It would be a huge mistake to push to overturn Roe v. Wade, says ... Tomi Lahren

Via Mediaite, she means a huge mistake electorally, which is almost certainly true but which has zero to say about the life-and-death stakes at hand. If you’re pro-life, you listen to her here and analogize: “Personally I’d choose abolition, but think of all the good we could do in Congress on other issues if we let the southerners keep their slaves. Besides, the government shouldn’t be telling people what to do with their property.” Even for a pro-choicer, which is what she is, it’s a feeble attempt to grapple with the moral gravity of the fork in the road that lies ahead for Republicans. To side with Lahren you need to accept her premise, unstated, that life in the womb just isn’t significant enough to warrant legal protection.

After more than 50 million abortions during the Roe era, if you’re going to pitch pro-lifers on backing away when they’re at the gates of victory, at least frame your argument in terms of the issue that drives them. Conceivably the backlash at the polls to reversing Roe will be so harsh that it’ll produce a Democratic majority large enough and durable enough to reverse the Roe reversal. Within 20 years, we might have a lopsided liberal majority on the Court prepared to legalize abortion nationally again on top of the many other reversals of Republican gains in unrelated policy areas that the Democratic-controlled federal government will have achieved in the interim. Putting an Amy Coney Barrett on the Court is potentially a pyrrhic victory for the pro-life cause itself, never mind other matters of right-wing concern. Make that case to righties and maybe they’ll waver. A little.

Although if you take that position, you end up with a paradox: Roe must never be reversed lest it trigger a Democratic backlash that prevents us from ever reversing Roe. If a backlash really is inevitable and destined to be ferocious because Americans simply can’t bear to quit the habit of killing children during gestation, then Roe is irreversible in the long run and we should all acknowledge it as such. In a democracy the people tend to get what they want eventually, even if what they want is flushing 20-week-old fetuses down a toilet.

This is why I wonder if even a conservative Supreme Court would flinch a little if it reconsidered the Roe/Casey framework. No doubt the states would be given more leeway to prohibit abortions after a certain period of gestation, but maybe SCOTUS would try to ease the upheaval by leaving intact some constitutional protection for abortion very early in a pregnancy. Does anyone think John Roberts is going to nuke legal abortion wholesale? There’ll be an accommodation, although the legal framework will undoubtedly shift right. Maybe that’ll be enough to blunt the backlash somewhat.

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