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Davis Journal

Overturning Rowe v. Wade would be a mistake

May 27, 2022 10:36AM ● By Bryan Gray

In the leaked draft decision regarding the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling, conservative Justice Samuel Alito wrote that “far from bringing about a national settlement on the abortion issue” the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision “inflamed debate and deepened division.”

It is ironic that 49 years later, a ruling striking down national abortion access is doing the very same thing.  On one hand, pro-life supporters are ecstatic that the Court appears likely to return abortion decisions to state legislators. On the other side, pro-choice advocates are indignant, not only that states can effectively ban most abortions, but that some states are attempting to prosecute women seeking a pregnancy termination and allowing vigilante groups to sue and arrest women and physicians.

If Justice Alito thinks overturning Rowe v. Wade will bring calm and end division, he probably believes that Elvis will perform tonight at Madison Square Garden.

I’m certainly not a proponent of abortion (and neither are pro-choice advocates). As a father with an adopted daughter, I am overjoyed that her birthmother did not take an abortion option following a “mistake” at a fraternity party. Neither does the issue affect my personal life. At my age, the chance of my wife and I having to make that decision is equal to the chance I’ll fly to Neptune.

But the draft decision is a mistake.

In the first place, overturning Rowe v. Wade will not end abortion.  Some states will actually benefit economically by advertising “tourism services” for the medical procedure, and a handful of major corporations have already announced they will pay the travel and medical expenses for employees flying or driving to another state.  

Secondly, access to education and contraceptives is already working to lower abortion rates.  The number of abortions for those aged under 18 have declined over the past 10 years by 58% and even more for those 16 and under.  In high school, I heard of women butchered by “back-alley abortionists” working out of their basements. Today, that is thankfully a relic of history.

Also, the ban on abortion only exacerbates the difference between the rich and the poor.  The banker’s daughter can fly to Colorado for the procedure, unattainable for those in the lower rungs of the economic population.  This could presumably increase the taxpayer expense for welfare, but that is a whole other story.  The states most likely to effectively ban abortions are also the states which offer the lowest financial help for families.

I would never argue that a woman or a man has the supreme right to control their own body.  Not every personal decision is or should be legal.  However, I feel that most avid abortion advocates are merely pro-birth, not pro-life. Pro-life also means pro-subsidized daycare, pro-public education and pro-healthcare. If you force a woman to give birth against her will, you also have an obligation to ensure that the new mother can adequately care and financially support the infant. 

Abortion is tragic.  Also tragic is the deep division between Americans on an issue in which almost two-thirds were comfortable with the status quo.  Instead, we have enraged protestors outside the private homes of the Supreme Court justices and righteous vigilante teams resolving to attack anguished women and their doctors.  The Court’s draft decision will not tamp down Alito’s “inflamed debate.”  It only adds more logs to the campfire and divides Americans further.