A heretical position, indeed

2005-12-12

in Law, Politics, Writing

Thinking back to my days of university level debate – days which might not have ended, had the Oxford Union been more reasonably priced – I remember how, at tournaments, you would often see teams huddled in the hallways, frantically pouring through a magazine in search of something to talk about. Almost invariably, that magazine was The Economist.

Last night, while trying to fall asleep, I read one of their articles that embodies all the reasons for that. It’s controversial, even extremely so, but also backed by sound and unexpected argumentation. In short, it makes you think. Equally importantly, you could advocate it and never risk seeming a complete fool. On that basis I would suggest that people take a look at this week’s Lexington column, about why the Democrats should abandon support for Roe v. Wade. (It startled me, as well, when I read it.)

The point isn’t to embrace the criminalization of abortion, but to stop having its legality founded upon a ruling that any honest lawyer, judge, or legal scholar will acknowledge as touchy, in constitutional terms. The need to defend this precedent, as well as the desire to attack it, also has the unfortunate effect of politicizing the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court nomination process. Given 80% support for legal abortion in the United States, would the Republicans risk undermining their support and splitting their support base in an attempt to criminalize it?

Like The Economist‘s campaign for the legalization of all drugs, this is a pretty radical idea. While it’s not one that wins me over entirely, largely due to the obvious risks involved, it does represent something that you don’t often see in journalism: getting past the tired talking points of different sides and presenting something new. For that reason alone, it’s worth having a look.


For those who don’t have access to the article linked above, send me an email and I will forward it on to you.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

B December 12, 2005 at 1:13 pm

It’s a good thing you’ve moved on to abortion. After the comments on the last post, it should be less controversial!

Anonymous December 12, 2005 at 10:47 pm

Hi Milan,
Could you send me the text of the Lexington column, please?
Have fun in Tallinn!
Sheena

Milan December 13, 2005 at 2:58 am

Sheena,

It has been sent.

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