On October 22, the Washington Post published an article by Reis Thebault, claiming our petition drive to ban dismemberment abortion was unpopular—even undemocratic: “An overlooked consequence of the Supreme Court’s gerrymandering rulings: Stricter abortion laws.”
It’s behind their paywall, so very few people will be able to read it. However, the article makes some mealy-mouthed assumptions, so it’s worth addressing.
The article’s focus is that abortion is actually popular, but gerrymandered electoral districts explains why prolife laws are successful in many states. The article focuses on Michigan as the prime example: “But, unlike those other states, which have overwhelmingly conservative governments, Michigan could pass antiabortion laws without the governor’s approval and without the support of a majority of voters.”
Late-term abortions are not popular. The article cites one vague Pew poll to claim most people support abortion. However, when you actually ask people about reasons for abortion, you get a useful result. In a 2018 Gallup poll, only 20% of those polled said they support third trimester abortions for purely elective reasons, and only 45% said even purely elective first trimester abortions should be legal. Most abortions—early and late in pregnancy—are purely elective.
Abortion supporters may cite vague polls, but they don’t really believe abortion is popular. Really, who acts like late-term abortions are popular? If they are so popular, why do some national media voices even try to pretend they don’t exist? Why did the national media melt down when Donald Trump described a late-term abortion during his debate with Hillary Clinton?
This is true for the entirety of the abortion issue. How often do you hear pro-abortion politicians using the word, “abortion”? If they believed people supported abortion, they would not do things like attempt to personally destroy Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in order to keep Roe v. Wade alive at any cost.
The article’s expert on gerrymandering, University of Chicago professor Nicholas Stephanopoulos, specifically criticized our petition drive: “It’s clever but it’s deeply undemocratic.”
No, no, no. Legalized abortion is deeply undemocratic. Which state voted to legalize abortion-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy in 1973? Not one. It was unelected judges who invented a right to abortion in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, basing their decisions on apparently core democratic ideals like “penumbra formed by emanations.” Something like that. Those judges swear it’s somewhere deep in the bowels of the U.S. Constitution, a place no mere voter can find for themselves.
The only time Michigan voters have been asked to fundamentally decide on Michigan’s abortion law, they voted for abortions to be illegal except to save the life of the mother in November 1972. That is the will of Michigan’s people, period. You can’t gerrymander a statewide election. And yet, the U.S. Supreme Court stole the issue away from them a few weeks later on January 22, 1973 with Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.
Why are the voices so indignant about legislative maps so silent about the judicial tyranny that’s led to the death of nearly 59 million human beings? Apparently deeply undemocratic actions are OK when they do it.
Stephanopoulos continued in the article: “Michigan is awful. It’s one of the handful of the most gerrymandered legislatures in the country.”
No, your take on this is awful, professor. This petition drive to ban dismemberment abortions is the fifth such effort in our history. The previous four efforts all succeeded, including three from way before the supposed 2010 gerrymander that is enabling all these prolife laws. Democrats controlled both the Michigan House and Senate for the 1980s redistricting, yet Right to Life of Michigan completed petition drives in 1987 and 1990.
Our 1987 petition drive to end tax-funded abortions was actually placed on the November ballot by a counter-petition from the Abortion Industry. What happened? They lost, 57% to 43%. They have had the option to do that to all of our petition drives, but they haven’t done it since the first one. That’s because they know supporting things like tax-funded abortions, secret teen abortions, partial-birth abortions and tearing babies in the second trimester limb from limb aren’t popular. They learned it the hard way—at the ballot box.
To call Michigan’s citizen-initiated legislation process un-democratic is insulting. The process was added into the Michigan Constitution, which was approved by Michigan voters. You can’t get more democratic than that. It puts the voice of a democratically-elected legislature and hundreds of thousands of citizens above the voice of just one person in the governor’s mansion.
We live in a strange world where following rules the voters put in place is undemocratic, but 7 unelected judges deciding the fundamental issue of who gets human rights and who doesn’t is perfectly acceptable to some.
Michigan doesn’t have prolife majorities in the Legislature because of gerrymandering. The last time Democrats controlled the Michigan House, there was still a prolife majority. Abortion supporters haven’t had a majority in the Michigan Legislature in more than 30 years. Have the nefarious forces who wrote Michigan’s 2010 legislative maps traveled back in time in a grand conspiracy on behalf of Right to Life of Michigan to gerrymander them all? No, that didn’t actually happen, though time travel still remains more real than the legal reasoning behind Roe v. Wade.
Abortion supporters hide behind words like “democracy” and “voters” while one of their presidential candidates argues that every state law on abortion must be approved by unelected federal bureaucrats before it’s allowed to go into effect. They don’t for a minute believe voters should ever get a say on abortion. They only want to win at any cost, even if it means subverting election results, the laws, and the truth itself.
If you support abortion and you claim to believe in democracy, then put your money where your mouth is and overturn Roe v. Wade now. No voter or elected official ever decided to put abortion in the U.S. Constitution. Stop this charade and have the courage to stand on your beliefs in the public square in an honest way.
Our thousands of volunteers will continue to use Michigan’s constitutional procedure to send a bill to our Legislature to ban the barbaric dismemberment abortion. If you would like to join in and help us get 400,000 signatures, visit the petition drive website at michiganvalueslife.org.