Who says American editorials don't take stands these days? Even with editorial boards diluting real writing--attention must be paid!--sometimes editorials can take a line. Although the subject would have to be something on which everybody on a standard editorial board can agree. Like guns or Donald Trump.
Ooh, ooh, ooh, how about abortion, too? Most editorial boards, especially at the bigger newspapers, can agree on that. Abortion should be . . . rare.
We love that line. Who could disagree with it? The preacher in Arkadelphia and the folks at Planned Parenthood all say the same thing. "Abortion should be rare" isn't the issue. Should it be legal?
The country is divided, and how. Some folks think that abortion is the killing of a child in the womb--and if that's not the definition of "the least of these" we don't know what is. Others might think that abortion is just the removal of some fetal tissue, no bigger deal than the removal of any other unwanted growth.
The folks running the editorial page at The Los Angeles Times have their own thoughts. And we've published them nearby. It's been a while since an editorial coming from one of the coasts raised eyebrows. But when we saw this thing on the wire Friday, we had to reprint it today. You have to hand it to the editorialists. They may be wrong, but they're not in doubt.
The theme of the piece seems to be that states should stop passing anti-abortion laws. Or rather, unconstitutional anti-abortion laws. But how tell if a law is unconstitutional until it goes before the courts? Should the 50 state legislatures send permission slips to the various federal courts before each session to find out in advance which laws will stand?
Lord a-mighty. Where to start with this editorial? How about at the beginning:
The Times calls the various anti-abortion laws passed by the several states "unnecessary battles." Really? These legislatures were elected by We the People, and voters are experts at what they think. And many of us, especially out here in flyover country, think abortion should in the very least be limited. In several ways: By age of the child; excuse us, fetus. By safety of the mother, which is why Arkansas demanded doctors have admitting privileges at hospitals. And other limitations: Many don't think aborting a child on account of her gender is copacetic, either. Or ending a pregnancy because the child may be imperfect.
If there have been a "staggering" number of anti-abortion bills passed of late, as the paper says, then somebody must think the issue is important. Unnecessary battles? Says you.
Our editorial friends out west also say the Texas law requiring admitting privileges is "notorious," then says the courts have allowed similar laws to stand. Uh, then are the courts notorious too? Or are they just allowing notorious laws to stand? The head swims.
One more confusing sentence: "Of more immediate concern than a broad Supreme Court ruling are the incremental state restrictions that manage to survive court challenges." Or, to put it another way, the states in which the people are mostly opposed to abortion are trying to find which laws can stick. And many laws do. This is of immediate concern to The Times. To some of us, it sounds like the 50 laboratories of democracy at work.
The Times says it is "unconscionable" that some states obstruct access to abortion--and if any laws get through the judicial gatekeepers, they only did so because the states cloaked their motives with "fake concerns" about health and safety. The Times is also clairvoyant! Who knew?
The editorialist, like any good writer, throws a kicker in at the end: "Abortion rights advocates must continue to challenge these laws in court, the judiciary must defend its critically important 50-year-old precedent and, ultimately, opponents must accept that abortion is a constitutional right that is not likely to go away."
Opponents must accept abortion-on-demand?
No, we mustn't.
Life isn't an outrage. It's a gift. Troublemakers who feel that the American Way of Death should be checked, when at all possible, probably wouldn't take it too kindly if our elected officials tiptoed quietly by. We'd like them to represent their constituents, not ignore them. To some of us, "incremental state restrictions that manage to survive court challenges" can also be described as "laws." Constitutional ones at that.
Oh, well, maybe it's good that The Los Angeles Times at least came up with an editorial that the rest of us would like to read. A foaming, sputtering, desk-pounding editorial about those bad apples in the lesser states beats the usual naval-gazers most newspapers publish.
Just call it partial-truth editorializing.
Editorial on 01/07/2019
Print Headline: California dreamin'