We are in Roe minus 2, or two days without Roe. It’s time to remind the pro-Roe crowd that they made the overturn possible by being so rigid about abortion.
Let’s do a little alternate history. It’s a fun game and in this case rather significant. So let’s go back to June 1995. Back then, President Clinton was moving to the center and looking to cut deals with the GOP Congress. Let’s imagine the following phone call from President Clinton to Speaker Newt Gingrich. Here it goes:
“Newt, it’s President Clinton here.”
“Hello, Mr. President. What’s up?”
“Newt. I want to cut a deal on abortion and put it behind us. Here is my plan. I will propose a new law that guarantees access to abortion but lets every state govern the details.”
“Mr. President, are you saying that you want to go the way of Europe?”
Of course, we will never know, but my guess is that such a law would have passed. It would have effectively ended Roe without overturning.
The Dallas Morning News has a great editorial about this:
As the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted in a 1992 speech for the Madison Lecture series, this political development was overrun by the decision in Roe vs. Wade. In prior cases where the court sought to invalidate antiquated laws that discriminated based on sex, it “opened a dialogue with the political branches of government,” requiring state legislatures to reexamine their positions.
But in giving itself the power to decide the moral question of abortion, the court fashioned “a regime blanketing the subject, a set of rules that displaced virtually every state law then in force.”
This was a judicial error that deepened a national division that has now affected every part of political life. Roe was, as a majority of the Supreme Court has ruled, wrongly decided.
There is no historical basis for the inclusion of abortion as an unenumerated right within the Constitution’s named rights.
Yes, a judicial error that brought us to this point. So why didn’t they listen to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg or try to find a compromise when they could? I don’t know, but we wouldn’t be talking about overturning Roe had they done so. Abortion now moves to the states, and we will see legislative compromises, or what legislatures do.
Again, a lot of Democrats must be privately wondering why they didn’t listen to Justice Ruth, their favorite.