January 22, 2008

Gratuitous Roe Day Observation

Taranto has this to say about the anniversary of Roe v Wade and the current state of the abortion debate:

Today is the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the decision in which seven men imposed their views on abortion on the entire country. This ruling, which had no basis in the text of the Constitution and only a tenuous connection to then-existing precedents, was supposed to settle the matter once and for all. Instead, it turned the court into a de facto review board for state abortion policies and made abortion--and by extension the court itself--into the most divisive issue in presidential politics.


Both the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times have articles noting, with some surprise, that today's antiabortion movement includes lots of young people. The Post piece includes this delightful bit of Fox Butterfieldesque puzzlement:

Despite the steady drop in abortions across the United States in the three decades since the Supreme Court legalized the procedure in 1973 in the case of Roe v. Wade, a new generation of activists is taking up the cause with conviction and sophistication. There are Students for Life chapters on more than 400 college campuses nationwide.

What is the logic of that "despite"? Abortion tends not to be carried down through the generations: If your mother had an abortion when she was pregnant with you, the likelihood of your ever having an abortion is close to zero. The L.A. Times describes a meeting of an antiabortion group called Generation Life, which sheds some further light on the subject:

"I feel like we're all survivors of abortion," Claire said.

She has five sisters and a brother; most of her classmates, she said, come from much smaller families. The way Claire sees it, they're missing out on much joy--and she blames abortion.

"I look at my friends," she said, "and I wonder, 'Where are your siblings?' "

They're not out marching for legal abortion, that's for sure!

Now Taranto has been on this pro-abortion-rights-types-tend-to-thin-themselves-out kick for quite a while and I imagine there's something to it. However, the Missus and I happened to be talking about the whole business yesterday and she brought up what I think is a perfectly valid point: in the past twenty years or so, the advances in pre-natal technology - with sonograms, detailed photos, heart-beats detected ever earlier in the cycle, and so on - have made it abundantly clear that the issue is about the interests of both the mother and the child within her. Armed with this information, younger people are simply harder to convince that it's all just about a woman's body or some abstract Right to Choose, and are pushing back more and more, accordingly.

Very smart woman, my wife.

Posted by Robert at January 22, 2008 05:01 PM | TrackBack

"Close to zero" is more than just a bit of snark on Taranto's part. There are cases of people surviving abortion.



Both of the more publicized cases are opposed to the practice, though I suppose it is possible for an abortion survivor to have an abortion. There are a 1.2 million abortions in the U.S. a year, and given that abortion industry standards something less than six sigma, one supposes there might be a few hundred survivors a year. I suppose more than a few of them might potentially become pregnant, given that more girls are aborted than boys.

Barack Obama, by the way, is categorically opposed to the existence of abortion survivors.


To me, John McCain's apostasy on the border, tax cuts, and several other articles of conservative faith are forgivable in light of his voting record on this rather important issue -- perfect over 24 years.


(Replace the * after 'close' above with a d; the spam filter rejected it otherwise)

Hillary, naturally, also has a 100% career NARAL rating just for those keeping score.


Posted by: The Abbot at January 22, 2008 05:50 PM