Feature

Abortion

Is Roe on the way out?

Roe v. Wade is 'œcrumbling,' said National Review in an editorial. Thirty-three years ago this month, the Supreme Court issued its landmark decision to legalize abortion, igniting a bitter controversy that still divides the country. Liberals insist that Roe is 'œwell-settled as a matter of law,' but it's hardly that. In recent years, the Supreme Court has been steadily 'œchipping away at Roe' and its constitutionally shaky claim that women have 'œa right' to an abortion. In 1989, the justices gave states more latitude in restricting abortions; in 1992's Planned Parenthood v. Casey, they scrapped Roe's strict trimester formula. Today, a majority of Americans are tilting pro-life, supporting parental and spousal notifications about abortions, mandatory waiting periods, and a ban on all late-term abortions. 'œThe pro-abortion activists are right to be alarmed.'

We certainly are, said William Baude in The New York Times. Even many pro-choice Democrats and liberal pundits are now resigning themselves to Roe's demise at the hands of a Supreme Court stocked with Bush appointees. The new, default position of the left is that a nation without Roe won't be so bad: 'œBlue' states will continue to provide legal abortions, so 'œred' state women will simply have to get on a bus or plane to have the procedure done safely. But the reality could be far more draconian. 'œIf states can declare that life begins at conception,' they can also make it a crime to cross state lines to get an abortion. Some rabid red states might even detain 'œat risk' women until they give birth. If Roe falls, the result just may well be 'œchaos.'

William Saletan

Times

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