Is Roe v. Wade Bad for Democrats?
The vacancy on the Supreme Court brings the issue of abortion back into focus. Roe v. Wade may or may not be on the line, but that isn’t stopping people from arguing why it should be overturned.
Interestingly, some of the recent arguments against Roe have come from people claiming that overturning the decision would be good for Democrats. Is this just a neat rhetorical trick, or is their any substance in such an argument?
I think it’s possible that there’s some truth there, but it’s not coming from everyone. For instance, writing for the Wall Street Journal, James Taranto discusses what he calls The Roe Effect.
Compounding the GOP advantage is what I call the Roe effect. It is a statement of fact, not a moral judgment, to observe that every pregnancy aborted today results in one fewer eligible voter 18 years from now. More than 40 million legal abortions have occurred in the United States since 1973, and these are not randomly distributed across the population.
Taranto goes on and on trying to clarify how exactly Roe has hurt the pro-choice movement, but his argument really isn’t much more complex than: pro-choice mothers are aborting future pro-choice voters.
That’s a pretty hard assertion to back up with anything more than provocative logic games. It’s the kind of half-truth that supporters will agree with and detractors will scoff at.
Dean Esmay, a pro-choice supporter but Roe denouncer, makes what I think is a better argument.
When the Constitutional joke that is Roe v. Wade is finally overturned, it will also signal the end of the so-called "Religious Right" as a unified political voice in America. Most "religious conservatives" do not give a fig about taxes, free trade, gun ownership, or anything else: they vote Republican because of the abortion issue, period…
Some say that the end of Roe v. Wade will signal the end of the dominance of the Republican Party. They are probably correct. Not because its overturning will cause moderates to bolt the party--it won't--but because religious conservatives will finally be confronted with the fact that the vast majority of Americans support limitations on abortion, but ultimately want it to stay legal. With that one lousy decision gone, religious conservatives will no longer have a unifying rallying point that keeps them in the Republican fold.
I have often seen people argue that overturning Roe will bring balance back to the debate and result in a more unified policy and public. That idea has a lot of appeal. But I don’t know if it is right. I don’t know that over 30 years of fierce animosity will drain away if Roe is overturned.
That’s why I have supported and continue to support efforts to reduce abortions through initiatives that support the other side of pro-choice—the choice to keep the child. Abortion is nothing to celebrate. But reducing it cannot be achieved through laws making it illegal. Only through hard work undertaken in our communities and through programs aimed at helping ease the burden of bearing and caring for a child can we make a real and lasting impact on the number of abortions.