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7/01/2005

Roe v. Wade, R.I.P.?

Atrios is already writing Roe's obituary:

Planned Parenthood v. Casey was a 5-4 decision. It's difficult to imagine that whatever wingnut Bush has to offer up to please the base wouldn't flip that, and effectively overturn Roe. I doubt Republicans will actually be happy with that, the ones who want to get elected anyway, because I think they understand what Democrats don't seem to - people in this country quite strongly favor abortion rights ... Yes, the "ick" factor causes people to embrace the curtailing of abortion rights around the edges, but that's mostly because people who are made slightly uncomfortable by the issue want to have a little bit of an "out."

When Roe goes, there will be much confusion among Democrats I imagine. The anti-abortion machine is in place and it is far stronger than the abortion rights machine. Since the media gives deference to anything under the cover of religion, and equates religion with conservatism, the anti-abortion machine will have much more uncritical treatment by the media.

When this moves to legislatures - federal and state - odds are the temptation by Democrats will be, as it generally is, to compromise, to find the center as defined by Tim Russert. To stand, then, for nothing.

But then he backtracks a bit:

People in comments have reminded me that until O'Connor's retirement the "pro-Roe" crowd numbered 6. So, perhaps this issue will be punted for another couple of years.

I would NOT count on Kennedy's vote for Roe. Kennedy very nearly voted to overturn Roe in the Casey v. Planned Parenthood case, and many pro-choice groups regard Kennedy as a vote against Roe - which would make the pro-Roe tally 5-4, not 6-3. Thus when O'Connor is gone, if she's replaced by an anti-Roe judge, the Court flips on Roe, with 5 against and 4 in favor, rather than simply slipping to a 5-4 majority for Roe.

No one knows, of course, what Kennedy would do if given the chance to overturn Roe. In my opinion, though, it would be foolish to do anything but assume that he would. The stakes are way too high to simply assume that he's on our side here. We need to fight this battle as if Roe is on the line, because it probably is. We cannot allow a "Roe v. Wade is still safe" meme to gather any momentum.

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