Nearly 48 years ago, a young woman, not yet 18, became pregnant in her freshman year of college. Living in a time and place in which abortion was generally illegal, she proceeded to marry the father of her child and gave birth to a son. Perhaps she would have done so irrespective of the abortion laws at the time, even if, say, she lived in a legal culture that celebrated abortion as a fundamental right. Very possibly not. (I haven’t found any statistics on the percentage of pregnant college freshmen who abort their pregnancies, but indirect indications suggest that it’s very high.)
Barack Obama may actually believe, as he stated yesterday, that Roe v. Wade “was rightly decided.” But it may be very lucky for him, as the son born of that woman, that it hadn’t been decided a dozen or so years earlier.
That Obama may owe his very life to a pre-Roe legal regime that banned abortion is, to be sure, not necessarily a reason that he should favor that regime (though I can’t help noting that Justice Thomas’s critics recklessly accuse him of hypocrisy for opposing racial-preference plans that they say he benefited from). But it ought to lead Obama and others to think more carefully about the valuable role that protective abortion laws play.