The Associated Press Analyses Roe v. Wade after 40 years

By Dave Andrusko

The Associated Press' David Crary

The Associated Press’ David Crary

The last three NRL News Today items for the day before the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade are reviews of overviews that speculated about what Roe has meant. One is awful, one is quite good, the third is somewhere in the middle. Collectively, however, they offer some fascinating insights into the legacy of one of the most divisive Supreme Court decisions in our history.

We’re starting with the Associated Press story written by David Crary. A ton of newspapers carry AP copy, and especially Crary’s stories on abortion. The headline (at least as the story appeared on the Washington Post website) is “40 years later, Roe v Wade abortion ruling’s legacy is one of bitter, unrelenting division.”

Crary’s really is a cover-the-waterfront overview. And as such it’s composed of a lot “this side says this but the other side says that.” Let me offer a few highlights.

·  Pro-abortionists and their friends in the media have a field day criticizing the state of Mississippi for having only one abortion clinic and for requiring that abortionists flown in from out of state have hospital admitting privileges. The former is a reflection of a state that is strongly pro-life, the latter acknowledges reality: that there are abortion complications and the abortionist needs to be able to go a hospital with the aborted woman.

But only in places like NRL News Today do you read virtually anything about pro-abortion New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s determination (in Crary’s one-sentence summary) to “entrench those [abortion] rights even more firmly” in a state that already is “a bastion of liberal abortion laws.” Talk about zealots! Beginning in 2011 the rate of abortion in New York City was nearly twice the national average, with 40% of pregnancies ending in abortion. In some zip codes, the abortion ratio approaches 60%. You need MORE access to abortion?

  • ”[A] new Pew Research Center poll finds 63 percent of U.S. adults opposed to overturning Roe, compared to 60 percent in 1992. The latest Gallup poll on the topic shows 52 percent of Americans saying abortion should be legal under certain circumstances, 25 percent wanting it legal in all cases and 20 percent wanting it outlawed in all cases — roughly the same breakdown as in the 1970s.” Wrong/right and not adequately explained. True, 63% oppose overturning Roe when it falsely described to them as allowing abortions ONLY in the first trimester. Gallup’s numbers are much more telling. An honest description of what Gallup found is that over 50% of the respondents oppose the reasons almost all abortions are performed!
  • There supposedly is not more support for abortion because few women speak out about their abortions. If only… The question is, of course, why do women so often bury this “choice” deep in their hearts? The answer is because they are unhappy with the decision, would do anything to take it back, and because they are ashamed.
  • One other. “One of the most liberal members of the current Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is among those who have questioned the timing of the Roe ruling and suggested that it contributed to the ongoing bitter debate,“ Crary writes. “’It’s not that the judgment was wrong, but it moved too far too fast,’ Ginsburg said at Columbia University last year. She said the court could have put off dealing with abortion while the state-by-state process evolved or it could have struck down just the Texas law, which allowed abortions only to save a mother’s life.”

Many pro-abortionists (including PPFA’s Cecile Richards, quoted in the story) disagree. Pro-lifers also disagree but for different reasons. It was not inevitable that the change in state abortion laws witnessed in the 1960s and early 1970s would continue to march across the rest of the country. Absent Roe, not only would many states have kept their protective laws in tact, even those with more “liberal” laws would not have embraced Roe’s abortion on demand position. Roe was the creation of an activist court with an agenda that paid precious little attention to the legal underpinnings of a radical decision.

The headline is certainly correct in the sense that the battle goes on. It is not particularly helpful in helping the reader understand why the Pro-Life Movement thrives even when the political soil offers few nutrients for it or why young people are increasingly pro-life.