Liberal New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow claimed over the weekend that the U.S. was “edging closer” to another civil war.
In a Saturday op-ed, Blow argued that the ongoing debate over Texas’ recently passed abortion law, and the invoking of former Vice President John C. Calhoun by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, reminded him of the debate over states’ rights and slavery, both of which Calhoun was a proponent, in the decades leading up to the American Civil War.
“A key component of women’s rights and body autonomy is being snatched away as we watch,” Blow wrote, referencing the Texas law restricting abortions remaining in place while abortion providers were allowed in a Friday decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to continue challenging it.
Blow specifically pointed to Sotomayor’s dissent against the law, which read, “This is a brazen challenge to our federal structure. It echoes the philosophy of John C. Calhoun, a virulent defender of the slaveholding South who insisted that States had the right to ‘veto’ or ‘nullif[y]’ any federal law with which they disagreed.”
An anti-abortion activist attends a protest outside the Supreme Court building, ahead of arguments in the Mississippi abortion rights case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, in Washington, Dec. 1, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
Blow wrote that he found Sotomayor’s invocation of Calhoun “striking,” and claimed that there were “too many uneasy parallels” between the run-up to the Civil War in the 1800’s and the debate over Texas’ ability to restrict abortions today.
“I see this country on the verge of another civil war, as the Calhounian impulse is reborn,” Blow wrote.
While Blow acknowledged there are “enormous, obvious differences” between the U.S. that faced the Civil War and the country today, he maintained that both are about “the subjugation of all who challenge the white racist patriarchy.”
“And this war won’t be only about the subjugation of Black people but also about the subjugation of all who challenge the white racist patriarchy,” Blow wrote. “It will seek to push back against all the ‘others’: Black people, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, L.G.B.T.Q. people and, yes, women, particularly liberal ones.”
Blow ended the article noting that this Supreme Court challenge could be a “test case” for whether a “civil right” could be reversed on the state level and whether we could be facing “an age of regression.”
“All of us should be very worried about what we see happening with these abortion cases — not just women who might need abortions or relatives and friends of women who might need them,” Blow concluded. “We should worry about whether or not we are at an inflection point for an age of regression.”