Saturday Morning Open Thread: Anti-Abortion Senator Endorses Roe v. Wade Reasoning


Good Morning!!

I’m getting a slow start this morning, so I thought I’d put up an open thread to get us started.  This story is a couple of days old so you may have heard about it already, but I just had to take note of it anyway.

On Wednesday at a town hall meeting in Chariton Iowa, Senator Charles Grassley got a strange question about some wingnut conspiracy theory from one of his constituents: From the Atlantic Wire:

Constituent: They’re saying that they’re going to start, in 2013, putting microchips in government workers and then any kid that enrolls in school, starting in pre-school, will have a microchip implanted in them so that they can track them. Is that true?

Senator Grassley’s response was absolutely priceless:

Grassley: No. First of all, nothing can be done to your body without your permission….It’d be a violation of the constitutional right to privacy if that were to happen.

Here’s the video:

In case Grassley hasn’t thought about it that carefully, forcing a woman to have a baby certainly qualifies as doing something to her body without her permission. Actually, there is no right to privacy in the U.S. Constitution, but the Roe v. Wade decision created one; and Roe could certainly be used as precedent in any case relating to violations of body integrity.

In fact, the majority opinion of Roe v. Wade clearly states:

The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy. In a line of decisions, however, going back perhaps as far as Union Pacific R. Co. v. Botsford, 141 U.S. 250, 251 (1891), the Court has recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution…

Roe v. Wade, of course, established the right to privacy — the kind that might spare you from a government conspiracy to embed microchips that might reveal your entire health history. Or, you know, the kind of privacy that allows women to obtain a legal abortion in this country:

This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.

Grassley is a long-time opponent of abortion rights and advocate of overturning Roe v. Wade, and Naral gives him a zero rating on pro-choice issues. If Roe were overturned, where does Grassley think he’d find a constitutional “right to privacy”?

And let’s not forget the recent Republican obsession with forcing women to undergo vaginal probes before they can have an abortion.


Not to be outdone, the Indiana State Senate has passed a new law that requires a woman to have two (2) ultrasounds–before and after her “abortion”–even if she is just taking RU 487, or the morning after pill! The bill doesn’t specific intravaginal ultrasounds, but they would, in effect, be required, since most abortions are performed when the embryo or fetus is too small to be detected by a traditional ultrasound.

I’m not sure what Grassley’s position on these ultrasound laws is, but someone should definitely ask him. If forcing a woman to have two transvaginal probes in order to get a pill doesn’t qualify as the government doing something to “your body without your permission,” what does Grassley believe would qualify as a violation of a woman’s privacy? Maybe because the town hall questioner was a man, he was suggesting that only Americans with penises have privacy rights?

As the inimitable Charles Pierce once wrote about Senator Grassley in a different context:

This is also funny because, you see, if there’s one thing that Chuck Grassley is noted for, it is that he is the most spectacular box of rocks, the most bulging bag of hammers, in the history of the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body. If brains were atom bombs, he couldn’t blow his nose. If his IQ was one point lower, they’d have to water him. As the great Dan Jenkins once put it in another context, if the man had a brain, he’d be out in the yard playing with it.

I’ll have a Saturday Reads post up a little later on.

23 Comments on “Saturday Morning Open Thread: Anti-Abortion Senator Endorses Roe v. Wade Reasoning”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Good morning all! I don’t know what’s wrong with me today. I woke up at 6:30, but I’m still struggling to get going.

    The good news is the winter storm seems to be fizzling in New England. Yesterday, the prediction was down to 3-5 inches of snow, and this morning it’s 1-3 inches. Phew!

    • janicen says:

      I’m so glad this storm was a bit of a dud.

    • RalphB says:

      Sounds like a much nicer storm. Grassley is a real clown. He just makes it up as he goes along but I would like to hear him asked about Roe in that context.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    I am just awaiting another “Letter From Rome” from one of the cross dressing prelates declaring contraception a violation of “god’s will” before he is exposed as one of those being blackmailed for dancing on a table at a private party.

    Can this stuff get anymore tawdry and despicable? Whoever ends up being chosen as the next pope better have a pair of hip boots in his wardrobe since he will be up to his waist in even more scandal coming out of Vatican City.


  3. janicen says:

    These hypocrites are deafened by their own echo chambers. The connection between a woman’s body being violated by her government and a man’s body being violated by his government escapes them.

  4. Toadfish says:

    This is a really interesting piece. I might add though, when Grassley talked about a constitutional right to privacy, he might have been referring to the fourth amendment, which protects against “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” It’s not exactly a right to privacy, but there is some overlap. The same point citation can still be thrown back in his face on his pro-life stance: in the case of an intravaginal ultrasound, it’s easy to see how this would be an, “unreasonable search” of one’s “person”.

  5. RalphB says:

    TP: Montana Bill Would Give Corporations The Right To Vote

    Corporations are people, my friend.

  6. RalphB says:


    Americans reject austerity as a budget-shrinking measure even though they think the budget is much more out of control than it actually is. Even laboring under that misconception, they think it’s a bad time for belt-tightening.

    And the poll, like most polls, shows that the public hates deficits. The public thinks the government has a horrible spending problem. And yet … the public prioritizes economic growth. Because, clearly, the economy still sucks for most Americans, and dealing with that problem is most Americans’ top priority.

    We need a much better press corps!

  7. RalphB says: Is Millionaire Space Tourist Planning Trip to Mars?

    Buzz is building about a planned 2018 private mission to Mars, which may launch the first humans toward the Red Planet. A nonprofit organization called the Inspiration Mars Foundation — which is led by millionaire Dennis Tito, the world’s first space tourist — will hold a news conference on Feb. 27 to announce the 501-day roundtrip mission, which will aim for a January 2018 launch.

    Rich serious people spending their money for a cause. I love it.

  8. RalphB says:

    Hartford Courant: Malloy Has Taken Sandy Hook To Heart

    Watch Dan Malloy closely right now, and you might see that rare thing: A politician who has ditched politics in favor of moral seriousness.

    That, at least, is my current working theory of Malloy. I believe what he saw and heard in the early hours at Sandy Hook changed him irreversibly. I believe his moment at the open casket of Noah Posner, where the missing lower part of the little boy’s face was covered with a cloth, both wounded and electrified the governor.

    To understand him right now, you might be better off reading Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky than political commentary. He has seen a terrible, undeniable reality and now searches for a moral response to it.

    Good for the Gov of CT. Some things should be life altering.

  9. Wow BB, great post for someone who says they can’t seem to get going this morning.

    I’ve got a couple links for you:

    McConnell Staffer Falls For Stupid Parody Blog Post | Crooks and Liars

    BBC News – Give horsemeat-tainted food to poor – German minister

  10. dakinikat says:

    I’m in the middle of a war zone. Some guy was trying to rob the Vietnamese store Dollar Ghetto down the street a few blocks and a cop responded and was shot. I’m in the middle of a man hunt zone. There’s a helicopter flying low all around and cops are going door to door and searching under everyone’s houses and backyards. I’ve never see the cops do so much in my life. I thought it was a movie shooting at first. So, I’m grounded. We’ve been told to stay inside.

  11. RalphB says:

    When finished with Brill’s long piece in Time, I was flabbergasted to see him make only “tinkering” suggestions to fix the problem. Matt Yglesias comes to the same conclusions that I did here.

    Slate:Steven Brill’s Opus on Health Care

  12. RalphB says:

    What’s the Swiss Health Care System Really Like?

    Matt Yglesias praises Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Avik Roy, and notes that their continued call for a more-Swiss like health care system is a “surrender” to Obamacare. I’ll leave that political nuance to him. But I have got to point out that while Switzerland seems to be some “holy grail” to many conservatives, with respect to a health care system, I’m not sure they know what it really is. …

    Great post by Aaron Carroll. I’m certain it doesn’t matter what the Swiss system really is, Holtz-Eakin and Roy are just lying for political purposes.