Friday, December 10, 2004

Would overturning Roe v. Wade be good for the Democrats?

James Taranto suggests that overturning Roe v. Wade would be good for Democrats. On Meet the Press last Sunday, Harry Reid, the new Senate Democratic leader, said it would be "pretty difficult for everybody" if Roe v. Wade was overturned. Taranto believes it would be harder on the Republicans, and makes a pretty good case for it.
Republicans are an extreme antiabortion party only in theory. When it comes to actual legislation, the GOP favors only modest--and popular--regulations. The Democrats, on the other hand, must defend such unpopular practices as partial-birth abortion, taxpayer-subsidized abortion, and abortions for 13-year-olds without their parents' knowledge.

If the Supreme Court overturned Roe, legislators would have to consider the legality of abortion itself. Antiabortion absolutists would demand action from Republicans--but the GOP would be unable to comply without putting off moderate voters, who are much more numerous. Thus the battle would shift to terrain far more favorable to the Democrats.

Congressional Republicans' smartest response would be to avoid the issue and leave it to the state legislatures. But this would free Democrats as well as Republicans to tailor their positions to match their constituents'. Abortion would likely remain legal in much of the country, and the Democratic Party would find it has nothing to fear from democracy.


Post a Comment

<< Home