WASHINGTON -- The pro-abortion lobby cannot be happy about a law that has just been passed and signed in faraway Nebraska. There anti-abortion forces must have clout. The law bans most abortions 20 weeks after conception on the basis of "fetal pain." Thus, the Nebraskan pro-life advocates are saying that the suffering of a fetus is at least as important as the suffering of a chicken at a poultry processing plant or of a stray dog picked up by the animal control authorities. For liberalism, this could mean still more liberal crackup, as sympathizers for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other advocates of animal rights are put in the awkward position of contemplating the pain suffered by that biological inconvenience that civilized Americans still call a fetus. If they contemplate with sufficient intelligence, they might conclude that a fetus has rights.
Naturally, pro-abortionists are promising a huge legal battle. There will be claims that the fetus does not suffer. Experts will be called in. The case will be as acrimonious as every abortion controversy has been since 1973, when, through the courts, pro-abortionists forced legalized abortion on the entire country. Had the question of abortion been left to legislatures, doubtless the process would have become legal in some states but not in others. Federalism's genius would abide. Diversity would exist.
Yet liberal justices on the Supreme Court found a "right" in the Constitution that never is mentioned in that document, the right to privacy. Thus was abortion brought down on the nation, not through the will of the majority but through the willfulness of a minority, the liberals.
The entire controversy brings to mind a thesis of mine about liberals and conservatives that I elaborate on enthusiastically in my new book, "After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery," which comes out this coming week. The liberal has the political libido of a nymphomaniac, at times of a sex offender. It is impossible to restrain. By comparison, the conservative's political libido is more subject to reason and restraint. Almost nothing restrains liberals' political activism. Conservatives are more disciplined. Process matters to them.