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On the eve of Alito's likely approval: Senator Cha-cha-ing around choice

What does it really mean, this Law.com report that Rhode Island Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee has announced he is:

  • Pro-choice
  • Pro-cloture
  • Anti-filibuster?

Law.com's newswire tells me that over the weekend and into Monday, some Democrats have been reportedly rattling cages to block Sam Alito's nomination.  Chafee "is the only member of the Republican Party so far to announce that he will vote against the conservative judge," Jesse J. Holland reports, but adds that "Chafee refused to support the Democrats' filibuster attempt, however. "How are we going to get anything done if we can't work together?" Chafee asked.

Let's just say lefty women are having at him, and his supporters. In a fairly representative post on Firedoglake, Jane Hamsher says Chafee's cha-cha around the choice issue means that the National Abortion Rights Action League has failed:

"Let's just be clear. Lincoln Chafee is getting ready to vote for the single biggest blow to choice in this country since Roe v. Wade was passed 33 years ago. This ridiculous little kabuki about voting AGAINST Alito and FOR cloture is a sham, and if NARAL is going to look the other way they no longer deserve to be the guardians of a woman's right to choose in this country."

My favorite post of the past week, however, is by Dawn Johnsen on the "Incremental Evisceration" of Roe. This post originally appeared in Slate, but I found it here on ACSBlog. Johnsen writes of the hearings:

"We have squandered a rare opportunity for public education. The Senate's focus on the formal status of Roe, while understandable, masks the extent to which the court has already gutted the right to choose and what the confirmation of Alito most immediately would mean for reproductive liberty.

How precisely does this incremental evisceration of Roe work? State legislatures have enacted literally hundreds of abortion restrictions that fall short of bans, some of which have already been upheld by courts, under the prevailing "undue burden" standard. Such government restrictions, combined with clinic violence and harassment, have drastically reduced the number of abortion providers around the country and have made access to the remaining providers exceedingly difficult for growing numbers of women ..." More.

Posted by Laurel Newby on January 30, 2006 at 05:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

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