Daily Archives: March 29, 2020

Memo to the wingnuts: Coronavirus doesn’t trump the Constitution

If his mother had aborted him, we never could shoot him!

Never let a perfectly good nationwide crisis go to waste, so they say — advice that the Repugnicans have embraced, of course.

First has come the baldly politically opportunistic restrictions on abortions in the red states. NPR reports:

State officials in Kentucky and Oklahoma are among a growing number of Republican officials who say abortion is a nonessential procedure that should be put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt have joined the list of officials calling for a suspension of most abortions in their states as part of a larger effort to help free up protective equipment for healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients.

In a statement, Cameron said abortion providers “should join the thousands of other medical professionals across the state in ceasing elective procedures, unless the life of the mother is at risk.”

Reproductive health groups say abortion is an essential, time-sensitive procedure that should not be delayed, and that doing so can jeopardize the health and well-being of pregnant women.

There’s a growing push by groups opposed to abortion rights to require clinics to suspend the procedure. Earlier [last] week, Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of abortion providers in [Texas], challenging such an order from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney Gen. Ken Paxton.

Officials in other states, including Ohio and Mississippi, have issued similar directives. …

Of course the knuckle-dragging Repugnican mouth-breathers don’t actually give a flying fuck about freeing up health-care resources. If they cared about the adequacy of health-care resources to the common American, they’d have done something about the significant monetary restrictions to adequate health care that our for-profit wealth-care — er, health-care — system has created for at least several decades now.

No, the coronavirus pandemic is just a golden opportunity to try to take advantage of a changed, chaotic political playing field in order to try to achieve one of their long-standing, backasswards, right-wing goals: the total domination of women and their reproductive organs.

While claiming that they care about human life, these same Repugnican traitors (redundant!) claim that any restrictions on the ability to buy firearms and firearms-related supplies — including restrictions prompted by a deadly pandemic — violate the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Axios reports that “The National Rifle Association and other pro-gun groups filed a lawsuit against California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state officials on Friday after gun stores were deemed non-essential and required to close for the state’s stay-at-home order amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.”

Are firearms essential? I don’t think so. I don’t have a gun and I don’t want one. The Wild West is over, folks. I think that for the most part, guns are for ignorant losers who, despite their bluster, are afraid of their own fucking shadows, and thus believe (or at least claim) that they must possess firearms in order to protect themselves — even though the vast majority of them never will have a valid reason to fire a firearm on another human being in their entire lives.

However, unlike the Repugnicans, I do respect the U.S. Constitution, and I would be OK with gun shops remaining open. Limiting the number of customers who could be inside of the store at the same time, however, in order to limit the spread of the highly contagious and deadly-to-some coronavirus, would not violate anyone’s Second Amendment rights.

(I do oppose allowing shooting ranges to remain open; not only are they full of people who are close to each other, but I don’t believe that the Second Amendment protects shooting ranges during a nationwide pandemic. I bring this up because the New York Post reports that

The Trump administration has added the firearms industry — gun shops included — to a federal list of critical infrastructure during the ongoing coronavirus emergency.

The new language, added Saturday to the website of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, now deems as critical “Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges.”

Previously-designated critical industries include energy, food production, emergency services, government offices, transportation and healthcare. …

Yeah, I just can’t add shooting ranges to that list.)

Allowing gun shops to remain open but with some crowding restrictions would be a compromise — it would protect Second-Amendment rights, as nebulous as those are, and at the same time it would help to protect public health, which, when push comes to shove, can trump (ha ha) some of our constitutional rights. You have certain inalienable rights, to be sure, but among those is not the “right” to kill others by wantonly spreading your infectious disease.

On abortion, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe vs. Wade in 1973 that the U.S. Constitution guarantees women abortion rights. Wikipedia notes:

In January 1973, the [U.S.] Supreme Court issued a 7-2 decision holding that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides a “right to privacy” that protects a pregnant woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.

However, it held that this right is not absolute, and must be balanced against the government’s interests in protecting women’s health and protecting prenatal life.

The court resolved this balancing test by tying state regulation of abortion to the three trimesters of pregnancy: during the first trimester, governments could not prohibit abortions at all; during the second trimester, governments could require reasonable health regulations; during the third trimester, abortions could be prohibited entirely so long as the laws contained exceptions for cases when they were necessary to save the life or health of the mother.

The court classified the right to choose to have an abortion as “fundamental,” which required courts to evaluate challenged abortion laws under the “strict scrutiny” standard, the highest level of judicial review in the United States. [Emphasis mine.]

The fundamental constitutional right to an abortion is no less than is the fundamental constitutional right to possess a firearm. (While the founders didn’t write abortion rights into the U.S. Constitution because that wasn’t considered to be an issue then, the U.S. Supreme Court is the final word on the legal interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. [And thus, yes, the U.S. Constitution is a living, breathing document — if it were not, then it would be a dead document.])

Of course with abortion rights, time is of the essence; a woman has only three months in which she may have unfettered, unquestionable access to an abortion (that she doesn’t want to bring the embryo to full term is reason enough; it’s her body, not yours).

Telling a woman that she may not have an abortion as long as the coronavirus pandemic persists is the same fucking thing as telling the woman that she may not have an abortion, period — a blatant violation of her constitutional rights.

You can’t have it both ways, wingnuts — you can’t use the U.S. Constitution as justification for your own political agenda but then also ignore whichever elements of constitutional law are inconvenient to your oppressive, sick agenda.

It’s touching, though, that you want all of those babies to be born — so that you can use them for “Second-Amendment” target practice later.

Indeed, one must suspect that your main concern in pushing gun rights to the point of absurdity while doing your best to deny every woman an abortion is a shortage of people to shoot…

P.S. Tellingly, because of the coronavirus pandemic the NRA has called off its annual convention, which was to have been held in Nashville, Tennessee, next month.

I’m at least a little surprised that the gun nuts didn’t try to use a “Second-Amendment” “argument” to go on with the convention as planned…

P.P.S. I don’t believe in hypocrisy. I bash on the wingnuts (they make it so easy!), but neither should anyone who is left of center try to take advantage of the coronavirus pandemic in order to push through a political agenda that’s more about pushing through that political agenda than it actually is about protecting public health.

Therefore, while my governor, Gavin Newsom, gets most things right, I can’t say that I agree with his order that all gun shops in California must be closed during the coronavirus pandemic, and I surmise that he’ll lose this one in court.

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