Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Why Abortion Bans May Not Be the Answer Now - Clarke Forsythe on Judicial Strategies

(Hat tip: Rich Leonardi)

Another prominent pro-lifer argues against the immediate push by states like South Dakota to directly challenge Roe v. Wade by enacting sweeping abortion bans:
CHICAGO, MARCH 14, 2006 (Zenit.org).- A pro-life legal expert who has long battled abortion is warning against sweeping bans prematurely.

In fact, Clarke Forsythe believes such bans even might be counterproductive in prudently pursuing the pro-life agenda.

Forsythe is an attorney, director of the Project in Law & Bioethics at Americans United for Life and co-author of "The Tragic Failure of Roe v. Wade: Why Abortion Should be Returned to the States," in the fall 2005 issue of Texas Review of Law & Politics.

The evangelical Christian shared with ZENIT how he thinks a step-by-step strategy and incremental legislation will save the most unborn children now -- and pave the way for an eventual overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Q: Should pro-life political efforts focus on piecemeal legislation or sweeping bans such as the one in South Dakota? What sorts of laws can withstand constitutional scrutiny in the current landscape?

Forsythe: Over the past 33 years, an incremental, step-by-step strategy has proven to be the most effective.

Despite repeated attempts, sweeping bans haven't worked and can be counterproductive. Given the pro-abortion majority on the Supreme Court, abortion prohibitions before 2009 are premature.

An incremental strategy has been most effective because it simply recognizes that that's how the American Framers made the legal and political system. The constitutional structure of federalism, separation of powers, and checks and balances means that change only comes incrementally.

The Supreme Court is still dominated by a majority of at least five pro-Roe justices: Kennedy, Breyer, Ginsburg, Stevens and Souter.

We know that only two -- Scalia and Thomas -- have publicly stated that Roe should be overturned, though even Scalia and Thomas are of the view that the abortion issue is a state matter because the Constitution is silent on the issue.

We don't know about Roberts or Alito. And we don't know if President Bush will have another nomination before the 2008 elections.

Given those obstacles and uncertainties, pro-life legislative efforts should focus on legislation that can put fences around Roe, reduce abortions, protect unborn children, protect women from the risks of abortion, encourage alternatives, and educate the public.

Essentially, legislative strategy should ask three questions: What will effectively limit the number of abortions? What will raise public consciousness? What will help reverse Roe?

Given current obstacles, state or federal abortion prohibitions at any point before the 2008 elections will be premature.

My Comments:
Yep. What he said.


At 3/15/2006 11:29 AM, Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

I'd still rather go tilting at the windmill.

What was it Mother Angelica said? Something to the effect of, "only by risking looking foolish can we achieve the miraculous."

At 3/15/2006 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a difference between charging forward in a hopeless cause and making that cause hopeless by when you choose to make your charge. It might only take a couple of years to get a majority! While I agree with the incremental approach, if we must attack Roe head-on, I think it is foolish (not just foolish-looking) not to wait until we might actually win (or at least until winning is wholly beyond our grasp). As it is, the best we can hope for (short of a miracle on the level of St. Paul's conversion) is that the Supreme Court decides to ignore the case rather than to reaffirm Roe and make it untouchable for another ten years at least.

Of course the whole thing is a done deal now. I pray that it does not do serious damage to the pro-life movement and doom the children it was intended to save.


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