Ah, The New York Times. It’s a sad testament to the state of our culture that the Times has managed to hold onto its prestigious nickname as America’s “paper of record” despite being an unscrupulous mouthpiece for the left. The editorial board’s Friday piece bemoaning a “shocking new low” in Republicans’ state-level pro-life efforts – sorry, in lib-speak that reads, “attack on women’s reproductive health and freedom” – is a perfect example of how the Times has dropped all pretense of analytical rigor in favor of ideological propaganda.
According to the Times, North Dakota’s governor and lawmakers “must know perfectly well” that the fetal heartbeat protection law they just enacted is “unconstitutional by any reading of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and others since”…“brazenly unconstitutional,” in fact.
Now, far be it from me to question the enlightened, educated judgment of the Times, but shouldn’t assessing a law’s constitutionality entail reading, er, the Constitution? To proclaim its illegitimacy with such sweeping certainty requires citing a source somewhat more credible than a ruling that even pro-choice scholars often admit is substantively bankrupt.
Roe is based on claims about the scope of privacy the Constitution doesn’t make, misrepresenting the history of abortion restrictions in the United States, baldly asserting that the Fourteenth Amendment doesn’t cover the unborn even though its own author said it applied to “any human being,” and punting on the central “question of when life begins.” But it’s North Dakota who’s “brazenly” flouting the Constitution?
Next come the contradictions. The Times begins the next paragraph by predicting that the law “stands little chance of surviving a court challenge” in one breath, yet closes it by warning that the Supreme Court is “conservative-dominated.” Well, which is it? Is the law so laughable that nobody will uphold it, or is it dangerous because it’ll stand? I suppose they might simply mean that a lower court will strike it down and it won’t ever reach the Supremes, but if so, it’s worth noting that Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards disagrees.
Honestly, I’m not optimistic about the heartbeat law’s chances before the highest court in the land, but not because of the merits. I worry because we’ve already gotten burned by one of the Supreme Court’s so-called conservative justices ruling based on criteria other than the law. Even so, more serious observers would draw a sharper distinction between predicting what outcomes will be and arguing what they should be.
The next few paragraphs are a bland, generic rundown of everything else anti-choice yahoos are doing in the rest of the country, that frankly reads as if it was copy-pasted from a Planned Parenthood press release, from scaremongering that closing down and defunding Planned Parenthoods will threaten “preventive care relied upon by hundreds of thousands of people” (bull) to how requiring abortionists to get hospital admitting privileges is “medically unnecessary” (not true).
Why, did you know some people even want to prohibit “abortions for gender preference” and “abortions based on genetic defects”? Those must be Obviously Bad Things, because the editors don’t even bother to explain what’s wrong with them. But take a few seconds to consider what practices they’re siding with – killing babies specifically because they’re girls or because they’re “defective” – and the question goes from “why won’t they listen to the Times?” to “is the Times listening to itself?”
The final outrage is North Dakota’s “so-called” personhood amendment “that would give a fertilized egg the full range of individual rights, and could outlaw abortion and threaten access to fertility treatments as well as to widely used forms of birth control.” Never mind the fact that that “fertilized egg” is a live, individual human being and therefore is entitled under the Constitution to equal protection of his or her natural right to life. The only birth control that would be threatened are abortifacients, and as for fertility treatments, Live Action’s Josh Craddock notes that “it would be the basis only for changing standards at IVF clinics so that living human embryos cannot be killed and discarded. Some personhood proponents have come forward to talk about how IVF can be done ethically, without ever destroying a living human being.”
The Times closes with a clarion call “for a stepped-up effort to hold state officials electorally accountable for policies that harm women.” How about holding accountable pompous newspaper editors who insult their readers’ intelligence?