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So, this suggests that if Roe is overturned, Congressional Republicans will feel pressure from their right to enact federal anti-abortion legislation and will act on that pressure. What happens then? Republican rhetoric about abortion meets up with political reality at a national level. That's what happens. And, it is not clear to me that this leads Republicans or the anti-abortion folks where they want to be. Rather, it seems likely to lead to much political pain for Republicans as well as a decisive (and democratic) national level loss for the "pro-lifers."

See http://www.pollingreport.com/abortion.htm for some evidence that national level abortion legislation that puts greater limits on abortion than we have now is a political loser.


Joe S.

"Federalism" is a concept that is taken seriously by the goody-goody parts of the chattering classes--and nobody else. Otherwise, it is just another bludgeon in the hands of tacticians. And not a very good bludgeon, either--it is dragged out only when nothing better will do--when "freedom" or "liberty" or "justice" sound even more ridiculous than they usually do.

Let's just ignore it as a substantive concept.

John Minot

"Partial-birth" abortion should be a part of this story too, no? Ever since they saw fit to ban it federally, I don't see how they can plausibly argue they wouldn't do the same with abortion if possible.


I foresee a case where Jeb Bush will try to take custody of the news-item's fetus.


I'm not sure it would even get that far. The Republican leadership has shown little desire to actually carry out the agenda Dobson is demanding b/c it would alienate too many voters. Much of America is just plain turned off by those guys and the opportunists in charge know that.

If they throw Dobson a bone and get Roe v Wade overturned, there is no way they will continue down that road and make abortion illegal at the federal level. The popular backlash would be too intense.


I don't think that the reactionaries are terribly concerned about the consistency of their rhetoric. Rather, it seems their tactic is to tie their program to whatever conception seems likely to make it most palatable to the largest number of people and then run with that. A fine example of this can be seen is the changing rationales that they've put forward for tax cuts. Or their claim that capping malpractise awards is to make medical care more available. Or the dispute over 'private' and 'personal' social security accounts. Or the notions that 'bankruptcy reform' is to prevent fraud and so hold down interest rates. And so on. Really, it seems more profitable to completely ignore what they're saying and just focus on what the consequences and who the beneficiaries of what they're doing will be.

Scott Lemieux

Well, we already know what will happen if purely expedient "federalism" and anti-choice conflict: Congress has already passed an abortion ban. While Congress faced other constraints, federalist concerns will not constrain the GOP from pushing for abortion legislation, and abortion would absolutely without question remain a national issue.


I am a social conservative who regularly reads this site to expose myself to opposing points of view. I see a salutary effect emerging from this case, viz., there will be many states that will soon disallow the disconnecting of feeding/water tubes unless there are written instructions to the contrary. Thus, the default position will be to feed and hydrate, unless the patient has a legally-executed set of written instructions stating otherwise. This change will re-define what the term "clear and convincing" means, giving no credence to oral declarations. Such changes are already making their way through multiple state legislatures. Once these changes are enacted, the current Schiavo scenario, based on a "recovered memory" by a spouse, will not play out again. Since liberals have been arguing for the primacy of state law on these matters, there should be no principled opposition from those on the left, should there?

richard lo cicero

Why assume that a Federal law would be needed to outlaw abortion? Lets say we get a few more justices like Scalia who believe that human life begins at conception. If that is the case then the fetus is a "person" and under the 14th Amdt is entitled to "Due process of law". Ergo no right to an abortion. Don't laugh, Corporations are "persons" so why not fetus.


Let's take stock: the Schiavo case demonstrates that the Right to Life trumps historic GOP positions on

States's Rights,
Activist Judges and
The Sanctity of Marriage.

If DeLay can find a way to disown tax cuts and national defense, he will have entered the perfect storm.


richard lo cicero made the point I was going to.

Perhaps Delay could come up with a bill that creates a sin tax on abortions with the proceeds earmarked to providing futile care.
National Defense is trickier...the situation would have to pit Texas against some liberal coastal state, and a judge rules for the liberal state.

Andew Smith

A synonym for Culture of Life: Fear of Death


Defenders of Roe worried that the GOP may not be serious about respecting federalism if it is overturned? Why should that concern you, you've never been enthusiastic about federalism or you would not support Roe in first place. Ignoring first principles, and then demanding your opponents to respect them is bad sportsmanship. If it comes to pass, you will have merely reaped what you have sown.

p.s. A corporation as a person is a lot harder to get one's mind around then a fetus a person, since the latter is an actual living human individual. Your rationalizations have gone to your head.


If Roe is overturned, real live children - not just some ideal - will be the result. Check out gov't stats: Since 1973, nearly 40 MILLION abortions have taken place.

Hence, 2 simple questions:

1) Women typically have serious reasons for aborting, ie; medical, too young, rape, incest, fleeing abuse, too poor and so on. If these mothers can't afford their child, who will pay for hospital birthing costs? How about millions of them? (It's assumed the father won't/can't pay.)

2) Who will pay to raise and educate these non-aborted children? (Fact: Today, aproximately one million homeless kids are floating around the US. This number is NOT inclusive of homeless adults NOR kids in state/foster care.)

For all the lip service about the sancity of life from the pro-life crowd, what plan, if any, has been proprogated to support a new reality of millions of non-aborted children from 'birth to 18 years'? Medical, nutrition, shelter and education are expensive and can not be escaped. If there is no plan, is it moral to coerce birth(s) - based on another's beliefs - then abandon these children? Are we talking family values here?

Seems to me, if Pro-lifers were genuinely concerned about the lives of children, they've plenty of work to do TODAY, based on horrific government statistics, to overcome our current crisis of a multitude of parentless and homeless children.

One last thing ... forcing women to bear babies they otherwise wouldn't have, will forge an unbearable misery index containing inherent dangers. The first is condemning women to dispair, hopelessness and helplessness. Fact: rapes, incest, abuse, medical problems and poverty will NOT stop. Thus, the ratio need for abortion will remain equal.

Second, if our nation were to churn out millions of discarded, hungry, angry kids who generally won't ever have the kind of life TV presents as normal, look out as they grow into unrestrained teenagers roving in gangs who've accepted them because no one else wanted them. If we're having a problem with gangs now - enough to make gang related crimes a federal offense - what will happen, say 20 years from now - extrapolating current trends - when 40 million or so kids are having babies themselves and worse, are violent. In the mildest terms possible, I'd venture to say, they'll lash out at society, especially the wealthy. Possibly, there won't be a country club left standing. Thoughts?

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