BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — We’ve all experienced the debate over abortion itself, with euphemisms like “pro-life” and “pro-choice” standing in for the two entrenched positions on the termination of pregnancy. But the debate Tuesday was not so much about abortion as it was about the leak of a Supreme Court draft decision on the issue and the ethics, and possible impact, of that leak.
First, who gains politically from Monday’s report from Politico that the nation’s highest court is poised to strike down the landmark 1973 decision and hand the abortion issue to individual states?
Theoretically, said Bakersfield attorney David Torres, a local Democratic Party activist, both parties. Democrats and Republicans alike will be energized and motivated to participate in the upcoming midterms, where Republicans are, by most accounts, likely to reclaim the majority in Congress.
“It’s going to mobilize Democrats to go out and vote, including women who may not be Democrats,” he said. “But interestingly I was also thinking the Republicans could also probably benefit. Ultimately I think it’s going to rile up voters on both sides.”
Tiffany Tsantsoulas, a philosophy professor and ethicist at CSU Bakersfield, looked at the leak from a different perspective:
“I think it’s hard to say whether the method is ethical or not,” she said. “We usually judge after the fact when we look at the consequences. What really concerns me more is the way in which this leak has brought to light your fundamental rights or your liberties are at the whim of a very secretive, unelected body.”
Leak or no leak, it was business as usual Tuesday at the Bakersfield office of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, the women’s health services nonprofit. The local director declined comment but the national office said Planned Parenthood was already training clinicians to help accommodate those who come to California from other states where abortions have been banned or severely restricted.
One thing is clear: Both parties will use the draft ruling to point fingers and raise money. Already, on Tuesday morning, an email from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee claiming Republican Rep. David Valadao is “complicit in the crusade to end access to legal abortion.”
How will this leak affect the 2022 midterms? We’ll see in the next few hours, days and weeks.