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Opening Arguments

Pro-choice vs. pro-life vs. pro-life

After the Supreme Court upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act back in April, I wrote an editorial saying the decision would "put ne energy back into the abortion debate in this country, which is good, and shift the focus of the debate at least partly back to the states, which is even better." I said it was at least a partial defeat for the pro-choice crowd: "As the debate now proceeds, at least the idea of a continuum will be back and the 'right' of abortion can no longer be considered an absolute that does not have to acknowledge competing interests."

But it turns out that the decision has been mostly a victory for the pro-choice side:

"The Supreme Court decision totally galvanized our supporters" by raising the prospect that the court could soon overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 opinion that established a woman's right to choose an abortion, said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "Both our direct-mail and online giving got a serious bump," she said.

And the decision has underscored a rift in the pro-life side, with at least some abortion opponents considering the ruling a defeat rather than a win:

Among antiabortion activists, meanwhile, the decision in Gonzales v. Carhart has reopened an old split between incrementalists who support piecemeal restrictions and purists who seek a wholesale prohibition on abortions.

In an open letter to Dobson that was published as a full-page ad May 23 in the Colorado Springs Gazette, Focus on the Family's hometown newspaper, and May 30 in the Washington Times, the heads of five small but vocal groups called the Carhart decision "wicked," and accused Dobson of misleading Christians by applauding it.

Carhart is even "more wicked than Roe" because it is "not a ban, but a partial-birth abortion manual" that affirms the legality of late-term abortions "as long as you follow its guidelines," the ads said. "Yet, for many years you have misled the Body of Christ about the ban, and now about the ruling itself."

Let that be a lesson to all you budding opinionaters and contrarians. Controversial social issues are moving targets, and what you think one day, based on the best available evidence, may not hold up the next day.


Jon Olinger
Wed, 06/06/2007 - 6:12am

Abortion is vile. The older I get the more pro-life I become. Roe vs. Wade was a poorly written decision by activist judges that created constitutional law where there is none. That being said....

If one believes the Constitution of the United States is the law of the land it is difficult for me to see what authority the Federal Government has in the regulation of abortion. Just as Roe vs. Wade created constitution law out of smoke and mirrors, a decision by the court in the opposite direction would be just as dangerous.

According to the 10th amendment "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people." In my view, this is a states rights issue. If we (conservatives) want a federal ban on abortion then it can be accomplished by a constitutional amendment. (Which I would support)

One main problem of the conservative movement is our lack of ability to compromise. If we don't get exactly what we want we take our vote and go home. Liberals have learned the art of incrementalization. If we would we would have everything we want in a generation. Both sides seem to see more federal law as an answer to our problems.

john r. brown
Sun, 06/10/2007 - 1:26pm

what do you say about the donegal corridor?