Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The End of Abortion Rights?

Dahlia Lithwick has an interesting essay in Slate about the Death of Roe v. Wade. She shrewdly points out that although numerous unconstitutional abortion regulations are being passed around the country, they remain unchallenged because pro-choice advocates fear that one of these cases will be used to allow Justice Samuel Alito the opportunity to provide the fifth vote that will overturn Roe, the case that recognized a woman's constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy.

What makes Lithwick's essay noteworthy is her guess is still that the Roberts court is as uninterested in overturning the law as its challengers are in forcing the issue. It does not want to be the court that makes abortion illegal, or all-but-illegal, in America. The backlash would be staggering. If pro-choice advocates don't challenge the abortion laws, however, then the Roberts Court gets its way: we have a legal system where Roe is on the books but meaningless because women lack access to abortion. Lithwick suggests that is an unacceptable state of affairs and that it would be better to put abortion laws to the test rather than to let the Court overturn Roe without really overturning Roe.

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