Warren: Our democracy rests on keeping voters from having any say about abortion, or something

Warren: Our democracy rests on keeping voters from having any say about abortion, or something

To paraphrase The Princess Bride … She keeps using that word, democracy. I do not think that word means what Elizabeth Warren think it means. In an interview with Teen Vogue, the senator from Massachusetts equates “voting access” to abortion, and calls them “basic,” and vital to the “functioning of our democracy.”

Er … who wants to tell her? Via the Daily Caller:

TV: Do you feel like voting rights and abortion rights are really the key issues to making sure that the freedoms of voters and people in this country are protected?

EW: Both voting and access to abortion are basic. They’re about the functioning of our democracy and about the protection of personal autonomy. Protection of the vote means your voice gets heard in government. Protection of access to basic health care means your autonomy as a human being is fully respected by the law. That you will make the decisions about yourself. To me, that’s part of the heart of what all of this is about. This is where the two big fights are shaping up right now. And each intersects with the other. Both from the perspective of respect for the individual, and also from a political point of view. The right-wing extremists know that if they can keep people from voting, they’ve got a better chance to impose their views about abortion on an unwilling nation. I don’t have to tell you, [one 2018 poll found that] 71% of Americans support Roe. Now, when 71% of Americans support something, including 52% of Republicans, you’d think it would be easy to make that law.

It’s unclear what tie abortion has to voting access, except that Democrats really want to keep tying abortion to anything that sounds better than “killing babies.” Even the Democratic hysteria on voting access has been hyperbolic and almost entirely demagogic, but at least that issue has some relation to the function of democracy. Democracy in both its pure and applied forms require the ability to vote on policy and representation.

And that’s where this runs aground on abortion. Warren wants to keep the Supreme Court’s decisions in Roe and Casey in place to keep abortion legal, even though neither of those decisions had any connection to a democratic process. In fact, both decisions — especially Roe — have been used to deny democracy its opportunity to shape the abortion debate, which has made it partisan and poisonous over the 48-year arc of Roe. Warren’s position on Roe is explicitly anti-democratic.

Of course, we have certain limitations on democratic process in the US. The Constitution guarantees the protection of certain natural rights, among them speech, assembly, the right to armed self-defense, and intrusions of the government on private property. Not named in any of these constitutional pre-emptions is abortion, or even “medical privacy.” That is the basis on which the Dobbs case will directly challenge Roe and Casey, and if successful, will return the abortion debate to the democratic processes which govern all of our lawmaking.

And if the polling really said what Warren claims in this interview, why would she be afraid of that outcome? Mary Margaret Olohan has an idea why:

The senator’s assessment of American sentiment did not appear to take into account polling finding that many Americans support restrictions on abortion after the first trimester. An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released in late June found that while 61% of Americans say abortion should be legal in most or all circumstances during the first trimester, 65% of Americans said abortion should almost always be illegal in the second trimester and 80% said abortion should almost always be illegal in the third trimester.

The Roe and Casey decisions by the Supreme Court were “fundamentally anti-democratic.” If Warren really does champion democracy, we will look forward to her amicus brief on behalf of those seeking to overturn those decisions in the Dobbs challenge. Yes, yes, I know that’s “inconceivable,” a rather ironic word under the circumstances.

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David Strom 8:41 PM on March 20, 2023