Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


November 12, 2012

STUMPTALK: Repealing Roe v. Wade

CROSSVILLE — A little while back on these pages a contributor wrote that Mitt Romney, should he become president, “would repeal Roe v. Wade.” Civics 101: the President can’t repeal Supreme Court decisions. He can only appoint Court Justices, and as anyone knows, that’s a gamble. For example, in 1992 the Court heard Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which provided the best opportunity yet to overturn Roe. The muddled final decision did not. Justices appointed by ostensibly conservative presidents did no harm to Roe. In fact, they might have strengthened it. Moreover, as the recent decision on ObamaCare shows, the current conservative Court majority cannot be relied upon to do the right thing.

Another way to overturn Roe is by Constitutional amendment. In the early days following the decision opponents drafted several human life amendments, none of which went very far. That’s because amending the Constitution is a difficult process, requiring two thirds majorities in both Houses of Congress and ratification by three quarters of fifty states’ legislatures. Also it’s theoretically possible for Congress to limit the Court’s jurisdiction, but most Congresses have been loath to do so.

So it’s not likely that any president can do much to overturn Roe. Furthermore, even if the president did succeed in appointing a compliant Court, any such Court would have to wait for the appropriate case, not as easy as some might think. But suppose all of the above happened: a compliant Court hears the proper case and reverses of Roe v. Wade. What then? Would the writer’s “Baltimore City … coat hanger” return? No, it would not. In matters of abortion the nation would return to the status quo ante; that is, the situation that obtained before Roe: some states would permit abortion, some would enact restrictions, and a few would make it illegal. Looking at the current political landscape, one can predict which states would be pro abortion and which pro-life. A woman wanting an abortion but living in a red pro-life state would in many cases be able to drive just a few miles to an abortion clinic in a blue state and have the procedure done there. That’s what women did before Roe.

It’s likely then that permissive abortion will continue in the United States for many years regardless of the White House occupant. Most pro life realists acknowledge this and see changing hearts as the best way to win the battle against abortion. In the culture of death — Pope John Paul II’s phrase — that has developed in the West since the end of World War II, where many see pregnancy as a disease, motherhood as a curse, and children as prohibitively expensive and troublesome (too many children and one can’t buy the adult toys he wants), the fight against abortion remains difficult and is fought mostly by the holy and faithful remnant. Nonetheless the battle is not over.

All the card carrying members of the culture of death can rest easy for now. Of course, this is not all there is to it.

• • •

Stumptalk is published weekly in the Crossville Chronicle. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. To contact Stumptalk, email coordinator Phil Billington at

Text Only
  • Lion and the Lamb: Our war on women

    Jimmy Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981, has had quite an impressive career as an author. His first book was published in 1975, and he has now written a total of 37 books, 23 of them after his presidency. He has set a high example for other past presidents, especially those who would like to find ways of being as beneficial to their nation as possible in the days after their retirement.

    April 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: "Selfie" destruction

    Technology continues to profoundly impact our daily lives, from the Heartbleed Bug that put hundreds of thousands of websites at risk of compromising customer usernames and passwords, to the little light that tries to tell me I'm about to run out of gas. Technology also impacts our language, with new words being created to describe the latest gizmo, gadget or trend.

    April 21, 2014

  • Stumptalk: It depends on what you mean

    A writer’s headline asks, “Do we really believe in democracy?” To which I answer, “What do you mean by democracy?

    April 21, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice