Democratic outrage over Roe v. Wade has little to do with women’s rights


What may seem like the political equivalent of a cold sweat breaking out in the Democratic Party right now over the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade is actually a combination of emotions ranging from exhilaration to sheer panic. None of it has much of anything to do with women’s rights. 

For nearly half a century, Democrats have had a lock on what has become the ultimate wedge issue in American politics. In addition to expanding welfare, the ability for a woman to terminate the life of a child has played a consistently prominent role in their electoral strategy. 

Despite even liberal legal scholars like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and prominent party figures like then-Sen. Joe Biden believing that Roe was grossly overbroad in its approach to restricting a state’s ability to regulate abortion, Democrats have spent billions inculcating the public that killing an unborn child is as American as Lady Liberty. 

More than 63 million lives later, it’s an issue that continues to be used not as an exemplar of women’s rights or human progress, but as an issue to be leveraged to win elections.

Staring down the barrel of perhaps their worst electoral defeat this century, the Dobbs ruling, if the final text reflects Justice Samuel A. Alito’s draft, could not have come at a better time. The Democratic Party, its activist corps and its provocateurs in the left-wing media will be more than happy to turn the November election from inflation, the economy, the border, energy prices and the culture war back to their old standby. 

The liberal political class is positively giddy at the prospect of this distraction. 

It is terrified as well. National Democrats have become so used to their one-two punch of welfare and abortion to win seats in Congress, that they are beside themselves at the prospect of losing the issue on a federal level. 

Washington politics is never more than arm’s length from the abortion issue. For Democrats, it’s like that warm hug after a rough day. When the economy is in the tank, crime is high and socialist fiscal policies are depressing wages, the left has always been able to turn to abortion to scare its base and enough moderate women to make a difference. It has helped ensure a gender gap with those misogynist Republicans and crazy pro-lifers for decades.  

For Democrats, it’s been quite simple, really: Manipulate women into thinking you stand with them while telling Black and Hispanic Americans that more government programs will help them climb the economic ladder. Upending that formula will be a political earthquake. 

Democrats don’t really believe the Dobbs case is a gateway to the overturning of Brown v. Board of Education, the erosion of democracy, or the setting back of women’s rights. They don’t really believe that the Supreme Court is somehow illegitimate. 

None of the outrageous and inflammatory rhetoric we’ve heard since the leaked opinion hit the media is really about women’s rights. The same folks who have been turning women into birthing people, getting behind the concept of male pregnancy and destroying women’s sports, can’t possibly care about women’s rights more than preserving the politics of abortion. 

Of course, the ruling in Dobbs will keep state-level Democrat activists and campaigns busy, but Democrats also read polls and can look at the science. They know that the majority of Americans believe an unborn child should have some amount of rights and that most favor some restrictions on abortion. A majority oppose taxpayer-funded abortion on demand. 

Abortion won’t be as effective a driver of turnout. The majority of states in this country are either conservative or right-leaning, meaning that while abortion may continue to be available, legislatures will assert restrictions that are tolerable to those electorates.  

Democrats that take extreme positions on the issue, as many of them are doing so breathlessly now, will only further highlight the coastal-elitist nature of today’s Democratic Party. Taken together with their radical welfare and environmental policies, it will further widen the gap between the party brand and the average American voter.  

The sudden fire in the eyes of Vice President Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and all those supposedly furious over Roe’s potential demise care far more about the impact of the decision on their power, influence and control over government than anything else. 

They’ve known for decades an unborn child isn’t a clump of cells. They’ve known the advancing science and the conscience of a Judeo-Christian nation would one day reign in the perversion of freedom they’ve used to win elections for decades. They’ve known the sin and stain of abortion on this nation would one day begin its march to the ash heap of history. They just can’t stand to lose the issue.

• Tom Basile is the host of “America Right Now” on Newsmax Television, an author and a former Bush administration official.   

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