Monday, July 11, 2005

Why Roe won't go

The recent retirement announcement by Justice O'Conner, along with all the rumors of other justices retiring, has led to increased speculation about how the next justices will swing the make-up of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

The left has immediately jumped in the accusations that Bush will load the Court with conservatives and immediately seek to overturn Roe v Wade. Of course they have their own agenda, but that's another story.

It's interesting that the first case out of anyone's mouth is Roe. I don't think any decision since the Dred Scott decision has generated this much controversy. While the subject of abortion is certainly polorizing, there are decisions The Court has made or may soon make that may affect more people. The recent ruling on eminent domain for example will be at the front of a lot of peoples fears for a long time, the least of which is Justice David Souter, who's house is currently being sought via eminent domain by an group of investors who want to raze it and put up a hotel (http://tinyurl.com/c642s). Now that's creative justice.

Despite his critics, I think Bush himself hade the case why Row will not be overturned. In an interview recently published in USA Today (http://tinyurl.com/2cn3u) he noted:

"I don't think the culture has changed to the extent that the American people or the Congress would totally ban abortions.."

And he is right.

First, the public is still closely divided, about 48% for keeping abortion, and 45% against. There is not enough popular support to allow a complete ban. At best it would become what it should have been all along, a States rights issue. But even then the support would likely be to keep it alive.

And I admit, I have no doubt whatsoever that he wants to ban partial birth abortion, and apparently 68% percent of people agree with him, but a complete ban? No.

And even if it were banned or restricted, it would not make a difference. The culture we live in would simply work around any prohibition. As long as people see sex as being without consequence, and unexpected pregnancies as just an inconvenience, then no law's prohibition will prevent people from seeking a more abortion friendly environment.

What Bush noted, and I agree with, is that we need to promote a culture of life. As we have also seen in recent months, the culture of death (or perhaps the culture of the Death Eaters in a nod to Harry Potter) simply has too much momentum in our society. Until life returns to being cherished, the unwanted fetus will continue to be considered inconvenient scrap. Banning it won't stop it, it will simply hide it and force it into back rooms, or across statelines.

With all respect to activists demanding that all abortions cease, they are in a sense fighting the wrong end of the process. We need to make contraception a little more responsible.

Then maybe the abortion clinics might close: From lack of use.