Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Who Crossed?

One thing about the Tennessee Senate Joint Resolution about abortion that was just passed that leapt out at me was the lopsided vote: 24 yeas and only 9 nays. The ostensible Republican - Democrat divide in the Senate is 17 - 16, meaning 7 nominal Democrats "crossed over" to vote against abortion.

But in no story I've seen yet have the names of those seven been released. I tried the General Assembly's website, but couldn't find it. (You can read the actual resolution, by the way, here.)

Anyone know where to find those names? Who they are?

My guess is that it's tacit proof that Tennessee is a much more conservative (though not necessarily Republican) state than is generally admitted in the leftist-dominated press. Some Democrats apparently see it as more important to support this anti-abortion bill, for their constituents and voters, than to toe the party line.

I also think marriage redefinition activists should heed the implicit warning here. Many of them seem to be counting on blacks-as-Democrats to support their "gay marriage" drive. But as I've noted here, blacks are much more socially conservative than comparable whites. Much more.

I'm not sure how many of the white readers here have had casual conversations with Memphis or Tennessee blacks about gays. In fact, you don't hear "gay" that much, but "fag" sure comes up. So does "sweet" and "down low." Listen to WDIA's talk shows. Many to most of the blacks I talk with are frank, blunt and unapologetic in using those terms, and their attendant "homophobia." It's something white gays and white Democrats rarely address in the larger public arena, but it's a real problem for them. It will sink their efforts, and I think the Senate Resolution is yet another indicator of the debacle they face this Fall.

I predict that "gay marriage" will be defeated about 75 - 25% in Tennessee.

Back to the Resolution's language before I close. It says, in full:
Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.
If I read this right -- and I welcome correction if I'm wrong -- if abortion comes before the Tennessee Supreme Court after passage of this language the TSC cannot do as the USSC did and find a "penumbra" of privacy within which to allow abortion.

It seems to mean that, under its language, abortion will be not something inherent to the individual's freedom but a privilege granted by the State. I'm not sure this is the way to go. The libertarian in me quails at this idea.

Abortion is a terrible thing; it's the pre-meditated ending of a human life. It's awful in the Solomonic balance-of-lives way. But as terrible as it is, it's also, sometimes, necessary. I believe that. Sometimes, but not as often as a million times a year, it is necessary for the health of one life to end another.

I also think adoption and personal sacrifice (as in enduring pregnancy for the sake of the other life) are deliberately pushed aside by the pro-choice side to clear away possible middle grounds that they see as breeding fields for opposition to any abortion. And that's sad. I do believe that the State has a legitimate interest in protecting life, and therefore a role to play in suppressing abortion. I'm just not sure what that is or how it plays out.

Polls of Americans show, over and over, that we want abortion available just in case but we also want it made hard to get, to prevent abuse of this horrifying solution. The idea being that if abortions are hard to obtain, then you really want to end the pregnancy. But the poles of the argument -- abortions for all, any time; and no abortions, never -- have dominated the debate and so blasted any middle grounds.

I'm not sure how the State gets into the business of decreasing abortion, but I don't think the Tennessee Senate Resolution is quite the way. I think we'll find, as we so often do, unintended consequences in this law. Unpleasant ones.

But where we want to go, and how we move from where we are, are still questions I wrestle with.

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