Opinion briefs: Abortion at the Supreme Court . . . Sen. Lee relents to avoid a government shutdown

Will Supreme Court give states control over abortion laws? Pundits are speculating that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn Roe V. Wade, or at the least allow states to impose more abortion restrictions. The arguments before the Court, and questions and comments made by justices, have been fascinating.

There’s not much middle ground on abortion. It’s different than most other political issues because, in the views of many, it has to do with babies and life and death. If you fervently believe an unborn baby – at whatever stage of development — is a human being, you can’t compromise to allow that life to be ended.

But if you fervently believe that a woman has a universal right to determine what happens with her own body, including the fetus growing within, then there’s also not much room for compromise.

So, no matter how the court rules, this will continue to be a very difficult and divisive issue. Personally, I come down squarely on the pro-life side and I hope the court decides the democratic processes in the various states are better places to decide this matter than to leave it in the hands of nine unelected justices.

U.S. Senate avoids shutting down the government. Not much illustrates congressional dysfunction like the inability to pass budgets. Overseeing federal spending and passing funding bills are among Congress’ most fundamental duties. The various federal agencies require funding to perform their missions.

Unfortunately, Congress routinely fails at this most basic of its obligations, and thus faces periodic crises of its own making as funding nearly runs out and the finger-pointing starts.

With the Senate approving another short-term continuing resolution late Thursday night, the Congress once again averted a shutdown and now continues to operate on funding approved back during the Trump administration.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee was part of the drama. He and other conservatives wanted to link the funding bill to defunding Pres. Biden’s vaccine mandate and they threatened to let the government shut down. But they agreed, instead, to a vote on the defunding amendment (which lost), and then a vote on the short-term funding bill, which passed. 

That was a far better outcome than shutting down the government and causing an unnecessary crisis. But this is no way to run a country. It’s almost criminal that Congress can’t pass funding bills in regular order. It’s another reason we ought to do much less at the federal level and much more at the state level.