Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Quote of the Day (The Editors of ‘Commonweal,’ On the Supreme Court’s Reversal of ‘Roe v. Wade’)

“Now that Roe is finally overturned, the [Roman Catholic] Church must think through the implications of its success. An issue that has dominated public discourse and reshaped American society over half a century remains far from settled—morally, politically, legally, culturally. Catholics ambivalent about abortion and discouraged by the Church’s alliance with the right will continue to tune out the bishops or even disaffiliate. Meanwhile, the left’s often cavalier dismissal of the moral status of the unborn makes productive debate on this issue increasingly difficult. With lawmaking on abortion returned to the state level, partisan divides and regional differences will deepen. Women will continue to seek out abortions, through legal and extralegal means, including medications delivered by mail. Abortion is likely to remain the subject of protests, sloganeering, and demagoguery. As we have seen across the decades—from the murders of abortion doctors and the bombing of clinics to recent attacks on pregnancy-counselling centers and a death threat against Justice Brett Kavanaugh—some people on both sides of this issue are willing to resort to violence. Such violence is likely to increase in this moment of uncertainty.”—"The End of Roe: A Test for American Democracy” (editorial), Commonweal, June 25, 2022

As I thought of the changed landscape in the wake of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a line from the prophet Isaiah came to mind: “Come, let us reason together.”

My fear is that this fervent hope will fall on deaf ears. 

The wounds from the past half-century—the vitriol and hypocrisy of this opening salvo of the culture wars—have already infected the body politic, in the form of a Democratic Party ready to accept not only some of the most liberal abortion laws in the industrialized world but also among the highest rates of abortion in that sphere, while the Republicans jiggered their own self-imposed rule for Supreme Court confirmations in election years and aligned itself with a would-be authoritarian peddling conspiracy theories like a snake-oil salesman.

And that does not even take into account, as the editors of the Catholic opinion journal Commonweal note, the damage to religious institutions like the Church.

Now, I fear, what may be about to ensue will only further divide families and friends. None of this had to happen had each side only engaged in mutual respect and a willingness to compromise.

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