From Sunday’s Washington Post, William Saletan has this to say:
A Roberts-Alito-Stevens court would probably overturn Stenberg in June 2007. There’s no chance it would overturn Roe, since five of the justices who reaffirmed Roe in Casey would still be on the court. But the ruling could set off a political explosion. That’s what happened 17 years ago when the court, in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services , narrowed its interpretation of Roe. Justice Harry Blackmun, Roe’s author, accused his colleagues of inviting legislatures to attack Roe, which he predicted “would not survive.” That was enough to scare pro-choice voters and make them a decisive force in many states. Three years later, in Casey, Blackmun warned the country that he would soon have to retire, putting Roe in jeopardy.
I don’t think the backlash will be as big as Mr. Saletan predicts, for the very reasons that he gives (below) and because the Internet has replaced the mainstream media as the source of information and authority for knowledge on social issues, health, and science.
Mr. Saletan, I hope you keep up the good work, but you are one of many thousands of resources and sources of information and understanding about the nature of abortion and the child abortion kills.
We can look up human development online and we know more than we did in 1973:
Roe established a right to abortion through the end of the second trimester. The latter part of that time frame has always been the most controversial. Improvements in neonatal care have made fetuses viable–capable of surviving delivery–earlier than was possible in 1973. That’s why Justice O’Connor said Roe was “on a collision course with itself” and eventually led her colleagues to abandon the trimester framework. Meanwhile, sonograms and embryology have made people aware of how well developed fetuses are while still legally vulnerable to abortion. We even do surgery on fetuses now, which makes aborting them seem that much more perverse. These developments may explain, in part, why two-thirds of Americans think abortion should be illegal in the second trimester–and why anti-abortion activists targeted partial-birth abortions for legislative assault.