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July 26, 2005

Romney calls for Roe v. Wade to be overruled

Mitt Romney, in a Boston Globe op-ed explaining his decision to veto a bill that would increase availability of the "morning-after pill," has called for nothing less than the overruling of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that declared unconstitutional certain restrictions on abortion.

Neither the word "overrule" nor the word "Roe" ever appears in the op-ed, but the message is crystal clear.  First, Romney unequivocally equates "life" with "conception."  But he goes well beyond that.  Here is what he says:

  • I believe that the states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate.
  • The federal system left to us by the Constitution allows people of different states to make their own choices on matters of controversy, thus avoiding the bitter battles engendered by ''one size fits all" judicial pronouncements. A federalist approach would allow such disputes to be settled by the citizens and elected representatives of each state, and appropriately defer to democratic governance.
  • We will never have peace on the abortion issue, much less a consensus of conscience, until democracy is allowed to work its way.

The only way in which the states can "determine their own abortion laws" is if Roe is overruled, because the right at the heart of Roe is what creates some limitations on the extent to which states can regulate abortion.  Ergo, Romney wants Roe v. Wade off the books, which would pave the way for the "federalist approach" (i.e., every state having different laws, some probably not changing much from today, others maybe outlawing it all together) that he seems to think would bring "peace on the abortion issue."

If there was any doubt before today that Romney is not running for reelection in 2006, it is gone now.  You simply cannot be elected Governor of this state on a "Roe must go" platform.  Moreover, if Romney was publishing this op-ed just to explain his veto of the "morning after pill" bill, there was no need to go into an explanation of why states rather than courts should decide the limits on abortion restrictions - that is simply a non-issue with respect to this bill, since no one is claiming that requiring a prescription to dispense the morning after pill is unconstitutional.  Once again, Romney has hijacked Massachusetts politics and media to play to the Republican primary voters of South Carolina and elsewhere who will determine whether he gets to run for President in 2008.

Posted by David at 11:07 AM in Massachusetts | Permalink

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Tracked on Jul 26, 2005 9:57:36 PM

Comments

Thankfully, Bush will have done so much damage to his party, that there is no simple way for him to be elected in '08.

BTW, I'm from Cape Cod, down here in Barnstable - nice blog you've got here. :-)

Posted by: Chris | Jul 26, 2005 11:44:39 AM

David, I know this is an important story, but is it really worth posting four times? ;)

Posted by: sco | Jul 26, 2005 12:13:03 PM

Yeah, had a little trouble with Typepad. Sorry about that - the multiples have been removed.

Posted by: David | Jul 26, 2005 12:16:29 PM

"Thankfully, Bush will have done so much damage to his party, that there is no simple way for him to be elected in '08."

I think that it is unwise for us to think that way. There are a good number of conservatives who are unhappy with the president on everything but social policy, but a fiscal conservative who sticks to the anti-roe policy has some chance. I think that conservatives are still much more likely to go for a fresh conservative face over a democrat You are underestimating the negative perception, however inaccurate, that conservatives have of democrats.

We need to start defining ourselves rather than letting the right define us. We are looking more and more like the party of judicial activism. To many americans, the governors opinion seems very reasonable: Why not let states decide. Judicial activism is generally seen as a negative.

I would consider a democrat leaning independent and I think that there are a lot of people like me who are sick of the bitter battle over abortion all of the time. Don't we have another issue to talk about? Maybe we could ease up about abortion. I am sick of towing the party line about this.

I am of the opinion that very few people want wide-spread abortions. We are all esentially against abortion, we just differ on when it is apropriate. The more bitterly we fight this the more we look like we just love abortions and think they are so fantastic. What if we let the democratic process work and see what happens? Most states would probably OK them and it will become a non-issue nationally. Then we could focus on something else for a change. Wouldn't it be nice if the Democrats could become the party of the middle-class again in popular opinion instead of the party of abortion.

Posted by: Will | Jul 26, 2005 7:47:05 PM

"Thankfully, Bush will have done so much damage to his party, that there is no simple way for him to be elected in '08."

I think that it is unwise for us to think that way. There are a good number of conservatives who are unhappy with the president on everything but social policy, but a fiscal conservative who sticks to the anti-roe policy has some chance. I think that conservatives are still much more likely to go for a fresh conservative face over a democrat You are underestimating the negative perception, however inaccurate, that conservatives have of democrats. Our behavior about abortion has made us look more radical than a lot of democrats realize.

We need to start defining ourselves rather than letting the right define us. We are looking more and more like the party of judicial activism. To many americans, the governors opinion seems very reasonable: Why not let states decide. Judicial activism is generally seen as a negative.

I would consider a democrat leaning independent and I think that there are a lot of people like me who are sick of the bitter battle over abortion all of the time. Don't we have another issue to talk about? Maybe we could ease up about abortion. I am sick of towing the party line about this.

I am of the opinion that very few people want wide-spread abortions. We are all esentially against abortion, we just differ on when it is apropriate. The more bitterly we fight this the more we look like we just love abortions and think they are so fantastic. What if we let the democratic process work and see what happens? Most states would probably OK them and it will become a non-issue nationally. Then we could focus on something else for a change. Wouldn't it be nice if the Democrats could become the party of the middle-class again in popular opinion instead of the party of abortion.

Posted by: Will | Jul 26, 2005 7:48:14 PM

I still think the answer lies with Hillary Clinton. In her view, and she has stated this publicly, the issue should NOT be about abortion and whether or not it should be legal. The issue should be about the social problems that cause high frequency of abortions.

In other words: We should be debating issues like sex education in schools, free provision of contraception, adoption laws, counseling, improved care for parentless children, better fiscal policies so the home situation doesn't seem hopeless, etc. The fact is, while Bush may be the "anti-abortion" guy, the abortion rates have increased dramatically since he took office. Clinton may have been pro-choice, but he drove the abortion rate down through social policies that emphasized behavior that reduced the need for abortions.

I think THAT is the future. Democrats should argue that they are pro-choice, but doing everything in their power to make the situation better for women. Republicans are therefore just banning abortion but not making things any better. Then it's clear that it isn't about life vs. choice; it's about who is looking out for women. And even then we might see some pro-lifers change side.

Posted by: Russell | Jul 27, 2005 2:43:28 AM

I am of the opinion that very few people want wide-spread abortions. We are all essentially against abortion, we just differ on when it is appropriate.

I disagree, and I am not against abortion. I think abortions should be as frequent as those who choose to use them. This "safe, legal, rare" bull is to some extent a slippery slope. I'm all for talking about sex ed and use of contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancies - but that's different from saying I want to prevent abortion. Screw that. It should be an option always available for a woman to use should she decide to use it. Rare, only if that happens to be a side effect of decent policies like, say, education and a strong economy (arguably why abortions went down under Clinton).

I greatly respect those who are personally against abortion but don't think they should be able to tell other women what to believe. However, I don't think that's the argument that logic dictates. If it should be legal, then it should be legal, and leave the "even if it's immoral" comment out of it.

Posted by: Lynne | Jul 27, 2005 9:33:07 AM

"Screw that. It should be an option always available for a woman to use should she decide to use it."

This represents a fundamental difference of opinion, which is exactly why it would have been better if abortion had been left up to the states. I know that this is sacrilege for a democrat to say, but the tenth amendment states really really really clearly that any rights not enumerated in the constitution are not under the jurisdiction of the federal government, but are left up to the states.

"Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

I respect that the Democratic Party has been welcoming to people of all views on abortion, but in so bitterly protecting abortion rights, we have supported extreme reading into the constitution and become the party of judicial activism. I think that most states--and surely Massachusetts--would OK abortions.

I am just honestly sick of abortion being such a defining issue when it comes to national politics and especially judicial appointments. If abortion were not the only issue, judges might be chosen based on some other more important merits. It seems like we democrats will oppose any judge not willing to read "an un-written right to privacy" into the constitution and that the right wing is happy with anyone who opposes roe v. wade regardless of other qualifications.

The far-right would not have the dangerous influence that it does now in America if abortion were not a polarizing national issue. There are not a few republicans who aren't really very happy with anything that the current government is doing aside from their stand on abortion. I think that
America would be far better off if it were taken out of the equation and the federalist approach could do that. I don't think that it should be sacrilege for a pro-choice democrat politician to oppose roe v. wade on legal if not ethical grounds.

Posted by: Will | Jul 27, 2005 6:55:29 PM

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