The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

4 April 2004

The legacy of Laci and Conner

Thursday, the President signed into law something called the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which makes injury to a fetus during an attack on the mother a separate crime.

I don't have a particular problem with this measure, but I don't think it will stand up to scrutiny by the Supreme Court either. Rod Dreher, writing in the blog of The Dallas Morning News (they don't do permalinks — see 1 April, 3:50 pm) explains why:

I think that pro-choicers are right to say that this law undermines Roe v. Wade, even though the language of the law permits abortion. It's illogical to say that the mother's preference makes the difference between a form of homicide and a legally permissible act. I think this is probably why SCOTUS will overturn it.

And Dreher sees another controversy, this one local to Dallas, brewing:

We're a pro-choice paper (as far as I know, I'm the only pro-lifer on the editorial board, though I invite others, if they're there, to identify themselves). It's safe to say that I won't be writing this editorial, if we do in fact editorialize on the UVVA. If we come out against the UVVA, I hope y'all have good arguments to explain to the public why when Conner Peterson died, a human being did not die. And if we come out in favor of the UVVA, I hope y'all have good arguments to explain why the personhood of a fetus can only be determined by the decision of its mother. I hope y'all can explain why this is any different, morally, from the 19th-century, when the whims of white people decided the moral personhood of black people. I can see the bumper sticker now: Don't like slavery? Don't own one.

Interestingly, Dreher comments elsewhere (1 April, 3:00 pm) that liberals, at least within earshot of him, complain about how &*%$# right-wing the News' editorial page is. He should hear some of the grumblings about The Oklahoman.

Posted at 9:29 AM to Political Science Fiction


I think there's a vocal malcontent community in every place served by a newspaper that regards as "right-wing" any newspaper that ever fails to infer the worst possible motives to anyone to the right of Ralph Nader.

When I was growing up, the Sacramento Bee was the liberal paper -- now it's the only one, but editorially it remains what it was. Every once in a blue moon its editorial writers forget themselves and say something only slightly nasty about a slightly right-of-center personage.

But because the Sacramento Union has been defunct now for -- God, has it been over ten years!? -- there's no other target for that town's Kossies.

These days, I suppose, the Union, which was founded in 1856 and so named because of a pro-labor stance, would be derided as a Nazi Party house organ.

Posted by: McGehee at 10:51 AM on 4 April 2004