Oops: Top Republican Senator Inadvertently Embraces Roe v. Wade

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

CHARITON, Iowa — During a town hall on Wednesday, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee embraced the reasoning behind the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing a woman’s choice to get an abortion, although he did not appear aware of the significance of his statement.

Speaking to a small group of constituents in rural Chariton, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was asked about a Facebook rumor that the government would soon be implanting microchips in children and government workers in order to track their health records. After informing the constituent that the claim had no merit, Grassley continued by endorsing the same “right to privacy” that was the backbone of Roe v. Wade and similar decisions.

CONSTITUENT: They’re saying that they’re going to start, in 2013, putting microchips in government workers and then any kid that enrolls in school, starting in pre-school, will have a microchip implanted in them so that they can track them. […] Is that true?

GRASSLEY: No. First of all, nothing can be done to your body without your permission. It’d be a violation of the constitutional right to privacy if that were to happen.

Watch it:

The constitutional right to privacy that Grassley refers to is not explicitly stated in the Constitution, but Roe concluded that it is one of the liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, which provides that states many not “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Anti-choice advocates, such as Justice Antonin Scalia, former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), all contend that women should be stripped of their ability to get an abortion because, in Scalia’s words, “there’s no right to privacy in the Constitution — no generalized right to privacy.”

Of course, Grassley remains a staunch opponent of a woman’s right to choose, receiving a “0” pro-choice score from NARAL in 2011. But for the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee to confirm that the Constitution does, indeed, include a right to privacy is a major concession undercutting conservatives’ legal argument for overturning Roe.