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Reproductive Freedom (And Its Enemies) Round-Up

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Mike Huckabee:

And you also have states that not only practice abortion, but if Roe v. Wade is overturned, we haven’t won the battle. All we’ve done is now we’ve created the logic of the Civil War, which says that the right to the human life is geographical, not moral. I think that’s very problematic. That’s why I think that people like Fred Thompson are dead wrong when he says just leave that up to the states. Well, that’s again the logic of the Civil War – that slavery could be okay in Georgia but not okay in Massachusetts. Obviously we’d today say, “Well, that’s nonsense. Slavery is wrong, period.” It can’t be right somewhere and wrong somewhere else. Same with abortion.

Leaving aside the gross offensiveness of the analogy, the thing is that Huckabee is right. The “leaving abortion to the states” position makes no sense given the moral stakes involved. If women have a fundamental right to control their reproductive destinies, this right should not vanish when they cross state lines. If the small minority of people who seriously think that the fetus is a human person ever create a social consensus to this effect, conversely, it would be ridiculous for abortion to be a serious violent offense in Alabama and not only legal but state-funded in New York (particularly because as long as abortion is available in some states some women from your state will take advantage.) Which is why virtually nobody actually believes that abortion should be “left to the states” (including, of course, Fred Thompson.)

Meanwhile, abortion rates are at their lowest level since 1975. It’s important not to read too much into this data — it depends on a lot of factors — but it is true that abortion access in many states has been seriously compromised after Casey. as Melody Rose discusses here. (I reviewed her excellent book on the subject here.) I think one of the biggest issues in reproductive freedom is the availability of RU-486, which is the most promising way of addressing geographic disparities in abortion providers and arbitrary legal regulations.

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