Archive for the ‘United States’ category

Obama’s no.1 priority

April 15, 2008

Guess what the first thing Barack Obama wants to do as US President? Pull US troops out of Iraq? No. Help end the economic crisis that the US is suffering at the moment? good guess, but no. Something to do with helping American families out of poverty? No.

The correct answer: Sign into law a bill, to give mothers the right to kill their innocent unborn children (through abortion).

Abortion was first legalised throughout the United States in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case(several states, including California and New York had passed their own laws legalising abortion before Roe), when some liberal activist judges in the Supreme Court found abortion to be a fundamental right under the US constitution, and legalised abortion up to birth (and during birth with partial birth-abortions), striking down all state laws restricting abortion as unconstitutional. Since that time, the membership of the Supreme Court has changed to include more conservative judges, and the Roe verdict has become diluted, with the court now allowing some restrictions, such as parental notification laws, waiting periods, infromed consent laws, and more recently a ban on partial-birth abortion. Some “pro-choice” advocates have began to worry (with some justification) that Roe might be overturned, and thus each state will be able to choose their own abortion laws, and that some conservative states will pass very restrictive abortion laws.

In order to prevent this happening, the pro-abortion group NARAL Pro-Choice America are lobbying for Congress to pass a Freedom of Choice Act to codify the Roe verdict into legislation. I have long seen this as a pipe dream, as in order for it to become law, it wil need to pass both houses of congress, including stopping a filibuster in the Senate (and this will require 60 Senators) and a pro-abortion President willing to sign the Bill into law, all at the same time. However, the electoral math facing the Republicans this election is awful, with the Republicans having to defend 23 Senate seats this election (against only 12 for the Democrats), including 5 when the incumbent is retiring, and the Republican Party is in very bad shape in the polls at the moment, thanks to the war in Iraq and the recent economic downturn. And this makes it very likely that the Democrats (who are overwhelmingly “pro-choice”) will not only retain their majority in the House, but significently increase their majority in the Senate as well. And a filibuster proof Democratic majority in the Senate is no longer a pipe-dream, but a serious possibility (although it will still be difficult to achieve). If this occurs, then the Freedom of Choice Bill might actually get to the desk of the next President, and if the next President is Barack Obama, it will become law. This means that in order to overturn Roe v. Wade, conservatives will not only have to stack the Supreme Court, but have a filibuster proof majority in the Senate and majority in the House and pro-life President, all willing to vote for a Bill to explicitly remove legal protection for abortion, at the same time. In other words, passage of this Bill will be a massive obstacle to overturning Roe.

But that is not all the Bill will do. It would also re-legalise partial-birth abortion, and remove all the waiting period, parental notification, and informed consent laws in place today. As well as mandating taxpayer funding of abortions. In other words it will effectively reverse everything the pro-life movement has gained over the last thirty years.

If this sounds despairing to you, there is still some good news. Barack Obabma is not President yet, and we might have John McCain as President instead. And McCain has a very solid conservative record on abortion, including publicly stating the Roe “should be overturned” and as President he wants to turn America into “a nation of traditional values that protects the rights of the unbron” (which is the main reason I want him to be President). And at the moment the balance on the Supreme Court is very close, with the new Bush apointees John Roberts and Samuel Alito (both of whom have conservative records on abortion, although it is unclear if they will go as far as overturning Roe) joining the very conservative judges Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas to make up a conservative block of 4 judges, and these judges along with conservative leaning swing judge Anthony Kennedy (although he doesn’t go as far as wanting to overturn Roe) has enabled the Supreme Court to support the partial birth abortion ban, as well as several other conservative rulings. And amongst the liberal block of judges two are even older than John McCain (namely John Paul Stevens whose turning 88 this week, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg at 75), and it is a safe bet that in the next 8 years at least one, if not both wil die or retire. And if McCain is President, the replacement judge he appoints could be the 5th judge needed to overturn Roe, and what a glorious day that will be. Even if Roe isn’t overturned, the Supreme Court could become a lot more conservative. However, McCain will still need to get his judges past a Senate, which will have a Democratic majority, at least until 2012.

In short this US election could have a big impact on the future of abortion in the United States.


Rove quits

August 19, 2007

Who cares? This is my first reaction. All the focus in the US now is not on Bush, but on who might replace him next year (my opinions on that issue is that it is too early to tell, but it looks likely that Hillary will get the Democratic nomination, while the Republican nomination is still up for grabs).

The ideas of creating a pernament Republican majority were delusional. There is one simple reason for this. If public opinion moves to the side the governing party is on, the opposition party will move itself to the center in order to remain competitive. Thus while the political spectrum can be moved around. You will never get a pernament majority for any party in a Western democracy. Secondly, voters do like changes, and get tired of the same old guys if they stay for too long, as Clark and Howard are both finding (to their cost).

Today Bush enjoys the lowest presidential approval ratings are amongst the lowest in history for a US President, the Democrats have taken control of both houses of congress, and there are wide expectations of the Democrats taking the presidency in 2008 (something I wouldn’t count on, although both Obama and Hillary are strong candidates). A large part of this is due to Iraq (and in my view Bush gets an unfair amount of blame for America’s failings in Iraq, as he doesn’t run the war on a day to day basis, and has limited control of what happens in Iraq). Bush’s presidency would be very different had Iraq never happened. But a large part of the unpopularity falls squarly on Bush, for promoting people based on ideological beliefs, not competence (a form of cronyism), the oxymoroinic “big government conservatism” ideology, and hyper-partianship. The lessons to be learned (aside from Iraq, and I hope the experience of iraq doesn’t make the US return to isolationism) for a future conservative government is be modest, don’t try and radically reform society and scare those centrist votes, try and hold the center ground, and reject the politics of trying to divide people against each other (i.e. be a uniter, not a divider), go only as far on social issues as public opinion will allow, and reject corruption and cronyism in all forms (not only because it helps in the long term politically, but also is good for the country). Hopefully next time there is a Republican president, he (or she) will be politically wiser and more cautious than Bush.

More bad tactics

August 12, 2007

One thing that never ceases to amaze me about America’s “religious right” is their political stupidity. Many of them fail to understand that in politics you can’t often get everything you want, and compromises have to be made.

Last year they succeeded in getting the South Dakota government to pass a new law, which would have banned all abortions except those in cases where the woman would die if she didn’t have an abortion, with amendments to the law to allow abortions in cases where the pregnancy was caused by rape voted down. Opponents of the new law managed t gain enough signatures to force a referendum to be held on whether the law should be repealed. The result: 44% for the law, 56% against. The law was defeated. What makes this defeat more tragic was that polls showed it could win the referendum if a rape exception was added.

What is astonishing is despite this result, the tactic seems to try the same failed trick again. In Colorado they have introduced a ballot measure, requiring 76 000 signatures, to have the state Constitution amended to define a person as “any human being from the moment of fertilization” (i.e. include anything from the moment when the sperm touches the egg, and give this person the same legal rights as all other people) and thus prohibit abortion. Although I support this constitutional ammendment, it has no chance of passing. South Dakota is a very conservative state. Colorado isn’t. Although votes on measures like these will show how much public support there is for total abortion bans, they could damage the pro-life cause by making all pro-lifers look like extremists (no doubt the pro-abortion side will focus their campaign on abortions in rape and other extreme cases, despite these making up only a tiny proportion of abortions) and wasting energy.

Another doomed cause the religous right have tried to advance is a change to the US constitution to ban gay marriage. In order to suceed it needs 67 Senators (out of 100) to support it, as well as two thirds of the House of Represntatives, and 38 State Governments (out of 50). In 2004 it was defeated in the Senate 49-48 (i.e. it didn’t even get half of Senators to support it, yet alone two thirds).

They need to learn the political idea of going for what you have a chance at suceeding in, not the dream agenda that will get nowhere.

“I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it” (except if the topic is abortion)

August 12, 2007

That appears to be the slogan of the NY Salon, a New York political disscussion group, which organises forums to debate topics. This quote (originally from Voltaire is what they “agree with” as well as “disscussing ideas robustly”. their next event is going to be a “whats so bad about abortion” abortion promotion debate. Except that there will be only “pro-choice” speakers there. They refused to allow the group “Silent No More”, which represents women who have been hurt by and regret their abortion, to attend. What I think is interesting is how groups like Silent No More exist, but none (that I’m aware of) of women who have chosen to keep their babies and regret it.

Also interesting about the confrence (further displaying pro-abortion bias, as well as the questions such as “Why do women need the right to abortion?” instead of something like “should there be a right to abortion, and if so why do women need it?”) is the funders. They include the bogus “Catholic” organization “Catholics for a Free Choice“, which is a pro-abortion pro-“gay rights” “catholic” group. The use of the word “Catholic” in their name (in my opinion) is blasphemy.

Despite what I said above, I agree they should have a right to hold their confrence, as I agree with their principle “Idisapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it” (except I’m not tooo keen on the “to the death part”).

Another case of “Pro-Choice” hypocrisy

August 2, 2007

I have blogged before about how “pro-choice’ people aren’t quite so pro-choice when it comes to the topic of whether others should be forced to preform or pay for abortions. Now we have another case. In the Washington State (of America), there is a new regulation forcing pharmacists to supply what is sometimes labeled “emergency contraception”, whatever their moral views on the issue. Before going into the hypocrisy, lets look at what “emergency contraception” (or the morning after pill) really is. It is not contraception. It is an abortifacient (i.e. a drug to induce abortion). this is because it works, not by trying to stop a conception (the union of an egg and sperm creating a new human being) taking place, like barier contraceptives do, but instead kills newly created person, and thus the use of it can be called murder.  the reason it is often called contraception is because the ‘pro-choice” lobby try to disguise birth control pills for what they really are- abortion pills. In this we see another case of “pro-choice” people give no choice to anyone except the woman involved.

 Except it appears there may be some “pro-choice” people who want pregnant women to be forced to have abortions, even if the woman wants to keep her baby. In Arkansas (America) 20 members of its legislature voted against a Bill (which fortunately passed) to require abortion clinics to have a sign reminding people that coercing women into having abortions is illegal. I don’t know their reasons for voting against the Bill, but if it was because they don’t mind women being bullied into having abortions, and they claim to stand for “a womens right to choose” they are shameless hypocrites.

Abuse of Power

July 4, 2007

George Bush has used his powers to stop Lewis Libby, a former administration official who uncovered a CIA agent and commited perjury, going to prison for 2 and a half years, but Libby will still have to pay a fine, and will keep his conviction. Pardoning people for crimes commited, or retrospective legislation to legalise previous crinimal acts, all display a disrespect for the rule of law- a basic conservative principle. Regarless of the rights or wrongs of the Libby case, the case should be decided by the courts, not politicians giving favours to those they like. This descison should be condemned as an abuse of power, Like Labour’s similar “validation act” to wipe out the Darnton vs. Clark court case and retrospectively legalise the theft of taxpayers money.