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half a loaf

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jul 19, 2005

Hadley Arkes on the opportunities realistically present to the Supreme Court:

For the conservatives, the most consequential shift would come in flipping the decision on Stenberg v. Carhart (2000) and upholding the federal ban on partial-birth abortion. Either one of the Ediths [potential nominees Edith Jones and Edith Clement] would guarantee that outcome; and in my own reckoning, such a decision on partial-birth abortion would virtually bring to an end the Roe v. Wade regime. For it would send up a signal to legislatures throughout the country that the Court was now open for business in sustaining many varieties of restriction on abortion. They might be measures to require the method of abortion most likely to preserve the life of the child, or measures actually to bar abortions late in pregnancy, or abortions ordered up because of the likely disabilities or afflictions of the child (e.g., Down’s syndrome, spina bifida). Just whether or when Roe v. Wade is actually, explicitly overturned may cease to matter quite as much. For in the meantime, the public would have the chance to get used to a continuing train of laws restricting and regulating abortion. Ordinary people would be drawn in to talk again about the circumstances under which abortions may be justified. And that talk, among ordinary folk, will become more and more common because those they elect, sitting in local legislatures, will be enfranchised again to pass laws and make judgments on these matters.

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