get to decide what is best. Where children deserve quality nutrition in our public schools. Where Virginians can raise their families on a single income and a flourishing society of trades and professions provides us the ability to retrain for the jobs we want rather than the jobs we have to take?
Maybe this is the brass ring?
Youngkin has the opportunity on a national stage to entirely reframe the debate for conservatives.
If McAuliffe wants to hang his hat on abortion? Let’s do that. Republicans can either slink away and pretend not to want to discuss the question, or we can take it straight into their teeth and ask them where they get off scolding the rest of us on social justice while standing on a pile of dead babies to do it?
I say make them defend the last five decades. Go on offense, defend family and institutions that support families, and let McAuliffe explain why the best Democrats can do for young mothers is hurt their babies.
Want to make abortion unthinkable? Focus on policies that build strong families and tear down the policies hurt women — leaving one dead and another wounded.
Leadership is often caged as an event where ordinary people are thrown into extraordinary events. On such a question and in such a moment? Glenn Youngkin might be the leader to refocus the argument to what the Founders intended — and to do so in a 21st century way.
Rare moment indeed.
Shaun Kenney is the editor of The Republican Standard, former chairman of the Board of Supervisors for Fluvanna County, and a former executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia.