In the wake of the leak of a draft opinion by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito which reveals that the Court is poised to overturn Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey, various authors and pundits and politicians and public thinkers have begun warning of the dire cascade effects that will fall out from this. Roe, which has been called a "super precedent," has been seen as foundational in grounding all manner of privacy rights in other subsequent Court rulings and in legistlation. One particular author described a coming "privacy nightmare" if Roe really were overturned. And from all this, it would seem that the issue is really about more than abortion.
So that must be why, of course, we have also seen a very concerted emergency effort being put forth to enact sweeping and robust privacy legislation to safeguard treasured liberties...
Except, that's wrong—we haven't seen that at all.
No, what we have actually seen was simply yet another push to codify the right to an abortion in law. Various states are taking action to initiate their own "trigger laws" guaranteeing access to abortion for when the final decision is handed down, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer quickly scheduled a vote (ultimately unsucessful, thank God) to pass the euphemistically-named Women's Health Protection Act.
Because, you see, the alarmist crowing about privacy and precedent is just a red herring, as it always has been. This has been the argument before every court in every challenge to a every law affronting Roe; and it has always been a disingenuous and cynical charade. Now, at least, that charade is more apparent to anyone with eyes to see.
If those who are making all this noise really gave a damn about privacy, they'd be working to form a bipartisan concensus to pass legislation targeting that precise issue, leaving abortion out of it. And they might find sympathetic and unlikely allies in that effort. But the fact is that for the left, no less than for the right, abortion is the real issue, the non-negotiable. So much for all the repeated castigations of the myopia and narrowness of those "single issue" pro-life voters: the truth is clearly that this "single issue" is really just as much a lynchpin on the other side as well.
I for one would welcome a good faith discussion about how to sure up privacy protections for legitimate interests if that's what people were really worried about with the overturn of Roe (though I don't see why they should be, as they can still hang their hat on Griswold). But, unfortunatelty, all the discussion over privacy rights is really part of a motte-and-bailey move aimed at defending the supposed "right" to abortion in a more inoffensive way. Tell someone that you're ready to play ball on privacy if only they give up the tenet that such privacy must entail a "right" to murder a defenseless child in the womb, and watch how quickly they pick up the ball and go home. Regretable, perhaps; but at least it will be clearer what game the other had really been set on playing.