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America's latest battle over abortion turns out to have been something entirely different

Editorial Staff

After Carlill v The Carbolic Smoke Ball Company (in 1892), possibly the most famous court case in the world is Roe -v- Wade (1973) which has been a constant battleground in the US, the Senate and the Courts for decades. The latest Supreme Court case does not directly affect that case but might have even greater consequences because while everyone is focussing on the abortion element of National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, the case was actually about something very different and that's how the US Supreme Court decided it.

The world continues to struggle with issues of discrimination and legislators are constantly pushing an agenda that promotes what amounts to their own bias. An example is that in which Christian bakers have been brought before the Courts for refusing to decorate cakes for same-sex "marriage" ceremonies - not because they, mostly, take exception to the recognition by the State recognising and registering same-sex unions but because of the use of the words "marriage," "wedding" and "husband" and "wife." Requiring a person who has a deep seated conviction that those words are reserved for heterosexual unions blessed by God to publish a statement against that conviction is remarkably similar to requiring an anti-abortionist to publish an unqualified statement advocating abortion.

The abortionists are now worried that Kennedy's replacement is likely to be an anti-abortionist. That's debatable given US President Trump's ability to surprise. Kennedy is regarded as a republican but his decisions, over 30 years, have been rather more independent. Trump will almost certainly appoint a Christian but that doesn't necessarily mean bible belt fire-and-brimstone - it probably means conservative and supporting of traditional family values. But as more and more challenges are mounted, Trump does need the fifth vote to be more likely to be his - this week, also, the Court ordered that his travel ban on those from, mainly, Muslim countries was legal. Even so, Trump is unusual in that, under his watch, there will have been two (and counting?) appointments to the Supreme Court. Just how much he might be able to provide direction for the next several decades of SCoTUS decisions remains to be seen.

But those that are using Kennedy's resignation to play politics with this decision are making a big mistake: the irony that the abortionists cannot get their heads around is that the case was not about abortion but about a State over-reaching its power to enforce those within it to publish a political statement. At the core of the SCoTUS decision was the biggest irony of all: California which shouts "liberalism" from the rooftops acted in an authoritarian manner and that's what the Supreme Court said "no" to.