If men can be the master of their domain, women should be able to control their own bodies
At the end of the delightfully raunchy movie "Animal House," we see Kevin Bacon in his ROTC uniform trying to calm a horde of panicked people fleeing an out-of-control parade.
"Remain calm. All is well," he says over and over, ever more frantically.
Despite what happened to Bacon - he was stampeded by the crowd and left as flat as day-old beer - "Remain calm. All is well" is the best advice for panicked people who think the right to a legal abortion is about to go bye-bye.
True, there is an extensive paper trail leading to the conclusion that Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's pick to replace Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court, is no friend of women's rights.
So how can I be certain a woman's right to choose will remain the law of the land? Hasn't Roe v. Wade been under assault for decades by states, with the last measure of tenuous protection afforded by the Supreme Court?
How, then, can someone say that Roe v. Wade is secure?
I say it because the Republican Party needs Roe v. Wade as much as the Democratic Party does.
Whenever there is relative prosperity under a Democratic administration or the economy is tanking under a Republican one, Republicans can always pull out the abortion rights card to get their disillusioned base fired up.
During my decades as a journalist, hundreds of readers - black and white - have told me some version of "I used to think you had good sense, but I ain't never reading your crap no mo'" simply because I expressed the ridiculously revolutionary idea that hey, women should have control of their bodies.
Do I favor abortion?
Do I think the gubmint should make laws governing what we can do with our bodies?
There are people - some are pharmacists who refuse to hand over legal prescriptions - who equate taking the morning-after pill with murder.
What do you think would happen if the gubmint decreed that men can't masturbate because that is tantamount to murder?
You'd see a "10 Million Man March" that would make the original one look like a family picnic.
When I asked Sarah Riddle, communications manager for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, if she thought the GOP needed the abortion issue to continue driving a wedge between voters, she was succinct.
"Planned Parenthood is first and foremost a healthcare provider," Riddle said. "We don't view this as a 'wedge' issue. Women's lives are at stake."
Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, said the group opposes Kavanaugh because "there's no way to sugarcoat it: with this nomination, the constitutional right to access safe, legal abortion in this country is on the line... Just last year, he used his judicial power to try and prevent a young, undocumented woman in U.S. custody" from having an abortion.
"Kavanaugh," Laguens said in her official statement, "hasn't just ruled to limit access to abortion. He's also ruled against women's access to birth control."
Historians write that Alexander the Great wept when he realized he'd conquered all of the known world and there were no more worlds to conquer.
Cynical politicians would weep, too, if they finally overturned Roe v. Wade and realize they have lost the wedgiest wedge issue they had to get voters riled up.
That's why I say "Remain calm. All is well."