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January 22, 2005
The Anniversary Of Judicial Dictatorship

Today is the 32nd anniversary of the seminal Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade that raised abortion to the status of a "right" and paved the way for the destruction of 43 million fetuses. Thirty years later, this piece of judicial activism appears to hang in the balance of a re-elected conservative president with a Senate majority, but in truth abortion faces less danger than presumed:

Coming just two days after George W. Bush's inauguration, Saturday's anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion is dominated by the hopes of one side and fears of the other that the president will try to overturn Roe v. Wade through appointments to fill expected high court vacancies. ...

Anti-abortion lawmakers in Congress and several states, meanwhile, are introducing the latest in a wave of measures aimed at making it more daunting to obtain an abortion. The bills would require abortion providers to tell women 20 weeks or more pregnant that an abortion could cause pain to their fetus, and to offer anesthesia administered directly to the fetus.

Abortion-rights supporters, simultaneously apprehensive and determined, are engaging in postelection reassessments, some of them wondering openly if their rhetoric and strategies should be modified to better compete for public support.

Pro-abortion activists have finally figured out that their unqualified support for the worst excesses of abortion, such as the disgusting late-term procedure known as partial-birth abortion, and arguing for legalization up to the point of delivery has turned off a broad swath of support across the nation. Even Democrats like John Kerry now question the wisdom of blindly defending the extremist positions of NARAL and struggle to find a moral hook on which to defend the procedures. NARAL itself continues to insist that they can win the arguments on morality:

However, Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said abortion-rights supporters should not cede the terrain of "moral values" to their opponents.

"We need to talk to neighbors around the kitchen table about the values of freedom and privacy; we don't run away from the arguments," she said in an interview. "Our movement is on stronger ground when we take seriously the moral dimensions of the issue."

NARAL estimates that if Roe v Wade is overturned, up to 38 states will ban abortions, a dire consequence for the pro-abortion crowd. However, the truth is that no laws against abortion exist at the moment, and any attempt to ban them post-SCOTUS reversal will take time and public debate. The American public appears to favor limited access to abortions, making a widespread ban unlikely. Further, Congress would likely take hold of this issue under the same philosophy as controlling any other medical procedure, and the result would be much different. Congress would likely restrict abortions to adults and narrow the window for them, saving countless lives, but probably doesn't have the numbers for a complete ban. Remembering that no outright legal bans exist now, the majority would have to settle for restricted access, even with George Bush as president.

The important point of that exercise is that the laws would be legislated, not dictated by nine unelected men or women in robes. The Supreme Court hijacked the purview of the legislative branch in RvW and a number of similar decisions, finding "rights" that simply don't exist and were never contemplated by the framers of the Constitution. There exists no intellectual or precedented basis for a "woman's right to choose," and in any case, the woman's right to choose is a misnomer. Abortion isn't a choice, it's avoiding the consequence of an earlier bad choice. (I wrote about my position on abortion here.)

Perhaps on this anniversary, we can not only reflect on the 43 million victims of our love affair with expediency over human life, we can also ponder the resultant society we will see if we continue to allow unelected judges to trump the voice of the people in the legislature.

NOTE: This was the thirty-second anniversary, not the 30th, as I wrote earlier. Thanks to Dafydd ab Hugh for the math lesson!

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 22, 2005 2:36 PM

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» Anniversary of Roe v. Wade from La Shawn Barber's Corner
Thirty-two years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court held that women have a right to privacy to kill their unborn children:This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state... [Read More]

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