The Corner

Christine Stansell

She signed the fraudulent “historians’ brief” on abortion policy to the Supreme Court, and thus cannot be trusted about the history of abortion policy in this country. (See my chapter on the topic of this legal brief in Party of Death.) Her piece on partial-birth abortion in The New Republic is predictably dreadful. We’re expected to believe, on the basis of zero evidence and contrary to the testimony of prominent defenders and practitioners of partial-birth abortion, that the procedure “is used to end pregnancies in the kinds of situations in which there has long been a consensus that the woman’s wishes should be honored.”

She also does a sleight-of-hand about the idea of “health exceptions” to abortion-restrictive legislation: To make the idea work in the context of partial-birth abortion laws, such “exceptions” must not only cover situations where the pregnancy threatens the mother’s health, but situations where partial-birth abortion is the safest method for her of performing an abortion chosen for some other reason. And, as one would expect, she doesn’t distinguish between inartfully phrased dicta in Justice Kennedy’s decision on the partial-birth abortion law and the premises he used to reach the conclusion. It isn’t a terrific opinion, but it’s a model of lucidity compared to Stansell’s treatment of the topic.

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.