Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

A Civil Debate on Abortion


This USA Today article discusses the remarkably civil debate that is occurring in South Dakota regarding that state’s referendum on a broad ban on abortion:


South Dakotans have simply discovered that when you have to persuade your neighbors to join your cause — not judges in Washington — both sides become remarkably civil. That civility has been rare during the past three decades’ abortion wars. It’s a welcome change — but it’s also a chance to wonder how much more pleasant the national debate might have been if we had all been able to forge compromises within our communities instead of indulging in the extremes that carry the day.


This article reminds me of Justice Scalia’s words of wisdom closing his brilliant dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey:

[B]y foreclosing all democratic outlet for the deep passions this issue arouses, by banishing the issue from the political forum that gives all participants, even the losers, the satisfaction of a fair hearing and an honest fight, by continuing the imposition of a rigid national rule instead of allowing for regional differences, the Court merely prolongs and intensifies the anguish [initiated by Roe v. Wade].  We should get out of this area, where we have no right to be, and where we do neither ourselves nor the country any good by remaining.  

Tags: Whelan


Subscribe to National Review