Sago Boulevard

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Reproductive Rights and Congress

I find myself agreeing with Dean more and more:
Abortion will cease to dominate our national politics the day that it is addressable through the normal legislative process--something the Supreme Court took away from us 30 years ago. Once that court imposition is liften, pro-choice and pro-life extremists will have to face the reality that neither of them speaks for most American women or men. We'll then be able to arrive at a compromise that most people can live with, and the issue will recede to the background where it belongs.

I bring up this 2-week-old post of Dean's in light of this discussion on Feministe. In a comment, I wrote that "as a general rule, I think single-issue litmus tests distort the integrity of the high court. Abortion rights shouldn’t be an issue of constitutional interpretation. It’s an issue of law and belongs in Congress." Jill responded:
Isn’t the role of the Supreme Court to interpret U.S. law within the framework of the Constitution? The “it’s an isue of law” argument could be made (and has been made) for a whole lot of civil liberties issues, with “state’s rights” often being the call for discrimination — just look at slavery, school segregation and interracial marriage. And I don’t think that asking a potential Supreme Court justice if he believes in the basic concept of a Constitutionally-protected right to privacy — indeed, asking him if he believes in the law of the land — is a “single-issue litmus test.”

To which I respond that the association of right-to-privacy with reproductive rights is weak at best. The decision itself isn’t particularly rigorous. I think it would be a much better use of time, effort, and money to fight for legislation than trying to block court nominees. I feel like I need to add that I'm pro-choice because in today's discourse, it seems like anybody who as much as questions Roe is seen as a reactionary Christian conservative. I'm none of those. I do believe, though, that as a matter of both principle and strategy, reproductive rights belong in the legislature.