Sunday, August 02, 2015

Defunding Planned Parenthood would actually increase abortion; Perry's folly on self-defense; John Paul Stevens proposes constitutional amendments

I’ll point to a progressive piece by Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post Sunday August 2, 2015, p. A15, “The reasons not to defund Planned Parenthood”, link here.  Her online title says it: “Defunding planned parenthood would actually increase abortions”.  It probably would. Yet, George Will has an opposing column to the right (literally), “The barbarity of a nation”.  It reminds me of Oliver North’s radio comments about infanticide in the 1990s.

I can recall, on a weekend trip “home” from Minnesota in August 2001, about a month before the shock of 9/11 (during a weird summer of apprehension), watching the newly elected president George W. Bush announce (with a teleprompter voice that mumbled) some kind of opposition to the use of fetal tissue.  But Marcus gives a utilitarian argument that some fetal research could help with progress against disease and help others, especially the elderly and disabled, live much longer.

I also remember meeting someone who worked in IT for Planned Parenthood, running their servers.  I have been able to stay away from working for partisan or issue-oriented entities, as part of my whole “conflict of interest” issue.

There's another point:  a lot of social conservatives think avoiding pregnancy isn't the virtue it once was, as they point to "demographic winter". 

On another matter I heard an interesting remark by Fareed Zakaria on his GPS show on CNN this morning.  He said, of GOP Texas governor Rick Perry, that anyone who seriously thinks that citizens should go into darkened movie theaters armed (with permits, of course) to defend themselves against possible domestic terrorists (probably nearly always mentally ill) cannot be taken seriously as a candidate for president of the United States (in 2016). Zakaria points out that the number of shootings in the US, compared to Europe (and Canada and Australia) is a direct relation to the number of weapons in private circulation, not to the number of mentally ill (or politically or religiously extreme).  Zakaria also decried Justice Scalia for “judicial activism” in inventing a fundamental right (a pet term of mine from my little 1998 booklet) to own a weapon (in the way the Second Amendment’s “militia” clause is interpreted) with the 2008 ruling.  Of course, social conservatives have criticized the Supreme Court or judicial activism for “inventing fundamental rights” to same-sex marriage and even private adult gay relations at all.

Zakaria also mentioned a new book by Justice John Paul Stevens, “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution”.  DailyKos has a link summarizing the amendments here.  Gun control, death penalty, gerrymandering, commandeering, campaign finance reform, sovereign immunity – all of these are on his table.  Since my first “Do Ask, Do Tell” book proposed an even bigger amendment (12 parts) back in 1997, I guess I have some more work to do, in responding to this. I will, in due course.

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