Abortion IS subject to the democratic process!
This post is by necessity going to be almost identical to posts I’ve made before, but the point is so glaringly obvious and yet so ignored that it has to be made again and again.
In his column today, Ross Douthat repeats once again the pro-life canard that Roe v. Wade has somehow taken abortion out of the democratic process. This is simply not true, no matter how many times those opposed to abortion repeat it. Setting aside the banal fact that the judicial system is a part of our democratic process, there is a clear, straightforward and well-known way to overturn Roe v. Wade— pass a constitutional amendment criminalizing abortion. That’s how you override Supreme Court decisions; that’s how Dred Scott was effectively overturned. That’s how the federal income tax was passed. There’s a method for overturning Supreme Court law you don’t like, it’s well known, it’s time tested, and it’s as open to abortion foes as it is to anyone else. If anything, a constitutional amendment is more democratic, because it has to be approved by a larger number of representatives and clear more hurdles before it passes.
So why doesn’t Ross propose passing a constitutional amendment banning abortion? Becaue he knows it would lose. It does not have the necessary democratic support to be made the law of the land. Because banning abortion is less popular with the country than it is with Ross Douthat. Now I know Ross has deep moral feelings about this issue, and that it must be frustrating for him that he and those who agree with him can’t get their way. But those are the wages of democracy. I feel strongly about the issue too. On this one, I more or less get my way in much of the country. Personally, I would like to see the Supreme Court decision outlawing the DC handgun ban overturned with a constitutional amendment. I have a democratic outlet for that to happen. But it would never pass, I’m sorry to say. That’s American democracy.
I don’t have to like it. I can articulate an argument for such an amendment. I can decry the way the court case was decided. But if I claim that the democratic process has been subverted, as Douthat is, I’m just not telling the truth.