What happened
Both sides of the abortion debate organized rallies to mark the 35th anniversary on Tuesday of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. (Kansas City Star)

What the commentators said
It’s not 1973 any more, said Darla St. Martin in USA Today. Attitudes are shifting, and the number of abortions fell by nearly 25 percent between 1990 and 2005. The “effect” of Roe v. Wade was to legalize abortion as birth control—the reason for nearly 90 percent of the procedures done in the U.S. And polls clearly show that “a substantial majority of Americans” would prefer "life-affirming alternatives to abortion."

“Are there abuses?” said the Chicago Sun-Times in an editorial. “Sure.” But “no one really wants an abortion.” A woman chooses to “endure these invasive procedures because the alternative”—sacrificing her own health, or, in the case of girls, her future—“is even less acceptable.” Choosing this option is “an emotional, gut-wrenching decision.” The government should butt out, and let women decide for themselves.

The right to choose an abortion is “more threatened now than ever,” said the Los Angeles Times in an editorial (free registration). President Bush’s Supreme Court appointments have narrowed support for Roe to a “small majority,” and opponents have been “chipping away” at abortion rights with laws restricting access to abortion, with the court’s approval. The nation would face “severe upheaval” if the court simply overturned this “well-established right” altogether, and women’s lives would be endangered it the “politicians shut down clean and safe clinics.”

Nonsense, said National Review Online in an editorial. “ We have seen a marked decline in abortion without any of the calamities that its defenders might have predicted,” such as a surge in the number of unwanted children. “Every year, we are getting closer to proving that the country can get by just fine without abortion.”