Remain calm

Left blogistan is abuzz this morning, at least the parts of it that I read, because the Supreme Court ruled today that federal racketeering statutes can't be used to ground a national injunction against abortion clinic protests. To which I say, "don't panic!" This doesn't mean a return to the bad old days when women seeking abortion were sometimes physically assaulted by protesters.

Three facts to keep in mind:
  1. The injunction in question was voided in 2003, and yet access to clinics hasn't been hampered.
  2. Access to clinics was, anyway, guaranteed by an act of Congress in 1994.
  3. From a strategic perspective, the boisterous protests of the past were a disaster for the pro-life movement.

Also and most importantly, the left really ought to embrace the ruling. Historically, racketeering legislation has been extremely useful to corporations who have claimed that unions, merely by organizing employees, are engaged in a criminal conspiracy. Extending the scope of those laws to encompass protests that hamper commerce might do a little bit to ensure access to abortion, but it would also do a lot to prevent labor unions from deploying effective picket lines. That's a bad bargain.

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