“Like a Startle . . . Like a Flinch” by John E. Dunsford

“Like a Startle . . . Like a Flinch”

John E. Dunsford on Abortion

From one point of view, the Supreme Court’s 5 to 4 decision in Stenberg v. Carhart, shielding partial-birth abortion from legislative prohibition, is a solid victory for the proponents of choice. From another point of view, however, there is reason to believe that the decision may prove to be costly to those defending abortion as a “right,” as the full implications of the opinion are absorbed by the American public and become part of its consciousness.

Abortion activists are anxiously aware that the long-range prospects of their cause are dubious, since the opinion polls indicate that the degree of public acceptance of abortion has been steadily receding. For one example, a Los Angeles Times poll shows that nearly 57 percent of both men and women consider abortion to be “murder.” Carhart will accelerate that negative trend, because (1) it illustrates dramatically what abortion actually represents, and (2) it elicits nagging questions about the legitimacy of Roe v. Wade itself.

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