This week, Megan McArdle from the Washington Post released a commentary about her seemingly uncommon perspective: She is pro-choice, and she wants Roe v. Wade overturned.
McArdle wrote an opinion piece in The Bulletin in Oregon about how she finds herself “uneasily pro-choice.” She listed several reasons why the landmark abortion case is “a poorly-reasoned mess.”
The author’s first point was that the decision failed to find language in the U.S. Constitution that suggests a woman has the right to abort her unborn baby. Later, courts were unable to find this constitutional justification either. She went on to discuss how “float-y” the language of the decision is, and how its poor drafting has led to one of the most permissible abortion laws in the world. The United States is one of only seven countries in the world that permits elective abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy — a fact confirmed by the Washington Post fact checker.
Furthermore, the overreaching breadth and permissible nature of Roe v. Wade do not reflect a majority of Americans’ beliefs regarding abortion, she pointed out. Gallup polling data found that 53 percent of Americans say abortions should be legal in a few or no circumstances.
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McArdle is not the first abortion advocate to be anti-Roe. In 2012, a pro-abortion legal scholar, John Hart Ely, wrote in the Yale Law Journal that Roe v. Wade is “bad constitutional law.” Edward Lazarus, the former clerk to Justice Henry Blackmun (who wrote the majority opinion for the decision) stated, “Roe borders on the indefensible…no one has produced a convincing defense of Roe on its own terms.”
Even Norma McCorvey, who was the “Jane Roe” in Roe v. Wade, never ended up having an abortion. Later, after becoming pro-life, she stated that the “whole abortion industry was based on a lie” and she spent the rest of her life trying to overturn the ruling made in her name.
McArdle said all of the dissenting voices, from both sides of the abortion debate, prove one thing: Roe v. Wade is not in touch with the wants of the American public.
Given the seriousness of what’s involved, it is Roe, more than any other opinion, that is driving both the radicalization and the judicialization of American politics,” she wrote.
Having given her reasons to overturn Roe v. Wade, the author suggested that the decision to regulate abortion be given back to the states. While she admitted that some pro-abortion advocates might be appalled at the idea of abortion being “permissive in New York and illegal in Alabama,” McArdle reiterated the need for compromise.
She insisted that abortion activists should not “seek total victory in a total war,” because one has to be entirely sure that their side will be the one that wins, and the once-secure fate of Roe v. Wade may not be so secure after all.