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How the Supreme Court’s taxation power expansion could supercharge pro-abortion oppression

The Washington Examiner’s Byron York observes that, instead of calming down after the initial disappointment of losing the Supreme Court ObamaCare case, anger over the decision seems to be intensifying. That’s because opponents are realizing that the logic of the Court’s majority opinion is going to have far broader ramifications than the continuation of one controversial law – including ramifications for the right to life.

The Court held that government may compel the purchase of health insurance if the punishment for noncompliance is a tax – even though health insurance is nowhere to be found among the federal government’s constitutionally outlined powers and responsibilities. Hillsdale College economics professor Dr. Gary Wolfram explains that the danger of unhooking the taxation power from any enumerated-powers constraint cannot be overstated – that “the federal government now has the power to require you to do almost anything”:

It is bad enough that the federal government can now force you to buy the goods and services it desires. As was noted in oral arguments, the federal government can now require you to purchase broccoli. Indeed, the ruling means that the federal government can require you to purchase anything for which there is a majority in both houses and the signature of the president.

But Roberts’ ruling goes beyond that. Under its taxing authority, the federal government could require you to have only one child, as long as the punishment for having more than one child is a tax. So the next Congress can – under the U.S. Constitution – pass a law that if you have more than one child you must pay a tax of $150,000. Or the Congress could require you to be sterilized if you do not have a high school education or pay a tax of 90 percent of your income.

Having too many children could be taxed on overpopulation or health care cost grounds, incentivizing abortions. New taxes could be imposed on private institutions that aren’t sufficiently accommodating to birth control, or schools whose sex-education curricula are deemed too abstinence-focused. Crisis pregnancy centers could be taxed out of existence.

Preposterous fear-mongering, you say? Hardly. Simply ask yourself, what’s to prevent any of this from being done? What rules still define legitimate and illegitimate purposes for taxation?

None. Without the doctrine of enumerated powers placing objective boundaries on the scope of government, there is nothing placing any of these subjects off-limits for federal control. All that remains is the will of those in power, and whether 51% of the public will let them get away with it.

Granted, the opposite is possible – a pro-life majority could, for instance, tax abortion and contraception into oblivion – which means pro-choice Americans should think long and hard about whether their beloved judicial activism is such a safe bet after all. But it isn’t nearly as likely.

Generally, pro-lifers respect America’s constitutional order enough to work within the rules. But disregard for constitutional democracy lies at the heart of abortionism, which robs the people of their right to vote on abortion through the nakedly lawless logic of Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court has given the abortion lobby a terrifying new tool to impose their will on the rest of us – and we should expect our opponents to use it.

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  • BLAH

    I notice that it tends to be judicial activism when judges make progressive decisions but when they make conservative ones then they’re following the Constitution.
    You seriously what to get rid of contraception? It prevents abortion and makes sure people don’t have more kids then they can support. Shouldn’t conservatives support that along with their progressives brothers and sisters?

    • http://twitter.com/CalFreiburger Calvin Freiburger

      1.) No, it’s judicial activism whenever a judge rules based on personal beliefs or policy preferences, rather than the text’s objective meaning and authorial intent. Conservative policies tend to be more compatible with constitutional originalism because conservative philosophy is based on the belief that the Founders got it right, whereas progressivism believes the Constitution is an obstacle to be overcome through the doctrine of the “Living Constitution.” Honest progressives admit as much whenever they endorse the idea of a Living Constitution, and many of progressivism’s founding thinkers (Wilson, Croly, etc.) openly talked about overcoming the Constitution.

      2.) I didn’t say I wanted to get rid of contraception. (Though I do want to get rid of abortifacients. Non-abortive birth control I think is legally fine.) I was pointing out that the Court gave government enough power to make either side’s worst nightmares reality.

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