NJ Democrats, 2023: Transforming Abortion into a Political Sacrament

In June, 2022, in Dobbs v. Jackson, the US Supreme Court overruled the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision and held that the United States Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. Effectively, Dobbs returned to individual states the power to regulate any aspect of abortion not protected by federal law.

In the 2023 campaign for control of the New Jersey Senate and Assembly, the Democratic television commercials focus exclusively on one issue: Abortion choice. The message is intended to frighten New Jersey voters, particularly suburban college educated women into believing that control of the New Jersey legislature by the Republicans will mean the end of a woman’s right to choose abortion as a matter of reproductive freedom.

This scare tactic is highly likely to fail. A Monmouth Poll of February 21, 2023, eight months after Dobbs, found the following:

“Few New Jerseyans think it is very (8%) or somewhat (26%) likely that abortion access will become more restricted in New Jersey over the next ten years. In fact, most say this is not too likely (36%) or not at all likely (25%) to happen. “

Accordingly, the Monmouth Poll displays graphically how ineffective the Democratic abortion fear tactic is likely to be. There has been no intervening event since February that could change substantially this Monmouth Poll result.

Yet despite how ineffective their fear tactic is likely to be, the Democrats have now raised abortion access to the level of a political sacrament. Abortion as a new political sacrament is intended to be a distraction from four major vulnerabilities facing 2023 New Jersey Democratic legislative candidates.

The first two involve issues as to which the Democrats want to avoid discussion at all cost: 1) the issues of parental notification by school districts of the gender identity and sexual orientation of LGBTQ+ students; and 2) the actions of the Murphy administration to mandate sales of electric vehicles and phase out the sale of fossil fuel vehicles by 2035. The third vulnerability is the impact of the indictment of Democratic US Senator Bob Menendez on the Democratic brand. The fourth is the status of New Jersey abortion law in the wake of Dobbs that would allow abortions in the last trimester of pregnancy, i.e., late term abortions. These abortions were effectively precluded by Roe v. Wade.

Each of these four vulnerabilities merits a separate analysis in brief.

Parental notification

The major Democratic vulnerability is the parental notification issue. The Democratic administration of Governor Phil Murphy, through Attorney General Matt Platkin, instituted an action the past May to void the policy of Hanover Township requiring school staff to notify parents of the gender identity and sexual orientation of their LGBTQ+ children. The political impact of this action has potentially politically catastrophic impacts on New Jersey 2023 Democratic legislative candidates.

Platkin is a profoundly decent individual with superb intelligence and intellect. Yet his decision to pursue the Hanover action is one of the worst misjudgments of judicial discretion in modern New Jersey legal history.

The Platkin decision to oppose the Hanover policy rests on the hideous presumption of parental evil, a social canon currently prevailing in culturally progressive circles. This presumption rests on the outrageous assumption that when parents learn of the gender identity and sexual identity of their LGBTQ+ children, they will be inclined to commit acts of abuse against them.

The reverse is true. LGBTQ+ children above all need parental love to prepare them for the challenges they face in life, as well as laws to protect them against discrimination. If Platkin merely wanted to protect LGBTQ+ children from potentially abusive parents, he could have codified exemptions to notification where there is probable cause to believe that specific parents will react in a violent or abusive manner. Instead, Platkin, utilizing foolhardy logic, acted in wholesale fashion that will prevent parents of LGBTQ+ children from obtaining the information they above all others need. Politically, this is an unmitigated disaster.

The electric car mandate

I previously authored a column on Governor Murphy’s electric car mandate. It puts Democratic legislative candidates in an indefensible position on the persistent ever present New Jersey issue of affordability. To working class New Jersey voters, this makes such Democratic candidates look like out of touch elitists. The Democrat response to such voters appears to be, “Watch our abortion commercials.” Such a nonresponse is politically counter-productive in the extreme.

Menendez

Since 2017, I have written consistently of the “Trump albatross” that severely has hampered Republican candidates at all levels in New Jersey. There is now a Menendez albatross that could cripple the campaigns of Democrats at all levels this November. This albatross was increased by major orders of magnitude by the indictment of Menendez today for acting as a foreign agent for Egypt while serving as chair of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

When Democratic legislative candidates endangered by the Menendez scandals call their consultants asking for advice, they will be told, “Just talk abortion.” These candidates should sue their consultants for nonsupport.

Late term abortions

The Roe v Wade decision was actually very wise policy on the abortion dilemma. It legalized abortions in the first six months of pregnancy, which are matters of legitimate reproductive freedom, and in effect outlawed abortions in the last three months, which unless justified to protect the life and health of the mother, are pure and simple infanticide.

The problem with Roe v Wade was that it was based on a nonexistent “right of privacy” which nowhere can be found in the US Constitution. This made Roe vulnerable to reversal by a conservative US Supreme Court, which finally happened in the Dobbs case. Had the Roe policies been codified either by Congressionally enacted statute or Constitutional amendment, they would have remained the law of the land forevermore.

Now in New Jersey, state law on abortion governs, permitting the infanticide of late term abortions. Now that the Democrats have made abortion a political sacrament, they will do absolutely nothing to eliminate the infanticide permissive impacts of late term abortions. Their candidates for the legislature live in dire fear of the cultural progressives, and they will avoid like the plague commenting on the issue.

And now, the abortion issue can be transformed from a liability to an asset for Republican legislative candidates. They can promise not to vote to outlaw abortion within the first six months of pregnancy, while pledging to outlaw late term abortions except where necessary for the life and health of the mother. Such a campaign policy would be both popular and enable GOP candidates to retain their pro-life base.

The “just talk abortion” policy governing the Democratic New Jersey legislative campaign has made Democratic legislative candidates look morally obtuse on the parental notification issue and out-of-touch on affordability issues, the major one being the electric car mandate. There ls an undercurrent running in the New Jersey electorate today, and it increases the possibility of the election of a Republican-controlled Jersey Senate and Assembly on November 7.

Alan J. Steinberg of Highland Park served as regional administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as executive director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.

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3 responses to “NJ Democrats, 2023: Transforming Abortion into a Political Sacrament”

  1. As for the affordability issues, the electric car mandate is not the major problem. It’s called “PROPERTY TAXES”. Eliminate the education tax portion of the property taxes, and link it to income and sales taxes, and everyone will pay their FAIR SHARE. That’s called EQUITY!!!!

  2. As one who believes fervently in a woman’s right to choose i find it to be absolutely deplorable that current NJ law allows for abortions up to birth.
    Unless the life of the mother is at stake there is no justification for such a liberal policy
    I think the SC in the original Roe decision got as close as you can get to a compromise…….as they used the “viability of the fetus to live outside of the womb” as where to draw the line.
    But with all due respect to a womans choice, a line needs to be drawn

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