Mr. Romney has called for overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to make her own childbearing decisions and to legalized abortion nationwide. He has said that the issue should be thrown back to state legislatures. The actual impact of that radical rights rollback is worth considering.
It would not take much to overturn the Roe decision. With four of the nine members of the Supreme Court over 70 years old, the next occupant of the White House could have the opportunity to appoint one or more new justices. If say, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the oldest member, retired and Mr. Romney named a replacement hostile to abortion rights, the basic right to abortion might well not survive.
The result would turn back the clock to the days before Roe v. Wade when abortion was legal only in some states, but not in others. There is every indication that about half the states would make abortion illegal within a year of Roe being struck down, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The Center for Reproductive Rights, which challenges abortion restrictions around the country, puts the number at 30 states. For one thing, abortion bans already on the books in some states would suddenly kick in. And some Republican-controlled state legislatures would outlaw abortion immediately.
Even with Roe and subsequent decisions upholding abortion rights, more than half the states have enacted barriers like mandatory waiting periods, “counseling” sessions lacking a real medical justification; parental consent or notification laws; and onerous clinic “safety” rules intended to drive clinics out of business.
We do not need to guess about the brutal consequences of overturning Roe. We know from our own country’s pre-Roe history and from the experience around the world. Women desperate to end a pregnancy would find a way to do so. Well-to-do women living in places where abortion is illegal would travel to other states where it is legal to obtain the procedure. Women lacking the resources would either be forced by the government and politicians to go through with an unwanted or risky pregnancy, attempt to self-abort or turn to an illegal — and potentially unsafe — provider for help. Women’s health, privacy and equality would suffer. Some women would die.
…and women still have the ability to get Obama re-elected and protect their right to choose. I’m always amazed at middle-class Republican women who support Romney. Essentially they are making themselves potential victims.
- NYT Editorial on Romney and a Future Without Roe v. Wade (lawprofessors.typepad.com)
- Romney: I Want the Supreme Court to Overturn Roe v. Wade via Life News.com (loopyloo305.com)
- Romney: Abortion is not ‘part of my agenda.’ Romney campaign: Oh yes it is. (dailykos.com)
- Romney Needs a Groin Shot (boomantribune.com)
- Ryan’s Roe v. Wade Bombshell (thedailybeast.com)
- Debate Moderator Candy Crowley Calls Out Romney ‘Then and Now’ on Abortion (politicususa.com)
- Women: Don’t Be Fooled by Mitt (thedailybeast.com)
- Mitt Romney’s Constantly Evolving Stance On Abortion Rights (thinkprogress.org)