Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

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 stumptalk@charter.net.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Lion and the Lamb: A promised land?

    Back in biblical times there was a group of people who believed that God had promised them a segment of land on this planet that would be theirs forever. Who could have known back then that this ancient promise and territorial justification would be used by their descendants today to claim the same segment of land?

    July 29, 2014

  • We the People: Bring back the American dream

    Our economy continues to expand. The stock market is at record levels, yet many ask why so many of us are struggling?  Barely half of us believe the American dream is attainable.

    July 29, 2014

  • Tidbits: Taking a low-tech break

    Feeling increasingly strangled by my electronic leash, with phone, text messages, email, social media and a variety of other forms of communication always at my side, I took the weekend off.

    July 28, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Governing before and after mass corruption

    Laws in America were originally written simply. Every citizen could read them quickly and understand their meaning. The founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance and the Constitution of the United States, none of which was longer than 4,500 words.

    July 28, 2014

  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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