Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Posted: 1/10/2006 3:56:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/10/2006 3:59:55 PM EDT by nightstalker]
So little would change. It's easy to believe that this has become a localized feud.

If 'Roe' were overturned
By Laura Vanderkam


So far, most senators are withholding judgment in the battle to confirm Judge John Roberts, nominated by President Bush to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court, but that hasn't stopped everyone else from trying desperately to discern the nominee's views.

The battle over the Supreme Court nominee and abortion is so much fuss for so little turf. Few states would likely ban abortion - and very few women would be left without "choice."

By Web Bryant, USA TODAY



Pundits are making a mini-scandal over whether Roberts was ever a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group. Ralph Neas, president of the liberal People for the American Way, is fretting over Roberts' "sparse public record." James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, told supporters, "We need to be in prayer that Judge Roberts' true colors will become apparent before a final confirmation decision is reached."



The real issue at hand



On both sides, people talk broadly about wanting to know Roberts' views because the next judge will shape the "direction" of the country, but let's not mince words. Most of this angst is about one issue: abortion. Liberal groups are terrified that Roberts will bring the court one vote closer to overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that overturned state laws banning abortion. Pro-life groups hope, fervently, that he will.



I don't know whether the Supreme Court, with Roberts, will overturn Roe. I do know it won't matter much if it does.



You see, for all the rights rhetoric, abortion is not an abstract concept. It's a medical procedure requiring a doctor willing to perform it. In states where abortion is frowned upon — the states likely to ban abortion if Roe is overturned — abortion providers are already more rare than purple Volkswagen Beetles. Most abortion providers, understandably, prefer to practice in states where people support them, i.e., states where abortion won't be banned.



This reality means that however much energy is spent on Supreme Court nominee battles, a Roe reversal wouldn't change the country's total number of abortion providers much. In fact, a year after Roe is overturned, it would be the rare woman who would notice any difference in her life at all.



In the past year, as passionate people on both sides have dug their Supreme Court battle trenches, a few pro-choice organizations have attempted to rally supporters with reports on which states would ban abortion if Roe fell. Shortly before the 2004 election, for instance, the Center for Reproductive Rights announced that 21 states were highly likely to ban abortion and nine somewhat likely.



The problem with these calculations is that they tend to include pre-Roe abortion bans still on the books. Roe superseded these laws in practice. In theory, some bans would immediately become law if Roe were overturned. But this theory implies that legislators and voters in these states wouldn't be able to debate and pass laws saying otherwise.



Given the split in U.S. politics, many would do just that. Of the 21 states the Center for Reproductive Rights claims are most likely to ban abortion after Roe, seven have Democratic governors. These governors would not be able to preside over new post-Roe abortion bans without risking a party revolt. Of the other 14 states, one (Rhode Island) votes consistently Democratic in presidential races. Though not all Democrats support abortion, it's unlikely that the 60% of Rhode Island voters who chose Sen. John Kerry last fall would be inspired to support a ban.



Another state, Ohio, is too much of a political tossup to count in the ban camp. Colorado might vote "red," but the state's recent election of a Democratic senator and new Democratic majorities in its statehouse implies that the politics are pretty split.



That leaves us with 11 states. According to data from The Alan Guttmacher Institute, these states had 122 abortion providers in 2000. That's less than 7% of the 1,819 abortion providers — a fluid number, to be sure — in the USA. Most of those 122 providers (65) are in Texas. If pro-choice forces can hold on to Texas (not unlikely, given the feisty Democratic minority's tendency to flee to Oklahoma to deny the Legislature a quorum when its members are miffed) we're down to 57 providers. If the Democrats controlling the Alabama and Arkansas legislatures decided to act like Democrats, not Dixiecrats, that total could fall to 36. Spread across eight vast states, that's low enough to be useless to an average woman seeking an abortion.



In Mississippi, Kentucky and the Dakotas, 98% of counties have no abortion providers; in Missouri and Nebraska, 97% lack them. In these Roe-unfriendly states, women already have to travel hours to obtain abortions; in a post-Roe world of crossing state lines, that story wouldn't change.



Even if all three of the only "somewhat likely" states with Republican governors, legislatures and voting tendencies (Indiana, Idaho and Georgia) banned abortion, that would affect just 48 providers. In a "worst-case scenario" (for pro-choice types) that included a Texas ban, overturning Roe would affect a maximum of 170 providers, less than 10% of the U.S. total.



What are they fighting for?



In their zeal to fight over the Supreme Court, though, neither side of the abortion debate has absorbed these numbers. Few pro-life groups realize they've fought a 30-year battle to put just a handful of doctors out of business. Pro-choice forces haven't grasped that the millions they'll spend lobbying to block Bush's nominees could tip a lot of legislative races in places such as Kentucky and Texas. Or, for that matter, build a lot of clinics near the borders of states likely to enact or keep abortion bans.



Instead, over the next few years, the two sides will fight the political equivalent of World War I trench warfare — bloody contests over 6 inches of turf. Millions will be spent. Nominees will suffer the same "Borking" fate as Judge Robert Bork did in the 1980s. The filibuster might melt with the "nuclear option."



Yet in the end, a post-Roe world will look a lot like a Roe world — except we'll like each other a lot less, thanks to the battles.



New York City-based writer Laura Vanderkam is a member of USA TODAY's board of contributors.
Link Posted: 1/10/2006 4:00:43 PM EDT
Much ado about nothing really.
Link Posted: 1/10/2006 4:02:44 PM EDT
Kinda what I figured. People seem to have no problem going to Vegas, Atlantic City, or reservations to gamble. I'm sure even if Roe is overturned, it probably would not take more than a short airline flight or few hour drive to get to a legal clinic in a pro-abortion state.
Link Posted: 1/10/2006 4:05:23 PM EDT
Laura doesn't grasp that Roe isn't about abortion, it is about the left motivating its base without alienating the majority. It is a reflection of how few issues the left has these days . . .
Link Posted: 1/10/2006 4:13:19 PM EDT
Hehehe, same could be said of politics in general nowdays. YOUR WRONG! NO YOUR WRONG! YOU DONT KNOW HOW WRONG YOU REALLY ARE! OH YEAH, WELL YOU ARE REALLY THE ONE WHO IS WRONG! I would really like to see all the millions spent on lobbying this issue directed at safe sex education or something. When I was in the public school system way back when, all they did was show you some gruesome pictures of herpes sores, and tell you that if you have sex before marriage you will either look like this or die. That was good for killing the teenage libido for a whole half our or so, and by lunch time all the youngsters were back to their regular horny selves. At least the money could be spent on something likely to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies instead of just spinning the rhetoric wheel at warp speed. Just a thought, for what its worth.
Link Posted: 1/10/2006 4:17:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DonS:
Laura doesn't grasp that Roe isn't about abortion, it is about the left motivating its base without alienating the majority. It is a reflection of how few issues the left has these days . . .



Kinda agree.

On Russert today, some desperate spokes-hole for NARAL, Katy McMichael was trying to claim some "right to affirmative action" while railing against those who would dump Roe v. Wade.

Here's a blast from the past, Al Gore on Tim Russert's show..

"To understand how radical Al Gore has become on the issue of " choice," consider this exchange between NBC Meet the Press host Tim Russert and Al Gore on July 16, 2000:



Mr. Russert: "Right now there's legislation which says that a woman on death row, if she's pregnant, she should not be executed. Do you support that?"



Al Gore: "I don't know what you are talking about."



Mr. Russert: "It's a federal statute, on the books, that if a woman is pregnant and she's on death row [for a federal crime], she should not be executed."



Al Gore: "Well [chuckles] I don't know what the circumstance would be in that situation. I'd want to think about it."



The next day, at a news conference in Memphis, Al Gore gave us the fruit of his thoughts: "The principle of a woman's right to choose governs in that case." (New York Times, 7/18/2000.)



The sheer brutality of this statement is absolutely chilling. This is not a slip of the tongue; he thought about it, he means it. And since his speech at the Democratic National Convention, we know that Al Gore will "fight" for his convictions
Link Posted: 1/10/2006 4:25:34 PM EDT
Suspect that Gore doesn't really support the death penalty; it is just that he doesn't oppose it for an unborn baby.
Link Posted: 1/10/2006 4:31:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By nightstalker:
In Mississippi, Kentucky and the Dakotas, 98% of counties have no abortion providers; in Missouri and Nebraska, 97% lack them. In these Roe-unfriendly states, women already have to travel hours to obtain abortions kill their baby; in a post-Roe world of crossing state lines, that story wouldn't change.



Just so that we're all on the same page.
Link Posted: 1/10/2006 4:53:23 PM EDT
Did we really expect anything of substance to come from the Democraps?


-K
Link Posted: 1/10/2006 4:57:20 PM EDT
That's why we not only need rvw overturned, but also a federal ban on abortion passed.


Link Posted: 1/10/2006 5:01:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:
That's why we not only need rvw overturned, but also a federal ban on abortion passed.




Hmm, I sense sarcasm.
Link Posted: 1/10/2006 6:12:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dport:

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:
That's why we not only need rvw overturned, but also a federal ban on abortion passed.




Hmm, I sense sarcasm.



In the second half maybe.

Top Top