A Few Realities about Abortion in the United States

David French:

Decades of data and decades of legal, political, and cultural developments have combined to teach us a few, simple realities about abortion in the United States:

1. Presidents have been irrelevant to the abortion rate;

2. Judges have been forces of stability, not change, in abortion law;

3. State legislatures have had more influence on abortion than Congress;

4. Even if Roe is overturned, abortion will be mostly unchanged in the U.S.; and

5. The pro-life movement has an enormous cultural advantage.

If the points above don’t seem to make sense to you, then you’re likely unfamiliar with the way that decisive numbers of Americans think about abortion—not in crystal-clear terms of life versus choice (or “baby” versus “clump of cells”), but through much hazier and subjective reasoning. This means that absolutists are consistently frustrated with the political process. Unless Americans change, that process will not yield the results they seek.

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