The Ghost of Taney

Roger_B_Taney

In a recent post, J. Budziszewski excerpted the following:

“Women … have the talent, capacity, and right ‘to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation.’  Their ability to realize their full potential … is intimately connected to ‘their ability to control their reproductive lives.’  Thus, legal challenges to undue restrictions on abortion procedures … center on a woman’s autonomy to determine her life’s course, and thus to enjoy equal citizenship stature.”  (Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124 (2007), Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dissenting.)

It’s incredible that the equal protection clause is used as an instrument to deny equal protection to human beings in utero on the grounds that not doing so will deny ‘equal protection’ to pregnant women. But why only stop at abortion? Why limit a woman’s right to kill her child in utero but not postpartum? Or even later? If the principle doing all the work above is her “ability to realize their full potential … is intimately connected to ‘their ability to control their reproductive lives'”, this continues after birth. However, if there is something about the child postpartum  that would oblige her to look after the child even though it may impinge on her “ability to realize their full potential’ then it needs to be identified, as well as demonstrated that this is not also true about the child in utero. Failing that, all this talk about “their ability to realize their full potential” is just fluff.

No wonder Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is notorious, just like Justice Roger B. Taney, who wrote the majority opinion in Dred Scott.

Picture: Justice Roger B. Taney, Library of Congress.

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