This is a situation that cries out for a breakthrough, a change, not 50 more years of John Roberts and his center-right successors punting on the issue. As an abortion opponent, I want to believe that were the issue opened more to democratic debate, the small group of pro-life states would be able to create a model that restricted abortion and also supported pregnant women, which in turn would shift public opinion in a pro-life direction nationwide.

However, I will readily concede that it might turn out otherwise, that the prospect of abortion bans might consolidate a true pro-choice majority, which would either codify Roe in legislation or else make liberal court-packing popular and usher in a few extra liberal justices with a mandate to affirm abortion rights.

But in that case the pro-life movement would have its real political position clarified and its much longer-term cultural task made clear. And the clarifying power of defeat, no less than the opportunities of victory, would be preferable to the futile trench warfare we have now.