Joe Henderson: Republicans move past pro-life and head toward pro-control
Ron DeSantis seeks the end of Roe as a godsend. Image via AP.

DeSantis pro-life
Republicans evolved from pro-life to pro-birth, but now they're strongly pro-control.

There are many implications to the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that gutted Roe v. Wade beyond the obvious one.

The Republican response so far is (paraphrasing here) too bad, not sad. It’s a catastrophe for pregnant women desperate for an abortion. Rape? Incest? A one-night mistake?

The ruling is a massive victory for the state’s rights believers, who say the federal government should let the dis-united states handle their affairs. Put a place marker by that one, and we’ll get back to it in a bit.

In the meantime, we’re about to discover how Florida women feel about this decision. Yay, or nay?

Nikki Fried received an issue she believes she can ride to the Governor’s mansion. She’s already trying to pancake Charlie Crist’s stance that he’s a pro-life Democrat.

She quickly went for the jugular at Crist, tweeting: “Can’t believe I’m in a Democratic primary with a ‘pro-life’ guy. Seriously. WTF.”

Meanwhile, Gov. Ron DeSantis didn’t let the moment pass. He’s the lead car in Florida’s pro-life lane, a position he plays to perfection with his deep red base.

“The prayers of millions have been answered,” the Governor tweeted.

“For nearly fifty years, the U.S. Supreme Court has prohibited virtually any meaningful pro-life protection, but this was not grounded in the text, history or structure of the Constitution.”

It will surprise, well, everyone if the puppets in the Legislature don’t send a total abortion ban to DeSantis at some point. So much for the “free state of Florida” idea.

Nationwide polls show strong disapproval of the SCOTUS ruling, but I’m skeptical that it will matter here. Many consider DeSantis invincible for re-election, and the state House and Representatives districts largely benefit Republicans.

An electoral map of Florida looks like someone spilled a bucket of red paint. That may ensure the GOP controls the Legislature, but in the Governor’s race, a vote in Miami counts the same as one in Pensacola.

The question becomes: Have abortion rights advocates finally found their “you’ve gone too far” issue? Or can the “states’ rights” argument carry the day for this election and years going forward?

This issue has been around since before the Civil War. (Goggle it, kiddies, since the current administration would probably frame it as the “war of northern aggression.”)

Back here in real-time, the SCOTUS ruling seems clear enough: there is no federal protection or prohibition for abortion. It’s up to the individual states to decide how they want to go.

OK, but why stop there?

If we go to war, can states choose to opt-out? And why should individual cities be subject to a one-size-fits-all rule from Tallahassee? Let the cities decide what they want to allow.

Oh, let’s go deeper still. Forget Tallahassee, forget the mayors and city council members, and let the neighborhoods decide for themselves.

Obviously, that’s sarcasm, but the next sentence isn’t.

The day before the ruling on abortion, the Court went in the opposite direction. It struck down New York’s state law that placed restrictions on persons carrying concealed guns in public, even for self defense. The Court said that authority belongs to the feds.

We’ve seen DeSantis rail against federal edicts time and again. We’ve also seen the Governor turn around and strip local government powers without pausing for a breath.

Most people in Florida probably watch this out of the corner of their eye, figuring whatever DeSantis does won’t affect their lives. However, thousands of Florida women just realized that’s no longer true.

They see Republicans clamoring for control of a woman’s most personal issue. Then they hear conservatives, flushed with victory, discuss going after contraceptives and gay marriage.

This is no “live and let live” party, folks.

SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas — Atilla The Hun in judicial robes, only not as likable — wants to tell you to live and would vote for laws to make it so.

Don’t say it can’t happen.

The GOP used to be the pro-life party but became more pro-birth than anything else over the years.

But now, Republicans, the erstwhile party of freedom, are pro-control.

We should know soon enough how willing Democrats are to put up with that.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • Impeach Biden

    June 27, 2022 at 9:28 pm

    Where was the outrage on mandatory vaccinations? You are fear mongering and running coverage for the Democratic Party. Reading your columns is like reading the Sun Sentinel editorial section. Are you going to talk about fuel prices, inflation, Southern Border chaos amongst others? Or are you simply locking on to this as an effort to stem the shellacking coming in November?

  • Tom

    June 27, 2022 at 9:32 pm

    Like President Reagan said Joe, you remember Reagan? You referenced his trickle down yesterday. We call it supply side. It allowed 8 years of massive economic growth.
    He rightly said, and I quote “everyone who is for abortion is already alive”. Just saying Joe.

    BTW, n fraud doesn’t have a chance. Even with this topic. Just saying.

    • PeterH

      June 28, 2022 at 1:57 am

      Reaganomics tripled the National Debt in 8 miserable years. During Reagan’s reign of stupidity and record administration indictments and convictions ….. guess what was the end result: Reagan lowered unemployment 1% point! ONE!

      Furthermore trickle down economics HAS NEVER WORKED IN ANY COUNTRY ON PLANET EARTH. Laffer Curve economic policies achieve only one thing…..increased debt.

      The failed policies of Ronald Reagan left real conservatives only one choice…… become an Independent voter.

      • Tom

        June 28, 2022 at 7:15 am

        You are clueless and a liar peter h.
        Was awaiting your cheap shots, no biggie as usual.

        Reagan’s tax cuts propelled unprecedented and massive growth, averaging 6 plus percent growth a year. 1983 through til 91 American people saw unprecedented growth. The Reagan growth economy started the technology growth in California as well. Reagan like DeSantis now in Florida, saved society and reinstated economic growth.

        You are clueless peter h. Biden has destroyed economic American society. Every decision made is a disaster. Economy, gas, oil, baby formula, air travel, everything is failure.

        Massive defeat coining, 25 to 50 house seats. America’s Gov wins, chameleon and fraud no chance.

        Over 1 million new registered Repubs, Texas 34, 85% Hispanic.flipped. 46 illegals migrants died. Extrapolate these losses and it’s a massive blowout. Biden Harris is a disaster.

        Lincoln predator organ. will be shut down with new Congress. Art Laffer, is a great American unlike you.

        Loser peter h.

  • Jerry

    June 27, 2022 at 10:02 pm

    Where were these liberals the past 2 1/2 years? They didn’t seem to care about too much government power and control during the pandemic or after the election. No one had bodily autonomy during COVID. Masks, vaccines, lockdowns? Censorship of the internet? Gun control? Etc etc.. where was the concern about too much government control then?

    I guess the only time liberals care about freedom and liberty is when it comes to pregnant women that want to kill their baby.

    • Pamela Kelley

      June 28, 2022 at 5:55 am

      Are u going to raise and take care of all these unwanted children? Are you gong to pay your taxes to support these children on welfare and Whick programs? Just what do you think happens to children who are unwanted? You really think just because a child is born that it will be loved and cared for? What about incest and rape what if it your daughter or wife? You would raise that child? NO MAN, NO GOVERNMENT HAS THIS RIGHT! THIS IS A CHOICE OF A WOMAN AND HER HIGHER POWER! NOT YOURS OR ANYONE ELSE’S DECISION. I’d like to see just how many men would keep an unwanted child ZERO OF YOU! There would be abortion clinics on every corner.

      • Tom

        June 28, 2022 at 7:45 am

        Pamela Again, another example of one who is alive, advocating for others to be aborted.

      • Ang

        July 10, 2022 at 8:08 am

        Well said!

  • Ron Ogden

    June 28, 2022 at 5:15 am

    Weak stuff, Joe, predictably weak. Why can’t you grasp the idea that the Constitution is intended to be followed? There is no right to abortion in the Constitution. Therefore, under a principle called “federalism” (remember “federal government”) the proper level of government at which the issue is decided is the states. Roe v Wade was Constitutionally WRONG from the outset, as Justice Alito so cogently observed. On the other hand, the Constitution includes a clear, explicitly stated right “to keep and bear arms”. Because it IS IN the Constitution, it is the job of the federal government to enforce it. Joe, at your advanced stage of life, why is it being left to people like me to instruct you in civics?

Comments are closed.


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