Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Must Read On Roe

A must read by Ramesh Ponnuru on Roe. I have long held to my Republican friends that overturning Roe would not be the political disaster so many believe. Ramesh is right on in his analysis. The points I usually make (and he makes a lot of these too) are:

-Americans falsely believe overturning Roe means criminalizing abortion (which makes sense intuitively; if a liberal court legalized it, wouldn't a conservative court criminalize it?).

-Americans do not understand the extent of abortion protection under Roe. It is, essentially, abortion on demand throughout pregnancy (the primary limitation being availability of willing doctors in late pregnancy). Americans do not comprehend the extent of Roe's protection. Many people operate under the false assumption that abortion can only be obtained in the first trimester.

-A state-by-state solution is bound to appease many people on both sides of the issue. I believe the issue would recede from importance over time. The democratic process is cathartic. People just want to have a say in what they view to be an important moral issue.

Comments on "Must Read On Roe"


Blogger pudge said ... (7:36 AM) : 

I like Ramesh, he's a very bright guy. And his writing is top-notch. But, I disagree somewhat with his analysis.

True, overturning Roe does not mean criminalizing abortion, obviously. There's Casey, after all. Also, I think you mean "false assumption that abortion can only be obtained in the first trimester."

However, a state-by-state solution is, in my opinion, a cure that is worse than the disease. It didn't work out so well for slavery, if you may recall. And for most pro-life advocates, abortion == slavery, but worse. I think initially pro-lifers would be pleased with the victory (no more abortion in South Dakota!), but over time, they would realize they had opened the door to perpetual legal abortion in some states, and worse, that as the culture continues to homogenize, abortion would creep back into the banned states.

The only acceptable solution in the long term for the pro-lifers is a Constitutional amendment (barring a court decision that abortion-on-demand is already unconstitutional, which is quite a bit less likely).

Many pro-lifers profess to believe that this should be a state issue, but if they really believe that, then they are in for a rude awakening should it happen, because they will get something they do not want.

Anyway, and the worst part of all of this is that Roe is symbolic, and those on the pro-choice side would absolutely hate to see it overturned, whatever the lack of practical implication that may have, and it would cause a significant political backlash from the pro-choice crowd. The only question is whether that backlash would be significant enough to do damage to the pro-life agenda, and I think it very well could. Would personally-pro-life-but-not-quite-pro-choice Senate candidate Mike McGavick have a chance of winning the Senate race in WA against pro-choice incumbent Maria Cantwell in such an environment? Doubtful.


post a comment