Friday, May 17, 2019

Pat Robertson Opposes Alabama Abortion Ban

It's not every day that I agree with evangelical leader and longtime Augoeides punching bag Pat Robertson. In fact, make that just about no day ever.

Sure, I pointed out that he made sense when he responded to even-more-laughable Augoeides punching bag Ken Ham's debate with Bill Nye. I also noted awhile back that he correctly referred to a piece of scripture that's widely misunderstood by the evangelical community at large. But that's about as close as I've come - at least until now.

In response to the draconian abortion ban recently passed in Alabama, Robertson actually criticized the measure, commenting that he though the state went too far and that the law was "extreme." This is a pretty telling criticism, as Robertson has been one of the big evangelical leaders pushing to overturn Roe v. Wade for decades.

Could there be hope for him still?

Televangelist Pat Robertson, who is opposed to abortion, criticized an anti-abortion bill passed by the Alabama legislature Tuesday as "extreme."

“I think Alabama has gone too far," he said during a Wednesday appearance on "The 700 Club", referencing the bill's 99-year maximum sentence for doctors who perform abortions and the fact that it does not provide exceptions for rape or incest cases. He added that he does not think the bill would be upheld by the Supreme Court.

"It’s an extreme law, and they want to challenge Roe vs. Wade, but my humble view is that this is not the case we want to bring to the Supreme Court because I think this one will lose," he said. “The Alabama case, God bless them, they’re trying to do something, but I don’t think that’s the case that I’d want to bring to the Supreme Court," he later reiterated.

There you have it - signs point to "Nope." Robertson's opposition to the bill doesn't sound like it has anything to do with disapproval of the measure itself, which I personally find pretty horrific. Rather, he doesn't like it because he thinks that the Supreme Court will have no choice but to overturn it and reaffirm Roe in the process. He's not opposed on principle, he's opposed because of politics. That's our Pat!

Still, it also is true that any opposition is good opposition when considering these laws. It's not even clear that the folks passing this and similar abortion prohibitions in other states really even want the law in its "extreme" form. Aside from a handful of true believers, these laws are all about political gamesmanship.

These laws are deliberately extreme, with the express intent of the Supreme Court using one of them to overturn or rein in Roe. The laws' sponsors are figuring that even if the Supreme Court is not willing to overturn, they figure they'll wind up with more comprehensive abortion restrictions in the final decision if the law that goes before the courts is flat-out nuts.

What I would really like to see is for the Supreme Court to refuse to review any of these cases. The lower courts will throw them all out because of Roe and more recent cases that affirmed abortion rights. It would be an appropriate slap in the face to anyone deliberately passing a law to bait the Supreme Court, anticipating a decision in their favor.

I don't expect that to happen. But then again, I never expected to agree with Pat Robertson on anything related to the abortion debate.

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