Mississippi’s 15 week abortion law is not “extreme,” or “radical” but mainstream

By Dave Andrusko

We went through a lot of briefs (amicus—“friend of the court”) to make our readers aware of what arguments pro-lifers were making to support Mississippi’s 15 week limitation on abortion. It was a fascinating exercise, and I really appreciate the feedback which was highly instructive. We all, I believe, profited from the discussion of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

However, one element—hugely important—that I failed to highlight enough was just how extreme our nation’s abortion law is. We are one of only seven nations that permit elective abortion past 20 weeks of gestation until fetal viability.

As Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe wrote today, quoting Chief Justice John Roberts, 

 “[W]e share that standard with the People’s Republic of China and North Korea.” (The other four are Canada, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Vietnam).

However, you wouldn’t know that from the hysteria coming from the usual sources. Jacoby writes

Ardent supporters of abortion rights are appalled by the thought that Roe might be curtailed. They have characterized Mississippi’s 15-week ban as a calamity for women’s freedom and autonomy. The measure has been labeled “radical” (by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi), “not reasonable or moderate” (The New Republic), “severe, extreme, and unconstitutional” (Catholics for Choice), and “a near-total ban on abortion” (National Abortion Federation

“Most Americans don’t see it that way, and neither do most other countries,” he writes. We’ve talked several times about the survey taken for the Wall Street Journal which Jacoby brings up at this point in his column. 

According to a new Wall Street Journal poll, “nearly half of US voters — 48 percent — support a ban on abortions after 15 weeks (with exemptions to protect the health of the mother), while only 43 percent are opposed.” Who would think that is the case? Pro-lifers who follow public opinion with a passion.

Naturally, pro-abortionists are trying to spin this every which way but up but the results remain the same.

One other point. A 2014 survey of 198 countries found nearly all nations had a less permissive law that we do. 

Among the nations of Europe, 13 countries prohibit abortion on demand entirely and allow a pregnancy to be terminated only in “exceptional cases,” according to the European Centre for Law and Justice, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Dobbs case. Of the remaining 34 countries where abortion can be accessed without having to give a reason, “eight states permit it only through the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, Estonia through 11 weeks, and a further 20 states through 12 weeks.”

Conclusion? “In short, the abortion laws of nearly every European country impose stricter gestational limits than the 15-week standard of the Mississippi law.”

Excellent piece. You can read it at bostonglobe.com.