In less than four decades, Roe vs. Wade has been called “settled” law, most commonly by Republicans trying to run away from a position on abortion law. This is ridiculous. Slavery was settled law for four score and seven years before it was abolished, plus provisions were made for its enforcement in the Constitution. No law is truly settled. In some cases, it needs to be reinterpreted. In other cases, the Supreme Court just makes up law to suit its ideology. For good or ill, all laws are subject to judicial review.
I wrote about my contention that abortion can only effectively be reduced if the state makes contraception easily (meaning “cheaply”) available. There is only one exceptional circumstance for abortion, the health of the mother. Rape an incest exceptions are subsets of the health exception, since either circumstance can be psychologically damaging. Talking about such things is becoming a third rail and Republicans are spending more time using terms like “settled law” to not face the issue. Since the Robert Bork hearings, every Republican SCOTUS appointee has punted on the abortion question, and the results have been decidedly mixed on the court.
William Bennet once argued that if we wanted to reduce crime without consideration of morality, we could abort black babies, drawing from the dubious research of “Freakonomics.” He was roundly criticized for it, but Bennet had a point. This promised demographic shift is not happening just because of the disproportionate number of Black and Hispanic abortions in the country because of socioeconomic class and the tendency of abortion clinics to be in poor and Democratic voting area. The Obama economy and its results have actually led to worse times for the poor, better times for the rich and greater likelihood of non-white Julias having abortions.
I’m not sure what the plan is for the new Republican Party that won’t talk about abortion, taxes the rich and the poor more, spends as much as always and has Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal as its spokesmen. The GOP talks about recasting the arguments for conservatism, but they keep trying to hide the light under a basket. People aren’t nearly as turned off by some Republicans saying the wrong things as other Republicans who run away from what others say. They don’t need a better message or messenger. They just need to deliver the message. If they don’t, their enemies will deliver it for them.