The Corner

Law & the Courts

Abortion Extremism Is Already the Law

Pro-lifers, and even some people who favor legal abortion early in pregnancy, have expressed horror at the recent push by Democrats to ensure that abortion is legal all the way through pregnancy. The view that all abortion should be legal has a certain kind of philosophical consistency going for it—especially if it is coupled with advocacy for legal infanticide—but only a small minority of the public takes this barbaric view.

What people, even well-informed pro-lifers, sometimes miss is that this view is already enshrined in American law, thanks to the Supreme Court. That’s the main point of my article on the homepage today: The Court has already made abortion throughout pregnancy legal everywhere in the country. A late-term abortion may not be available everywhere, and in many places there may be laws on the books that appear to prohibit it, but the Court has made it nearly impossible to prosecute anyone for violating such laws. As the Washington Post notes, we are one of only seven countries in the world that allow elective late-term abortions.

A number of people have asked for sources for the article’s claim that there are more late-term abortions than gun homicides in the U.S. The Alan Guttmacher Institute’s most recent estimate for the number of abortions annually was 926,000, and its most recent estimate of the percentage of abortions performed after the twentieth week was 1.3 percent. That works out to about 12,000 late-term abortions. The FBI’s most recent estimate of annual gun homicides was 10,982.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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