President Bush has signed the ban on partial-birth abortion into law. Already abortion-rights advocates are planning to mount a legal challenge to the law.
Somehow I have a feeling this will backfire. The American Medical Association has already stated that such abortions are never medically necessary, and even those who are pro-choice have to balk at such a barbaric procedure. However, the abortion-rights lobby is controlled by a group of people who consider any infringement upon the absolute right of an abortion to be completely unacceptable – even if such infringements are based upon common sense. Ending partial-birth and reasonable parental-notification statutes (provided there is a speedy and fair judicial bypass) are common sense actions that would not have a significant harm on abortion rights. A Constitutional right to privacy is dubious – extending that right to a 13 year-old trying to have a major invasive surgery is simply ridiculous.
I do agree with President Bush – overturning Roe v. Wade is simply unrealistic. This is a cultural, not a political battle. The American public is tilting more and more against abortion and towards alternatives that would preserve the life of the child. Having a federal judge tell women that they could not make that choice for themselves would only shift that balance towards the pro-choice position. If people understand how invasive, impersonal, and life-shattering a “choice” abortion is, it will do far more to dissuade people from having abortions than any statute or protest. Given the ability to make informed choices, people will tend to make the right choice. Unless there is a clear state interest, as there is in the partial-birth ban, a full ban on abortion would be politically disastrous, and thankfully the President realizes this.