There’s a newly prominent argument on the right that holds that if only we overturned Roe, happy Americans free of insidious judicial activism would ensure that women had reasonable access to abortion, like in Europe. Since this isn’t the case, the poor anti-abortion Americans, barred from the political process, have no choice but to murder doctors (though everyone condemns it, tsk tsk tsk.) Scott Lemieux has an excellent takedown that everyone should read, as does hilzoy. I have but two things to add:
1) It is intellectually dishonest to pretend that anti-abortion groups and pro-choice groups are on the same page, and merely disagree over the method of implementation, legislative or judicial. There are states with trigger laws. This is not a proposal being offered as a compromise, even were it not offered at gunpoint.
2) Once again, I point out that there have been several abortion-related cases since Roe, notably Planned Parenthood vs. Casey. (And to get rid of the underlying problem you’d probably have to go back to Griswold.) Many, many marginal restrictions are permitted, as are some major regulations. To take the claim seriously that anti-abortion activists have been excluded from the political process and therefore must resort to terrorism, you have to ignore in the past 36 years since Roe and the seventeen since Casey, not only have there been a few Republican administrations and Republican-controlled Congresses, but Court appointments, too. The ban on intact D&E was upheld in 2007, thanks to two conservative court appointments made in the 2000s. What’s happened in the past year and a half that has disenfranchised these poor souls?
I think the onus should be on anti-abortion advocates to lay what they want, specifically, in detail, to ban or to permit, that they can’t accomplish now. What is it? No rosy talk of Europe, which contains all the things you want to…emulate.* What is it that you want that you haven’t been able to get? Why do you want it? Specifics. Around 91% of all abortions are already in the first trimester. What is it about remaining 9% that bothers you?
*I can imagine many ways that women’s reproductive freedom could be sufficiently protected even if abortion was outlawed after the first trimester. But I see that as somewhat beside the point. We’re not starting the U.S. from scratch, and any reversal of abortion rights would occur in our current context. Likewise, I know of many nations that do not have a Constitution with anything like our Bill of Rights that supports freedom of speech, but that wouldn’t mean I’d be sanguine if Obama suddenly headed up a campaign to get rid of the first Amendment.