Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Houston, We Have a Problem

While the Editor seems to think Giuliani creditably threaded the needle of reconciling his position on abortion with the pro-life sentiments of the party rank and file via an embrace of federalism in the abstract, I don't see any statement which gives me such confidence.

First of all, we have the problem of Giuliani's entrenched position in favour of the abortion license. One might say, "I hate broccoli, but I respect the rights of others to choose it," and it will be understood that one's hatred is a minor thing, more a figure of speech. So what political outcomes can those of us who hate abortion and think it an unacceptable abomination akin to murder expect? Rudy's inability to say out loud that Roe was a judicial error coupled with his bland acceptance of it as precedent despite the fact that "[t]here are questions about the way it was decided and some of the basis for it" indicate that in fact he is quite comfortable with the status quo, which due to Doe v Bolton effectively enshrine a total license of any woman not only to terminate her pregnancy (which can be terminated by caesarian any time after 26 weeks thereby making almost all abortions after that time medically unnecessary) but also to be guaranteed a dead baby.

Giuliani offers no reason to think that he supports judicial reform to allow state legislatures make truly federalist and substantive changes. It was Hannity, not Giuliani who suggested that Giuliani would seek justices in the mold of Scalia. Giuliani rather mentioned Roberts and Alito as his models, two justices who have yet to make a ruling on abortion. The most Giuliani would say about Scalia is that he thought Scalia was a great judge, but that "you are never going to get someone exactly the same." To me this sounds basically like "he's fine where he is, but I'd rather talk about someone else."

In short, I don't believe that Giuliani has framed a coherent position on abortion. Many of his statements here don't parse grammatically, and the others lapse into passive voice. When asked about partial-birth abortion, his response literally is "I think it will be upheld." Literally, we should read this as an endorsement of the process in context of the question asked, but his subsequent statement makes it seem that he's referring to the federal law against it, which is currently being contested.

Similarly, when he says "I think it should be [upheld--the ban, we're seemingly to understand, but again, in context, literally partial-birth abortion itself]. I think that's going to be upheld. as long as there's provision for the life of the mother then that's something that should be done."The controversial part about all recent attempts to limit abortion has not been exceptions for the life of the mother, but rather the health of the mother, which Doe v Bolton defined in the broadest conceivable terms including mental health, so that any woman who claims that she will be depressed by not getting an abortion can therefore not be denied one at any point during the pregnancy.

Giuliani's statements on this subject are the twisted evasions of a tortured conscience, I think. Giuliani has offered no planks of his administrative platform on this issue, and has given no indication that he would support judicial action to allow states to legislate freely on the issue. All we're left with is Giuliani's sadly well-documented personal libertinism coupled incoherently with a distaste for its logically inevitable consequences.

In such cases devoid of enunciated principles we can expect only for individuals to pursue their own immediate interests, which in Giuliani's case does not seem to include any inclination to involve himself in the issue.

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