Like Shylock demanding his pound of flesh in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wants an ironclad contract: If a woman gets pregnant, then she must deliver.
I hope that I can some day misunderstand a situation so thoroughly that FAIR will give me a platform to tell everyone about it. There’s so much to disagree with here, but I’ll just mention two.
First, as Elizabeth said below, SCOTUS did not ban abortion. Melissa says that Alito is hungry for power, but what the court essentially decided was that it wasn’t up to them to decide for the whole nation on the abortion issue. There’s this weird thing going on right now where people think that it’s “authoritarian” that the whole country now gets a say on the issue, instead of 9 people.
Second, running throughout the whole essay is this idea that everyone is thinking about this issue in black and white, but Melissa has a more nuanced view. It’s quite a selective nuance, however, as she takes on a more black/white stance when it’s convenient. For example, she links to a study that says the majority (61%) of Americans favor the right of women to choose. So, pro-abortion, right? No. Here are the two choices from the study: legal in all/most cases vs illegal in all/most cases. In other words, those who want abortions without exception are grouped with those who want abortion with exceptions, and those who want no abortions whatsoever are grouped with those who want no abortions, with some exceptions. This distinction is fundamentally meaningless because most Americans are somewhere in the middle. Most Americans have a more nuanced view, despite what Melissa says.
Based on the essay, her “more nuanced” view involves misunderstanding jurisprudence, straw-manning the entire populace, and dragging out every exceedingly rare pro-abortion trope. Nuance is also lost when she repeatedly talks about getting pregnant as something that just seems to “happen” to women.
She begins the last paragraph with, “By disallowing abortion, the court fails to protect those who need protection the most”. As stated above, they didn’t “disallow” abortion. Beyond that though, one thing I’ve noticed more recently is that pro-abortion people used to at least mouth the words that the unborn child exists and should be considered, but that time seems to be long gone. Now there is never any mention of the unborn child (or fetus, if you want to conveniently dehumanize it). Its worth is literally nothing in today’s discourse. You could argue that the unborn child’s life is worth less than that of the mother, but to ignore it entirely is the sort of black-and-white thinking that Melissa is taking part in while simultaneously railing against.
I could go on and on, but the sort of sloppy thinking displayed in Melissa’s essay gets us nowhere. She should have a right to say it, and I appreciate that FAIR allows for diversity of thought, but this is particularly weak. I look forward to seeing more worth reading in the comments section than the article itself, which seems to be happening more and more around here, as of late.
EDIT: fixed typos
This is a moronic piece of cluelessness. I love the beginning, looking for deep intellectual meaning, but you failed within the first comparison. Alito and SCOTUS did not provide mercy -- they provided noting other than the rule of law. Your weak comparison is amateurish at worst, naive at best. No rights were stripped, only a bad decision removed from the history books, delivered to the States and We The People as the law requires to make a decision on this gravely important matter. Of course this does not fit into your brilliants but lacking presentation of a great play comparator. You are better than that... especially considering your writing skills are fantastic.
SCOTUS did not "disallow" abortion; it put the issue back to the individual states. Our system of government doesn't place law-making powers with the courts. "Allowing" abortion is a law, a rule. One that should be made by a rule-making body - either Congress at the Federal level or the state legislatures. No matter how you feel about the right of a person to end a fetus, baby's life, when life begins, exceptions etc - that is the fact of our government. I will leave aside the questions of the various state rules etc - however I will note that Germany will not prosecute (abortion is illegal) those abortions occurring within 12 weeks. The US had no rules whatsoever... There is a rational middle ground, but it must be LEGISLATED within the actual rule-making bodies.
Come on, this is a very bad article. E.g.:
"Alito wants an ironclad contract: If a woman gets pregnant, then she must deliver."
Nope, his ruling simply says that the constitution is silent on the matter. And:
"... he’d have to see what the right to privacy guaranteed in both the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments truly means"
Except that there isn't a "right to privacy" guaranteed in either amendment. Even that is a judicial construction.
Articles as bad as this do nothing to convince anyone but the already-convinced.
If one is trying to make the mercy argument, one might want to start by not misrepresenting the SCOTUS ruling. Either the author never read Dobbs, or is intentionally stating that it disallows abortion. Either way, whatever follows can be ignored, because it’s all built on this initial falsehood.
Please, do bring in multiple viewpoints on issues, but not at the expense of your standards.
Surprised at this post on the FAIR substack. Not well reasoned or well written, and seems far outside the mission of FAIR...isn't it pro-human? You'd think a more balanced and nuanced view would be appropriate.
The irony of making mercy the central theme of an article advocating for a mother's "right" to mercilessly kill her own child
It is truly depressing to see FAIR publish an opinion piece written by someone who has too little understanding of the topic to offer an opinion. Among the many fatal intellectual flaws in this piece which reveal the author's misunderstanding of American Constitutional law is her comment: "Alito wants an ironclad contract: If a woman gets pregnant, then she must deliver." That is a shocking misinterpretation not only of the recent abortion decision itself but of the very way the U.S. Supreme Court and Constitution work. This decision does not in any way "outlaw" abortion and does not compel a single woman to deliver a single child, nor did Justice Alito suggest such a thing. The decision merely holds that the Constitution is silent on abortion, and nothing more.
Any author who so fundamentally misunderstands a Supreme Court opinion -- and the very nature of how the American legal system works -- should not be given a platform by FAIR to publish an article about a topic she does not understand. There are intellectually defensible arguments on both sides of this Constitutional question but Dr. Knox does not offer any of them.
I am accustomed to fair, honest articles from FAIR. What a shock this was to read this deeply biased piece of pro-abortion propaganda.
I am surprised that this article made it through to publication. There are so many factual areas and ways the author just seems to not understand the constitution or how our country was meant to operate. So many great comments, though. I think this is the first comment section where I learned more from the comments than the article!
Why get involved in the abortion debate? Stick to your main mandate.
Knowing FAIR's mission, I was actually a little excited when I saw this article's title. Would it be a thoughtful piece on how people with differing views on abortion can build bridges? The first couple of paragraphs seemed promising.
Unfortunately, paragraphs 3 and 4 made it clear the article was not worth reading. No sense spending much time on an abortion law article by someone who understands neither Constitutional law nor Justice Alito's position.
But my main concern is the subject matter: What do arguments about abortion law, pro or con, have to do with FAIR's mission? Is FAIR struggling to find qualified authors with messages in line with the actual purpose of the organization?
What does this have to do with FAIR’s mission?
You lost me after “Like Shylock, Alito wants an ironclad contract: If a woman gets pregnant, then she must deliver.”
I’m pro-choice, but this is straight up disingenuous & must be called out. The SCOTUS ruling did not ban abortion, it sent it back to the states.
The fact that neither side of the abortion battle ever really thought Roe would be overturned led to both sides upping the ante. Outright bans in trigger laws on one side, shouting your abortion as an FU to pro-lifers on the other. The vast majority of Americans are somewhat in-between: supporting abortion for any reason in the first trimester, and with further limits relating to the life of the mother or late-discovered birth defects for the baby.
You can be upset about the state of things, but to deny Roe had issues since the day it was handed down is ignorant. Even RBG said it was shaky.
Put your energy into your own state’s laws on abortion. Ignore the national Dems who were more than happy to raise money & campaign on abortion without ever doing the hard work of legislation (and no, the bill they’ve put up recently goes beyond Roe & what most of the country will support, so that’s more nothing).
There are some good points, but this essay states that the Supreme Court has banned abortions. That is an unconscionable factual misrepresentation about a key aspect which every reasoned discussion needs to acknowledge.
I have supported abortion rights my entire adult life, and have voted for the Democratic party for that same lifetime. I am now an enthusiastic supporter of FAIR.
And I still highly value being honest and accurate.
FAIR should have folks from more than one side of the issue review articles like this for basic accuracy, and ask the author to accurately present the facts, even if freely offering their own opinions on non-factual matters. (That is, I don't suggest that reviewers censor opinions, only press authors to present facts honestly.)
Those opinions could have been presented without distortions of factual matters. Please do better in the future, if you want to be a non-partisan organization. The truth is, we humans have a hard time seeing our own blind spots, so we all need reviewers with different blind spots. I don't want to portray the author as unusual in that regard. But I do want FAIR to do better in helping authors remove the kind of errors which authors have difficulty in seeing in their work.
This author, in arguing against it, has unwittingly demonstrated the profound wisdom of the Supreme Court decision: we the people are now debating it. One issue I feel is left out of the discussion: what about the father? Does he have no responsibilities or rights?
I also question what this is doing on the FAIR substack. I cannot see a connection to intolerance or racism, in the "immutable characteristic" category.