The Obama campaign is attacking Mitt Romney for saying he would overturn Roe v. Wade. At right is a large ad at the Courthouse Metro in Arlington, asserting Romney is “extreme” for holding this view.
Whether or not this works, I don’t know, but it’s dishonest silliness that rests on the misperception that overturning Roe would outlaw all abortion. In truth, Roe was an extreme decision, and an extremely bad decision, and only someone ideologically dedicated to abortion would stand behind the decision.
Roe was extreme because it found that states could not regulate abortion to protect the unborn up until the third trimester (see picture at left). Up until birth, Roe protected abortion as long as it was to protect the mother’s health, a criteria so vague it could justify any abortion (abortionists have testified that they consider pregnancy itself a health risk, for instance). So Roe basically established as a fundamental right the freedom to end the life of any baby that hadn’t yet fully left her mother’s birth canal.
Roe was also extremely bad jurisprudence. Pro-choice liberal law professor Laurence Tribe said “behind its own verbal smokescreen, the substantive judgment on which it rests is nowhere to be found.” Edward Lazarus said “As a matter of constitutional interpretation and judicial method, Roe borders on the indefensible.” Plenty of other pro-choice liberals have made similar critiques.
S0, does the Obama campaign really believe that Northern Virginia’s voters find it extreme to believe that state governments have the right to protect 9-months-in-utero babies? Does the Obama campaign find Laurence Tribe and Michael Kinsley to be too extreme for Virginia?
No. More likely, they’re banking on the media-perpetuated ignorance about what Roe did and how sloppily it did it.