The War on (little) Women and Other Insanities

The Supreme Court’s minor mistakes have few systemic consequences. But when the Supremes make a big mistake, the error tends to seep throughout the entire political process, poisoning everything in its path.

That was what happened with the Court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision, which intensified the passions and accelerated the dynamics that led to the Civil War—and to 600,000 Americans killing each other. That was what happened when the Court got it wrong again in Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 decision that declared segregated public facilities constitutional: three-and-a-half generations of American politics were distorted by a fierce struggle between segregationists and integrationists, with the Democratic Party held hostage to its fever-swamp wing.

And that is what happened with Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion on demand across the country. Ever since, the abortion issue has been the most bitterly contested in our public life, and Roe has distorted everything from free speech to religious freedom to health care legislation (dental insurers are being queried by federal regulators as to whether their coverage includes abortion—dental insurers!). Those distortions confirm that the Court got it fundamentally wrong in 1973.

The forces that defend Roe v. Wade know the fragility of that “exercisein raw judicial power” (as Justice Byron White, dissenting from the Roe majority, put it). Those absurdities were on full display in late May when the U.S. House of Representatives took up the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act. PRENDA’s  purpose is to ban sex-selection abortions in the United States—which almost always  means aborting unborn girls for the simple reason that they are girls.

This odious practice, a commonplace in Asia (where there are estimates of some 160 million “missing” females), is not, yet, widespread in the United States. But one sex-selection abortion is one too many, and the attitude to this war on little women within the billion-dollar abortion industry is chilling: a Planned Parenthood representative told the Huffington Post, prior to the House vote on PRENDA, that “No Planned Parenthood clinic will deny a woman an abortion based on her reasons for wanting one, except in states that explicitly prohibit sex-selection abortions.” As Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) put it in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post, “In other words, Planned Parenthood is OK with exterminating a child in its huge network of clinics simply because she’s a girl.”

The arguments against PRENDA in the House were ludicrous. The proponents of Roe’s unlimited abortion license, which they had long defended on the grounds that ready access to abortion is essential to women’s equality, argued that lethal discrimination against (little) women just because they are girls must be legally permissible. Radical feminism is now consuming its own future, literally.

And why? To defend Roe v. Wade—and, ultimately, the sexual revolution for which Roe v. Wade was and is the ultimate technological buttress. Were PRENDA to become law, and were the Supreme Court to find that PRENDA passed constitutional muster, a thread would be pulled: and that thread might unravel the entire warped tapestry woven out of Roe v. Wade. The pro-Roe forces understand that. And if saving Roe, that alleged foundation of gender equality, requires the manifest absurdity of self-described feminists (female and male) defending lethal discrimination against the littlest of little girls, well, so be it.

The same take-no-prisoners dynamic was at work earlier this year in Planned Parenthood’s assault on Susan G. Komen For the Cure, which had dared to hold Planned Parenthood accountable for not offering the mammograms the Komen Foundation’s money was supposed to help provide. But rather than admitting its failure and promising to offer genuine preventive health services to women, Planned Parenthood, and its cultural and political allies, crushed Komen—the cleanest of squeaky-clean charities—like a grape.

And some wonder why these same forces are now arrayed against the Church for daring to defend religious freedom?

George Weigel


George Weigel is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., and the author, most recently, of The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II⎯The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy.

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  • Alecto

    The practice may be rare at the moment, but mass immigration from countries with a pernicious caste system and “stupidstitions” such as “first born son” are a threat to our very existence.  Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean immigrants to this country still prefer boys.  We should immediately defund PP and ban or greatly reduce immigration from any country where there is widespread practice of aborting girls (India and China in particular).  With millions being imported with these kinds of ideas, the future of women in this country looks dim.  I have no respect for this ignorant ideas or cultures, but try an speak out against them and you will certainly be labeled “racists”, “xenophobic”, or “nationalist”. 

    All abortion is abhorrent, but this is particularly so because the same hypocrites who pretend to speak for “women’s rights” condone this!  It is cognitive dissonance on a scale that defies explanation! 

  • Lets not forget their most recent disasterous decision that “Corporations are People”!  This has made it possible for the Federal Government to be bought by the super wealthy.  If Romney wins in November, we will have a Republican Dictatorship under the direction of the One Percent.  The Supreme Court has sold the Middle Class and Poor into Serfdoom!

    • Alecto

      Corporations are people, they are the body commercial.  Individuals are the decision-makers, the implementers of policy, the workforce, the face of every corporation.  That an organizational form allows for the efficient execution of the wishes of shareholders seems to me an accurate reflection of the nature and purpose of a corporation. 

      The federal government in league with crony capitalists is the biggest threat to liberty on the planet.  It’s Obama, in my opinion the antichrist of the republic himself, whom you should fear if you value your rights and your liberty.  He neither respects individual rights (except abortion in an absolute sense) and does not recognize any restraints on his power.  Americans are either too distracted to recognize the threat or too unimaginative. 

    • FredA

       If people understood how markets, the economy and a functioning society works – they wouldn’t make such blatantly ignorant comments about corporate entities.

      RichardM, please read Thomas Sowell’s book: ‘Basic Economics: A Citizens’ Guide to the Economy’ before posting again. It’s NEVER too late to learn.

    •  Don’t be an idiot. Before “corporations were people” only unions are leftist organizations were people. You lefties always bitch when the playing field gets leveled a bit. And if you think serfdom is coming, look around you. It’s been here since Obama was elected.

      • Bill Powell

        Ain’t that the truth!  We’re all headed for serfdom – the political/entertainment elite will ‘occupy’ the position of royalty as in olden times and the rest of us will toil to provide for their comfort and power if Obama and his ilk are allowed to have their way.

      • Alecto

        We should say “No” to everything they demand we do and take great delight in doing everything they tell us we cannot do.  We should make theatre of their folly, and folly of their policy.  You can only be a serf  if you volunteer to become one.

        There is great power in numbers and the numbers are on our side.   Not every rebellion needs to be fought with a gun, but one thing is for certain:  every rebellion begins in the soul.

    • For legal purposes, corporations have always been treated as individuals. The Citizen’s United decision didn’t change that. Do you even know what the Citizen’s United case was about? Highly doubtful from your uninformed and histrionic comment.

    • crakpot

      You post the same propaganda no matter the article.

      No one loses his right to political speech just because he chooses to use his right to peaceably assemble. The Ninth Amendment enforces this on government. The Supreme Court got that right.

      More to the point of this article, no body loses the right to life just because they are littler than you. The Supreme Court got that very wrong.

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  • Micha_Elyi

    The Komen foundation was never “squeaky clean.”

    And it was feminist – of the feminazi strain – to the core from day one.

    Aslo, I note that all the fuss is over aborting girl babies; the sex-selective aboriont of boy bbies doensn’t make news.

    • Micha_Elyi

      And the comboxes at suck.  That should read: “Also, I note that all the fuss is over aborting girl babies; the sex selective abortion of boy babies doesn’t make news.”

  • You’re years too late recommending a book. He’s had decades of public school indoctrination. 

  • Back in the 90’s I happened across a doctoral thesis study of female infanticide in China. The candidate had found that instances of abandoned female infants had dropped dramatically and set about to discover why. She found that no matter the state of their other medical facilities, doctors in even the most remote Chinese backwaters had the capability of performing amniocenteses.  The reason that fewer females were being left to die was because far fewer were allowed to be born. The Chinese male/female demographics were already skewed at that point and they’ve only gotten worse. Those males born in the 90’s are coming of age in a drastically reduced pool of potential mates. For a wide variety of reasons, this is one of the worst things that can happen to a civilized society.

    This won’t stop with mere sex selection. We soon will have the capabilities to create “designer” babies and if something happens to go awry in the design, well, we can just abort that flawed fetus and begin again. God help us.

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  • givelifeachance2

    Komen—the cleanest of squeaky-clean charities—” ? ? ?  Naive statement there – Komen has been condemned by a number of bishops for its support of Planned Parenthood.

    And while the arguments against PRENDA may be ludicrous, those affirming it are similarly clueless and reduce the credibility of the inalienable right to life argument.  Abolish abortion, don’t trim it at the edges.