If This Harvard-Harris Poll Is Correct, The Public Is Confused But Not Corrupted Regarding Abortion

I don’t trust polls, and I really don’t trust Harvard. However, the new poll by Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies and the Harris Poll gives me hope, and, I confess, I especially appreciate it because it reflects what I thought was the case anyway. The abortion-related polling is at the end of the poll report, but I don’t think that’s why the mainstream media has concentrated on the topics represented earlier. You will see why.

The poll is here. Predictably, it indicates that the American public doesn’t understand the law or the function of the Supreme Court as well as an educated and civically responsible populace in a democracy should, but then they have been manipulated, deceived and under-educated on these matters. It also indicates, contrary to the claims of the pro-abortion forces, that the public isn’t fooled: it knows that there is more to an abortion than a woman’s “choice.”

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From The “Res Ipsa Loquitur” (“The Thing Speaks For Itself”) Files

In addition, this is also signature significance.

What kind of political party in America over its long history, other than the American Communist Party, would think it would be appropriate to post such a thing, even once? What kind of political party would have such Bizarro World American values that it would think, even for a second, that its members and potential recruits would appreciate such a sentiment? What kind of political party would hire someone, even one employee—I don’t care if he or she is a teenager—who would lack the ethics alarms to know such an announcement would be a national insult?

As I’ve mentioned before, one supplementary benefit of the Dobbs decision is that it has caused a lot of activists, politicians, celebrities and organizations to show the world just how ruthless, corrupted and vicious they are.

The tweet was deleted.

Too late!

End Of Week Ethics Wrap-Up, July 1, 2022: Freakouts, Freakouts Everywhere….[Corrected]

Prelude: Why is the President of the United States attacking the Supreme Court in Madrid? His comments about a judicial body deliberating on the Constitution is not only wildly inappropriate for a President speaking abroad, his words were either calculated to make ignorant Americans even more ignorant about what the Court is, or show that he doesn’t understand himself (or no longer does). Biden called the Dobbs decision “outrageous behavior.” A SCOTUS ruling isn’t “behavior”; even Dred Scott wasn’t “behavior.” These are scholarly judicial analyses. Then he accused the Court of being “the one thing that has been destabilizing” to the nation. The Supreme Court? Upholding the Constitution is maintaining the foundation of the democracy: how is that destabilizing? Holding political show trials to try to find something that the previous President can be jailed for is destabilizing. Threatening parents who challenge indoctrinating school boards is destabilizing. Not enforcing U.S. laws at the border is destabilizing. Attacking the Supreme Court is destabilizing.

Then Biden said that Dobbs was “essentially challenging the right to privacy.” No it wasn’t, but let’s reflect back on an earlier incoherent and dim-witted statement Biden made about abortion after the Alito opinion leaked:

“I mean, so the idea that we’re going to make a judgment that is going to say no one can make a judgment to choose to abort a child based upon a decision by the Supreme Courts, I think goes way overboard.

Of course, the decision didn’t say, in May or now, that “no one can make a judgement to have an abortion.” I think Biden was and is shooting off his mouth without reading the opinion. But never mind that: he said “abort a child.” Not only does he approve of abortion, but regards it as killing a child, and must think that “privacy” includes virtual infanticide. Oh, I know, he doesn’t know what he thinks: he used to claim that there was no right to abortion. But if he’s that muddled on the issue, and he is, what business does he have impugning the decision of SCOTUS justices wrestling with difficult topic—in Spain—at all?

1. Oh, why not? Here are some more Dobbs freakouts:

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Comment Of The Day: “Note On The Final Dobbs Opinion”

It’s abortion ethics overload here again, and with it, an embarrassment of rich Comments of the Day on the topic. Several more are on the way; I just picked Humble Talent’s comment first because I located it first. As with all of the excellent posts on the topic, part of my concern is to keep the focus on ethics rather than politics. The ethics and politics collide unavoidably on this issue, however, particularly on the special role of the Supreme Court in a democracy.

This vital detail appears to be what the Dobbs critics (as well as the previously hysterical decriers of last week’s decision upholding the second Amendment either never learned in school or deliberately ignore when a decision comes down that they don’t like.

SCOTUS exists to make sure that our government operates within the boundaries of its founding documents and that its constitutional laws are clear, consistent, and within settled norms. It is not a “democratic institution,” but the part of the government plan designed to ensure that the democratic institutions within the other two branches don’t allow popular will and pressures to abuse the core principles that nation was founded to embody.

The furious attacks on the Court for doing exactly what it exists to do are dangerous and corrosive. When I was just a little bitty ethicist, it was the Right that engaged in this practice in response to the Warren Court’s judicial activism. That court, stocked with some of the finest judicial minds of the 20th Century (Black, Harlan, Brennan, Stewart), used the power of the bench to make some crucial course corrections, notably Brown v. Board of Education. Though some of its opinions were literally legislating (composing the Miranda Warning is an egregious example), the Warren Court was the bright side of activism, but also demonstrated the dangers of the slippery slope. For the Burger Court with succeeded it was neither as strong in judicial wisdom nor as prudent in its choice of perilous territory. The Roe decision was the result, a badly reasoned opinion by one of the Court’s most glaring mediocrities (appointed by Richard Nixon), Harry Blackmun. The majority opinion manufactured a Constitutional right that didn’t exist, its members giddy from the exhilaration of Sixties-era rebellion. It snatched the issue of abortion away from the legislatures and the voters who elect them. Roe was an abuse of SCOTUS power, but because the opinion was popular, especially with women—though not with lawyers capable of evaluating it objectively—there were not many opportunities to overturn it. Soon it seemed to have lasted so long that Court tradition would guarantee its survival. Since abortion was now a “right,” though a manufactured one, abortion fans saw no need to fight for what should have been their objective all along: a national law.

That was a serious miscalculation. Ethically, this is the Burger Court’s fault: while we should have been debating a difficult and complex societal problem, women’s rights activists felt it was enough to blur the issue with lazy, deceitful talk of “choice,” making abortion foes out to be male chauvinist pigs who wanted women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. Ethics evolves, however, and the sheer weight of millions and millions of post-Roe aborted nascent human beings, combined with the realization that there was more being killed than just a “clump of cells,” inevitably led the Court to reconsider a terrible opinion. In the meantime, the American Left had increasingly sought to rely on liberal judges to accomplish what could not be achieved with an increasingly conservative citizenry. In other words, they abandoned democracy as their favored means of societal change. That was unethical, but to be fair, the abuse of judicial power tempted them.

Here is Humble Talent’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Note On The Final Dobbs Opinion.

The ethical principle involved is “competence,” as well as accountability, arrogance, hubris, and hypocrisy.


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Ethics Alarms To NYT Columnist Ross Douthat: “Exactly!” (Corrected)

Abortion monument

I’m still working on the Ethics Alarms prescription for an ethical national policy regarding abortion. The briefs and oral arguments in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case now before the U.S. Supreme Court are useful, but I received a special assist this morning from Times columnist Ross Douthat, who presented a full page, marvelously thorough and ethically spot-on analysis of the issue in an essay titled, “The Case Against Abortion.”

I wish I had written it, but I am grateful that he did. He deserves to have it read thoroughly by all, but some especially apt sections shout out for special mention:

  • “At the core of our legal system, you will find a promise that human beings should be protected from lethal violence. That promise is made in different ways by the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence; it’s there in English common law, the Ten Commandments and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We dispute how the promise should be enforced, what penalties should be involved if it is broken and what crimes might deprive someone of the right to life. But the existence of the basic right, and a fundamental duty not to kill, is pretty close to bedrock.

    “There is no way to seriously deny that abortion is a form of killing.”

    And that must be the starting point for any policy debate.

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