One Man’s Equal Protection is another Man’s Discrimination

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” – from the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution

A few months back I caught an article decrying hate crime legislation. I too dislike hate crime legislation, on the grounds that hate crimes are already crimes, and are not “worse” crimes because of the motivation of the offender. The article, which I can’t find just now, made an excellent argument. In America you are free to think whatever you want, or even say whatever you want (as long as it’s not “fire” in a crowded theater) – but if you think “wrong” things during the commission of a crime you are somehow doubly criminal. It seemed a rather clever way to point out the backwardness of the hate crime discussion. For a nation that prides itself of “tolerance” of all manner of whacked-out thought processes to mark certain thoughts as rabidly criminal if linked to an already-crime is a bit backwards to say the least. But, arguments get turned on their heads sometimes, and seem almost to contradict themselves in the right light.

Earlier today I read an absolutely fascinating article: “ACLU Sues Arizona over Race and Sex Abortion Ban.” It seems Arizona has passed laws banning abortion on the basis of sex or race selection. That is, you are not allowed to have an abortion if your motivation is to de-select a certain sex, or a certain race of child. On the one hand this would seem like a good policy to the progressive mind (read, “the ACLU”) as it seeks to defend “oppressed” classes. On the other hand, the policy infringes upon the liberal sacrament of abortion, and thus cannot be tolerated.

Side note: we’ve touched on the topic before (here and here) – two groups that tend to support abortion by their voting trends (women and blacks) are two of the biggest targets. White males on the other hand, tend to oppose abortion (with their voting habits) and are also not targeted as often – relatively speaking. Food for thought ladies. Food for thought to my African American friends.

Anyway, the article had some interesting quotes by the ACLU representatives.

Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona said the law unconstitutionally singles out Asian and black women based on stereotypes and the sponsors’ beliefs that Asian and black women may choose an abortion because of race or the baby’s sex.

That’s something. The law that seeks to protect female and minority babies is said to unfairly target minorities – because they are more likely to pursue sex-selective and race-selective abortions. (OK, I’ll grant you that the notion of “race-selective” abortion is a bit odd in this context. But it seems that some folks claim that minorities unfairly target themselves for de-selection.)

The case alleges the law violates the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. “The long history of jurisprudence … says laws passed with a discriminatory intent and racial stereotypes cannot stand, period. Cannot stand,” said Dan Pochoda, an ACLU lawyer. “And it is clear from the legislative history that that was the basis for the decision-making by the Legislature and the governor in this case.”

Amazing. It’s like they don’t even get the irony. The law prohibits the targeting of babies for extermination if based on race or gender, and is said to therefore unfairly target certain races who are more likely to slaughter babies based on race and gender. WOW!

I will say that the ACLU at least has some logical consistency to their argument. In their view the baby is not a human and is entitled to none of the rights of personhood. Therefore, the only consideration needed is that of the law’s impact on the mothers.

Still, for the human-rights advocate (who opposes killing babies) the argumentation here is shocking. One man’s equal protection is another man’s discrimination. So it goes …

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