The Corner

Richard Lamm: Roe V. Wade May Be Wrong

As a freshman Colorado legislator in 1967, Richard Lamm sponsored what was then the most liberal abortion law in the nation: allowing abortion in cases of rape, incest, fetal deformity, and physicial and mental health (narrowly defined, in practice). Lamm, who was elected Governor three times, continues to strongly support broad abortion rights. Yet on the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, he writes: “”I think it might have been better to let states develop” abortion policy. “There’s a question of whether to have nine people change such a dramatic thing is the wisest course of action.”

As Glenn Reynolds and I have argued, federalization of the abortion issue is a terrible constitutional mistake. Our law review article argues that neither the federal law protecting abortion clinic entrances, nor the proposed federal law banning partial birth abortion are legitimate exercises of federal power to regulate “interstate commerce.” More generally, we suggest that national unity is better served when the national government does not impose winner-take-all national policies on divisive social issues such as abortion, drugs, and guns.

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