By Rob Meyne
The decisions issued in June by the Supreme Court are, collectively, about as important a collection as we have seen in decades. The most notable, and most relevant to conservative Constitutionalists, is of course the reversal of Roe v. Wade.
When a major decision is issued, especially one that impacts the laws of the fifty states and DC, it can take time for the effects of it to work their way through the system. Many state laws will remain unchanged while some will fine-tune them as a result of the decision. In fact, in several states, it happened automatically, as they had trigger laws that went into effect because of the ruling.
It is important to recognize, up front, that abortion is among the most contentious issues in America. Yet a look at the opinions of Americans shows there is actual common ground. In addition, the people overwhelmingly reject the position of Democratic leaders.
The Democratic position on abortion today is that there should be no restrictions on it. None. Women (if you can define the term) should be able to kill their babies through the ninth month, for any reason or no reason. Biden says so, apparatchiks like Stacey Abrams say so, and so do 49 out of 50 Democratic senators who voted for a bill that would eliminate all restrictions on abortion. About ninety percent of Americans oppose that view.
Yet, the prevailing narrative is that the GOP is the extreme party. Nonsense. Republicans have an opportunity to demonstrate they are the party closest to the American mainstream.
Those of us who believe life is sacred, begins at conception, and should be defended are often not satisfied with partial victories. The reversal of Roe was a huge “win” for those who value life. It is also true that there is still work to be done as we manage state laws moving forward. It is worth asking what, if any, concessions ought to be made to build consensus with those who believe abortion should be legal but not available through nine months.
As outlined here, third-trimester abortions do happen, and often for the same kind of reasons people get abortions earlier, and relatively rarely to save the life of the mother. There is a lot of survey data on abortion, but one summary, here, is typical. A majority think abortion should be legal in some situations while also opposing it in the final trimester. Another survey shows 75% of us favor limiting abortion to the first trimester. Again, most of America does not support the Democratic position.
There is a good piece, here, that fairly summarizes a position that has a lot of merit. It spells out a strategy would do a lot of help position the GOP as reasonable and compassionate on this issue.
As is so often the case with difficult issues, the most extreme positions on abortion don’t help us to find common ground. Polls show huge majorities of Americans believe abortion should be legal in the first trimester but not the third. They also believe incidents like rape and incest should be considered separately, as should cases where the health of the mother is endangered.
Putting aside for a moment the question of whether conservatives should EVER compromise on issues of life, there is a strong argument to be made that the pro-life movement benefits when we don’t let the perfect, in this case, be the enemy of the good.
It is fair to say most of us probably never actually thought Roe would be reversed, in our lifetimes. Now that is has happened, it provides conservatives a once in a generation opportunity to reach out the persuadable, middle of the road, however small or mythical it may be.
No political battle is ever final, as the reversal of Roe shows us. Today, those who value life can celebrate tremendous progress. At some point, all elective abortion may be illegal. Today, conservatives can “take the win” and demonstrate compassion and reasonableness as we look to the future and adjust to life without Roe.