It’s decision season for the Supreme Court, and they’ve handed down a number of rulings in the past week including McCullen v. Coakley, which was decided yesterday (opinion here) by a unanimous court.

It’s a curious state of affairs in our political and news culture that most people do not know that the Supreme Court rules unanimously in a majority of their cases,64%of the time,to be exact, during this term. The difference between an originalist Reagan appointee in Justice Scalia and a progressive Obama appointee in Justice Kagan is not that large – they agree with each other 86% of the time.
The argument in the MuCullen case was over "buffer zones" around abortion clinics. The unanimous court agreed that these buffer zones violate the first amendment. Pro-choice analysts are predictably up in arms over the decision. This analyst tries to paint Chief Justice Roberts as the out-of-touch old guy, conveniently forgetting that the decision was unanimous. Even the "wise Latina" voted for it.
However, the debate over the decision itself is less interesting than the arguments its critics use to defend their position on these "buffer zone" laws and, indeed, on abortion itself – they are libertarian arguments.
Consider this, from the RH Reality Check website: "our commitment to make the discussion of reproductive justice one that is intersectional and uncompromising in our belief that everyone has the right to bodily autonomy, self-determination, and dignity."
Set aside for the moment the argument as to whether a fetus should be included in the subset of people identified by the word "everyone," this sentence effectively restates a central tenet of libertarianism.
Here, from Cato, is a definition of Individualism: "Libertarians see the individual as the basic unit of social analysis. Only individuals make choices and are responsible for their actions. Libertarian thought emphasizes the dignity of each individual, which entails both rights and responsibility."
I wonder if pro-choice activists actually believe the arguments they’re making, or if their belief in self-determination and dignity begins and ends with abortion rights? I suspect it’s the latter, but it would be interesting to hear why they believe these concepts should apply only to pregnant women.
As for the legal arguments, the ferocity with which pro-choice advocates defend the "right" to abortion is notable only when differentiated with the idea many of these same people hold that the rights enshrined in the 2nd Amendment should be curtailed to the maximum extent possible.
There are "rights," I suppose, and then there are rights.
I’m less interested in politics and more interested in some kind of ideological consistency – I don’t want the rules to suddenly change on me based on the whims of a political elite. If you believe in individualism and the idea of individual rights, I’m on board. But if you want to change what each of those things mean based on something you do or don’t like, that’s where I get off the train.
UPDATE: Mother Jones (!) discovers that the Constitution protects individual liberties from government malfeasance. If only they would take that long next step.
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