In a news story this morning about the possible government shut-down, it was reported that:
There were hints of Republican flexibility on a ban they were seeking to deny federal funds to Planned Parenthood. Officials said that in talks at the White House that stretched on after midnight on Wednesday, Republicans had suggested giving state officials discretion in deciding how to distribute family planning funds that now go directly from the federal government to organizations such as Planned Parenthood.
That would presumably leave a decision on funding to governors, many of whom oppose abortion, and sever the financial link between the federal government and an organization that Republicans assail as the country’s biggest provider of abortions.
If this is what happens, that would send a very clear message to Americans: Your federal government does not stand behind reproductive health care for women. Instead, it is willing to leave millions of women at the mercy of their state legislatures, some of which have already demonstrated that they are anti-abortion (and not very friendly toward birth control either).
This, in turn, would weaken Roe v. Wade. After all it is the U.S. Supreme Court that ruled on Roe v. Wade. If the federal government gives in on funding for Planned Parenthood, that might influence the Court the abortion issue ever comes before it again.
What are the chances that will happen? It would take a perfect storm of just the right conditions, according to Tony Lauinger, chairman of Oklahomans for Life:
“Ultimately it will require a pro-life president to nominate a pro-life Supreme Court justice who will be confirmed by a pro-life U.S. Senate to provide the fifth pro-life vote on the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Lauinger said. “That has been a long-time goal.” Should Roe v. Wade be overturned, Lauinger said the most likely result would be that each state would determine whether abortions would be legal or not. The Supreme Court would return the matter to its status prior to 1973.
For the life of me, I can’t figure out why this nation would want to go back to conditions before 1973. When I had my abortion in 1971, New York was the only state that had legalized abortion. I was fortunate because I live relatively close to New York. But what about women, who are going to have an abortion anyway, who don’t have the means to travel to a state where abortion is legal. Will they seek out illegal abortion providers and run the risk of being criminalized for doing so? Will we return to the days when women would try to abort themselves, often dying or making themselves sterile in the process?