The Corner

“Freedom of Choice Act” Re-Introduced

Earlier this month, Senator Barbara Boxer re-introduced this bill, which gives the abortion lobby something to rally around. (It hasn’t been a live legislative option since 1994, although that could of course change.) The bill is usually said to “codify Roe.” It does that–putting Congress behind abortion-on-demand before “viability,” and abortion in any case where it serves the woman’s “health” after viability. But it also goes further, requiring all states and the federal government to provide taxpayer funding for abortion and sweeping away informed-consent laws.

As in past Congresses, the act includes the ludicrous “finding” that “Prior to the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, an estimated 1,200,000 women each year were forced to resort to illegal abortions. . .” This claim, a favorite of Boxer, is based on dubious studies and makes no sense. There were 900,000 abortions in 1974 and 1 million in 1975. Are we really supposed to believe that the nationwide legalization of abortion caused the number of abortions to drop?

The latest version of the act at least backs away from the similarly ludicrous claim that “as many as 5,000″ women a year died from illegal abortions before Roe. That number has now been replaced by “thousands,” which is well above what the best evidence suggests. (Cecil Adams of the Straight Dope runs through some of that evidence.)

The fourteen co-sponsors of the bill, all Democrats, include Hillary Clinton, Max Baucus, Jon Tester, and Joe Lieberman.

Ramesh Ponnuru — 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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