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In Defense of Roe

The last 50 years have been marked by a remarkably stable social consensus balancing the rights of women and fetuses. Let's not throw that away.

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One of the biggest misconceptions about Roe v. Wade is that it ushered in an era of deeply divided, hyper-polarized opinions about abortion rights. Though an advocate for reproductive freedom, future Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg famously called the landmark decision a "heavy-handed judicial intervention [that] was difficult to justify," a ruling that "appears to have provoked, not resolved, conflict."

But that's just not true.

Regardless of heated and occasionally violent opposition from radical pro-lifers, for most Americans, Roe led to a half-century of remarkably stable cultural consensus about how to balance the rights of women with the rights of fetuses or, as pro-lifers prefer, unborn children

Attitudes toward abortion have stayed constant since Roe was decided, with just 19 percent of Americans agreeing that it should be banned in all circumstances, two percentage points lower than in 1975 when Gallup started asking the question. Eighty percent agree it should be legal in all or some circumstances, which is four percentage points higher than in 1975. That consistency is all the more remarkable when you realize that when Roe was decided, 30 states banned abortion completely and only 20 allowed it under some circumstances.

Roe held that the state could "could regulate (but not outlaw) abortions in the interests of the mother's health" in the second trimester of pregnancy and ban abortions only in the third trimester of pregnancy as a fetus developed more "potentiality of human life." Its successor case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, affirmed a right to an abortion until a fetus became viable outside the womb.

Unlike slavery and civil rights, abortion is not an issue that lends itself to absolute moral clarity. There are obviously two sets of rights involved, but exactly when legal personhood for the fetus begins has always been contested, as seen in historic laws that banned abortion only after "quickening." 

The cultural genius of Roe is that it created broad parameters that reflect how we think about pregnancy and abortion: At some point during gestation, the fetus becomes a person with a right to life and liberty, but drawing that line will always be a compromise and imprecise. Honest brokers on both sides of the abortion debate will acknowledge that the opposing side has a case. 

Survey data show that Roe was remarkably effective at balancing the rights of the fetus and the mother in a way that fits with our societal values. Sixty percent of Americans support abortion in the first three months of pregnancy and only 13 percent in the final three months. Even more telling is data showing that 93 percent of abortions are performed before the 13th week of pregnancy, and just 1 percent are done after 21 weeks. 

Abortion policy is about creating a workable, pragmatic compromise that allows people to live their lives on their own terms and peaceably argue for their point of view. Ending Roe risks allowing states to outlaw abortion altogether—13 states have "trigger laws" that will automatically ban abortion if the decision is overturned—or to try and ban out-of-state travel for women seeking the procedure.

But individual freedom trumps federalism. Though abortion will never be a clear-cut issue, once we have broad societal agreement on how to delineate between the interests of the mother and the interests of the fetus, women across the country deserve basic protections for their bodily autonomy and privacy.

Keeping abortion legal for at least part of pregnancy doesn't mean that pro-lifers won't be able to reduce its incidence. The abortion rate has declined for decades despite the procedure's availability. So has the unwanted pregnancy rate. These are outcomes worth celebrating, as they reflect women being in more control of their own bodies.

Overthrowing Roe and Casey would threaten that progress and broad consensus by stoking a new culture war in which states rush to ideological extremes that run roughshod over the rights of women or fetuses, depending on the state, some of which are already trying to restrict access to their residents' ability to receive or even fund abortions performed elsewhere.

Post-Roe America would be one with fewer rights and, likely, more political division. There's no perfect policy on abortion, but in 1973, the court struck a compromise that most Americans continue to endorse. That victory, I fear, is about to be undone.

Photo Credits: Lorie Shaull from St Paul, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Ron Sachs/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom; Ms. magazine, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Keiko Hiromi/Polaris/Newscom.

Music Credits: "Rebreather," by J-A-V-A via Artlist.

Written and narrated by Nick Gillespie. Edited by Regan Taylor.

NEXT: Artist Agnieszka Pilat: ‘I Didn’t Realize People Still Think Socialism Is a Good Idea.’

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  1. The last 50 years have been marked by a remarkably stable social consensus

    Without pushing any of my personal feelings on abortion, we're going to have to define "remarkably stable social consensus" here.

    1. Roe held that the state could "could regulate (but not outlaw) abortions in the interests of the mother's health" in the second trimester of pregnancy and ban abortions only in the third trimester of pregnancy as a fetus developed more "potentiality of human life." Its successor case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, affirmed a right to an abortion until a fetus became viable outside the womb.

      FYI, the REASON abortion keeps getting defined by the courts, and there was even a "successor case" to Roe v. Wade, is because there wasn't a remarkable stable social consensus.

      1. “Radical pro lifers”.

        That sums up the murder advocate perspective pretty well.

        I don’t think the inalienable right to life is a radical idea.

        1. "Radical Pro lifers"
          Well you got me there. It's not like we have any radical pro-abortionists who would do or say anything like:

          -Salute/Shout your abortion
          -"The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother"
          -Credit abortion with winning an award
          -Wishing she'd had an abortion
          -Set fire to a pro life organization
          -Protest outside the houses of Supreme Court justices in a blatant attempt of intimidation
          -Do something as crazy as oh I don't know, rush an abortion bill through the Senate that went well and truly beyond Roe v Wade!

        2. There is no "inalienable right to life".
          I think you want to clarify. Unless of course you are a Vegan. And then there is plant life...
          While I probably won't protest the execution of a particularly henios murderer.... touch one of my dogs and you will have problems...
          Bottom line, the value of life is not inherent in life itself.

          1. Now the murder, genocide advocate is saying what they really mean and want.

      2. It's odd that Roe didn't offer guideposts on both ends of the spectrum. It provided unlimited abortion 1st trimester, but didn't outlaw abortion in the 3rd trimester.

        Imagine if Roe instead outlawed abortion in the 3rd trimester, and allowed the states to "allow abortion in the first trimester" - that would could be called "consensus" as well.

        I get it, abortion is wrong, but sometimes necessary. Drawing that line at either end of the spectrum hardly shows "consensus", and more violence is done to morality with permissive late-term abortion laws than restrictive early-term abortion laws.

    2. I mean, for fuck sakes, we can't even get a "remarkably stable social consensus" on whether a husband has a right to be notified that his wife is abortion his kid!

      Spousal Notification: An Unconstitutional
      Limitation on a Woman's Right to Privacy in the
      Abortion Decision

      Yet I can't knock a bitch up and when she texts me "I missed my period" I can't legally say, "tough tiddies, sweet cheeks, that's a 'you' thing".

      1. "tough tiddies, sweet cheeks, that's a 'you' thing"

        Sounds like you two have iss-yous, not iss-mes. Lemme know how you and the kid are gonna resolve them.

        Fuck. Even saying it as a joke makes me wonder if there's not a correlation between abortion and suicide out there that isn't being buried and/or actively avoided.

      2. It's almost like you are intentionally broadening the point beyond the point that was made. The beliefs about abortion haven't really changed in the last 50 years. That was what the point was. There are basically the same percentage of anti-abortionists, pro-lifers, pro-choicers, and anti-restrictionists today as there were 50 years ago and it has been steady the whole time. That is, by any reasonable definition, a "remarkably stable social consensus".

        You want to bring in ancillary and tertiary issues because you don't like the beliefs that Americans have about abortion. That doesn't make the point any less valid, nor does it change what the data shows.

        1. Agree. But even if the consensus is stable, having the judiciary decide what it is does lead to frozen vehemence in basic terms of governance.
          It can no longer be a part of public discussion. Just shouting slogans and increasing hatred of the other.

          The fact that there has been no attempt at codifying or tweaking anything re that issue at the federal level for 50 years is not a positive for our ability to govern ourselves whenthere is consensus.

          Likewise, turning every federal judicial confirmation for the last 40+ years into an increasingly bitter and petty partisan litmus test about that consensus doesn't bode well for the future - or for the general competence of the courts.

          1. Correct. Moving from Roe to regulations determined by public participation will defuse much of the anger at the court and force both sides to focus on state elections. Abortion will shrink as a national issue.

            If there truly is a stable consensus that will be reflected in the type of state laws that emerge.

            1. I disagree completely. Those who just had their individual liberty stripped away will continue to fight to get it back. Given enough time, the authoritarian laws that red states will pass will fall, at which point those who want to force their moral beliefs on others will rally again and try to clamp down on individual liberty again.

          2. So the way that the separation of powers is supposed to work is the legislature passes a law, any court challenges ensue, eventually is possible to work its way up to the highest court in the land where the Supreme Court determines the legality and, if necessary, the Constitutionality of a law. The Supreme Court then has a precedent that lower courts work off of and, traditionally, that it honors with very few (and very clear) cases in which the previous ruling was so egregious and infringed on the rights of citizens so badly that it gets overturned.

            That is not what happened with Roe. At this point an activist conservative majority took a ruling that has shown no sign of losing the support of Americans and that vested decision-making power at the individual level and is about to strip it away and give it to the government.

            They are going to do this, not because Roe was viewed as morally acceptable at the time and is now almost universally viewed as immoral, but because the Justices involved want this result. That's not encouraging.

            1. ruling that has shown no sign of losing the support of Americans

              You may have been asleep every one of the past 48 Januaries when thousands of protesters rallied against Roe. It has always been nearly evenly divided.

              More importantly, as the article and hundreds of others points out, the legal excuses that Blackmun used are not supported in the Constitution or precedent; even RBG saw that.

    3. I'm assuming how Nick defines it is the polling data he cites showing that attitudes have been largely stable. Perhaps not the best way though. For what its worth, I honestly don't see the big issue with pushing it back down to the states. There will be some outliers on each extreme end, but other than that...I predict that within 5-10 years, most states are going to have somewhat similar laws. I'd imagine that all out bans/massive restrictions on third trimester, much looser restrictions with respect to first trimester will be the norm. With most of the variability across different state laws coming during the middle portion of the pregnancy.

      1. Imagine if that remarkably stable polling attitude could have come to the conclusion democratically. The polls are so remarkably stable, we need a dodgy constitutional decision by the courts that effective passed a national law. That's how popular it is!

        1. To drive the point home, the "remarkably stable polling data" has oft been used by pro abortion activists to "prove" this is what everyone wants. Great, so we're good with putting it to the legislatures and thus the voters?

          "uhh, NO!"

          1. Yes, the left always wants things BOTH ways.

            1. Yes, because we know there is no hypocracy from the right.

              "We care about your fetus.... until it is born"

              1. So, the Right does not run orphanages, adopt kids (odd, since I know several who, in fact, did adopt), or work with neglected kids?

                Can you cite the evidence of this?

      2. The belief in regulations post 1st trimester have polled much more steadily. 2/3rds is the usual return on yes for regulations past 1st trimester. In line with Europe and others.

        Polling on the vague notion of Roe which has been modified twice such as with Casey is based on common voter ignorance, not specifics.

      3. Unfortunately, a stable spread of opinion does NOT constitute a consensus. Especially if you start adjusting by state for opinions....

      4. "I honestly don't see the big issue with pushing it back down to the states."

        Because it isn't "pushing it back down to the states". As of now, the federal government has no restrictions. It leaves the decision to the individual, which is the best place for it to be. Overturning Roe will create a coercive government regime to take away the decision from the individual and give it to the state.

        That's less freedom and liberty, not more. That's imposing government's moral determination onto a citizen who doesn't need the government to tell them what to believe nor to force them to surrender their moral agency.

        Anyone who frames this as a federalism issue is ignoring the fact that the status quo gives the power to the individual and overturning Roe gives the power to the state. This may come as a shock to some people, but state governments can be coercive, too. It isn't just the federal government that can be a bad actor. And a large number of deep red states are about to be the face of governmental force deployed against the individual.

        1. SCOTUS ruling, "The Court was wrong to declare abortion a Constitutionally protected right based on an implicit right to privacy," absent federal legislation, is indeed pushing the issue back to the States. Even if I believed abortion were a non-aggressive, victimless act, it is not a matter best decided by decree of unelected officials at the level of government most distant from the individual. I believe a wife has a right not to be beaten by her husband, but likewise I don't want appointed federal judges extrapolating nonsense from the Constitution to be the reason domestic violence is unlawful in all 50 States. Political scale matters, and with alleged "rights" as hotly contested and geographically divisive as abortion, democratic participation and accountability matter.

          1. The phrasing - the SC was wrong to declare that abortion is a constitutional right based on an implicit right to privacy - is profoundly dishonest.

            What Alito is saying is that the individual right to privacy is not federal or constitutional. That there are no individual protections, privileges, or immunities except those that are explicitly enumerated in the Constitution. That being 'American' means fucking nothing re govt being limited re the individual.

            Roe was not primarily about abortion. It was about defining privacy and life in that particular situation.

            Punting that to the state level because the current SC majority wants to ignore the issue at the federal level is almost Dred Scott logic.

          2. You used a lot of words to avoid having to admit that right now it is an individual decision and once Roe is overruled it will become a government decision. This isn't a federalism issue. It is a liberty issue.

        2. The problem with your reasoning is that you fail to take into account that there are two individuals, one of whom ends up dead, at the behest of the other.
          The state makes all kinds of laws that don't allow an individual to do harm to others, including killing.
          This would just be another one, if that is what the states' laws say.

          1. Nope. Not two individuals. Two humans maybe. "individuals" implies separate persons. A fetus has not necessarily achieved "person-hood"

            Presumably you mean persons killing persons. There are all kinds of set-asides for killing. Everything from self defense to collateral damage (in war). There is no absolute ban on killing

            1. How would any of the "set-asides" fit with a child placed inside the woman thru no fault of its own?

              1. The logical and majority belief that a fetus isn't a person. That means it isn't murder or killing or infanticide or any of the other false accusations anti-abortionists throw around.

                Using your beliefs, especially when your belief is largely rejected, to force someone else's actions is wrong.

          2. "you fail to take into account that there are two individuals"

            First establish that belief as something that is true (or even mostly accepted to be true). Then use it as the basis of a counterargument. Just saying that it is a valid argument doesn't make it true. And most people disagree with your belief.

            If you want to use it to determine your actions, excellent. If you want to use it to determine anyone else's actions, kindly fuck off.

        3. Those who claim it is undemocratic (lower case) apparently think that self-government, freedom to vote, doesn't matter. They say it's better to be subject to the edicts handed down by five unelected Ivy League lawyers.

          1. Choosing to champion government force over individual decision-making is not the side of the angels.

        4. no, you're wrong. roe gave the decision to 9 judges and the people had no say in the matter. returning it to the states gives the decision to the people of each state. we get to vote on the issue for the first time. if your state decides contrary to your values then you're free to move to a different state. you seem to have a warped view of federalism.

          1. Every time someone got pregnant, they got to choose for themselves whether abortion was a path they wished to choose. Every single pregnant woman had that chance.

            That's individual decision-making, unfettered by government force.

            As soon as this decision is announced, state governments around the country will take the decision away from individuals. The decision will become a government decision, not a state decision.

            That's government coersion forcing a moral viewpoint onto an individual who does not want it.

            In choosing between government coercion and individual freedom, I know which side is the right one. Hint: it isn't the coercive one.

      5. the polls told us that hillary was certain to win in 2016 too.

        1. So you want to make a false equivelence between a poll asking people what they actually think about a moral issue and an analysis using the results of a poll of likely (not actual) voters?

          I understand that the anti-abortion side is incapable of distinguishing between what may happen in the future and what is actually true right now.

          But this feels more like grasping at straws to try to paper over the fact that most people disagree with the moral position of anti-abortionists as well as disagreeing with the use of government force to take away individual liberty and personal choice.

          Face it. Anti-abortionists aren't honest, they aren't convincing, they aren't moral, and they aren't in favor of liberty.

          A moral person is someone who holds a moral position that is well thought-out, personal, and is used to guide their behavior while allowing others to have the same freedom. An immoral person can't accept that their personal moral beliefs shouldn't be forced upon anyone else.

    4. The gaslight burns real bright in this piece

      1. If you really believed there was a "remarkable social consensus" on a topic, then you wouldn't be too worried about putting abortion to a legislature.

        1. The legislatures are the government. They will use their force to deprive individuals of their right to decide their own morality.

          Replace "pro-choice" with your preferred flavor of religion and ask yourself if you would be happy having your personal moral agency overridden by the state. Because a moral belief system is equally valid regardless of whether there is a holy text or a cleric involved,

          If you believe the government should place your moral beliefs above everyone else's, don't complain if it happens to you.

          1. What if my "moral belief" says I can shoot whomever I choose?
            Do you think the government should be able to prohibit my "moral belief"?

            1. Right on. And there's the nub, consensus or not.

            2. Again, its a question of value.
              Is an unborn fetus valuable?
              Is a person valuable?

              It obviously is a point of view.

              If the answer is "no"...

            3. That is a clear case of your actions impacting another person's rights. Much like anti-abortionists taking away everyone else's right to choose.

              The fundamental flaw in the anti-abortionists.logic is that a fetus isn't a person. Most people don't believe a fetus is a person. Most people don't believe that abortion is murder. Because most people have looked at the "a fertilized egg is a person" and rejected it.

              If you want to have any coercive action be based on your fringe belief, proove it. Convince people. It was done with slavery. It was done with women's sufferage. It was done with civil rights. It was done with rape. It was done with everything that was knce though to be moral, but now is not.

              But you can't prove it. You can't even get majority support. After 50 years and billions of dollars, moral beliefs about abortion haven't changed.

              You don't get to just assert a crazy, fringe theory, ckaim it is true, and use that to justify government stealing decision-making power from the j dividual. Unkess you are a bad person.

              Anti-abortionusts are clearly bad people.

    5. A "mostly peaceful" consensus.

    6. We have a consensus that murder is wrong. Why bother to outlaw it?

      1. Because it is a moral consensus. The anti-abortion position is the exact opposite. The moral consensus is against them.

        I'm sure this will offend the "natural rights" crowd but morality in a culture, at the most fundemental level, is "that which is accepted as the moral consensus".

        Over time, something that is immoral (like slavery or murder or rape or racism) will continue to lose support until it has almost none. Hell, raping your wife was legal well into the 20th Century and is now seen for the horror it is.

        Abortion has not lost support in 50 years. That is a powerful statement about about what American culture thinks about the morality of abortion.

        1. Polls of support for Roe are about the legality of abortion, not the morality of it. The number of people who find abortion morally unconscionable, but also think it should be a legal option in early pregnancy, is huge, if somewhat perplexing, given that abortion shouldn't be morally repugnant if it isn't in fact the murder of a dependent, unborn child. When specific cutoff points are polled, we find that people are ignorant of the decision and don't realize how permissive Roe actually is. If moral consensus is your guide, you need to account for the reality that masses of people swim in a sea of cognitive dissonance; their ethical beliefs and intuitions are frequently inconsistent, but they carry on comfortably as members of a moral herd.

          1. Damn my shit-tier HTML skills.

        2. As long as you put up the straw man argument - "abortion support" you will delude yourself.

          The question is choice and who gets to make it.

          What the "pro-life" side and to some extent the "pro-choice" side forgets is what happens afterwards.

          If the government can say when you can have an abortion, can the government also say when you MUST have an abortion? China? World over population?

          1. No, the government cannot make you have an abortion.

            Though the cries of "my body autonomy" from the same group demanding vaccine mandates et al is kinda funny.

            1. "No, the government cannot make you have an abortion."

              Correct. Those who believe in liberty, myself included, would rally around anyone who was coerced like that.

              Government also cannot prevent you from having an abortion. Because liberty is for everyone, not just the self-chosen "right side".

              Unfortunately, those who don't want an abortion will soon be the only ones free of government force.

    7. Without pushing any of my personal feelings on abortion, we're going to have to define "remarkably stable social consensus" here.

      Not to mention the usual caveats about consensus and morality. One of my favorite Frank Miller quotes was from a panel of Batman Comic writers where he essentially dresses down Tom King for confusing what is right with what is fashionable by pointing out that for the 300 yrs. of The Inquisition, everyone in Spain (and even portions of France and Italy) thought they were doing the right thing.

      Stably believing that abortion should be legal or illegal doesn't mean, in 500 yrs., history will look back and say, "That side was right."

      1. Only of you assume that tjose who don't believe as you do are knowingly immoral or that your morality is superior to everyone else's.

        There are a lot of assumptions baked into Frank Miller's analogy. First, that the correct moral conclusion was never reached (it was). Second, that the Church's power and willingness to torture and kill those who didn't accept the Inquisition played no part. And third, that those who were Catholic but not part of the Inquisition were all complicit and supportive of it. There are many, many more considerations, but it just emphasizes that taking something universally seen as horrific and pretending it is analogous to abortion (or whatever moral position you oppose) is deeply and transparently dishonest.

        If you assume that people have the ability to reason morally and are not being intentionally dishonest, you have to consider that your beliefs are right for you, but not for most people. If you assume you are morally superior to everyone else, you are an arrogant and self-righteous fool that should not be allowed to control the coercive power of government.

        You are not the enlightened few in a benighted world.

        1. There is no morally correct position that says one can take another's life, unless it is to defend one's own.
          Abortion is virtually never done to save the woman's life, and most would accept those rare occasions.
          An individual's moral belief cannot be a valid reason to let them kill an unborn child, any more than it can for the people, for whom such an act is universally illegal.

          1. No one is taking a life in an abortion. If your case for "murder" is strong, why has it never gained any support in 50 years? It is as soundly rejected now as it was in 1973.

        2. taking something universally seen as horrific and pretending it is analogous to abortion (or whatever moral position you oppose) is deeply and transparently dishonest
          ...
          You are not the enlightened few in a benighted world.

          Some people take several hundred years to intellectually stumble through the understanding of their moral failures. Others can't stumble through two paragraphs without demonstrating their intellectual failure.

          1. Yeah, you should work on that. Your unsupported belief in your side's moral superiority is about the worst case if intellectual failure in the last 50 years.

    8. that will happen in precisely the same way it has happened with the covid thing........
      already certain voices are being shut down, deplatformed, marginalised, cancelled, with respect to the RIGHT to life of the not yet born. And those favouring killing that unborn child at any stage of development within the Mother's womb are being touted and elevated as heroes, defeders of right and freedom for everyone (that "everyone" excepts the not yet born is simply not mentioned)

      1. Strawman alert. Do you really think most people who are pro-choice support unrestricted abortion through birth? Because that would make you incredibly ignorant, incredibly gullible, incredibly stupid, or incredibly biased. Or all four.

  2. My professors told me Roe v. Wade rests on a foundation of legal reasoning so meticulous, so bulletproof, that the decision has attained the highest possible ranking — SUPER-PRECEDENT.

    If the illegitimate ultraconservative majority on the Supreme Court dares to overturn it, then expanding the Court with 4 more RBG-style justices will be more important than ever.

    #LibertariansForCourtExpansion

    1. You mean ultra-MAGA majority on SCOITUS don't you?

      1. A mega-MAGA majority. No doubt drinking mega-pints of leftist tears.

    2. But didn't even RBG admit that Roe was bad law?

      1. Yes, and they don't care what the legal reasoning is. It's all about getting their desired outcome at the highest possible level of government so the maximum number of people are forced to deal with it.

    3. You might want to get new professors. As most people on both sides of the isle agree that it was bad decision. It's just the left doesn't care. They want the results they want. Even with bad jurisprudence.

    4. So meticulous that even RBG sneered at the "reasoning."

    5. the idea that a ruling sets some precedent that prevents any reconsideration is ridiculous. a judge who holds to that is a lazy judge. stare decisis simply hamstrings the court.

  3. The two-headed hydra is having a scorched-earth culture war. For me personally, I don't care for either party or the tactics both sides employ in their fight to the death. But I think this op-ed misses the point that both parties have gone to extremes beyond whatever consensus the polls may show, For the Blue Squad, it's 9 months no conscience qualifiers and no anything, and for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, on record in the '90s, the fetus does not have any rights until the parents choose to take it home, and for Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama, babies who survived failed abortions also had no rights. In turn, the Trump-Red Squad is going down to zero. I think the Blue Team brought this on themselves. European nations generally settled around 16-20 weeks for legal abortion, but of course those countries don't have American-style Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism. TLDR: Polarization is winning. Extremists run the show.

    1. In turn, the Trump-Red Squad is going down to zero.

      Are they? I do know that there are probably christian scientists... somewhere who believe that a woman shouldn't be able to abort, even in the case of rape or mother's health... because faith and prayer will carry them through. I do know there are probably Catholics who truly believe "life begins at conception [which technically it does]" and abortion should be "down to zero".

      But all I have to do is turn on MSNBC to find someone calling it a "clump of cells" until it makes the magical trip down the birth canal. As someone who's pro abortion, the pro-aborto mainstream left make some arguments that just turn my stomach.

      1. friends of mine learned they were expecting a few years back. Hooray,we're having another baby!!! Time went on, as it does, and it was later determined there were TWO of them growing inside Mum. YAY, DOUBLE YAY!!
        Then came some sort of hiccup.. suddenly the babies were demanding to be OUT, but there was a problem..... they had only been growing for twenty four weeks. No way can they survive if they are born now. But exit they did, both of them. I saw a picture of the pair of them, one in each of Dad's hands, so tiny his hands were bigger than they were. Healthy, no issues.... except for being far too tiny to survive. Or so the med pros announced. But they did what they could Every day Mum came in and nursed and held them, a bunch of us prayed a lot. After twenvel weeks in NICU they were released to go home, but no visitors for at least another month. Problem, they were living with Dad's brother and family, a pretty full house with lots coming round. So the twins were confined to their place in their parents' bedroom, and no one but immediate family were allowed in there. No issues, they kept growing, though still very tiny.

        they recently celebrated their EIGHTH BIRTHDAY, they remain small for their age (size of a typical five year old) but happy, lively healthy no one would ever guess how close they came to not making it.

        So don't try and tell ME (or anyone who knows this pair) that children are not yet real humans until they are forty, or forty two, or forty anything else since conception. These two were viable at twenty four weeks, outside the womb. And everyone sho knows them is certainly delighted they DID make it. They (and their other five siblings are all delightful.

        1. Almost no one says that. 24 weeks is at about the 50% survival point. The earliest a baby has been born and survived is 20 weeks.

          I love that their children were born so early and have thrived. That doesn't mean that they should be the standard by which everyone else is measured.

          Anecdotal stories are emotional appeals. And they are usually inspiring and fill you with a sense of wonder (unless they are told as a cautionary tale). Revel in the joy that you and your friends have in your lives.

          1. "Anecdotal stories are emotional appeals. "

            Not in this case. If a 24 week old survived, it was viable. As was a 20 week old.

            This is moral rationalization. Either accept they are viable, and humans worthy of rights, or explain why SOME 20 (or 24) week olds are given this chance, but many others are not.

            1. "No, the government cannot make you have an abortion."

              Are you really so clueless that you think everything in biological development happens on a tight schedule? Or are you trying to create the impossible standard of "make all biological activity standard or surrender any resistance to my fringe belief"?

              Either way, it is a patently dishonest argument to make. Which is par for the anti-abortion course.

          2. I don't understand people who base their morality on ever-changing medical technology.

            1. No one is doing that. The minimum requirements for viability haven't changed in the entire history of humankind.

    2. "In turn, the Trump-Red Squad is going down to zero. I think the Blue Team brought this on themselves. European nations generally settled around 16-20 weeks for legal abortion, but of course those countries don't have American-style Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism."

      Evangelicals would not have LIKED, but would have dealt with, 20 weeks. They never got the option.

    3. but of course those countries don't have American-style Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism.

      That's the American left's narrative but the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany and Denmark all have influential ultraconservative evangelical bible belts that their urbane globalist elites hate.

      Most of Europe is more economically left but far more socially conservative than the blue states.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_Belt_(Netherlands)
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_Belt_(Sweden)

      1. Mississippi bans at 15 weeks, France at 14

        1. The typical term limit in Europe is 12 weeks. That's why in talking about abortion, the pro-abortion side never compares the US to Europe. I'd like to hear an explanation a justification (moral or scientific) as to why the US term limits (20-24 months) are so much longer.

          1. Probably because it makes a lot more sense. 12 or 13 weeks is as arbitrary as 6 or 15.

          2. The 20-24 week cutoff is a liberal estimate of viability, at which point the pregnancy can be terminated simply by delivering the baby.

            Earlier European cutoffs at 12-14 weeks gestation have more to do with the end of the first/beginning of the second trimester, which is an arbitrary dividing line not based on any landmarks in prenatal development, but legislators figure a woman has had enough time to figure out she's pregnant and decide whether she wants to keep her baby or kill it.

            1. The 20-24 week cutoff is a liberal estimate of viability, at which point the pregnancy can be terminated simply by delivering the baby.

              There is nothing "simple" about delivering at 20-24 weeks; it is a huge risk for the baby and a huge expense in terms of healthcare expenses.

              Earlier European cutoffs at 12-14 weeks gestation have more to do with the end of the first/beginning of the second trimester, which is an arbitrary dividing line not based on any landmarks in prenatal development, but legislators figure a woman has had enough time to figure out she's pregnant and decide whether she wants to keep her baby or kill it.

              First trimester cutoffs have a long, long history in Christianity. They also roughly correspond to when the quickening happens.

              But even if it just were figuring giving the woman "enough time to figure out she's pregnant", that would be a perfectly rational cutoff.

              1. "There is nothing "simple" about delivering at 20-24 weeks; it is a huge risk for the baby"

                Still less risk than being aborted.

                1. Even less risky to both the mother and the baby is to allow abortions only until 12 weeks. That's a reasonable compromise between the pro-life and pro-choice movements.

                  But, of course, both sides like to use this issue to create conflict and rile up their bases (though the Democrats have become far more extreme in recent years).

  4. "Honest brokers on both sides of the abortion debate will acknowledge that the opposing side has a case."

    Honest brokers on both sides of the abortion debate will acknowledge that the decision in Roe -- finding the right to abort in constitutional penumbras and imposing that policy decision on everyone -- was always wrong and prevented a political compromise that the authors claim to want.

    If indeed 80% of people in each jurisdiction want abortion in some form (likely either generally illegal but with significant exceptions or generally legal with significant restrictions similar to Europe), then the political process will soon reveal that. Let the extremists on both sides answer to the people for a change.

    1. Nah, it's better to come to a "remarkable social consensus" through a nine member judicial panel who will decide the issue for 330,000,000 people.

      1. You're mixing your metaphors. The nine member judicial panel decided on a Superprecedent, and the Remarkably Stable Social Consensus came from the Superprecedent. If the Supreme Court were to subvert that Superprecedent, then the Remarkably Stable Social Consensus would shatter along with the rest of civilization.

      2. But you are wrong. The ONLY thing these nine folks "decided" is that the entire issue is NOT a federal one. Get that one right, will you? It never was, and never can be.. FedGov have simply not a nanogramme of authoirty to regulete or speak to or otherwice control or limit this issue. The powers ceded FedGov by the mechainsim of the US COnstitution simply do not include this one.s
        And that is ALL they have said. Rightly so.

    2. "imposing that policy decision on everyone"

      Roe didn't impose anything on anyone. If you don't want to have an abortion, you can choose not to. If you want to, you can. That's the opposite of imposing anything; it's allowing people to make decisions fpr themselves.

      I know liberty is upsetting to cultural conservatives, but it's a good thing.

      "then the political process will soon reveal that"

      Rught. Because government coercing people's personal decisions and imposing a moral code on them is such a great idea?

      1. "If you don't want to have an abortion, you can choose not to"

        How'd you poll the babies involved?

  5. balancing the rights of women and fetuses

    What the utter fuck?

    1. Balancing the rights of birthing people and fetuses.

      That's better.

      1. but the only '
        birthing people" that can conceive and bring to birth a child are women, and the term in common use for that rule is "mother". What is wrong with using THAT term, anyway? It is not as if males can function in that way. Name one male, I mean a real one with one X and one Y chromosome, a penis and testicles, and no womb/uterus who has carried an unborn child within his own body then brougth it forth into the world to live..... can't do it can ya?

        Yeah, and be redefining UP as DOWN we don't need any source of power to make an airplane fly. It can just coast to wherever its pilot wants it to go. Set the right glide path and ride it.

        1. Hey, the all-wise, all-virtuous medical establishment has its sights set on experimental uterus transplants so transwomen can become "birthing people," too. Look it up. Pretty soon only boring ass cisgender men won't have the honor of aborting a child.

  6. What we really need is more stories about abortion.

    1. It's not like anything Orwellian is going on in the government as of late, so abortion mania is runnin' wild here at Reason.

      1. Orwell was anti-abortion. Read Keep the Aspidistra Flying.

  7. "Eighty percent agree it should be legal in all or some circumstances, which is four percentage points higher than in 1975."

    Odd that when circumstances where it should not be legal came up, the advocates opposed all of them. Even things like partial birth abortions which basically nobody supported outside of a few random ghouls.

    1. It's because "some or all circumstances" covers literally everything except a full-ban. People read that stat how they want though, so some people read it as a possibly widely varying set of expectations, while others read it as liberally as possible.

      Always feels like a lie to me though, because an 80 percent majority should pose no particular concern to abortion then. In fact, they have the numbers to pass an actual constitutional amendment and have it actually in the constitutional which would be, while morally repugnant, much more of an honest process.

      Hell, listen to constitutional scholars, even those who agree with the outcome of Roe, and many of them talk of the wide and absurd requirements on jurisprudence that Roe has forced on downstream cases as well. It's not just a bad law for it's own sake, it's a bad law for being a fundamental alter of the judicial landscape for 50 years.

      1. It's not just a bad law for it's own sake, it's a bad law for being a fundamental alter of the judicial landscape for 50 years.

        And the fact that everyone refers to "Roe" as a "law" tells you just how wrongheaded the whole thing is.

        1. Bad Jurisprudence then. I just hate using that word, unless I'm using it to pick up chicks, because I feel pretentious.

          1. No, you were correct in referring to a law, because that's what it was, a law that was passed by a court.

            1. and bingo, you have hit dead on the main problem with the Roe decision. It had the effect of "law" and thus WAS "law", and the LEGISLATURE are the ONLY ones who cam emact or make LAW. Were you sleeping thorugh fourth grade civics class? Or did yuo attend one of those "woke" skelwz that never got there?

        2. Roe is no different than Plessy v Ferguson, they both rely on faulty logic. As such it took decades for another SCOTUS to erase the stain of the majority opinions.

      2. Agreed. This is like saying that there's no political division in America because 90% of voters are Democrats or Republicans.

      3. A number of other reputable polls make four or five categories. Completely illegal/legal with many (or strict) restrictions/legal with few (or loose) restrictions/completely legal. Some add a "neutral" category of some restrictions. But regardless of the middle category, the four main cohorts are reflected: anti-abortion, pro-life, pro-choice, and unrestricted abortion.

        I am less concerned about the legal reasoning, partially because I figure a 7-2 decision had better legal minds than mine making the arguments and partially because I think that a ruling that leaves the choice to the individual instead of the state has inherent value.

    2. It's likely that there are a lot more people now who don't trust pro-choice people to make an honest, reasonable standard and stick to it. I mean, some states are looking to restrict people from traveling because they don't like wat that person might do during their travel.

      Can I see the hands of those who think that travel restrictions on Americans who want to do a legal thing is a good idea? Anyone? Anyone?

  8. It's not the what, it's the who. And the how.

    So Blackmun "creat[ed] a workable, pragmatic compromise." Great, maybe he should have been a legislator. Where it would have been his job to craft that compromise. IT WASN'T HIS JOB. STAY IN YOUR LANE.

    1. Passing a law that prevents a person from making their own moral and medical choices sounds like such a great idea. What could possibly go wrong?

  9. balancing the rights of women and fetuses

    What? The babies have the right to die and the women have the right to kill them? Some balance.

    1. Yeah, I don't think balance means what they think it means...

      1. Of course they know what balance means. Balance means stability, like a stable social consensus.

        1. Or balancing the rights of a person and a not-yet-a-person. Thinking a pre-viable fetus is a person is a belief that most people reject.

  10. Eighty percent agree it should be legal in all or some circumstances

    "All or some" is a pretty huge stolen base there. "Some" can be as little as "to save the life of the mother."

    1. Yeah, ectopic pregnancy? No choice. Save the mother, or no one. The baby ain't getting born.

      1. I know of at least one case where an ectopic pregancy was diagnosed and confirmed, the parents were told the child had to go, they said no. The baby "somehow" moved down to where he should have been, ws carried to full term, and both Mum and Son are quite alive, normal, healthy.

        Dr. Ron Paul, a gynecologist in practice for some forty or more years, testfied that there is NO CASE where the baby MUST be killed to "sfe the life of the mother". I"m sure his testimony is preserved somwehere, go find it.

    2. Stolen bases sums up this article.

    3. Agreed. Lumping pro-choice people in with pro-choice and abortion absolutists isn't reasonable. Breaking it down to four or five cohorts is, to me, a more accurate and honest way to measure it.

      That said, it is fair to say that almost no one believes it should be illegal in all cases (or to say that most believe it shouldn't be illegal). Much like it's fair to say that almost no one thinks it should be legal in all cases (or to say that most believe it shouldn't be legal in all cases)

  11. "Remarkably stable social consensus"?

    Good lord, they really do smoke dope at the office. The only conduits the every one on one side thinks the other side is evil and it isn't 99-1. It's 50-50. It was a stable legal framework held together by dubious reasoning. Jeez Louise.

    1. I would suggest that everyone on the fringes thinks everyone else is evil. The vast majority of Americans live in the middle and think that their position makes the most sense and that everyone else is, to a greater or lesser degree, mistaken.

      The people who hate get all the attention, but both groups have very little support. I wish they would stop being the face of this debate.

  12. oh for fuck's sake, more abortion?

    1. Look, it's more abortions or more baby formula, and I'm all out of baby formula.

    2. It is one of the staff's pet issues.

      How can one safely libertine without legal abortion?

      1. Abortion, enshrined in Roe, is a sacrament to certain sorts of "people"

  13. I’ll be happy to reinstate Roe v Wade and the right to privacy as soon as SCOTUS finds the fourth amendment to the B of A.

  14. Libertarian website: "The Constitution, how does it work?"

  15. Great talk

    Calvin Robinson: How to Return the Church to God & Reverse Its Wokery? My Conservative Views Stopped My Ordination.

    As an atheist I find his remarkable story quite compelling. It's how Wokeness has completely taken over the Church of England. Calvin is a black man that was refused ordination by the church because his existence in the clergy would be "racist".

    1. Well, might have saved his career though. The Church of England is no place for an actual theist.

      1. absolutely this.

    2. Perhaps unsurprisingly, woke is a direct descendant of Calvinism

    3. Establishment churches have an annoying tendency to become churches of the establishment. Get tangled up in politics, and politics gets tangled up in you.

      The Church of England has actually been one of the more conservative members of the Anglican Communion. Perhaps they can thank the enormous influence of N.T. Wright, scholar-bishop of Durham, and the CoE's closer relationship with the Global South for that. American and Australian branches are worse, desperate to make themselves "relevant" to secularized progressives and to be at the forefront of cultural shifts. Lowest common denominator Christian orthodoxy itself is now treated as fringe or stale in many of the mainline Protestant churches, entertaining levels of social and theological liberalism that used to be reserved for Unitarian Universalists.

      Catholicism has been experiencing its own internal struggles that Vatican II cleared the way for, even as conservative Anglicans are flocking to Rome in droves. Of the non-schismatic apostolic and more formally liturgical churches with a global presence, the only one that doesn't have woke activist clergy progressively chipping away at its core theology is the Orthodox, which has seen explosive growth in the Western hemisphere from refuge-seeking Evangelical, Anglican, and even Roman Catholic converts.

  16. Obviously this screed doesn't support Roe in any way shape or form. If such a defense were proffered in law school, the teacher would hand the student a dime and tell them to '....call your parents because you are not going to be lawyer any time soon...' (Paper Chase). Actually it's so bad, I'm not sure the writer could graduate from a decent High School.

  17. Excellent article. I as noted elsewhere a reversal of Roe will is a very large social experiment that may not be entirely pleasant. People who have always assumed they could get an abortion if necessary will find, maybe unpleasantly, that things have changed.

    Regarding the question of support for later term abortions. While the idea is disturbing for many on large, when talking about individual cases I think we are more accepting. We accept that abortion may be necessary if the life of the mother is at risk. Most people accept that there may be time when a nonviable pregnancy must be terminated. Cases like an acephalic fetus, or certain genetic conditions that are incompatible with life.

  18. Gillespie, the contentiousness of Supreme Court nominations over past 30 plus years is the biggest indication that there has been no consensus on abortion. That you argue there was shows that you are lying or you have been so ensconced in a bubble of like minded acquaintances that you have no idea what the actual situation is.

    In no way does the Roe/Casey regime represent a stable consensus. It has only been the court taking it out of normal politics that it has lasted 50 years.

    1. I mean, the court has had 2 adjustments since Roe. Gillespie seems to be a complete idiot.

      1. I am thinking it is entirely possible that he does not know anyone personally who would openly disagree with him on abortion, so he does not really believe that there could be a fairly large number of the electorate who would favor putting some kind of restrictions on abortion. There is also the strange notion on the staff that once SCOTUS decides something then that represents a general consensus on a subject, rather than an elite one. There seems to be genuine consternation that Roe and the related jurisprudence did not settle the issue permanently.

        1. Abortion discussions are known to even cause a split in the libertarian party which he claims to be a part of. There is no way he doesn't know.

  19. We've been fighting about it and legislating about it for the last 50 years -- only in your mind is it a consensus, stable my ass.

  20. In the diseased minds of Beltway libertarians, the right of progressive corporations to push progressivism is more important than the right of unborn children to not be dismembered.

    1. Perhaps it's the lingering influence of Ayn Rand on Gen X libertarians combined with a misguided desire to become palatable to the center-left, neoliberal boomer establishment.

  21. I must say that it does give me some dim hope that Roe is the super-precedent being challenged. Probably as close to legal dueling as we're ever going to see.

  22. >>stable social consensus

    lol 60 million of the Unrepresented on line 2 ...

  23. There are no "rights of...fetuses".

    1. totes case closed. frosty chocolate milkshakes for everybody.

  24. Roe v Wade protecting women's right to be whores since 1973. You go girls! You are so strong and empowered, especially when you are killing your unborn children. Responsibility and accountability are like kryptonite to a lot of women out there. That being said, I am for no restrictions in the first trimester. But watching these "ladies" on the left act like rabid dogs and blood thirsty ghouls makes me want to rethink my position. I understand abortion might be a necessary evil in some respects, but to celebrate it like some secular religion is absolutely disgusting.

  25. Fetus rights? I love seeing you "libertarians" out yourselves as "lying conservatives". Tell us more about these "fetus rights"? When do they start exactly? What do they include?

    1. seek a mirror.

    2. Tell us more about these "fetus rights"? When do they start exactly? What do they include?

      Personhood starts at conception and starting at that point, all constitutional protections apply to that person.

      Now, it's not something I personally believe, but there is no inconsistency between holding that belief and libertarianism.

  26. The court struck a compromise that most Americans continue to endorse.

    What you don't understand (because you're not a real libertarian) Goth Fonzie Woppo is that making policy compromises isn't the Supreme Court's job.

    But of course, it goes without saying that you don't really care what their actual role as outlined in the Constitution, because like all lefty liberals, you don't like our Constitution very much or believe in it.

    1. I agree that making policy compromises is not the job of SCOTUS.

      I fail to see what that has to do with libertarianism. SCOTUS is not a libertarian institution and we don't live in a nation that is even remotely libertarian.

  27. Sure, let's violate the proper role of the judiciary becasue we got a "stable situation". That is not how things should if you wish to maintain the cohesiveness in the society. This is exactly why we now have a leviathan sized gov that does not even begin to adhere the constitution.

  28. Nothing in this article remotely resembles a libertarian argument.

    1. nor a constitutional one

  29. At some point during gestation, the fetus becomes a person with a right to life and liberty, but drawing that line will always be a compromise and imprecise.

    When a farmer calls the AI guy to come round and breed his cows, or horses, pigs, or whatever, once the guy leaves having done his work, the farmer never has any question as to whether his cow will have a calf or a kid or a lamb or a puppy. Nope, She is GONNA have a calf. And the sows will have piglets, his mare will drop a foal, his sheep will lamb and not goat, and so on. So someone prease ridle mw HOW it is that there is any question as to the identity of that "thing" growing inside a human female after she has had sezual relations with some human male? By the time a woman is two or three weeks overdue for her monthly period, she is absolutely NOT going about saying "oh happy dayI"m going to have PUPPIES!!!. Nope, She has not the slightest doubt as to WHAT is growing inside of her. I know two year olds who can barely talk who KNOW their Mom will be bringing into their family another CHILD. No such little kid ever suspects Mum will be bringing them a kitten or four. At least not from inside her own body.
    How is it that so many alledgedly mature, intelligent, adults can even question what that thing growing inside her is?

    1. damn good question. the answer is that they don't care. they use the ruse that it isn't a person to justify their actions. they believe that they are more important than the baby. the question to ask anyone who claims the fetus isn't a human is: when does it become a human and how does that happen? viability is a poor test because then you have to address the issue of disabled people, people in comas, elderly who cannot survive on their own, etc.

  30. At NO POINT EVER in this entire long-standing discussion has the unborn child been accorded their full rights as a human. Anyone deciding FOR that chid that he/she must die for the conveinience, comfort, "security", selfishness, of the woman who has conceived him/her.

    That not yet born child has precisely the same rights as do I

  31. I'm against abortion.

    I'm against completely outlawing abortion.

    In the middle, somewhere, there is a point where abortion becomes the taking of an innocent life. As medical science has moved forward, that point has moved closer to conception.

    Strangely, no pro-abortion activist has ever been willing to provide a solid explanation of why one clump of cells has no rights, while another clump of cells does. I can think of a number of clumps of unwanted cells (Antifa scumbags, for instance) who would be worthy candidates for a 100th-trimester abortion.

    1. European laws generally allow abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks, and prohibit it afterwards except for threats to the life or health of the mother. That seems like a reasonable compromise. It's something where moderate Republicans would likely join with Democrats.

      But instead, Democrats are using this as a political football, introducing radical abortion legislation that they know won't pass and then blaming Republicans.

    2. Strangely, no pro-abortion activist has ever been willing to provide a solid explanation of why one clump of cells has no rights, while another clump of cells does.

      Since the beginning of the argument (for me), I've pointed out that we readily distinguish a human being from a 70-yr.-old clump of cells down to the minute or less by cardiac activity and brainwaves and near-entirely without regard to viability otherwise and that, objectively, the exact same standards can straightforwardly be applied in the other direction. Strangely, pro-abortion activists consider my stance to be fundamentally religiously animated.

  32. Only Alito's preliminary opinion has been released, not sure why every seems to think Roe V Wade's demise is a sure thing. As Robert's has shown time and time again don't count your chickens yet.

  33. What an incredibly silly premise. Constitutional questions such as "who is a person" do not and should not stem from what is most "stable for society" or "public consensus". It doesn't matter if 99% (or 100%!) of people think slavery (or speech regulation, or gun control) is a good thing. The constitution expressly prohibits those things.

    Whatever your interpretation of the document, and who does, doesn't, should, or shouldn't count as a full, partial, or non-human being, you should roundly reject the idea that public opinion and social "stability" has anything to do with the question.

  34. There was also a stable social consensus that enslaving people you beat in battle or who didn't pay their debts was acceptable, too.

    1. Oh, there've been stable social consensuses for all sorts of awful things. Just look at pederasty and jazz music.

      The problem for you is how you turn the ship of social consensus on abortion around. None of the problems listed here were solved with a minority of fanatics proclaiming the moral righteousness of their cause. In most cases you'd be ostracized for the attempt, especially with jazz.

      1. "minority of fanatics proclaiming their moral righteousness*"

        *Unless they have dragons.

      2. which is why making it a decision for the states is the correct way to enact any policy.

  35. I don't remember any stable social consensus. I remember a flock of crazed lunatics claiming any opinion other than theirs was The HandMaid's Tale coming true in modern America.

  36. I would like to put a thought out there and see what sort of agreement (or rejection) it gets. Ideally with the reasons posted as well.

    I think there four cohorts on the abortion issue. Anti-abortion (it should be illegal, full stop), pro-life (it should be mostly illegal except under very few circumstances), pro-choice (it should be mostly legal except under very few circumstances), and abortion absolutists (it should be legal, full stop).

    In trying to figure out where pro-life becomes pro-choice, it seems like the line is as much about time (and the significance of the halfway point) as anything else. Maybe ir's because the youngest fetus to survive without the mother was 20 weeks plus a few days and that's basically halfway through a typical pregnancy of 37-42 weeks.

    Regardless, it seens like before 20 weeks is a belief that life (personhood) is unconnected to the reality of survivability and more to the idea that the potential for survival, eventually, is the important issue.

    And after 20 weeks is a belief that the possibility of survival is no longer zero, so the choice becomes less tilted in favor of the mother as time passes.

    Does that seem like a reasonable way to break down the cohorts? If so, which would you be in?

    I would be in the third cohort (pro-choice) with a moral line at 24 weeks because that is about where the brain is develooed enough to sustain the body without the mother. Survivability is at about 50%. I would see a ban after 24 weeks as justifiable, morally and legally.

    How about you guys?

    1. Abortion post-viability is the gratuitous killing of babies that could survive outside the womb, so I think even many self-described pro-choice people are likely to find abortion beyond that point morally egregious and indefensible. But it isn't clear to me why viability is a relevant category for establishing personhood and its accompanying protections, as those goalposts are constantly being pushed back with advancing medical technologies. Normally we see defenseless human life and dependents as deserving greater compassion and safeguards, not less.

      1. That's exactly the reason why I sit at 24 weeks. That's roughly where an average fetus develops the brain capacity to regulate its own body, achieving the last requirement for viability, biologically speaking.

        As I mentioned above, a little over 20 weeks is the earliest a fetus has been born and survived, so I can imagine an argument that says that should be the line. But viability hasn't moved much in the 51 years I've been alive, so I find the argument that it's always moving unpersuasive and a little misleading.

        There is a floor to when viability can occur since it is tied to developments in the brain that will never happen in the first trimester (or first 15 weeks). It probably won't break the 20 week mark for another few decades, if ever.

    2. I would frame it all around the rights of the mother, because that's what's at stake regardless of your philosophical persuasion. Start every question with: What is the point of this government intervention?

      As a thought experiment, we strip away all government intervention in order to be maximally libertarian about it. Women, families, and doctors are the only actors making every abortion decision. So, purely with respect to the intactness of the fetus, what could require calling the police?

      Despite this pristine thought experiment, we're right back to the fuzzy question of it all. When does the fetus get rights? It's the sort of questioned that is answered most fundamentally by averaging prevailing social norms. These can go on to affect law (if, hypothetically, we had a government that represented us).

      The datum in that average of norms is as a sort of gut feeling we each feel. What's the prevailing gut feeling on when a fetus becomes a person? In the ancient world it was birth. In the slightly less ancient world it was quickening. In our time and place it's viability.

      There's solid support for abortion in the first trimester, with less support as we go up the trimesters.

      So the mathematically fair solution is thus:

      No calling the police during the first or second trimester, at which point viability sets in anyway. For the third trimester, the Republicans can come negotiate with us their desire to use state power to punish pregnant women, and we might even throw them a bone.

    3. Nelson, I draw your line a lot earlier in fetal development, in the 12-ish week area. By week 12, the fetus has a brain, nervous system, major organs. It is a human life. That is a different standard than viability.

      To preserve the physical life of the birthing person mother is the sine qua non. The mother is here and now; the child is not. I don't have a time restriction on that. Although I'd observe that a woman who has voluntarily carried a child for 8+ months might well choose to sacrifice her life so that the child might live.

      For genetic abnormalities like trisomy 16, 18 (not trisomy 21) where the abnormality is 100% incompatible with life, I don't have an issue with a woman aborting the child at any point. These things happen, they are always tragic, and they are very rare.

      Rape or incest. No question about incest. Rape? I must say I'd have moral qualms about aborting an 8-month fetus for a rape victim. I have not really thought about when (or if) to draw the line on rape. That is not a cop out. I just have not really thought through the moral issues.

      Then, there is this massive grey area. A woman has sexual intercourse, and becomes pregnant. Upon realization of pregnancy, to me, a clock has started. You (woman) must now choose, and do so promptly. Assuming she missed two periods (8-10 weeks); in my book, two weeks is enough time to decide. It is a human life that hangs in the balance.

      Some number of women will choose to abort the child within that roughly 2-week period (at around week 12 of pregnancy). So be it. She made her choice, and now must live with the aftermath (the emotional fallout is devastating). Some will choose to carry to term, and rear the child. Still others will give up the child for adoption, after carrying to term.

      I don't think that 'ban' applies to anything I wrote. I do think the word 'restrictions' fits better. I do not see abortion as a federal issue, and I favor returning the question of abortion restrictions to the states, and to the people within the states. That is the essence of self-governance: the people, acting through their state representatives, decide for themselves what restrictions on abortion there will be (if any).

      Final point: Abortion is an issue that reasonable people can, and will disagree. What people in NJ choose vis a vis abortion restrictions will not be the same as what the people of Wyoming choose. That is Ok in my book. I don't condemn people in other states for making a different choice. A group of like-minded people (a state) chose for themselves. We should respect the democratic process, and not short circuit it (which is what Roe did).

      1. Nelson, I draw your line a lot earlier in fetal development, in the 12-ish week area. By week 12, the fetus has a brain, nervous system, major organs. It is a human life. That is a different standard than viability.

        I think "it's a human life" is the wrong standard. Week 12 is a decent compromise because by then, women ought to know whether they are pregnant and ought to have made up their mind.

      2. Thank you for your response. Detailed, principled, and lacking in demonization. I appreciate it.

        "A group of like-minded people (a state) chose for themselves. We should respect the democratic process, and not short circuit it (which is what Roe did)."

        While I differ on a lot of your points, as you pointed out there will always be disagreements on morality. But I find the idea that Roe gave power to the federal government unpersuasive. It gave the power to the individual over the state, which I believe is a good thing.

        If having the decision made at the state level is better than the federal level, wouldn't the county level be even better and more responsive to constituents? If Texas passes very, very strict restrictions and Harris County wants fewer restrictions because that's what their citizens want then, using the "local is better" theory of representation, isn't that better? And wouldn't leaving the decision up to the individual be the best solution? That would allow everyone to follow their conscience and infringe on the rights of others the least.

    4. the democrat part holds fast to option #4 today. they will not move away from that. for democrats abortion must be allowed up until the last millisecond before birth. there is no other position for them.

      1. And that's what the Constitution envisioned: that every state could set their own policies in almost every regard.

        Incorporation and federal legislation, unfortunately, are destroying that principle.

        1. I think that coercion of individuals by the states is just as bad as coercion by the feds. Having the power in the hands of individuals is the best solution.

      2. Less than 10% of people support #4. So no party "holds fast" to it. #3 is where most Dems and some GOPs are. #2 is where most GOP and some Dems are. #1 is supported by abiut 15%, so no party "holds fast" to that, either.

        Most people, including most Dems and most GOP, are in #3 and #4. Claiming that most GOP are anti-abortion absolutists or that most Dems are pro-choice absolutists is partisan bias speaking, nothing more.

  37. A clever lad, fresh out of middle school, would say that Supreme Court decisions do not contemplate contemporary social or political norms, they make judgements to which have been applied deep scrutiny to law, legal philosophy, and precedence.

    A smarter person would notice that the Warren Court's revolution took place smack in the middle of major contemporary social changes, and that gay marriage didn't become a right until 2015, at pretty much the exact moment public support for gay marriage was touching 60%.

    That figure is so perfectly chosen it couldn't have been planned better. The wind had been blowing in one direction for a while, too.

    Alito is not a clever boy. He wants everything everywhere all at once, daddy.

    I say we take the old Alito court out for a spin. Maybe it'll get us to where he wants to go. Or maybe it'll all crash and burn into a mob of women refusing to open their junk for Republican politicians. The ubiquitously perverted Republican politicians, I might add.

    1. so you prefer a huge federal government ruling all things in our live as opposed to states rules where the laws can better reflect the values of the people? do you realize that if roe is overturned abortion will not be illegal. any woman in the us will be able to get an abortion just like she can today.

      1. I absolutely love that the frantic FOX News talking point is that overturning Roe won't really do anything to anyone's rights. As if we can't see the horrendously draconian anti-abortion laws being passed and set up to trigger once Roe falls. Yes, it will be politically disastrous for Republicans. Maybe that's why Justice Roberts is so upset.

        This country has a long history of the same pattern: conservative-run states try to oppress women and minorities, and the federal government and courts have to step in to protect their basic rights. State governments are the most oppressive force in America. I don't know why I should give a crap about their rights. States are lines on a map. I care about people.

        1. ok, so you admit that you hate the country and our form of government. maybe you should leave.

  38. "The last 50 years have been marked by a remarkably stable social consensus balancing the rights of women and fetuses. Let's not throw that away."

    They're the ones making it all or nothing. In a nation where women have the most rights anywhere all they could find to do was radicalize even more. The whole while theyre running a literal pederast heroin cartel and covering it up mind you.

    Yeah, condemnations of pederast heroin cartels censored as "homophobia" which pretty well damns the slimey coalition of hookers and junky faggots mind you. Nothing else so perfectly looks like an admission of guily as that.

    Condemning government protected funded and hidden honey trapped bacha bazi culture is so-called "homophobia." What says gays are cult of junky faggot pederasts more than that? "Jusuit" thats what. Followed only by "catholic."

    With a crumbling society and economy like america, we need to take a look at what we changed thats causing it.

    How far do you men want to hang over the edge before you realise these bitches want to fking kill you?

    These hoes are literaly aborting their males before turning their bitches over to fostercare anyway.

    1. If its going to be all or nothing, drag out the breeding stockades.

    2. Most people have been coerced not to speak the truth. Obviously you haven’t been.

      It’s difficult to have a candid private conversation without looking over your shoulder.

      Hell, when the sitting president of the USA is canceled, banned, censored and deplatformed along with everyone else for identifying election irregularities…well it doesn’t get much clearer.

      Telling abortion murder advocates that they violate the inalienable right to life is like telling blacks who call each other niggers, that they are niggers.

  39. If it has to come down to a fight between hooker rights and gun rights... which one is going to win? Guns are one of two international exports, these hoes arent even wanted domesticly...

  40. very convenient that the authors side stepped the fact that roe was unconstitutional. the article does not discuss the constitutionality of the ruling at all. gee i wonder why? there is no constitutional right to privacy or an abortion. does not exist in the constitution. roe was clearly legislation from the bench.

    1. It was, as a matter of fact, constitutional for 50 years. The supreme court gets to make that call, either way. Nobody else.

      1. just because SCOTUS rules on something does not make it constitutional. dred scott was in fact a SCOTUS ruling but clearly unconstitutional. a constitutional ruling is one that properly and correctly interprets the constitution. the roe ruling is a fiction and a farse and has been for 50 years.

        1. ust because SCOTUS rules on something does not make it constitutional. dred scott was in fact a SCOTUS ruling but clearly unconstitutional. a constitutional ruling is one that properly and correctly interprets the constitution. the roe ruling is a fiction and a farse and has been for 50 years.

          If SCOTUS rulings do not settle what is or isn't constitutional, then the pronouncements of random people on the internet certainly don't either.

          You can have your opinion that Roe is "a fiction and a farce" all you want, but the only opinions that have the force of law are those issued by courts, with the Supreme Court being the last word. (Unless/until a later Court changes its mind.)

    2. "there is no constitutional right to privacy"

      I believe some of the lawyers on here were having a discussion about this topic. They were discussing pre-Roe privacy rulings other than Griswold (I believe they were Supreme Court decisions, but I don't remember for sure). If I recall correctly there were several cases that ruled in favor of the right to privacy.

  41. From very first para it just reads like partisan hackery

    Other than that, i think anyone caught or legaly employed by a legal brothel, should be banned from having an assisted abortion for life. These females are just too far gone up their collective subjectivist asses. They're completely rotten and exploiting a society loophole that gave them freedom from being publicly raped in the streets by random men. They werent proveded with a society that men built with their lives to give tgem a market to charge their owners for their own property.

    They're offender sex predators and it's high time they were treated equally if they're trying for collective subjectivist equality. Society is crumbling and in total shables the whole nation over. America can no longer withstand half of its population having a socially acceptable pass to be as filthy as they like the whole while men are basically held to a standard of being goddamn eunuchs.

    Who are the faggots and other types of catholics that pulled this shit?

    1. Convicted/confirmed hookers should not have a right to vote, just as any other sex offender fellon.

    2. Other than that, i think anyone caught or legaly employed by a legal brothel, should be banned from having an assisted abortion for life. These females are just too far gone up their collective subjectivist asses. They're completely rotten and exploiting a society loophole that gave them freedom from being publicly raped in the streets by random men. They werent proveded with a society that men built with their lives to give tgem a market to charge their owners for their own property.

      Wow. Just, wow. So much misogyny in one post. All of that vitriol at prostitutes and none for the johns kind of gives you away.

  42. Collective subjectivist equality in complete defiance of natural law.

    1. Very few things as tyrannical, unnatural, and unconstitutional on its face than hookers being a voting block.

      1. What are you, a pimp?

  43. This is REALLY weak. I know the game is to find something, ANYTHING to point to in order to defend your belief (especially when it involves how you make a living); but you might want to make it based on a credible argument.
    Yes, since Roe, the relative numbers of those on either side or in the middle of America's abortion divide have remained steady. But it really isn't apparent to me how remarkable it is that this should be so nor how this fact in any way supports Roe as having been an excellent way to deal with abortion. That the numbers have remained steady over time does not seem to have diminished the toxic nature of the divide; in fact, just the opposite.
    Sorry, but your argument seems to be a desperate attempt to find a way to defend Roe on some other grounds than that you happen to agree with the outcome.

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