Forty Years of Myth-Making

On Sunday, Ramesh Ponnuru corrected the errors of Media Matters on the real meaning of Roe v. Wade and its companion case Doe v. Bolton.  It is amazing that after four decades, people can fail to understand (or is it that they understand full well, and wish to bring about a misunderstanding by others?) that the combined effect of these rulings is to legalize abortion throughout the nine months of a full-term pregnancy, for any reasons a woman offers and an abortionist doctor accepts (which, for many in the business, will suffice if she says “I want an abortion” and nothing more).

I explained all this at some length at Public Discourse in 2009, when then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor got this matter wrong in her Supreme Court nomination hearings.  And two years ago, when the horrifying Gosnell case in Philadelphia made the news, I went over it again here at NRO.  From all I can tell, by the way, the D.A. in Philadelphia is pressing the murder charges against Dr. Kermit Gosnell, but has not moved to try him on the charges the grand jury recommended, for violating Pennsylvania’s late-term abortion law.  This is a law Gosnell plainly violated, and if the D.A. is not charging him under it, that suggests he is unwilling to test the doubtful proposition that Media Matters knows what it is talking about.  Still, I would like to have seen a test case on whether the courts in this country really believe that no abortion is too late to be prohibited.

Matthew J. Franck — Matthew J. Franck is the Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey.

Most Popular


Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More