Bending Toward Justice
By Dave Andrusko
Thanks for the many responses to our accounts that explored the lead story in the latest TIME magazine, “What Choice? Abortion-rights activists won an epic victory in Roe v. Wade. They’ve been losing every since.” (See here and here.)
While most of the media coverage of the story understandably focused on a real or imaginary spat between Old Guard pro-abortion feminists and their Young Turks, what really matters is what reporter Kate Pickert had to say about the fortunes of the “pro-choice” movement, particularly in the states.
The title of the piece was obviously an exaggeration, although there is plenty of truth in one sense. If Roe (and its companion case Doe v. Bolton) unleashed abortion on demand, the pro-life Movement has ingeniously maneuvered within the limited room the Supreme Court afforded it in subsequent decisions. This is especially true with respect to the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision which introduced a new threshold: laws would be deemed constitutional so long as they did not create an “undue burden” on the women obtaining an abortion. What was routinely gutted in the 1970s and 1980s passed constitutional muster post-Casey.
One pro-abortionist responded with a commonsense conclusion: “The Rumor of the Death of the Pro-Choice Movement Has Been Greatly Exaggerated.” (She pointed out, correctly, that the Pro-Life Movement has frequently been interred by a “mainstream” media eager to bury us. And in spite of a setback in the last presidential election, we are still here and—as pro-abortionists are already lamenting—gearing up to pass state legislation in 2013.)
She argues the following: “Like political cycles, public opinion on reproductive issues will also wax and wane, and when that happens, so will the laws that govern them.” Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that support for life will ebb and flow, just as was the case with all other reform movements.
But no! in the far more important sense that “the arc of the moral university” (to borrow from Martin Luther King, Jr., who borrowed from the 19th century abolitionist Theodore Parker) “bends toward justice.”
It is an honor and a privilege to know we are the right side of history.
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