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The Supreme Court is not going to overrule Roe v. Wade

Susan Estrich on

First of all, it doesn't need to. Roe v. Wade has already been thoroughly decimated by a thousand different regulations, all of which the Supreme Court has, or will, uphold.

Second, the Alabama geniuses could not have been stupider in the way they set things up for the court.

And third, smart Republicans -- and that includes a chief justice who worries about the legitimacy of the post-Kavanaugh court -- know that it would be the worse thing they could do to the party and to the court.

To be clear, 46 years after Roe, abortion is still a privilege in America. Ninety percent of counties in America have no abortion providers, according to the latest numbers from the Guttmacher Institute. Almost 40 percent of American women ages 15 to 44 live in those counties. And 58 percent of all American women of childbearing age live in states that Guttmacher qualifies as "hostile" to abortion, which means they place every obstacle they can in front of the youngest and most vulnerable women. There are now five justices who you can routinely expect to like every regulation they see.

Upholding regulations that make it difficult, costly and painful for poor women and teenagers to get abortions is one thing.

Reversing the Court of Appeals, tossing aside a 43-year-old decision and the doctrine of stare decisis to uphold a law that would force a rape or incest victim (often a child herself) to bear the man's child, a law that would imprison any doctor who helps her for longer than the rapist, is quite another. It is most assuredly not the way to present the question of overruling Roe v. Wade.

 

Missouri State Representative Tila Hubrecht thinks of it as the "silver lining." "Sometimes bad things happen, and they're horrible things," she said. "But sometimes God can give us the silver lining through the birth of a child." Alabama clearly has no problem telling these girls and women that they are murderers if they do otherwise.

Affording an exception for rape and incest proves the hypocrisy of the "conception" crowd (whose interest in life, Barney Frank famously said, "begins at conception and ends at birth"). You can't fault Alabama for inconsistency.

But not recognizing it means you lose the argument, lose the race, lose the majority, lose the country.

Without a story, almost 70 percent of Americans are opposed to overruling Roe v. Wade. Now you can get a majority to support various kinds of regulations, particularly if they are sold as an effort to protect the health of the mother or to bar gruesome-sounding procedures made up by legislative assistants.

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