Wineke: Suddenly, the GOP sees abortion as no big deal

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The most surprising thing to me about the leaked Supreme Court draft on abortion is the fact that Republican politicians seem to be shrugging it off.

For the past half-century, right-wing politicians have pointed to legalized abortion as the source of most evil and have promised to abolish it once they achieved power. Now, a draft opinion by Justice Alito promises to do just that and more and our GOP friends are assuring us it is no big deal.

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, for example, responded by suggesting Wisconsin women with unwanted pregnancies, just drive to Illinois where abortion will, presumably remain legal.

No big deal, just jump in your car and return pure in a couple of days.

What is a big deal, the Republican politicians say, is the leak itself, which they portray as a perhaps mortal blow to the rule of law itself.

I do understand this because, to these guys, perception is far more important than fact. It would be far better to wait until the Supreme Court releases its final judgment, probably at midnight on some Friday in late June.

At that point, it would be a fait accompli and there would be no purpose in demonstrating against it.

Now – just as an insertion here – the firebombing of a Madison anti-abortion office as an act of terrorism and demonstrating in front of justices’ private homes is kind of creepy.

But rallies and street demonstrations designed to point out that the court seems on the verge of removing a constitutional right that affects every man, woman and child in the land are part of the right of free speech the court has not removed.

Actually, I don’t see why draft opinions of the court are not made public. They provide insight into what individual justices are thinking and how they are justifying that thinking.

The Alito draft, for example, makes clear that the ruling would apply only to abortion and not to other rights – and, then, removes the constitutional basis for all those other rights. Presumably, the full court might want to clear that up before issuing a final opinion.

The court, at the top of one of three co-equal branches of government, does not have to make its draft opinions public and most assuredly will not do so. But we would be better off if it did.

In the meantime, I’m glad Ron Johnson doesn’t think the right to abortion is such a big deal in Wisconsin. Maybe he could work to make it legal here and save women the drive to Rockford.