Mike Jaros on voters, politicians and Roe vs. Wade
Thursday, Jan. 22, was the 36th Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision forbidding states to make laws banning abortions I remember that date in 1973 well, because that was my first year in the Minnesota Legislature. Right afte...
Thursday, Jan. 22, was the 36th Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision forbidding states to make laws banning abortions
I remember that date in 1973 well, because that was my first year in the Minnesota Legislature.
Right after that court decision, my Liberal colleague -- Democrats were called Liberals and Republicans Conservatives in Minnesota Legislature until 1974 -- Rep. Tad Jude introduced a House Resolution asking U.S. President Richard Nixon and Congress to protect life from conception to natural death. The resolution passed with bipartisan support, but neither the president nor Congress did anything about it. Democrats became supporters of family planning to prevent abortions, but that did not satisfy the opponents because some of that funding was used for abortion.
The U.S. Congress at that time was controlled by Democrats and Nixon was a Republican; so was Ford after Nixon's impeachment and resignation until Carter/Mondale took office from 1977 to 1981. The abortion opponents, primarily Nation Citizens Concerned for Life, were frustrated about the Congressional inaction, even if President Carter was against abortion. Congressional Democrats and Republicans considered it a constitutional issue, but the anti-abortion forces managed to blame Democrats since they were in the majority in Washington.
The GOP Party Platform adopted a "Pro-life Resolution" and used it and three more issues -- guns, gays and, of course, God -- before a Republican could be endorsed for national, state or local elections. The "pro-choice" people labeled this litmus test as 4-Gs (God, gays, guns and gynecologists).
Most traditional Republican legislators were defeated and replaced by Evangelicals who opposed gay rights, restriction to gun ownership and abortion. That is sad, because many good Republicans were defeated or could not get endorsed for public office. In fact, Republicans were much better on constitutional issues when I got elected in 1972 than Democrats and most voted against the "Pro-Life" Resolution authored by DFLer Tad Jude, who became a Republican like many other Democrats.
The fact is that neither Democrats nor Republicans in Congress legalized abortion.
It was U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmann from Minnesota (appointed by GOP Pres. Nixon) who wrote the Roe v. Wade decision. Another Minnesotan by the name of Warren Burger, appointed Chief Justice of U.S. Supreme Court by Pres. Eisenhower (also a Republican) assigned and guided this important decision of 1973.
Republicans gained a majority in Congress in 1994 and the White House in 2000, but even President George W. Bush, who had tremendous Evangelical support and a majority in Congress as well as the Supreme Court (who appointed him before the votes were counted in Florida) did not do anything about Roe vs. Wade.
[It seems to me] that the voters started realizing that parties and politicians were using abortion -- a very serious moral issue -- as a political football and decided to look at other issues like economic and social justice and the environment when deciding for whom to vote.
Occasional Duluth Budgeteer columnist Mike Jaros represented Duluth's District 7B for a total of 32 years in the Minnesota House, from 1972-80 and 1985-2008. Jaros decided not to run again for health reasons and to spend more time with family. He happily reports that his health is much improved now. E-mail him at email@example.com .