Abortion in America: Ten Cautious Forecasts

By Shostak, Arthur B. | The Futurist, July-August 1991 | Go to article overview

Abortion in America: Ten Cautious Forecasts


Shostak, Arthur B., The Futurist


When historians a century from now look back on the major domestic controversies that challenged America in the 1990s, they are likely to designate the abortion fight as the most divisive, revealing, and costly "war" of all. Lowering the abortion rate is one of the few goals common to both sides of the battle, byt only a 6% drop was achieved between 1980 and 1987. Not surprisingly, therefore, this volatile "clash of absolutes" tries our craft as contemporary forecasters more than most other domestic policy issues. Both sides recognize that the 1989 decision of the Supreme Court in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, Inc., put the United States at a policy-making crossroads. A woman's federally guaranteed right to request an abortion -- a bitterly contested grant since its 1973 inception -- is now more problematic than at any other time since the Court's enabling decision in Roe v. Wade.

What sort of future are we likely to make for ourselves in this regard? Why? And with what consequences? What are our choices, and what are their most likely resolution?

Ten interrelated forecasts are offered below in order of their seeming likelihood: Those most likely to occur in the near future (circa 1991-2006) appear earliest in the scenario.

Taken together, the 10 forecasts suggest that we are likely to shape a future without clear-cut resolution of the abortion war, a future without an emphatic one-sided or total victory for either side. Instead, the years ahead are likely to accommodate compromises that both pro-choice and anti-abortion forces may resent, but may be favored by a large proportion of Americans. The years ahead are also likely to witness major gains in contraception, though possibly at a cost of widening the gap in well-being between poor and well-off women. Finally, the scenario suggests that it will require extraordinary effort to achieve reform options; for instance, there is little chance for enactment of such reform options as a K-12 sex-education curriculum or a more-responsible role for males in the abortion drama.

1. Abortion is likely to be available, although only in liberal locales.

Many Supreme Court watchers expect President George Bush soon to replace at least one retiring justice, and possibly two, with conservative-leaning jurists like David Souter. If elected to a second term, Bush may get to designate as many as four new members of the Court -- a prospect that would understandably cheer those seeking the nationwide outlawing of abortion.

A strong likelihood exists that an increasingly conservative Supreme Court will soon withdraw support from its own creation, the privacy principle first enunciated in 1973 in the Roe v. Wade decision. In its place, as hinted at in the 1989 Webster decision, the Court may permit each state to decide its own legal framework concerning the willful termination of a pregnancy. States such as Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming are likely to rush to deny access (82% of all U.S. counties are already without a single abortion provider). Congress, in turn, is unlikely to pass a proposed bill (the Freedom of Choice Act) to prevent such anti-abortion gains, and even if somehow approved on the Hill, the bill would likely succumb to a White House veto.

Abortion-on-request, however, will remain available in other, more-liberal states, such as those on both coasts and north of the Mason-Dixon line, containing over 40% of the U.S. population. Futurist Marvin Cetron contends that "abortion is too much a part of the American scene to be discarded. . . . By the turn of the century it will have had ten more years in which to become business as usual."

2. Clashes are likely to persist, though less often at clinic sites.

Along with expectations of continued choice (albeit restricted to liberal states) is the related forecast of continued clashes between two irreconcilable and often mutually contemptuous forces. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Abortion in America: Ten Cautious Forecasts
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.