Roe and the Possibility of Compromise

This essay by Jon Shields of Claremont McKenna bears reading. Its thesis is that a difficult compromise on abortion can be reached by appealing to how most Americans view the issue: namely, Americans are more comfortable with abortions early in pregnancy and likelier to endorse fetal rights as pregnancy proceeds. Significantly, an atmosphere that is at least riper for compromise coincides with the possible demise of Roe v. Wade. Roe and its progeny are the textbook cases of the Court trying to resolve a social controversy and intensifying it instead. Had the matter been left to legislatures, they would have been forced half a century ago to do what the current environment may now coax them to do: respond to where their constituents actually are. Decades of distorted politics–the issue of abortion has fueled polarization and bled into how Americans think about unrelated issues–might have been averted.

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