Friday, November 7, 2008

How Will the Election Affect the Anti-Choice Movement's Goal of Overturning Roe?

I spoke to another reporter yesterday about the South Dakota ban.  His question was what the defeats on the Colorado and South Dakota ballot initiatives meant for the anti-abortion-rights movement's goal of bringing a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.  Bloomberg News, Advocacy Groups Undone by Outsiders in Abortion Vote, by Jerry Hart:

That possibility [of a direct challenge to Roe] was set back by the twin defeats, said Caitlin E. Borgmann, an associate professor at the City University of New York School of Law.

``Advocates looking to mount a direct challenge to Roe were dealt a one-two punch,'' Borgmann said in an interview. ``One, the measures didn't pass. Two, Obama said he won't appoint justices that favor overturning the law, so the anti- abortionists don't have much near-term prospect.''

Retiring Justices

President-elect Barack Obama will probably have to replace at least two retiring Supreme Court justices in his first four- year term, Borgmann said. John Paul Stevens is 88 years old and Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 75. David Souter may also retire. He is 69.

Borgmann described the court, which has kept Roe v. Wade intact for 35 years, as having a ``fragile majority favoring the right to abortion but that would allow many restrictions.''

``Four justices think Roe is bad and four think restrictions are getting out of hand, and there's Kennedy in the middle,'' she said, referring to Justice Anthony Kennedy. ``So far, he has voted to uphold the basic right to abortion.''

In the article, Leslee Unruh, a key lobbyist for the ban, denies that its ultimate purpose was to invite the Court to overturn Roe.  Yet two attorneys and architects of the South Dakota strategy openly discussed their plans in a memo in which they describe the ban as "the best [opportunity] we may have to overturn Roe for the next ten to fifteen years."

2008 Presidential Campaign, Abortion Bans, Politics, State and Local News | Permalink

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