The abortion issue is never a pleasant topic to raise because emotions run high on all sides and its downright incendiary. With Brett Kavanaugh ascending to the Supreme Court, abortion is back on the table. The pro-choice folks are terrified that Roe V Wade will be overturned and the pro-life folks want it overturned.
Here's the simple truth: legal abortion will never be outlawed in America. Even if R v W is overturned, the issue is automatically bounced back to the states where it is 100% probable that no state would outlaw all abortion under any circumstances. It's such a political hot potato that legislators don't even want to deal with the issue and would prefer that it be decided in a ballot referendum.
The America of today is definitely NOT the America of 1973 when R v W was decided by the Supreme Court that declared abortion a Constitutional right in its infamous 7-2 decision. I'm not debating that legal issue but I do believe that there is nothing in the Constitution to support abortion as a Constitutional right. However, it's been a 'done deal' for 45 years. American women will never VOTE away that right. Any attempts to outlaw all abortion under any circumstances is a ballot box loser that politicians profoundly understand. The wrath of female voters isn't some that politicians want to endure.
What is left of the issue? A lot. On the pro-life side many subscribe to the theory that human life begins at the precise moment of conception. Therefore, anything that harms, kills or evicts that bundle of cells from a female body is murder. Many radical pro-lifers even oppose birth control pills and the morning after pill because they believe that they have the potential to effectively kill a human life.
On the pro-choice side, especially with the more radical pro-choice advocates, there is little to zero tolerance of anything that restricts a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy from the moment of conception and all the way up to delivery. Many believe that it's morally OKAY to murder any unborn fetus at any stage during pregnancy.
This of course brings us to the next issue. What is human life? Are the unborn human beings? Well, science has its own definition as cells evolve. When the sperm meets the egg and fertilization occurs, there is a bundle of cells called a zygote which then proceeds to the blastocyst phase. The blastocyst proceeds to the embryo phase that proceeds to the fetus phase.
When R v W was decided, the 7 who voted to declare abortion a federally mandated constitutional right (6 white male justices and 1 black male justice), they agonized over the trimesters and at which point does the unborn become a human being.
The 1973 New York Times headline reads: High Court Rules Abortions Legal the First 3 Months, here. Since 1973 there have been many court cases that have chirped in on R v W and it's been modified and tweaked.
Where do the American people stand on the issue of abortion? The majority of Americans are not radicals. While they overwhelmingly reject that notion that human life begins at the precise moment of conception and do in factor support early legal abortions, they also oppose late term abortions. Many support fetal heart beat laws. Most outright reject 2nd and 3rd trimester abortions, unless the life of the mother is at stake.
Sonograms and science have affected public perceptions of abortions. While many were led to believe that a pregnant woman was carrying nothing more than a blob of unidentifiable cells, now they can actually see the unborn - a tiny human with a body, head, legs, toes, arms and fingers. These tiny creatures are not blobs. They are unborn babies and human beings.
While I absolutely do not believe that R v W will ever be overturned because the political blowback would be unbearable for Republicans, I do believe that SCOTUS may slowly hack away at late term abortion rights and grant these decisions to the states.
In 2003, Congress passed and Bush signed the Federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. Partial birth abortion is an especially gruesome and barbaric procedure; I won't go into it here but it is easily engine searched. However, the radical pro-choice folks went nut and dragged the issue back to SCOTUS who in 2007 upheld the federal partial birth abortion act. Therefore, we have seen some reigning in of abortion rights.
Frankly, the American people do no have to stomach for butchering the unborn. Moreover, an unborn baby being slaughtered in utero is just horrifically repugnant to most American although it is NOT repugnant to the radical pro-choicers. Another disturbing problem with late term abortion is the issue of fetal pain. Fetuses and especially late term fetuses have fully evolved central nervous systems and can actually feel the pain of being butchered in the womb. Yes, it's gruesome.
On the flip side of abortion radicalism, I've know pro-lifers who demand that every woman who ever had an abortion be executed for murder.
Meanwhile, the American people seem to embrace the issue rationally and in a manner that doesn't please the radicals on each side. They generally and overwhelmingly support legal early abortion but oppose hate term abortion.
America's south is very religious, very Evangelical and very pro-life. Yet, voters in Mississippi rejected a ballot initiative to define life as beginning at the precise moment of conception.
When Judge Roy Moore was defeated by a Democrat in an Alabama senate race to replace Sen. Jeff Sessions who became Trump's Attorney General, the Republicans lost a key senate seat. Why? Judge Roy Moore was a 'life begins at conception' believer who opposed all abortion under any circumstances and also opposed gay marriage. Moore got slaughtered by the female and youth vote and I blogged about his defeat, here. It's probably true that most of the women who rejected Moore would be extremely reluctant to have an abortion but it's also a right that damn few women would vote to take away from another woman. On the abortion issue women tend to believe that the issue is between God and the woman because they haven't lived her life or walked in her shoes. Accordingly, they are extremely reluctant to pass judgment.
Americans tend to lean more Libertarian on the social issues because they subscribe to the 'live and let live' attitude. American politics are already messy and divisive enough!
Going forward, it's accurate to assume that neither the radical pro-lifers or the radical pro-choicers will prevail. Early legal abortion will forever be the law in America. At which point the fertilized egg, zygote, blastocyst, embryo and fetus become a unborn human being worthy of legal protection will be the debate of the future. Science will chirp in and Americans will make decisions.
Finally, I do support life and hope with all my heart that America evolves into a culture of supporting life. As an antiwar activist, I'm highly critical of the Warvangelicals who scream I SUPPORT LIFE while cheering our damn wars that slaughter millions, including women, children, babies and the unborn. You can't support both life and unjustified non-defensive wars. It's an oxymoron.
Meanwhile, the American people seem to be the voice of sanity and logic and it's really sad that the radicals get all the attention. Radical pro-lifers are not representative of conservatives and Republicans anymore than radical pro-choicers are representative of the Democratic base. There are Democrats who oppose late term abortions.
American politics has grown vile and hateful. Every Democrat that is attacking Kavanaugh knows full well that abortion in America is safe. Attacking Kavanaugh as a sexual predator, rapist, gang rapist and alcoholic and all without one iota of proof, evidence and corroboration is utterly outrageous and a total disgrace to the SCOTUS confirmation process, even for the dastardly Dems who apparently delight in trying to ruin the life and career of an innocent man.
Abortion rights in America will forever remain a high contentious and explosive issue which is precisely why abortion will never be outlawed.